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 Rhiannon Frater

Rhiannon Frater is the author of the As the World Dies Zombie Trilogy, The Tale of the Vampire Bride, and Pretty When She Dies: A Vampire Novel, which has been optioned for film rights by Tripod Entertainment.

As The World Dies:The First Days, the first in her zombie trilogy and her first zombie novel, won the 2008 Dead Letter Award for Best Novel.

I met Rhiannon last September in South Pittsburgh at the Horror Realm Convention, where I had the pleasure of listening to her do a reading. She was kind enough to share her thoughts on some zombie and writing related questions.

Tell us about your first zombie experience. How did you lose your undead virginity?
I saw Night of the Living Dead as a child and it scared me to death. Vampires remained the main boogeymen of my nightmares for a long time, but then I saw Day of the Dead and that pretty much sealed the deal. Zombies haunt my nightmares! That is why I write about them. To wrangle them under control. Which isn’t easy!

What’s your favorite zombie film?
Night of the Living Dead remains my favorite. There is just something about the black and white imagery that terrifies me. The original Dawn of the Dead is also a favorite. Of the recent films, REC and Shaun of the Dead are at the top of the list.

Other than a reliable weapon, what one item would be on your Must Have List for the zombie apocalypse?
A big huge truck with a deer guard and gun rack. And there are a ton of those around here. I do live in Texas.

If you could have a pet zombie, what would you name it and who would you feed it?
I would name it Harvey and make it wear bunny ears. I would feed it boy bands and annoying celebrities who are famous for being a celebrity.

What’s the first thing you remember reading that inspired you to want to become a writer?
From the moment I started talking, I was telling stories. I was inspired to write the first time I understood the concept of a book. I was annoyed with having to wait to go into school to learn to read and write. I wanted to get going! So it wasn’t any particular book, just the fact books exist.

Who’s your favorite author?
Neil Gaimen. He is just a master at using words to paint vivid landscapes and characters that pull me into the canvass. But I’m discovering really great authors all the time like some guy named S. G. Browne that I met at Horror Realm in Pittsburgh.

What’s your favorite word?
Fuck. It’s just way too much fun to say.

What’s your favorite non-zombie film?
Pan’s Labyrinth is a masterpiece and it inspires me every time I watch it. It is so perfect in its storytelling.

If you weren’t writing about zombies, what would you write about?
I also write about vampires (non-sparkly, of course), witches, werewolves, dhamphirs, fallen angels…basically, whatever inspires me.

If you had a theme song that played when you walked into a room, what would it be?
“Transylvanian Concubine” by Rasputina sounds good.

Shameless self-promotion bonus question: What’s coming up next?
Presently, my literary agent is pitching As The World Dies:The First Days to the big NYC publishers and it seems to be going very well. What happens with that will have a big impact on what comes next for me. I will be writing Living Dead Boy for the Library of the Living Dead Press very soon for a spring release, but other than that, I’m not really sure.

Isn’t life fun?

If you’d like to keep up with Rhiannon’s writing, you can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, her As the World Dies Fan Page, or on her blog, Zombies, Vampires, and Texans! Oh my!

Filed under: Interviews,Zombies — Tags: , — S.G. Browne @ 9:35 am