S.G. Browne

10 Questions With Mark Henry

Mark Henry is the twisted author of Happy Hour of the Damned and Road Trip of the Living Dead, his Amanda Feral zombie comedy series that is equal parts snark, sex, and style. His heroine, Amanda, is a newly turned zombie navigating her way through Seattle’s undead club scene while jonesing for a vanilla breve latte and trying to keep her nails from breaking. Hey, it’s not easy being sleazy when your flesh is decomposing.

Although I haven’t had the chance to enjoy more than a few words with Mark, we have swapped meaningful glances on a couple of occasions. However, I have no doubts that most of the memorable comments from any conversation we might have would come from him.

Tell us about your first zombie experience. How did you lose your undead virginity?
Oddly enough, my own mother played a hand in my zombie deflowering. Let me take you back. It was 1978, and little I was an impressionable child—and by “impressionable” I mean “prematurely pervy”—on my birthday that year, my mother went down to our local lending library and checked out a God’s honest film projector and canisters of George Romero’s classic reinvention of the zombie mythos, Night of the Living Dead. She presented it like a gangsta on the wall of our 1960’s era rambler in full of view of a rather jittery gathering of pre-teens. I’m fairly certain young minds were traumatized that day, stunted even. But not mine, I…was in love.

What’s your favorite zombie film?
It really depends on the day, but today I’m feeling goofy, so I’ll go with Return of the Living Dead, that 80s classic of zombie comedy. And here’s why. One, Linnea Quigley dancing on graves topless with bleached out punker hair. Yes, please. Two, “Send more paramedics” is one of the funniest lines in the history of ever. Three, Braaaaiiinnnnnsssss! Before this ground breaker, zombies were content to just eat any old body part and be satisfied that there was no better flavor to be found in a squiggling panicked victim. Return gave them a flavor fave, and I’m all about the food obsessions, so thank you Dan O’Bannon. You’re okay in my book.

It’s the zombie apocalypse. Do you use a gun, a machete, or a Louisville slugger?
Gotta go with the machete. I’m a cook, so I’m most comfortable with a knife in my hand, if I can’t choose wiener, that is—of course, a penis is not a weapon, and if it’s being wielded as such ladies, please purchase a machete.

If you were a zombie, who would you eat first?
Because, above all else, I’m a loyal husband, I’d have to say…my wife! Plus, I can smell her spleen and I bet it’s as succulent as they come.

What’s the first thing you ever had published?
A short story called “An Acquired Taste.” It was actually the birth of Amanda and Wendy and not at all good. Not. At. All.

Who’s your favorite author?
That’s a tough one, because I love different authors for different reason. King, Barker, Rice. Hell, Sedaris and Burroughs are huge for me. I even love Alexander McCall Smith. I’m obsessed with some cozy mysteries. Now you have me all discombobulated. I guess I’ll go with Stephen King. He was my favorite as a kid and young adult and I still buy his stuff, though not this last one, Under the Dome. I didn’t buy that one. I got one of only 100 ARCs printed, bitches. Read it and weep!

What’s your favorite book?
Definitely The Stand by Stephen King. I’ve got a boner for apocalyptic epics that aren’t completely depressing **cough**The Road**cough**. Plus, I kind of have to say it because Randall Flagg is following me on Twitter. It’s safer that way. (If you want to follow me, I’m mark_henry, go to it!)

Name your favorite guilty pleasure.
God. I wish I felt guilt so this could be an easier question. I’ll tell you, I can’t resist the call of the Twitter. It’s so bad, I wouldn’t exactly call it a pleasure. Oh wait!!! I do have one. Gourmet Roach Coaches! There’s this one in Seattle that I’m obsessed with called Marination Mobile. It just won the Good Morning America best Food Truck in America and has the most awesome Hawaiian Spam sliders. Seriously, you’d sock your mom for these bad boys. Uhhhhhhh.

Other than your favorite author/book, name something that inspires your writing.
John Waters, the film director, is a huge influence. A bunch of my friends and I got into his early films in High School. Starting with the innocuous Polyester. I’m pretty sure that flick was my first exposure to 300 pound drag queens, but dammit, Divine was a lady and Waters crammed so much bizarre and irreverent imagery, characters and scenes into that one, I was hooked. Then of course we saw Pink Flamingos. What’s really funny is, I’ve been re-reading the third book in my series and was so proud that the dialogue read like a John Waters script. I almost wept.

If you had a theme song that played when you walked into a room, what would it be?
“Destroy Everything You Touch” by Ladytron. No question. If something can go wrong with me, it will. Every time. That’s no joke either. People in my life accuse me of being jinxed.

