Interview with SG Browne (Author of FATED and BREATHERS)

FATED by SG BrowneWe previously had interviewed SG Browne on the FearShop.com Horror Podcast (listen to the audio interview with SG Browne). We had a great time with the interview and I was a huge fan of his book, BREATHERS: A ZOMBIE’S LAMENT. It was different than your typical horror story, was well thought out and had a cast of the most intriguing characters that I have read about in a while.

I was lucky enough to get author SG Browne to give us some more of his time to do an interview, so here is the interview in its entirety.

So, tell us a little bit about your latest book FATED?

It’s a supernatural social satire about fate, destiny, and the consequences of getting involved with humans.  What makes it supernatural is that the main characters aren’t human.  They’re immortal personifications of abstract concepts, emotions, and attributes.  Like Destiny, Karma, Death, Lady Luck, Honesty, Love, Sloth, Gluttony, and the rest of the Deadly Sins, just to name a few.  And, of course, there’s Fate, the narrator, who is in charge of assigning the fortunes and misfortunes to the majority of the human race who keep screwing things up and making bad life choices.  He gets frustrated with them, gets involved in their lives, falls in love with a mortal women on the path of destiny, and cosmic chaos ensues.  More or less.

Tell us about BREATHERS?

Breathers is a dark comedy and social satire about zombies.  Only my zombies aren’t mindless, flesh-eating ghouls ala George Romero.  Instead, they’re sentient reanimated corpses who are gradually decomposing, have no rights, and who need some serious therapy.  They’re the heroes.  If you think about it, most zombie novels and movies aren’t about zombies, they’re about people and how they deal with the problems of zombies.  Breathers is about zombies and how they deal with the problem of people.

The last time that we talked to you about BREATHERS, you had mentioned that there was news about it being adapted into a screenplay. Any new information on that front?

It’s been adapted into a screenplay and allegedly approved by Fox Searchlight, the studio who purchased the film rights, but as far as I know it doesn’t have a director or cast attached as of yet.  So it’s still in development.  Hopefully it will graduate to pre-production soon.

Are you looking to publish your first three books?

Not likely.  While I still have a fondness for all three and enjoyed the process of writing them, they have definite flaws that can’t be fixed with a few simple edits.  Also, they were all straight supernatural horror novels without any humor or social satire among them.  The only one of the three that might ever see publication is the third one which I wrote a few years before Breathers.  It has a lot more merit but is much darker and lacks the humor of Breathers or Fated.  So I’m not sure how that would go over with readers who were expecting something a bit more comedic.

Do you use your own experiences in any of your writing?

I might occasionally draw on my own knowledge of a situation or something that might have happened to me to help add a little more texture to a scene or a chapter, but anything that happens in my novels doesn’t bear much more than a passing resemblance to anything that happened in my real life.  At least that’s the answer I’m sticking with.

How do you begin the writing process? Does you outline or just get down to business and write?

I write the same way Indiana Jones deals with Nazis:  I make it up as I go.  Typically I get an idea for a story and just sit down and start writing.  I don’t necessarily know how the story is going to end.  I just know how it wants to start.  From there, the plot tends to develop out of the characters and I discover the story as I write it.  Sometimes that can prove challenging, but I find that allowing the characters to dictate where the story wants to go is better than trying to force them to bend to some preordained plot.

Who are your target readers?

First and foremost, I write for myself.  I write books I’d like to read.  But since I’m influenced by and enjoy certain authors and films, then I think it would be fair to say that my target readers would be fans of Christopher Moore and Chuck Palahniuk and of films such as Being John Malkovich, Donnie Darko, The Big Lebowski, and I Heart Huckabees.

Are there any recent works that you admire?

I try to read a lot of different books, from mystery to literary to social satire.  Last year, I read Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep and thought it was fantastic, especially for a first novel.  I also enjoyed City of Thieves by David Benioff, Duma Key by Stephen King, Skin Tight by Carl Hiaasen, and Never Let You Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.  As for recent novels that have come out in the last year or two, I loved Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell.

If you could work with any author who would it be and why?

I don’t know if I would play well with others in terms of a collaboration, but if I had the opportunity to work with either Stephen King or Chuck Palahniuk, I certainly wouldn’t turn it down.  Why?  Simply because I admire their talent and because they’ve had such a significant influence on my own writing.

Who is your favourite author and is you writing style similar to theirs?

It’s hard to say I have one favorite author, as I’ve been inspired by a number of different authors and books over the years and my tastes have changed.  My favorite novel is still Lord of the Flies by William Golding.  However, two authors definitely stand out: Stephen King, who made me want to become a writer, and Chuck Palahniuk, who showed me what I was capable of doing.  I have had some people compare my writing to that of Palahniuk’s early novels and I make no apologies in listing him as a significant influence, so I consider any comparisons a compliment.

Did you always know that you wanted to be a writer, or is it something that came out later?

I didn’t read much as a kid but during my sophomore year in college I started reading a lot of supernatural horror:  Stephen King, Peter Straub, Robert McCammon, Dean Koontz, and F. Paul Wilson.  While I was reading The Talisman by King and Straub, I found myself so caught up in the adventure unfolding within the pages that the world outside of the novel ceased to exist.  And I thought: “I want to make someone feel this way.”

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Write something that matters to you.  Something that makes you laugh or cry or turn on your lights and check the locks on your doors.  Something that resonates with you on some level.  Because if it doesn’t resonate with you, it’s not going to resonate with anyone else.

What advice would you give to people who hit a wall when writing?

