S.G. Browne

Slushpile of the Mind, Part II

If I’m trying to sleep, the ideas won’t stop. If I’m trying to write, there appears a barren nothingness. —Carrie Latet

Where do writers get their ideas? In the first installment of Slushpile of the Mind, I told you where I get mine. Below you’ll find five authors who share where they find theirs. Check ’em out!

Eric S. Brown

Eric S Brown is the author of Bigfoot War, Season of Rot, and World War of the Dead. His novel, War of the Worlds Plus Blood Guts and Zombies, will be released from Simon and Schuster in December and is available for pre-order now at www.amazon.com and numerous other places. His short fiction has been published hundreds of times and he was a featured expert on the zombie genre in Jonathan Maberry’s Zombie CSU: The Forensics of the Living Dead.

I get my ideas from growing up reading comics, loving zombies and horror, and having that whole background to draw on. With all that genre knowledge bouncing around in my skull, it’s easy to see something happen in everyday life or on the news and go “whoa, what if this happened but with this?”

Rhiannon Frater

Rhiannon Frater is the author of the award-winning As the World Dies Zombie Trilogy, originally self-published but later picked up by Tor for release in 2011. She is also the author of the modern day vampire novel, Pretty When She Dies and the gothic horror novel, The Tale of the Vampire Bride. Her latest release is the YA zombie novel The Living Dead Boy and the Zombie Hunters from the Little Library of the Living Dead Press. Visit Rhiannon at rhiannonfrater.blogspot.com.

My nightmares are my primary inspiration. As strange as it sounds, every time I have one, I wake up thinking “Can I use it?” My vampire novels are both based on vivid dreams. Also, sometimes I’ll just have a vivid image come to mind that gives birth to a story. I “saw” Jenni standing on her doorstep in her pink nightgown staring at the tiny fingers of her zombified toddler pressed under the front door and that was how As The World Dies was born. Once in awhile, I’ll hear a conversation start up in my head (yes, I have voices in my head), and I’ll turn my attention inward to discover characters discussing their story. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, being a writer is just a way of being legally insane.

Rain Graves

Rain Graves has been published in the horror fiction genre since 1997 professionally, but she’s best known for her poetry books, The Gossamer Eye (2002 Bram Stoker Winner) with David N. Wilson and Mark McLaughlin, and BARFODDER: Poetry Written in Dark Bars and Questionable Cafes (2009 Bram Stoker Finalist), which Publisher’s Weekly hailed as ‘Bukowski meets Lovecraft…’

I get my ideas from real life horror; crime. Sometimes it’s as subtle as watching a cat toy with a bug and toss it around before killing it. Other times, it’s terrible news stories like the Fritz Lieber trial, or good old fashioned unsolved mysteries, like the Black Dahlia or Jack The Ripper.

Mark Henry

Mark Henry writes just about everything, from horror comedy to young adult fantasy to erotica. His novels include the Amanda Feral trilogy, Happy Hour of the Damned, Road Trip of the Living Dead, and Battle of the Network Zombies. His first short fiction as Daniel Marks will be published this month in the young adult anthology, Kiss Me Deadly: 13 Tales of Paranormal Love. Check out Mark’s snark stylings at www.markhenry.us.

Where do I get my ideas? That’s a hard question and one I don’t get very often, which puts me in the minority. I think people are worried about how I might answer, like I roll up out of the gutter to do my author events and those damp spots on my clothes might be urine or vomit or…worse. Understandable considering my horror-comedy series is pretty vulgar and very dark. But, oddly enough, I’m not out plumbing the depths of bondage dungeons and funeral home foam parties to put together a story. The answer is simply, the ideas come from EVERYWHERE.

Regardless of whether I’m writing about zombies or vampires or sex-changing demons, I try to infuse the stories with all the little horrors of everyday life. It’s not unheard of for me to sit around in cafes and write down eavesdropped conversations, or draw out people’s horror stories about pus extraction or relationship decay. That shit is perfectly decent fiction fodder, in my book. Food Courts, newspapers, gossip blogs. Books. Reading is a big one. Though I’m rarely inspired by my own genre. I am inspired by “perfect sentences.” Those stretches of words that are themselves self-contained stories. Vonnegut owns my favorite. But I’ll keep it to myself.

Jeremy C. Shipp

Jeremy C. Shipp is the Bram Stoker nominated author of Cursed, Vacation, and Sheep and Wolves. His shorter tales have appeared or are forthcoming in over 50 publications, the likes of Cemetery Dance, ChiZine, Apex Magazine, Pseudopod, and Withersin. His new book, Fungus of the Heart, comes out in October. Feel free to visit his online home at www.jeremycshipp.com and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JeremyCShipp.

My creative fire is predominantly enkindled by those beings who elicit a potent response in my organs, from the man who bolts toward my car pointing a handgun at my head, to the kitten who dies in my arms, to the zombified Smurfs in my dreams, to the wife who calls me just to say she loves me. I also find myself reacting creatively to the goings-on on this planet. I make an effort to keep my finger on the weakening pulse of civilization, and I am sometimes heartbroken, sometimes touched by what I learn. All of these people, all of these experiences funnel into me, reflect off the funhouse mirror in my soul, and transform into ideas. The ideas, then, shoot down my right arm, and squirt out of my fingers, octopus-style, and I write and I write until my brain implodes and I have to sleep for a while.

