S.G. Browne

Live Video Chat – Wednesday

This Wednesday, May 23 at 6:00pm EST (or 3:00pm for those of you here with me on the west coast), I’ll be doing a live chat and reading of Lucky Bastard on Shindig, a new customized video chat space for live events. We’ll be connected globally via webcam online where you can ask questions, get live answers, and socialize with other participants. Or if you’d prefer, you can just sit back and watch and listen.

Here’s how it works. Click on the following link to pre-register:

http://www.eventbrite.com/event/3553934915

The day of the event, arrive about 15 minutes early to test your microphone and camera to make sure everything’s working. Then when the event starts we’ll have an interactive reading and discussion, complete with a Q&A session that will last about an hour. The talk is hosted and sponsored by Shindig Events.

Obviously, I’d love to have you join me and ask questions to make the event fun. And please invite your friends to join us! The more the merrier. So feel free to spread the word.

I hope to see you on Wednesday!

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Filed under: Interviews,Lucky Bastard — S.G. Browne @ 6:21 am

Interviews and Podcasts and Readings, Oh My

I’ve got two new interviews up for your reading pleasure. The first is on Mourning Goats, where I talk about my writing process, why I prefer physical books to e-books, what it was like working in Hollywood, and the strangest thing that’s ever happened to me at a signing. My second interview is courtesy of Steve Hockensmith, the author of Dawn of the Dreadfuls and Dreadfully Ever After, the prequel and sequel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I interviewed Steve on my blog not too long ago, which you can read here. Steve took my own questions and threw them back in my face. See how I responded to them at Steve Hockenmsith, Writer Guy.

In addition to the written interviews, you can hear me interviewed with Scott Kenemore, author of Zombie, Ohio, on The Dead Robot’s Society podcast, where we discuss all things zombie.

But wait, there’s more!

You can also check out my Q&A on KQED’s Art’s and Literature section on their website, where I talk about my favorite San Francisco haunts, my childhood crush on Farrah Fawcett, and what song I would sing at a karaoke bar.

After that, click on over to KQED’s The Writers’ Block and listen to my reading of Chapter 1 from Fated. Or just click on the PLAY button below:

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Filed under: Fated,Interviews — S.G. Browne @ 6:48 am

Author Q&A: Ten Questions With Steve Hockensmith

Today it’s my pleasure to welcome author and novelist Steve Hockensmith to the inaugural entry of my Author Q&A series. Of course for it to be a series, I need to do this on a monthly basis or something. Great. Now I’ve just committed myself to something else.

Steve Hockensmith is the author of seven novels, including the New York Times bestseller Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls and the Edgar, Shamus and Anthony Award finalist Holmes on the Range. He is widely admired within the writing community for his lion-like mane of thick, dark hair. His posture, on the other hand, is shockingly bad. Every once in a while, he updates the blog you can find here.

I met Steve at ZomBcon in Seattle last October during a signing at the Barnes & Noble booth. I told him why I thought zombies were so popular right now and he told me he liked what I said so much that he was going to claim my ideas as his own. We’ve hated each other ever since.

Where do you get your ideas?

From my brain. Specifically, the frontal lobe. What’s not so easy sometimes is finding them in there and dragging them out. I do a lot of research before I start work on a novel, then I lock myself in a room for two weeks and think. And think. And think some more. Sometimes I yell, too. Things like “Why doesn’t this make sense yet?” Or “What happens next, dammit? What happens next?” Or simply “AAARRRRGGGHHH!!!” Eventually, I manage to squeeze enough ideas out of my head to fill a book. Or so I like to think.

What’s your daily writing ritual?

I wish I had one. I have kids, though, and my wife has a work schedule that varies day to day and week to week. So nothing’s consistent. In a perfect world, my daily ritual would look like this: I arise at 9; go back to bed until 10; drink coffee and reply to e-mails till 11; eat lunch and surf the Internet until noon; write until 5; hang out with my family until 9; go for a run until 10; read until 11; drink bourbon and watch old movies until midnight; sleep until 9; repeat. Wanna guess how close that is to my real life?

What’s the first story you ever had published?

Well, if we’re going to be sticklers here, I don’t even remember what it was called: I was first published in a literary journal when I was a sophomore or junior in college. The story was about a guy who decides to go to work naked, but no one notices. My first paid story was called “Arnold the Conqueror,” and it appeared in Analog Science Fiction and Fact in 1997. So I guess I can pretend I’ve been a professional for 14 years. Woo-hoo!

What started you off on the path of being a writer?

