S.G. Browne

R is for Rita

“Rita’s face is a pale moon hovering in the black hood of her sweatshirt. She has on a black turtleneck and black pants. The only color she’s wearing is on her lips, which are Eternal Red.”

This is the first glimpse of Rita, a suicide who slit her wrists on her twenty-third birthday and who consumes formaldehyde in trace amounts by eating lipstick, fingernail polish, and other cosmetic products.  She’s the only character, other than Andy, who made the jump from my short story “A Zombie’s Lament” to Breathers.

Rita is also the love interest for Andy, who becomes increasingly attracted to Rita in spite of his feelings of guilt and loss regarding the death of his wife.  As Andy puts it when dealing with his conflicting feelings about his wife and Rita and describing the differences between the two:

“One who is dead and cold, the other who is undead and hot.”

When I started out writing Breathers, although I had the character of Rita in my head, I didn’t intend for Andy to develop feelings for her and for the two of them to fall in love.  Their relationship just seemed to develop as the story went on and it only made sense for the two of them to start up an undead romance.  I think the first moment when this happened is in Chapter 10, when Andy goes for a walk on a Sunday morning and ends up meeting Rita just at the moment when he’s feeling like he’s made a big mistake.  Which is actually one of my favorite chapters in the book.  I remember finishing the chapter and thinking, “Well, that was fun.”

Obviously Andy is my favorite character in Breathers, and while Jerry holds a very dear spot in my heart as my second favorite, Rita was an absolute pleasure to discover.

(Next entry:  S is for STIFF)

Filed under: Breathers,The Writing Life — Tags: , — S.G. Browne @ 8:43 am

Q is for Questions

I originally planned on having this post be Q is for Quitting, which would address the voice in the head of the writer that often speaks up and says:  “Why are you doing this to yourself?”  But I wasn’t really happy with the way the post was developing.  Plus it had such negative connotations that I ended up going in another direction.  So instead, I decided to address some of the general questions I’ve received about influences, favorite films, books, music, that sort of thing. I know, not particularly deep but I’m feeling lazy today.

To keep it simple without elaborating too much while at the same time paying homage to High Fidelity (Nick Hornby) and the male instinct for making lists, here are some of my Top 5 Lists.  I stayed away from my Most Memorable Split-Ups and Top Five Dream jobs and instead focused on artists, musicians, and films that inspire or influence my own writing.

Favorite Authors
1) Chuck Palahniuk
2) Christopher Moore
3) Stephen King
4) Kurt Vonnegut
5) Gregory Maguire

Favorite Books
1) The Stand by Stephen King
2) Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk
3) Lord of the Flies by William Golding
4) Lamb:The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore
5) Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

Favorite Bands
1) The Beatles
2) Green Day
3) The Doors
4) Sublime
5) Cake (before they got rid of their horns)
(Honorable mention goes to the Pixies, Weezer, and the Violent Femmes)

Favorite Music to Listen to for Inspiration
1) Green Day
2) Pixies
3) Sublime
4) Morphine
5) AC/DC (before Bon Scott choked on his own vomit)

Favorite Films
1) Fight Club
2) Being John Malkovich
3) The Big Lebowski
4) Unbreakable
5) Donnie Darko

Favorite Soundtrack Moments in Films
1) “Tiny Dancer” (Elton John) – Almost Famous
2) “Build Me Up Buttercup” (The Foundations) – There’s Something About Mary
3) “Down With the Sickness” (Richard Cheese) – Dawn of the Dead (2004)
4) “Where Is My Mind?” (Pixies) – Fight Club
5) “Bullwinkle Part II” (The Centurions) – Pulp Fiction
(If I had a theme song to play whenever I walked into a room, this would be it)

(Next entry: R is for Rita)

Filed under: Breathers,The Writing Life — Tags: — S.G. Browne @ 3:39 pm

Jerry’s Top Five Most Awesome Zombie Flicks

What up?  Jerry here, throwing out a guest blog while Andy’s doing time at the SPCA and the hack writer of Breathers is off drinking a Starbucks latte or beating off or whatever the hell writers do when they’re not sitting home alone making up imaginary stories about imaginary characters. What a freak.

Since the previously mentioned freak writer recently blogged about the film rights for Breathers, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite zombie films of all time.  So without further delay…

Jerry’s Top Five Most Awesome Zombie Flicks

1) Night of the Living Dead – 1968
Dude, it doesn’t get any better than this. Classic zombie munching with a creepy soundtrack. And I totally wanted to eat Cooper. Bald, racist bastard.

2) Dawn of the Dead – 2004
With all respects to Mr. Romero, zombies are fast and furious. Like Vin Diesel. The dude hanging from the pipes in the garage was sweet! Plus I love a happy ending.

3) Zombie – 1979
Fulci throws down enough blood and gore to satisfy even the most jaded zombie. And how can you go wrong with a zombie fighting a shark under water?

4) Planet Terror – 2007
Rose McGowan sporting an assault rifle prosthetic leg is totally hot.  Plus I love Bruce Willis.  Not, like, in a romantic way, just, you know, as an actor.

5) Zombie Strippers – 2008
Dude. Jenna Jamison can eat me any day of the week. Enough said.

Filed under: Breathers,Zombies — Tags: — S.G. Browne @ 8:53 am

Ask Andy

(This is a feature from Undead Anonymous where Andy, the main protagonist of Breathers, answers your questions.)

Dave, who writes from his parents’ wine cellar somewhere, asks:

How hard was it for you to adjust to your new friends at UA? Is it hard coping with other Walkers(Zombies)?

Well Dave, when I staggered into my first Undead Anonymous meeting, it was a bit of a shock.  Carl picking at the stab wounds in his face, Naomi with her empty right eye socket and sagging face, Tom playing with the loose flaps of his cheeks. I know I was worse off than all of them put together but still, spending two hours a night twice a week with animated, decomposing corpses isn’t something you ever really plan on fitting into your social calendar.

But the thing is, we were all connected by the same experience.  By the same stigma.  To use one of Helen’s euphemisms, we were all survivors.  It didn’t take long for me to get used to them. To be honest, I had a harder time adjusting to myself.  If you’ve never woken up in the middle of the night to the overwhelming stench of wet, mildewing garbage only to realize that the stench is coming from you, then you probably wouldn’t understand.

So the short answer is that it didn’t take long for me to accept my new friends. In fact, I would say that other than my wife and daughter, the members of Undead Anonymous are the closest thing I have to family.  Actually, they are my family.

Thanks for the question.

Filed under: Ask Andy — Tags: , — S.G. Browne @ 10:08 pm