Horror author Eric S. Brown has been writing for nearly ten years, has been writing Horror for nearly that long, and first narrowed his focus to Zombie Horror about 7 years ago. I could tell you more, but I'd rather Eric tell you.
E.C.McMullen Jr.: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
ERIC S. BROWN
Eric S. Brown: Ever since Second Grade I knew I wanted to be a writer. I walked up to my teacher on career day and said, "I want to be part of the Green Lantern Corps."
My teacher said, "You cannot be part of an intergalactic Police organization."
I said, "Okay, I want to be a writer."
ECM: When did you know you wanted to mainly write Horror?
Eric S. Brown: I started off, as a kid, writing a lot of fan fiction. I was a huge David Drake fan. He's kinda like my idol and hero. Originally I wanted to write military science Fiction. I was a super comic book geek. But as I got older, I discovered Stephen King. King led to John Skipp and Craig Spector, which in turn led to H.P. Lovecraft. After reading Lovecraft, and realizing that David Drake started out writing Lovecraft-style science fiction, I was there.
Meanwhile, in my movie life, I discovered NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and DAWN OF THE DEAD.
ECM: Tell us about the first time you got paid for it.
Eric S. Brown: The very first time I ever got paid was a semi-professional website called Alternate Realities. My story, Omega Level Five was an outbreak of Night of the Living Dead in Outer Space. There's this big space CDC thing where they find a zombie outbreak on a colony planet. They just took it right off the bat, no massaging the story. Then they hired me as their fantasy editor. That was painful. I didn't last long in that.
Cover by Davina Mock-Maniscalo
ECM: You've been writing zombie stories for quite a few years now.
Eric S. Brown: I've been writing zombie shorts for seven years now. The first time I ever got published was by Burning Sky (in Maine) called Night Shopping. A bunch of college kids find themselves in the middle of a zombie outbreak, so they raid a WalMart for guns.
2003 was where I was like, "Zombies are my thing!" So I went from being a Horror writer to specifically being a zombie writer.
ECM: Zombies mean different things to different people. Romero used them to comment on social issues. Max Brooks uses zombies to comment on politics. What attracts you to zombies?
Eric S. Brown: Fun! I see myself as more of a fan than a writer. Zombies to me represent the ultimate form of escapism. Last man standing. Lots of guns. Surviving against incredible odds.
ECM: Are you a gun owner?
I don't own guns, but I own several blades. I'm a big knife fan in real life.
I took the ASVAB when I was a kid and blew it away. But my health kept me from joining the military.
ECM: Back in early 2009, Seth Grahame-Smith published Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. That opened the door to Horror rewrites of Victorian novels, but you are taking it to Science Fiction Horror rewrites of Science Fiction Horror novels.
Cover by Phillip Rogers
Eric S. Brown: Back in early 2009, Coscom hired me to write in the vein of Seth Graham-Smith's novel.
WAR OF THE WORLDS Plus Blood, Guts and Zombies just took off. It did so well in fact, that Simon and Schuster came to me and said, they wanted it. It was insane. Generally you have to get an agent, but it did so well in the small press. So they came to me, we haggled it out through an agent, and it is expanded with a brand new cover and more story.
ECM: With your latest novel you're moving into the realm of Cryptozoology, one of my personal favorites for Horror.
Eric S. Brown: I've loved Bigfoot Horror since I was a wee, wee lad. I've seen all of those Bigfoot movies and they never have more than one Bigfoot. I wanted a bunch of big, super strong Sasquatches that came out of the woods and ate people. I wanted to give it a zombie apocalyptic flesh eating, Bigfoot turned into a real horror icon. There's no real science to this. They are the Bigfoot monsters of my childhood nightmares. Their skin is so thick you'll need a 30 ought to penetrate them.
It's kind of like Steve Niles 30 DAYS OF NIGHT where there is this secluded valley town, but in the mountains of North Carolina. There are two lane, windy roads where you have to drive for hours to get anywhere. Like Fontana, North Carolina. It takes an hour to get to a hospital from this place. Really secluded, cut off. If something happens to the phone lines or cell phones, you are out of luck.
Cover by Gary McCluskey
The whole book is action. I like to think that I develop characters pretty easily, but it has a very tongue in cheek, southern feel to it. It's as much a fan boy romp as it is a Horror novel.
ECM: Do you plan to stay in Crypto for a while like you did with zombies?
Eric S. Brown: BIGFOOT WARS is the first in a trilogy. It takes it to a kind of apocalyptic twist in Bigfoot territory.
ECM: What is your favorite apocalyptic movie?
Eric S. Brown: DAWN OF THE DEAD, probably. The original 1978, not the 2004, though that was brilliant in its own way.
I also wrote a post apocalyptic zombie western called THE WEAPONER which just came out this week. Coscom.
My favorite apocalyptic story is I AM LEGEND.
ECM: What is the one thing you wish interviewers would ask?
Eric S. Brown: The most insane project I would like to attempt that has never happened is, I'd like to take David Drake's Hammer's Slammers and throw them into a zombie apocalypse. Mash-ups are so popular, why not throw Hammer's team with their 180 ton hover tanks into a zombie war?
Copyright 2010 E.C.McMullen Jr.