Reading. Then discovering that I actually enjoyed writing assignments in grade school. I think I started creating my own magazines and comic books around sixth or seventh grade. From then on, writing just seemed like my thing, and I always assumed it would be my career one day. Looking back, I almost wish I could tell myself “Hey! Dummy! Those ‘computer’ thingies people keep talking about? Learn how to use ’em!” But I guess things worked out O.K.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’m a plotter writing-wise and a pantser in my day-to-day life. Meaning I outline everything, but I do so while wearing pants. Usually sweatpants. Sometimes jeans. Khakis every once in a while. But very rarely shorts, for some reason.

What’s your favorite word?

No contest: lugubrious. It’s so fun to say. Try it. Lugubrious. Lugubrious. Lugubrious. It’s especially satisfying if you stretch out the second u. Lou-gooooooooo-bree-ous. You can’t say it that way without feeling like Vincent Price. I also like the word because it encapsulates an approach to art that I like to make fun of, but that’s a whole other conversation.

What’s your biggest fear?

I’d say failure and death run pretty much neck and neck these days. I think my fear of failure might diminish over time, though. As a writer, I’ve failed a thousand times already, with more failures to come. All writers fail, in big and small ways. It’s part of the gig. Death, on the other hand, doesn’t strike me as the kind of thing you get used to through repetition…although, come to think of it, once you’ve experienced it the thought of going through it again isn’t likely to bother you.

Who’s your favorite author?

It’s the classic old story for me: I stumbled across Slaughterhouse-Five in my high school library, and nothing was ever the same. I don’t think Vonnegut would have much use for what I do, to be honest, and I certainly don’t sound like him. But I like to think that his outlook on life and writing is in there, in some way, if you look for it.

What music inspires you?

I can’t listen to most music while I write. Even instrumental stuff is too distracting if it has a melody. So when I need to crank something up to cancel out the sound of a 5-year-old having a tantrum downstairs, I turn to “New Age” music. There’s one CD in particular — Oneness by David and Steve Gordon — that I listen to again and again and again. It’s perfect because it’s basically just waves of sound, and I can completely block it out of my consciousness and focus on my own words. I have used music to try to get in the mood for writing, though. Bernard Herrmann is my go-to guy when I’m thinking about something dark or creepy. But if I put on his score for Citizen Kane or Vertigo or whatever while I was trying to write, I know what would happen: I’d stop hearing words and start hearing music.

If you were a comic book superhero, what would be your superpower?

I would be Dismissiveman, able to dodge any question at will.

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Well, thanks for answering these questions, Steve. And remember, if you want to keep up with all of Steve’s shenanigans and writings, you can follow him at www.stevehockensmith.com.

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Friday Round-Up: New Stuff

Just a quick round-up of a few new things going on that I wanted to share:

New Interview
First off, I have a new interview up on ShadowCast Audio (though it’s a text interview, not audio) where I discuss laughing at inappropriate moments, the hardest thing about writing, the possibility of sequels to Breathers and Fated, and why afternoon naps should be mandatory.

New Conventions
Next up, I’ll be at the World Horror Convention at the Doubletree Hotel in Austin, TX, from April 27 – May 1. While the convention itself isn’t new, I’ve never been to Austin, so there you go. And although the convention does run through the weekend, I’ll be leaving Saturday to attend the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at USC, which is new for me. On Sunday, May 1, I have a scheduled signing at the Mysterious Galaxy Books booth, #372 with Christopher Farnsworth, Debra Ginsberg, and Steve Hockensmith. I’ll post more details about Austin and Los Angeles on Monday.

New Book
And last, but certainly not least, my third novel, Lucky Bastard, has been sold to Simon & Schuster with a tentative publication date of Spring 2012. Lucky Bastard is a dark comedy and a bit of a mystery/noir about a private detective who lives in San Francisco, has an addiction to corporate coffeehouse baristas, and who was born with the ability to steal luck.

That’s all I’ve got time for today. Thanks for listening. And Happy Easter!

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Zombie Haiku: An Interview with Ryan Mecum

Today I have a special guest who has stopped by for an interview.  You could say he’s a supernatural poet, of sorts.  Kind of like the Lorax, only instead of speaking for the trees, he speaks for zombies, vampires, and werewolves. And he does so through the use of haiku.

Please welcome Ryan Mecum, the author of Zombie Haiku, Vampire Haiku, andWerewolf Haiku.

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SGB: In Zombie Haiku, you have the narrator writing about the zombie apocalypse and, inevitably, his conversion into a zombie through the use of haiku. What gave you the idea for the book?

