March 16, 2009
Interview with S.G. Browne
S.G. Browne is the author of the new release BREATHERS, which I first heard about from Amanda Ashby. I recommend checking out the excerpt on his website because the framing story begins with quite a scene. I've enjoyed what I've read of the book so far. It's gory, socially aware, and romantic. You can also check out Scott's MySpace or el jay.
1. Your novel BREATHERS is a zombie romantic comedy. What caused you to write a zom-rom-com?
Well, I always thought romance and zombies was a natural fit. The rotting of flesh, the smell of hydrogen sulfide, sheets of skin peeling off. Why should vampires have all the fun? Plus I wanted to explore the age-old question: Is it necrophilia if you’re both dead?
2. Which are you more afraid of: the zombie apocalypse or the beespider apocalypse? (It would fly and have eight legs - legitimately scary.)
The beespider apocalypse. I love bees. But spiders creep me out. So do snakes, needles, close-talkers, children with runny noses, paraplegic mannequins, and the woman wearing the cosmetic tool belt at Macy’s.
3. What is it like to write the in-character blog Andy's Diary?
Blogging as Andy is a bit of a challenge. When I wrote BREATHERS I channeled Andy’s character, so it’s kind of tough to channel him a couple of times a week when I’m working on something else and inhabiting another character’s skin. Or when I’m distracted by ice cream. This happens frequently.
4. I really like the BREATHERS cover - it reminds me of silver screen romance. Do you like it? What did you think when you first saw it? Was the title your suggestion or your editor's?
I came up with the title while on vacation in Kauai in 2003, though my editor suggested a reading line to clarify it was about zombies. We ended up using the title of the original short story, which I’d written in 2001. So it was very cosmically circular. When I first saw the cover, there weren’t any skulls and the inside of the heart was pink and the title was a florid, looping, cream-colored script. Not exactly what I’d envisioned for a dark comedy. But the creative team at Broadway Books is great and they listened to my suggestions and came up with this. Everyone was happier. I love the cover.
5. What are some novels you're looking forward too? What are some of your favorite books and movies?
Pygmy by Chuck Palahniuk. He’s my favorite author, along with Christopher Moore. And I have The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy on my TBR list. Favorite books include Lullaby by Palahniuk, Lamb by Christopher Moore, and STIFF: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach. I could throw in Lord of the Flies and The Great Gatsby to add some literary depth, but I wrote a book about zombies. Movies? Fight Club, Being John Malkovich, and I Heart Huckabees. Really, anything by Charlie Kaufman, Wes Anderson, the Coen Brothers, and David Fincher.
6. A friend has been bitten by a zombie. Do you give them the benefit of a doubt or shoot first and ask questions later? Did you check that the gun was loaded?
No benefit of the doubt. I’ve seen enough Hollywood propaganda to know that it’s only a matter of time before my friend starts drooling and I’m on the menu. But since I’ve never fired a gun or even held a real one in my hands, I probably wouldn’t remember to check if it was loaded. So I’ve been practicing my screams for when I get eaten alive.
7. What is your weirdest hobby? Strangest skill that could be considered practical?
Weirdest hobby? I put movie quotes on my iTunes shuffle. Gene Wilder just turned down Cloris Leachman for some warm milk and Ovaltine in Young Frankenstein before kicking in to “Play That Funky Music” by Wild Cherry. My strangest practical skill? Like most men, I can recite movie lines to cover up for the fact that I don’t know what I’m talking about. Or when I want to avoid emotional intimacy.
8. So, you write. But what else do you do? What don't you do that you'd really like to do?
I golf. I bike. I do tai chi, which is actually a martial art, in spite of the fact that most people think it’s just a bunch of elderly Asian people in the park doing synchronized calisthenics in slow motion. But what I’d really like to do is learn how to play a musical instrument. It’s the exhibitionist in me.
9. What is the greatest snack food? Why?
White cheddar Cheez-Its. They’re the crack of snack foods. Does that count as “Why?”
10. How would you convince people to read BREATHERS, without referencing the blurb?
It’s Fight Club meets Shaun of the Dead, only with the zombies as the good guys. Oh, and the necrophilia thing.
Remember the rules? If you don't, you'll want to refresh yourself on them. I'm giving away two copies of BREATHERS, courtesy of Random House. The book is seriously cool, so you'll want to give it a chance.
Also, Scott clearly has good taste in books and movies. Isn't that reason enough to give his book a try?