Shameless self-promotion bonus question: What’s coming up next?
What’s next, thankfully, is the mass-market paperback reissue of Happy Hour of the Damned (Jan. 26, 2010), the first book in my Amanda Feral zombie comedy series. A trade paperback does not fare well in the urban fantasy genre, where readers are used to testing new authors for no more than $7.99. Add into that the fact that the publishing industry took some pretty big hits in the past couple of years and what I’m left with is a series in jeopardy. So I started this little campaign to promote the re-release. Learn more about Save Amanda Feral at www.markhenry.us.

A month later, Battle of the Network Zombies (Feb. 24 2010), my third Amanda book hits store shelves. In this one, Amanda’s hit the skids both financially and with new(ish) boyfriend, Scott. You know what could turn her shit around? A guest judging gig on a super seedy reality competition show! But when the star, an oversexed wood nymph, turns up charbroiled, Amanda must pull a Miss Marples (minus the fugly sweaters) and solve the crime with a film crew in tow. It’s, at least, 50 percent dirtier than anything I’ve ever written and I’m in love with it, hope everyone else will be.

You can visit Mark and learn more about Amanda Feral at www.markhenry.us. Or follow his musings on Twitter at mark_henry.

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Filed under: Interviews,Zombies — Tags: , , , — S.G. Browne @ 8:21 am

13 Comments »

  1. hey Mark! I’d sock your mom for marination mobile..speaking of hmm?
    wonder where they are today..
    hehehehe

    Comment by synde — December 16, 2009 @ 9:47 am

  2. Great interview Mark! Im a little disturbed that your mother was a big help in the development the perv that we know and love today!

    Comment by Jenn A — December 16, 2009 @ 9:50 am

  3. How did your career as a writer start?

    Comment by Michele Lee — December 16, 2009 @ 10:16 am

  4. Since I hear you are fascinated with fascinators, which snooch fascinator would you choose?

    (No time to think about writing questions or the like, sorry… lol)

    Comment by Zombie Joe — December 16, 2009 @ 10:17 am

  5. Great interview.

    Were there other movies, seen as a pre-teen or older, that helped to warp your ‘fragile little mind’?

    Comment by Jennifer — December 16, 2009 @ 10:30 am

  6. LOL… you are too funny….. Can’t wait for the next book :)

    Comment by Ter — December 16, 2009 @ 10:48 am

  7. No comments is inexcusable.

    So, you say the new book is at least 50% dirtier than the others. What is the dirtiest thing you’ve ever done (and are willing to fess up to in public)?

    As for writing (since you made it fair game), what is your favorite piece of anything you’ve written (pubbed or unpubbed) and why?

    Comment by Julie K — December 16, 2009 @ 10:55 am

  8. Errrr…. you have comments now, so please ignore that first sentence :P

    Comment by Julie K — December 16, 2009 @ 10:56 am

  9. Michelle – It only started about 4 and a half years ago. I’d been tinkering with some short story ideas when the idea for Amanda came along. I pitched the idea as a lark to an editor at my first real writing conference that summer. She liked it and encouraged me to write it. I finished Happy Hour of the Damned a few months later. To my surprise the editor loved it and asked if I had an agent. I didn’t, but I was pretty aggressive about getting one, from the start of my agent hunt to sale, was a little over a week. And that’s that.

    Zombie Joe – That was a trick question. Labia don’t need fascinators, they are fascinating on their own.

    Jennifer – Heathers was big, Polyester, Serial Mom, Freeway. And then Sex and the City really gave me a framework. If anyone’s ever read Candace Bushnell’s first book, they’ll see some resemblance in the lack of adhering to story structure. It’s more about character revelation and scene than any real plot.

    Comment by Mark Henry — December 16, 2009 @ 10:57 am

  10. Julie – Dirtiest thing? Hmm. I’m going to have to think about that one. Hate to reveal too much too soon. No one will come back to read more comments. As for my favorite piece of writing. So far it’s a scene from the upcoming, Battle of the Network Zombies. A small scene, just an interaction between Amanda, her assistant Marithé, and their boss, Karkaroff. The dialogue is probably the best I’ve ever written.

    Comment by Mark Henry — December 16, 2009 @ 11:00 am

  11. I can offer up something that is not really dirtiest, but one of the most disturbing things I have seen in Mark’s work. In an effort to not spoil the book before it releases, I give you three words to consider when you pick up Battle for the Network Zombies…

    Cold. Stone. Creamery.

    Comment by Zombie Joe — December 16, 2009 @ 12:44 pm

  12. Great questions / answers! Much loves to Mark & Amanda! :)

    Comment by rissatoo — December 16, 2009 @ 1:11 pm

  13. Zombie Joe – Who doesn’t love food with a floor show?

    Comment by Mark Henry — December 16, 2009 @ 5:09 pm

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