Sunday, July 4, 2010
The Black Glove Interviews: Eric S. Brown
Almost a year ago, I had the honor of interviewing a young multi-talented horror/sci-fi author by the name of Eric S. Brown. At that time, I hadn't heard much about him, but I had just finished reading and reviewing a quartet of rip-roaring zombie short stories which he had collected in SEASON OF ROT. Since then I've had the pleasure of not only reading several more of his novellas and novelettes, but I now also call him 'friend'. It is my opinion as a reader, writer and a reviewer that Brown is set to explode big-time on the major publishing scene. He has recently signed a deal with Gallery, a subsidiary of Simon and Schuster, and they intend to make him a household name in the genre.
While his stories may not have the thematic depth of some, or even the stylistic strengths of others, he writes utterly entertaining stories of monsters and men. In short, Eric S. Brown does what true folklorist and oral storytellers have done from time immemorial: tell the story.
Sounds simple, right?
Well, he certainly makes it seem so. But I think you'll find this man has hidden depths.
Nickolas Cook: Good evening, Eric. I want to thank you for letting us pick your brain again. I know you've got to be super excited about the Gallery deal that you just signed a few weeks ago. Can you give us any details on what we can expect because of it?
Eric S. Brown: I am very excited about it of course. Simon and Schuster will be re-releasing War of the Worlds Plus Blood Guts and Zombies this December 14th. The book will be newly edited and feature an awesome new cover. In fact, you can even already pre-order a copy now on www.amazon.com.
NC: I also remember hearing recently that you had a sort of medical scare come your way not too long ago. How is that coming along? Are you going to be with us fans for a bit longer?
Eric: I am a walking mess of medical nightmares but thank the Lord, I will be around for sometime to come it seems. I have taken a massive turn for the upside so all is well.
NC: Last time I asked you about music you like to listen while doing your thing. Can you tell us about your cinematic influences this time round? What's your favorite movies?
Eric: Wow, I love so many films. Dawn of the Dead and its remake, Ghostbusters, and The Book of Eli would likely be my top four of all time but I love films like Dog Soldiers, Carpenter's The Thing, almost anything zombie, and even off the wall stuff like Black Sheep.
NC: Speaking of movies...if you had to choose one of your stories/novels to make into a film, which would it be and why? Who would you like to see direct it and who would want to star?
Eric: Bigfoot War without question. I wrote it as an answer to all those Bigfoot horror films that only have one or two monsters and maybe allude to more at the end. This is a book I did from my heart as a fan that I hope blends the end of the world feel of the zombie genre with that of the Bigfoot Mythos. As to a director, I don't know but I would love to see Joe Flannigan as Deputy Powell. That would rock. And Sheriff Becca would need someone both strong and attractive to really bring her to life.
NC: It's no secret that some small press editors really suck at editing. I, in fact, recently reviewed one of your books from PILL HILL PRESS and was appalled at the terrible lack of professionalism involved. Simple things like grammar and spelling and punctuation. Now, we all know that the author is ultimately responsible for what hits the shelf. But at some point, the editors need to also take some. How do you feel a struggling author can avoid getting the shaft from these editors when trying to present their very best to their readers?
Eric: I disagree! Not all authors have the mind set for editing and thus are NOT ultimately responsible for what hits the shelve, as you say. Those authors who are more about the story depend on their editor and the skill of the editor is often "make or break" for how the book turns out in terms of typos and errors. Every company, I am sure, tries its best to produce quality work, but sometimes things slip through. This is true even with the big companies in New York. One can find errors in books by folks like Robert Jordan, Stephen King, etc. from time to time.
NC: You've become, for me at least, a sort of poster child for the successful small press author. How did you get started? What steps did you take to make sure of your success, do you think?
Eric: Me a poster child? That's scary. I got started writing stuff because I just love writing and the superhero/horror/SF/military genres. At the age of 26, my wife finally talked me into trying to make a career of it. Things have just grown from there. I have been very blessed especially in the last two years. I would say three things can make anyone a success- prayer, hard work, and determination. Of course, it also helps if you truly LOVE what you are doing and that I hope shows in my work.
NC: Okay, tough question...so far, what's the worst experience you've had in the industry?
Eric: A long, long time ago when I first started out in 2001, before zombies were cool, I actually got banned by Fangoria's Frightful fiction for constantly sending them zombie tales. They thought zombies were a joke and had no place in the world of horror. Thank God, they were wrong, but none the less, I found it insulting that someone working for FANGORIA would hate zombies and call them a joke.
NC: If you were going to teach a newbie writer how to really learn the craft, what steps would you tell him/her to take? Why?
Eric: Write everyday, pick your markets carefully as you grow, and put your heart into every tale.
NC: As I've said before, you're works are entertaining, but you're not an author known for style or thematic depth. Nothing wrong with that, of course, because you do a great job of just writing fun tales. But as a reader and writer, I wonder if you plan to dig in and try to write something as massive and emotionally deep as, say, THE STAND or BOY'S LIFE, for instance, something that opens up scars from childhood and punches the world in the face?
Eric: Producing a fun and enjoyable read matters to me more than anything else. I feel like I grow as a writer every day and have a long way to go with my craft so we'll just have to see what happens are go.
NC: What's coming down the line from you?
Eric: Already out this year are Bigfoot War, How the West Went to Hell, Kinberra Down, and Tandem of Terror, and coming later in the year is the Simon and Schuster release of War of the Worlds Plus Blood Guts and Zombies. In addition, I have my first hardcover, Undead Down Under, due out in October, and other books like The Weaponer (Coscom Entertainment), Anti-Heroes (with David Dunwoody from Library of the Living Dead Press's SF imprint), and The Human Experiment (my first dark Superhero novel, Sonar 4 publications) all on the way for 2010 as well. Early 2011 will see the publication of my sequel to The Queen from Season of Rot entitled Brethren of the Dead (also from Sonar 4) and my first comic book, Agent Death and the Angels.
(Author Bio: Eric S Brown is the author of 27 books and 8 chapbooks as well as the upcoming comic Agent Death and the Angels. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and son. Eric is an avid genre and comic book geek who is a walking tome of DC and Marvel Comics lore. His short fiction has been published hundreds of time in anthologies and magazines like Dead Science, Dead History, The Undead I & II, Zombology I & II, Letters from the Dead, Dead Worlds I, II, III, & V, Dark Wisdom, and many, many more. His nonfiction column on the world of comics in Abandoned Towers Magazine won "Best Nonfiction 2009" in the Preditor and Editor awards and his ZOMBIE novella collection Season of Rot was nominated for a Dead Letter Award for "Best zombie collection 2009".)
(The Black Glove thanks Eric for his time and efforts.)