Tuesday, October 18, 2016

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Stephen Kozeniewski

1. When/why did you decide to become a writer? *

It was a cold summer's day in October '44. I was having a snuff with Petersen when he looked at me and said, "Fats" ("Fats" was my nickname at the time) "Fats, there's no money in this damned investment game. We need to find the mouth of the Nile, if you understand my manner of speaking." We rolled up our shirtsleeves and set to work that very day with a butcher block and a piece of charcoal we'd nicked from the local energy concern. And by the end of the afternoon we had figured out our new goldmine: the words industry. Ever since it's been hot and cold running caviar and Porsches.

2. What authors inspired you when you were younger? What books do you enjoy reading today? *

I read a lot of the classics when I was very young: Poe, Lovecraft, Dostoevsky. Also a lot of pulp like Christopher Pike and R.L. Stine. Later, Brian Keene was a big influence. Nowadays I'm mostly reading my peers: Mary Fan, Glenn Rolfe, K.P. Ambroziak, even a young lady called Luchesi, though I suppose you might say she's already outstripped me and isn't really a "peer" anymore.
3. What was the inspiration behind your latest release? *

HUNTER OF THE DEAD was inspired by, well, bad vampire movies. Or not necessarily "bad" but very bowdlerized. Hollywood vampires have a very storied history, but they're basically their own thing, almost entirely separate from the Eastern European folkloric vampires. I wanted to put a jolt of old-school creep factor back into the genre, and I hope it turned out well.
4. Were any of the characters personalities or emotions taken from real life? *

Oh, sure. Both of the main human characters have these crap day jobs at a convenience store that allow them to indulge in their exciting alter egos as vampire hunters. So that may (or may not) be a metaphor for being a writer by vocation but not being able to pay the bills with it. And there's a scene very early on where Nico has to deal with a very dickish customer belittling him about cigarettes. That basically happened to me word-for-word in real life. So enjoy your horrible fictional fate, real-life Cigarette Dick.
5. Why do you write in your chosen genre? What other genres would you like to try your hand at? *

Science fiction has always been a passion of mine, from way back to the early '80s when pretty much the only sci-fi on TV was "Star Trek: The Next Generation." I love horror, though, because of the community. Horror writers of every stripe, my idols and neophytes alike, have welcomed me with open arms. It's an amazing, electric thing to be part of. I think even if I end up making my bones in science fiction I'll still come around to the horror conventions and trade shows. As for what I'd like to try my hand at, some day I might work on some kind of fantasy, maybe grimdark or high fantasy or something like that, but I'd have to find a way to make it my own so that I'm not just eating Tolkien's lunch. I'm not ready for that plunge yet.
6. What would you do if you were your main character? *

Oh, shit. I guess all things being equal Idi Han is the main character of HUNTER OF THE DEAD. If I were her I would probably tread very lightly, and make sure I'm not ruffling any feathers, especially amongst my followers. But Idi Han being who she is, I can pretty much guarantee you that won't happen. :)
7. Will we ever see these characters again? *

If my fans want it. So far sales have been robust, so if this keeps up, it might happen. I'm not a big fan of sequels, so I haven't really been writing them. I treat most of my books (probably BILLY AND THE CLONEASAURUS is the exception for obvious reasons if you've read it) as a standalone with series potential. I'm not going to foist a sequel on a market that's not interested in it, but I'm not going to ignore my fans if they start chanting in the street for book 2, either.
8. Would you like to see this book as a film or TV show? If yes, who do you want to see play your characters? *

Ah, well, HUNTER OF THE DEAD originated as a screenplay, so, yes, definitely I'd like to see it made into a movie. I think Bruce Campbell would make for a good Carter Price. I've always envisioned Nigel Bennett as Cicatrice. Idi Han and Nico Salazar would have to be very young actors, possibly unknowns, so I don't really have anyone in mind, but I'm sure they're out there.
9. Where do you see yourself and your career in the next ten years?

My mentor jokingly told me recently that I'm shooting straight to the center of the mid-list. I'd be okay with that. I hope within the next ten years I get some kind of break, either a TV/film adaptation or a book that's just a breakout hit on its own. If it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. Provided society doesn't collapse, I expect I'll be writing for the rest of my life anyway, so any form of success is just gravy.
10. Is there anything you haven't touched on that you'd like readers to know about your book? *

Early buzz is that HUNTER OF THE DEAD is my goriest work ever. I did not initially think that, but I guess I'll leave it up to the fans and critics to decide.
11. What would you be doing if you weren't writing? *

12. Can you tell KSR what you're working on next? *

Only because it's you, Kelly, I can tell you that I already have a manuscript in the can for Mirror Matter Press called THE HEMATOPHAGES, which is like a cross between "The Office" and "The Thing." And I need to get my ass in gear and get started on a collaboration with Stevie Kopas I owe Sinister Grin Press early next year.
13. What authors, dead or alive, would you like to collaborate with? *

Collaborating with dead authors seems like you'd just end up shouldering all of the work. But living ones, I'd be tickled pink to work with Phillip Tomasso, Armand Rosamilia, Guy Haley, or Adam Cesare.
14. What are three things that may surprise your readers to know about you? *

1. I wear a tie every day. 2. I give blood six times a year. 5. I'm a big Monty Python fan
15. Please list your links where readers can find you online and purchase your works. *

Blog: manuscriptsburn.blogspot.com

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