Filed under: The Writing Life — Tags: , , , , — S.G. Browne @ 6:38 am

10 Questions with Eric S. Brown

Eric S Brown has been called “the king of zombies” by Dread Central and he was featured in the book Zombie CSU: The Forensics of the Living Dead (by Jonathan Maberry) as an expert on the genre.

World War of the Dead, his first solo zombie novel, came out in 2009 while The War of the Worlds Plus Blood, Guts and Zombies, a zombie mash-up of the H.G. Wells classic, finished as #8 in the Preditors & Editors readers’ poll for the Best Horror Novel of 2009.

His short fiction has been published hundreds of times, in places such as Dead Worlds 5, Dead History, The Zombist, and Gentlemen of Horror, among others.

When he’s not writing about the living dead, Eric also writes an ongoing column on the world of comic books for Abandoned Towers magazine.

Tell us about your first zombie experience. How did you lose your undead virginity?
My family had just gotten a VCR. Yes, I am that old. I saw Night of the Living Dead on a discount rack of VHS stuff and snagged it because I thought it looked cool. After watching it, I had nightmares for two weeks and fell in love. I raced out and rented a copy of Dawn of the Dead. From that moment on, I was a zombie junkie for life.

What’s your favorite zombie film?
Both Dawn of the Dead films. Though completely different, I love them both. The first is the perfect thinking person’s Z film and the remake is a masterpiece of zombie action.

Other than a reliable weapon, what one item would be on your Must Have List for the zombie apocalypse?
That is a tough one. How about a solar powered laptop with the complete DC and Marvel libraries of everything the two companies have ever published on it? That would help keep me sane and give me something to do when not running for my life.

If you could have a pet zombie, what would you name it and who would you feed it?
Howard, after my beloved cat that passed away a few years back. As to who I would feed it, just annoying people in general. That way I can pick as I go.

What’s the first thing you remember reading that inspired you to want to become a writer?
The Green Lantern comic series from DC. We had career day at school and I went as a GL but they told me I couldn’t be an interstellar cop with a power ring so I looked back down at my shirt and said, “Okay, I’ll be a writer then.” Seriously, I cut my teeth on comics. Series like Green Lantern and the Fantastic Four taught me SF and series like The Legion of Superheroes taught me character development and plot structure. I wanted to create worlds and characters like DC was doing.

Who’s your favorite author?
Of all time? Only one? That’s insane mate. I love David Drake for his action and military SF. I love Lovecraft because he was so ahead of his time and a lot like me on the social level. I really enjoy Dan Simmons’ work and F. Paul Wilson’s. The Keep is one of the greatest books ever. How about a favorite book instead? My favorite, most read book of my life is the first Book of the Dead anthology (this is of course excluding comics).

What’s your favorite word?

What’s your favorite non-zombie film?
Ghostbusters! There’s NO question there. It’s the greatest SF/comedy ever made. I couldn’t begin to tell you how times I have watched it. It has some of the best lines ever like, “Back off man, I’m a scientist!” and “Remember that time you tried to drill a hole in your head?” I spent my whole fifth grade year of school decked out in Ghostbusters clothing and today at 35, I can almost quote the entire movie, line for line, from beginning to end.

If you weren’t writing about zombies, what would you write about?
This year, I’ll be trying my hand at two of my other loves: Bigfoot and Superheroes. Bigfoot has terrified me since I was a young child in rural North Carolina. Coscom Entertainment will be releasing my book, Bigfoot War, very shortly, which is my answer to all those annoying Bigfoot movies that only have one monster. Bigfoot War has a whole freaking tribe of ticked off Sasquatchs taking on a southern town and is very true to the Eric S Brown style of gut spilling action that readers saw in Season of Rot.

Also this year, Altered Dimensions Press and The Library of Science Fiction Press will be releasing superhero books from me featuring my own original character, Agent Robert Death. Death is a really screwed up guy with as many issues as he has powers. He leads a rotating team (due to the high mortality rate) of super-powered operatives against both science based and supernatural forces that threaten our plane of existence. Writing superheroes was a scary thing for me because I have been in love with that genre since I was four years old and with comics being such a HUGE part of my life, I had a lot to live up to in my mind. Hopefully, I pulled it off and The Human Experiment and Anti-Heroes (co-written by David Dunwoody) will rock pretty hardcore this coming fall.

If you had a theme song that played when you walked into a room, what would it be?
“The Man Comes Around” by Johnny Cash or the theme from Greatest American Hero. I can be the most depressing person in the room without trying but I also tend to shock fans with how “geeky” I am in person.

Shameless self-promotion bonus question: What’s coming up next?
Bigfoot War is coming very soon from Coscom Entertainment. It’s my own personal most looked forward to book of the year from me. I also have the superhero books I mentioned above coming later this year and a new collection called Tandems of Terror (with John Grover) that’s being released. However, I would like to say if you haven’t read World War of the Dead or The War of the Worlds Plus Blood, Guts and Zombies yet, you should really check those out.

If you’re interested in following Eric’s writing endeavors, you can find him on his Facebook profile page.

Filed under: Interviews,Zombies — Tags: , , — S.G. Browne @ 8:27 am