A number of questions about “the craft” this time, plus – THE MOVIE QUESTION! Sweet. I’m thinking about putting the movie question up as post that you’re required to read before you sign on to the board. Here goes…
Ferrit Leggings writes:
What was the funniest book you ever read?
This was a very tough question to answer. I’ve thought about it a lot, and I’m not sure that I won’t change my mind after more thought. I tried to remember actually laughing as I was reading, and it was probably M.A.S.H., the novel. Now granted, I was like 14 when I read that book, so it might not stand up today, but I remember being completely helpless with laughter while reading that book.
And I know how this is going to sound, but obviously the author’s sense of humor resonates very much with my own, but Lamb may be the funniest book I’ve read in the last ten years or so. (Okay, I’m cringing. I shouldn’t have written that, but it’s true.)
Right now I’m reading, Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About, which one of you guys turned me on to, and I’ve been laughing out loud more than anything I’ve read since the Last Days of Summer, by Steve Kluger. There’s no plot to speak of, but Mil Millington is truly gifted. Here’s the web site, for a free sample. I think the book is even funnier.
Jenny O writes:
Will your publisher ever put out audio book versions of your earlier books? (I already have THE STUPIDEST ANGEL on audio.) If so, do you have anyone in particular that you’d like to read them?
We’ve been talking a long time about doing Lamb as a multicast, Jenny, and I’d love to see that. A sort of audio mini-series. It’s really tough, however, to get an audio book done after the book has been out for a while. As for who I’d like to read them, that’s a tough one. I’d be more interested in hearing who you guys think would be good. I know they wanted to get Daniel Stern (voice of the Wonder Years) to do Fluke, but he was busy. I’d like a woman to read Fiends.
Catch 42 writes:
You’ve said before that there have been past attempts to bring some of your novels to the screen, but have all fell through for one reason or another. Is there any chance of a movie or T.V. deal soon? I’d love to see Pine Cove for myself!
Dear Catch: There will almost certainly be a “movie deal” soon. There have been around a dozen “movie deals” on my books. We’ve had two movie “deals” this year. People option or buy my books all the time. They write scripts and even do proposals for TV. I don’t tell you guys about it because IT MEANS NOTHING. Until it’s schedule to open in 2000 theaters nationwide, it’s not a movie. None of the books has gotten past the script stage, and I have very, very little to do with any of them. Tonight I’m going to see Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Twenty-four years after the book was published – and probably 25-26 years since the “movie deal”. If something happens – if something gets green-lighted, or they start casting, or shooting, I’ll certainly tell you guys as soon as I find out, but movie deals mean nothing except for an exchange of currency.
What food category would Jell-O be classified in? (I have an addiction and I’m concerned I may be causing internal damage…sort of…)
Y: Jell-O is in the wiggly category. Green jell is a vegetable, red jell is a fruit, and, of course, all jell-Os are meat group.
Yep, the gelatin that makes jello JELL-O, is made from boiled down cow bits. Meat.
Maxwell axes: Do you use roughly the same writing process for each of your books, or do different things come about differently? I use basically the same process. About six months of research, nine or so months of paced writing, then three months of absolute panic and stress. I write the manuscripts from the beginning to the end, and I seldom revise anything until the book is finished, although I usually stop at about 100 pages and do some corrections, then send the pages to my editor and my agent so they can see that the book is on track.
Author Guy, Why do you think that zombies always seem to want to eat brains and/or other living human bits (or breakdance)?
Because they can’t get Jell-O. Brains are the closest thing.
Big Freezer writes:
Dear Author Guy,
Your vivid description of the floor buffer in BSF leads me to believe that you have intimate knowledge of the device. Were you a buffer in a previous life or do you simply go to those lengths of research for the reader’s sake?
I was a night crew guy at a grocery store, and part of doing that job was to be familiar with the maintenance equipment. I basically held the night crew leader position that Tommy has in Bloodsucking Fiends for two years. (When I was 19.) The characters of the Animals are each based on guys I worked with, and their non-vampire hunting exploits are things that my crew did. (Like the skiing behind the floor machine.)
Ted J asks:
I notice you have a supernatural theme that ties all of your books (ex., Vincent in Love Nun, the demon in Practical Demonkeeping, the whole Jesus thing in Lamb). Is this based on a particular fascination with the supernatural or is it just a lazy plot device – a deus ex machina so to speak?
Well, obviously, sometimes it’s a deus ex machina, as in The Stupidest Angel – and I think one of the books has a chapter with the title: Deus Ex Machina, but I admire your courage for asking the question in that way, considering the flaming the last guy got for implying that I lifted ideas from other stories. (I read question as, “Are you just being lazy?” Yes Ted, I formulate easy paths like setting a book in Gooville, where every fucking element has to be described in detail, instead of say, Santa Barbara, because I’m lazy.) But, a supernatural element in itself is not a Deus Ex Machina (God from a machine, for those of you playing the home game – in Greek theater they used to literally lower an actor playing God with a crane, and he would reconcile the plot using his powers.) A supernatural element is a supernatural element. I started this game as a horror story writer, and I consider that I’m still working in the genre, or at least the edge of it. I actually started a book (Love Nun) where I thought, “I won’t have a supernatural element in this book”, but after a few pages I thought, “this is boring, I want some crazy shit to happen. The supernatural stuff reflects, more than anything, my nine-second attention span. I like the shiny. That, and as the Sci-Fi convention T-shirt says, “Reality is for people who can’t handle Fantasy.” I like the idea, though, that they put a supernatural element in the Gospels because they were lazy.
“I don’t know, Matthew, this story of nailing the Jew to the tree, it doesn’t have any, you know, zing.”
“Oh, I’ve got, I’ve got it! We make him the son of God. Huh? Huh? Whaddaya think?”
“Well, that would be the easy way to go. Yeah, run with it!”
2) Should I be ashamed that I like the late 70s/early 80s arena/corporate rock bands like Boston, Journey, Styx, REO Speedwagon and the like?
Yes. But it’s okay if you’re ironic about it.