Saturday, July 4, 2009

13 Questions with MyMiserys: James Newman

MyMiserys: How old were you when you wrote what you consider your first story?

James Newman: Oh, I've been doing this since I was old enough to hold a pencil, really. But, as far as the very first story that I can remember writing down, illustrating, the works? I was in the fifth grade. I actually made a whole book of short stories back then, with colorful drawings to accompany each little "tale of terror." The first one in the book was called "Four-Eyes."

MM: What inspired you to write it?

JN: Being called "Four-Eyes" in school because I wore glasses.

MM: What was the first book you wrote?

JN: I never could decide on a title for that one, but I remember it well. It filled up a whole spiral notebook (I still have that notebook, in fact!). It was basically a slasher movie on paper, full of teens having sex and partying then getting offed in clever ways. The killer was a creepy clown named Bebop.
Yeah, it was just as terrible as it sounds. It'd make a fun little body-count B-flick, though.

MM: Of all the books you've written, which is your favorite?

JN: That would be the unpublished ANIMOSITY (which hopefully won't remain unpublished much longer). ANIMOSITY is my "love letter" to the horror genre, and to the often thankless job of being a horror writer. It's a story that says a lot about how the "normal people" view those of us who dig this "spooky stuff." ANIMOSITY is very special to me, even more-so because it's taken so long to be released.

MM: Which book would you like to forget you wrote?

JN: I dig 'em all. Some are stronger than others -- and one or two might have even written for a quick buck, I'll admit -- but I'm not ashamed of anything I've published.

MM: Who is the most influential person in your life?

JN: My wife, Glenda. Just watching her tireless selflessness makes me yearn to be a better person.
I fail miserably, again and again. But she makes me want to try.

MM: Who is your favorite author?

JN: That one's easy: Joe R. Lansdale. Still can't believe I not only got to meet him last year, but was also invited to sit on a few panels with him and chat about writing. Awesome . . . .

MM: If you could only own one book, what would it be?
JN: BOY'S LIFE, by Robert R. McCammon. My favorite novel of all time.

MM: When and where do you write?

JN: I used to do a lot of writing in my home office. Lately, though, I've found that I do most of it "on the go." I picked up a new smartphone a few months ago with Microsoft Word-To-Go on it, and that's helped immeasurably. Loaded my novel on that bad boy, and I've gotten more writing done since I bought this phone than I have in the past year, believe it or not. Lovin' it.
Probably a good thing I got it when I did, as my office is soon to be no more. The wife and I just found out we're gonna have a baby, so my office will soon become a nursery.

MM: Do you have a "day job?"

JN: Yep -- by day I'm a Production Planner for Shorewood Packaging. We make paperboard boxes -- everything from toothpaste cartons to DVD and video-game sleeves (we've done a lot of recent movies you may have heard of, in fact; always cool to see them come through the plant months before release: CORALINE, LAID TO REST, MARTYRS, the LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT remake, GUITAR HERO 5, tons of bad Sci-Fi Channel originals).
It's a great gig. I'm one of those rare folks who actually loves his job.

MM: Do you have a "dream job?"

JN: Writing for a living. That wouldn't last long, though, 'cause I'm unprolific as hell. Although I'd like to think I wouldn't be if it meant my family might starve!

MM: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

JN: The most fun I've ever had was in New Orleans a few years back, but I don't think I'd want to live there. Might sound crazy, but I think I'd stay right here, in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina.

MM: What is your guilty pleasure?

JN: Hair metal from the 80's. Loved that stuff. Still do.

--Kimberly Cook

James Newman