Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Interview With Eric S. Brown

One nice thing about the Internet is that I've been able to meet some interesting folk I would not otherwise have encountered. One of these people is writer Eric S. Brown who is also a North Carolina resident and author. Eric has been one of the busiest independent horror authors plying his trade in the last few years. He's had a quite a bit of success in print, ebooks, and is now making a move into comic book formats.

I'm pleased to present here an interview with one of the hardest working men in genre fiction, Mr. Eric S. Brown.

1: When I first read BIGFOOT WAR, one of the things that I first noticed was the level of intensity and enthusiasm coming from the prose. What’s the source of that enthusiasm for writing?

ESB: I've been writing zombies for years now but as a kid, Bigfoot was the one monster that really scared me. Growing up in backwoods, North Carolina, I just knew he was going to show up one night and rip me into pieces. When I finally hit the point where I needed a break from zombie stuff, I decided to see what I could do in terms of a Bigfoot book. I wanted it to be different, scary, and a whole new take on Bigfoot. I hope that's exactly what Bigfoot War is. It's like the zombie apocalypse with bigger, faster, tougher monsters. Writing Bigfoot War was something I had always wanted to do, I just waited until I grew enough as writer to be able to pull it off and make it feel real.

2: I’ve seen a few writers break out through the use of style, but most finally make it through hard work. When it comes to writing, you obviously work hard at it. Do you think your own level of success has been due to your work ethic?

ESB: Ha, I would say I am a slacker. I generally only write a bit over two thousand works a day. Even the best days, I usually don't go over five thousand words by much. I always feel like I need to be doing more. So yeah, I guess in a way, that has certainly helped my career in the fact that I have sort of a writing problem and simply can't stop doing it even if my output isn't where I want it to be.

3: I know that you’re a comic book fan, so I wanted to ask you a bit about comics. What influence have comics had on you as a creative person? What are your favorite comics characters? What comic author has been your favorite in the past few years?

ESB: Wow, comics were what first made me want to write. I grew up reading and collecting them. My parents still tell me today that they had to take me to the comic shop six days a week because I would never shut up about going and getting new books. They say the only reason I didn't go seven days a week was that the shop was closed on Sundays. So yeah, I totally cut my literary teeth on comics as a reader. The Flash, The Legion of Superheroes, The Fantastic Four, The Doom Partol, and the Mirconauts have always been my fav. characters. I grew up with Barry Allen and Wally West. They mean a lot to me. However, it was Weird War Tales that has influenced me the most as a writer. That was one cool military horror comic. As to favorite comic author, I love so many of them, but for the purpose of this interview, we'll go with Mark Waid. His "Teenage Revolution" arc of the Legion converted me from a Marvel fan to a DC addict.

4: You’re obviously into genre fiction. Who are your favorites in the following categories? Horror. Fantasy. Science-fiction (including military sf)?

ESB: That's an easy one. David Drake is my all time favorite writer. He's my idol, hero, and what I aspire to be as a writer in my own genre. The way he writes action just leaves me in awe. When I first started out, it was his style I tried to mimic until I found my own. His Hammer's Slammers books should be required reading for any hardcore geek. Over the years, I have gotten to interview him several times and talk with him. He's just as cool a guy as I always thought he would be and his stories about writing. . . WOW. Aside from Drake, I would say H.P. Lovecraft and Dan Simmons were kind of heroes of mine growing up. I don't read a lot of Fantasy. Just not really that into it but if I had to pick a fantasy author I liked Glen Cook would totally be the one. His Black Company books were pretty cool.

5: When I started writing, the Internet was just something used between university researchers. What influence has the Internet had on your writing life?

ESB: Well, I think it has certainly given us all a wider audience. Earlier in my career, I wrote for a lot of webzines and I really think that helped me get my name out there more.

6: Describe a day in the writing life of Eric S. Brown. That is, how do you go about your writing work? What are the mechanics of it, anything unique about the way your create?

ESB: It's chaos mate. Chaos. I'm a dad. That says most of it right there. Seriously though, I get up type straight off at the beginning of my work transferring stuff from my notebook in the computer as I hand write everything first. Then I moved onto to trying to do some promo stuff for my books and usually end the day with the real writing on paper. I use a lot cigarettes, Red Bull, and coffee to get through it all. Not healthy I know but it's me. I used to have this thing where I wrote most of my stuff in my car and couldn't write anywhere else but I seem to be finally getting over that these days.

7: When did you decide that you were going to become a professional writer?

ESB: I started submitting with the hope of that when I was 26. However, the first time I ever told someone that was what I wanted to do was on a "career day" in second grade. When the teacher laughed at my Green Lantern logo shirt and said I couldn't be member of the Corps, I said, fine I'll be a writer create my own.

8: BIGFOOT WARS was set in what, to me, is familiar territory. Describe the influence of the geography of where you live on your fiction.

ESB; Eek. A lot of my stuff in set in the South. I grew up a southern boy and still am. My tales are set deep in the woods, back in the mountains, and in the middle of nowhere North Carolina. It's a great setting for the type of horror I write today and I hope it makes my characters more real too.

9: Do you have any upcoming projects that are high on your list that you want to share with us?

ESB: Well, books III and IV of the Bigfoot War series are on the way. I just had a new collection entitled The Beasts and The Dead released by Naked Snake Press. My first comic book Croatoan is on the way from Knightwatch Press. And as to what I am currently working on, I am doing new zombie titles for both Grand Mal Press and Severed Press that will be out in 2012.

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