Thursday 10 April 2014

Interview with Eric S. Brown By David Kempf

Eric S. Brown is the author of numerous books including the Bigfoot War series, the "A Pack of Wolves" series, War of the Worlds Plus Blood Guts and Zombies, Season of Rot, and far too many more to list here. He has also done novelizations of films like Boggy Creek: The Legend is True and The Bloody Rage of Bigfoot. He lives in North Carolina with his family where he continues to write tales of blazing guns, the hungry dead, and the things that lurk in the woods. We want to thank Eric for taking the time out of his busy schedule to talk to Masters of Horror U.K. And we want to congratulate him on the Bigfoot Wars movie based upon his book.

Interview with Eric S. Brown By David Kempf

Tell us why you became so interested in the Bigfoot legend?

ESB:  I had written zombie fiction for years and had a lot of success with books like Season of Rot (Permuted Press) and War of the Worlds Plus Blood Guts and Zombies (Simon and Schuster).  Truth be told, I had become burnt out on zombies back then and wanted to do a new kind of apocalypse book.  Having grown up in rural North Carolina, Bigfoot had terrified me as a child and as a horror fan, I had always wanted to see a Bigfoot book/film that featured more than just one or two monsters.  I was under contract to do three zombie books for a publisher at that point so I pitched them the concept of the “Sasquatch Apocalypse” instead.  Surprisingly, they decided to take a chance on it.  The original Bigfoot War book was so insanely successful for a small press book that it not only became a series with nine books to date but it also recently became a feature film from Origin Releasing (staring C. Thomas Howell and Judd Nelson) that is set for a 2014 release.

How did you become interested horror?

ESB: I pretty much came out of the womb a comic book geek.  As I, literally, went to the comic shop every day of the week (except Sunday because they were closed), I discovered Fangoria and was reading it too by the time I started school.  That really freaked my teachers out as you can imagine. I started watching horror films  not long thereafter.  Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, from the very first time I saw them, cemented my lifelong relationship with the horror genre.  I fell in love with the apocalypse and have been in love with it ever since.

How many Bigfoot books have you written and which one are you most proud of?

ESB:  A lot.  I am most proud of the original Bigfoot War book because it was a rather unique concept at the time it came out.  That said, Planet Sasquatch: Retaliation, one of the later Bigfoot War books in the series, was the most fun to write.  It blends my love of Military SF with Bigfoot horror as an entire battlegroup of Colonial Marines find themselves engaged against a planet full killer Sasquatch.  

How does writing about Bigfoot compare to creating zombie and werewolf characters in your other books?

ESB:  My werewolves are actually heroes.  My “A Pack of Wolves” trilogy features them as Old West gunfighters and mercs who just happen to be werewolves as well.  Those books are like a little bit of the X-men, The Young Guns, and Dog Soldiers all tossed together to make for a very different horror read.  My zombies are all over the place from traditional ones like those in War of the World Plus Blood Guts and Zombies to the fast movers of my end of the world collection Snarlers to the intelligent, cunning flesh eaters featured in Season of Rot and its sequel books Ragnarok Island and Undead Down Under.  Bigfoot, for me, is always the same.  He/They are massive, powerful, truly scary monsters that you never, ever want to come up against.  

Tell us about how the film adaptation of your Bigfoot books is coming along. 

ESB:  The Bigfoot War film was shot in the fall of 2013.  C. Thomas Howell, Judd Nelson, Holt Boggs, and too many others to name breathed life into my book.  It's in post-production now according to Origin Releasing and should be out sometime in 2014.  Needless to say, I am greatly looking forward to it.

Tell us about your earliest inspirations.

ESB:  Really the main inspiration for my whole career as a writer comes from my favorite author David Drake.  I learned to write from reading his Hammer's Slammers series.  Even today, every time I got back and read his early horror from before he was the king of Military SF, I learn something.  I have a massive collection of his work including numerous personally signed to me books.  This year I even tracked down a copy of Dave's first ever published story in a hardcover anthology and got him to sign it for me.  There are really no words to express how awesome it is to grow up to have your childhood hero not only talk with you as a peer but also blurbed your first ever Military SF novel's cover.  That novel is called Homeworld for those interested and my agent is shopping around its sequel (The Hand of God) as I type this.

Do you see a conflict between writing horror fiction and your own religious beliefs?

ESB:  It's true, I am a Christian.  For me, there is not really a conflict however.  My work doesn't have curse words flying all over the place, the Lord's name in vain, or over the top sex scenes anymore but it's still packed with gore, action, and fun.  I put fun above all else.  If you're looking to escape into some intense survival horror and lose yourself in the apocalypse for a while then odds are you will enjoy my work.

What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment as a writer so far?

ESB:  That's a tough one.  Having Simon and Schuster come to me and asked for the reprints to War of the Worlds Plus Blood Guts and Zombies was huge.  I actually had to get an agent to handle the deal as I didn't have one at that time.  But then selling the film rights to Bigfoot War was huge too.  Personally though, my childhood hero David Drake signing off on Homeworld as a good book with a blurb of praise for its cover might be the greatest thing to happen to me yet as a writer.

Name some of your favorite horror books. 

ESB:  I don't actually read a lot of horror these days.  I am more of a Military SF/Comic book geek.  As a kid though, the works of H.P. Lovecraft, The Keep by F. Paul Wilson, and Dead in the West by Joe R. Lansdale were likely my favorites.

Name some of your favorite horror films. 

ESB:  Now that's an easy one.  Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead (both versions) are way up there for me.  I am also a fan of films like Dog Soldiers, Phantasm, and C.H.U.D.  I'd love to see a well done, over the top, modern remake of C.H.U.D. Someday.

Why do you think horror movies and books remain popular?

ESB: Folks like to be scared.  That's the simple answer.  One could also add that apocalytic fiction in terms of zombies and such is a great escape from the real apocalytic type news that's on TV every evening.  Zombies are much more fun and more easier to deal with.

What are your latest projects?

ESB:  Currently, I just finished a Yeti book (in conjunction with Great Lake Films) and am at work on a new zombie novella that I aim to be my best since The Weaponer was released.  Great Old Ones' Publishing is also in the process of re-releasing my World War II zombie apocalypse/superhero novel- World War of the Dead.

What advice can you give to new writers seeking publication? 

ESB: Write something everyday even if you end up throwing it away.  Don't let friends, writers' groups, etc read it.  Send it to folks who can actually publish it when you're done.  And above all, if you really want to be a writer, don't give up.  Writing is a long, hard road and determination is as important as talent and luck.

Please in your own words write a paragraph about yourself & your work.

ESB:  I am a lifelong comic book geek.  I can talk your ears off about The Flash, Wonder Woman, The Fantastic Four, The Micronauts, or just about any other comic book you're willing to listen to me rave about.  I actually own an eighteen inch Gipsy Danger figure from Pacific Rim and love that movie.  I love Star Trek and science.  My library is full of Military SF and horror books.  As to my work, I put fun first and foremost in everything I do.  If I don't have fun writing it, odds are you won't have fun reading it.  I strive for high octane action mixed with gore and “never see it coming” twists.

Bigfoot War: Movie Edition Paperback

Other Books by Eric S. Brown

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