RM: I once wrote a haiku as if I were a zombie wanting some brains. It made me smile so I wrote a few more. Soon I had about thirty gross haiku from the zombie perspective which I enjoyed sharing with friends. It wasn’t until I had a publisher interested that I realized I might be able to organize the little poems in such a way that they could all be part of a larger story.

SGB: So what came first? Your love of zombies or your love of haiku?

RM: Zombies came first. 7th Grade, Return of the Living Dead Part II. I learned haiku in 4th Grade, but didn’t fall in love with them until I had a roomful of fellow college classmates laughing at a few I wrote during a creative writing course.

SGB: Can you share one of your favorite entries from your book?

RM: It’s hard to beat the one in Breathers where you compare the sound of maggots eating flesh to Rice Krispies, but here goes…

Blood is really warm,
like drinking hot chocolate
but with more screaming

(Editor’s note: I love that one!)

SGB: You followed up Zombie Haiku with similar takes on the vampire and werewolf mythos. Did you find that one of these three lent itself to the haiku form more easily than the others? Are vampires more poetic than zombies? Do werewolves know how to count syllables?

RM: The haiku is such a stoic poetry form that, when reading them aloud, they often flow out as gracelessly as a lurching zombie. I have loved writing poems from the voice of a werewolf and a vampire as well, but there is something about a zombie writing a poem that resonates with me. Vampires probably think they’re more poetic than zombies, but there is an innocence to a poem written by a zombie versus a pretentiousness when written by a vampire. Werewolves don’t care, which make them a bit more poetic, but they are so rushed they might miss the moment. There’s a full moon above you, werewolf. Stop, enjoy it, and let out a howl.

SGB: In all three books, the narrative is from the point-of-view of someone who starts out human but who eventually becomes the “monster.” Are you sympathetic to the challenges of being a zombie, vampire, and werewolf? Or are you just channeling your inner monster?

RM: Totally sympathetic to the challenges of the monster. That is probably the main reason why I loved your book Breathers so much. I enjoy wondering about daily life from their perspective.

SGB: Do you have a favorite poet? Are there any other writers who have inspired you?

RM: Andrew Hudgins has a book called After The Lost War, which had a strong impact on my desire to be a poet. Billy Collins is another favorite. Both of these writers helped me realize that poems didn’t have to be riddles the reader had to solve. However, Stephen King is easily the one writer that left the largest impression on me. Not only did he feed my love for things that go bump in the night, but he also helped me want to be a writer because so many of his characters were writers. King gave me glimpses into the life of a writer, which has had a lasting effect on me.

SGB: On Twitter, you write haiku on subjects ranging from breakfast cereals to mixed tapes to Pac-Man. Can you write a haiku for us about public bathrooms?

RM: Would you believe I wrote one on that topic a few months ago? Here it is…

Gas station bathrooms
I cover in graffiti
with your phone number

SGB: How many haiku have you written over the past three years? Do you constantly find yourself counting syllables?

RM: I’m counting syllables all the time. I dream in 5/7/5. I’ve written four books of monster themed haiku, each with about 350 poems. So that’s 1,400. I tweet about 3 haiku a day, and have been doing that for almost two years. That puts me to about 3,500 haiku. That’s a lot of haiku. Hopefully one of them is a keeper.

SGB: Film tri-fecta question: What’s your favorite zombie film? Vampire film? Werewolf film?

RM: I usually say Romero’s Dawn Of The Dead for my favorite zombie film, but I’ve been leaning a bit more toward his Night Of The Living Dead lately. My favorite Vampire film is Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark. My favorite werewolf film is Neil Marshall’s Dog Soldiers.

SGB: What’s next? More haiku? Or are we going to see zombie verse in iambic pentameter? (To rot or not to rot, that is the question.)

RM: I’m trying to stay away from mixing monsters and other poetry forms. Something about wicked witch limericks sounds like a tougher sell than haiku. My next book, Dawn Of Zombie Haiku, comes out this summer and I am really excited for people to read it. It’s written from the perspective of a young girl keeping a haiku journal during a zombie outbreak. Ever since the first book, I have wanted to write another zombie story in haiku. It took me a while to find a story that I both loved and felt would stand out as original in the growing cannon of zombie fiction. It was fun to write.

SGB: Where can people find you on the Internet to learn more about you and your books?

RM: People can find more info about me at www.ryanmecum.com and they can be fed a few daily haiku via my Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/mecumhaiku.

SGB: Thanks for taking the time to visit with us, Ryan. Good luck with the new book and with all of your future endeavors!

RM: Thanks S.G.! And thanks for creating Andy Warner. He’s a friend of mine.

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