Take a break.  Get out and do something or go somewhere, preferably something you’ve never done or someplace you’ve never been.  Get some exercise.  Read a book that inspires you.  Go sit in a public place and people watch.  Just get out and do something to mix things up.

S.G. Browne

www.sgbrowne.com

www.undeadanonymous.com

So, tell us a little bit about your latest book FATED?

It’s a supernatural social satire about fate, destiny, and the consequences of getting involved with humans.  What makes it supernatural is that the main characters aren’t human.  They’re immortal personifications of abstract concepts, emotions, and attributes.  Like Destiny, Karma, Death, Lady Luck, Honesty, Love, Sloth, Gluttony, and the rest of the Deadly Sins, just to name a few.  And, of course, there’s Fate, the narrator, who is in charge of assigning the fortunes and misfortunes to the majority of the human race who keep screwing things up and making bad life choices.  He gets frustrated with them, gets involved in their lives, falls in love with a mortal women on the path of destiny, and cosmic chaos ensues.  More or less.

Tell us about BREATHERS?

Breathers is a dark comedy and social satire about zombies.  Only my zombies aren’t mindless, flesh-eating ghouls ala George Romero.  Instead, they’re sentient reanimated corpses who are gradually decomposing, have no rights, and who need some serious therapy.  They’re the heroes.  If you think about it, most zombie novels and movies aren’t about zombies, they’re about people and how they deal with the problems of zombies.  Breathers is about zombies and how they deal with the problem of people.

The last time that we talked to you about BREATHERS, you had mentioned that there was news about it being adapted into a screenplay. Any new information on that front?

It’s been adapted into a screenplay and allegedly approved by Fox Searchlight, the studio who purchased the film rights, but as far as I know it doesn’t have a director or cast attached as of yet.  So it’s still in development.  Hopefully it will graduate to pre-production soon.

Are you looking to publish your first three books?

Not likely.  While I still have a fondness for all three and enjoyed the process of writing them, they have definite flaws that can’t be fixed with a few simple edits.  Also, they were all straight supernatural horror novels without any humor or social satire among them.  The only one of the three that might ever see publication is the third one which I wrote a few years before Breathers.  It has a lot more merit but is much darker and lacks the humor of Breathers or Fated.  So I’m not sure how that would go over with readers who were expecting something a bit more comedic.

Do you use your own experiences in any of your writing?

I might occasionally draw on my own knowledge of a situation or something that might have happened to me to help add a little more texture to a scene or a chapter, but anything that happens in my novels doesn’t bear much more than a passing resemblance to anything that happened in my real life.  At least that’s the answer I’m sticking with.

How do you begin the writing process? Does you outline or just get down to business and write?

I write the same way Indiana Jones deals with Nazis:  I make it up as I go.  Typically I get an idea for a story and just sit down and start writing.  I don’t necessarily know how the story is going to end.  I just know how it wants to start.  From there, the plot tends to develop out of the characters and I discover the story as I write it.  Sometimes that can prove challenging, but I find that allowing the characters to dictate where the story wants to go is better than trying to force them to bend to some preordained plot.

Who are your target readers?

First and foremost, I write for myself.  I write books I’d like to read.  But since I’m influenced by and enjoy certain authors and films, then I think it would be fair to say that my target readers would be fans of Christopher Moore and Chuck Palahniuk and of films such as Being John Malkovich, Donnie Darko, The Big Lebowski, and I Heart Huckabees.

Are there any recent works that you admire?

I try to read a lot of different books, from mystery to literary to social satire.  Last year, I read Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep and thought it was fantastic, especially for a first novel.  I also enjoyed City of Thieves by David Benioff, Duma Key by Stephen King, Skin Tight by Carl Hiaasen, and Never Let You Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.  As for recent novels that have come out in the last year or two, I loved Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell.

If you could work with any author who would it be and why?

I don’t know if I would play well with others in terms of a collaboration, but if I had the opportunity to work with either Stephen King or Chuck Palahniuk, I certainly wouldn’t turn it down.  Why?  Simply because I admire their talent and because they’ve had such a significant influence on my own writing.

Who is your favourite author and is you writing style similar to theirs?

It’s hard to say I have one favorite author, as I’ve been inspired by a number of different authors and books over the years and my tastes have changed.  My favorite novel is still Lord of the Flies by William Golding.  However, two authors definitely stand out: Stephen King, who made me want to become a writer, and Chuck Palahniuk, who showed me what I was capable of doing.  I have had some people compare my writing to that of Palahniuk’s early novels and I make no apologies in listing him as a significant influence, so I consider any comparisons a compliment.

Did you always know that you wanted to be a writer, or is it something that came out later?

I didn’t read much as a kid but during my sophomore year in college I started reading a lot of supernatural horror:  Stephen King, Peter Straub, Robert McCammon, Dean Koontz, and F. Paul Wilson.  While I was reading The Talisman by King and Straub, I found myself so caught up in the adventure unfolding within the pages that the world outside of the novel ceased to exist.  And I thought: “I want to make someone feel this way.”

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Write something that matters to you.  Something that makes you laugh or cry or turn on your lights and check the locks on your doors.  Something that resonates with you on some level.  Because if it doesn’t resonate with you, it’s not going to resonate with anyone else.

What advice would you give to people who hit a wall when writing?

Take a break.  Get out and do something or go somewhere, preferably something you’ve never done or someplace you’ve never been.  Get some exercise.  Read a book that inspires you.  Go sit in a public place and people watch.  Just get out and do something to mix things up.

S.G. Browne

www.sgbrowne.com

www.undeadanonymous.com