Exclusive interview with Eric Brown

I would like to introduce multi-author Eric Brown who has agreed to let me interview him today. Eric has written many novels and has agreed to share his ideas about writing, his novels and his passion for Zombies and Scifi novels with everyone.


Thank You Eric: Fran Lewis



Fran: Creating a dynamic plot around Zombies is not easy. As a reviewer and interviewer I have read many novels where the central characters are zombies. What makes your book The Weaponer stand out above the rest and why are Zombies an integral part of what you write about?


Eric: The Weaponer, like any well done zombie book, is more about the people who dealing with the zombies then the zombies themselves.  It’s set in world where civilization fell long ago and humanity has now rebuilt to the level of the Old West but still have a few things from our modern world.  The main character Alan isn’t a warrior or lawman, he’s a gunsmith and weapons designer.  None the less, Alan is forced to grow and realize his true potential as the dead return to plague Hyattsburg once more.  As to why zombies, I have always loved the walking dead.  I grew up with Dawn of the Dead and John Skipp and Craig Spector’s Book of the Dead.  Folks say to write what you love and know and that’s what I do.  I am a fanboy first and writer second.



Fran: Writing about these big hairy and huge monsters in your book Bigfoot War that you were afraid of growing up, did it help you overcome your fears? Do you think it would help kids overcome their fears of monsters too? Why ?


Eric:  No, didn’t really help me overcome my fear of Bigfoot.  I would still rather face a zombie horde, even fast movers, than a single Sasquatch any day of the week.  Bigfoot War is the first book in a series of cryptozoological terror.  It does not have a very happy ending for any one but it does set things up for the next book to come though it reads fine as a dark, stand alone work too.


Fran: Give our readers a short summary of Bigfoot War to motivate everyone into going online and buying some copies right now for Christmas presents?


Eric:  Bigfoot War is in short an apocalyptic twist on the Bigfoot mythos.  Think of it as a zombie apocalypse novel but without the zombies.  If you have seen films like Sasquatch, Abominable, Clawed, Sasquatch Mountain, Yeti, etc. and enjoyed them then this is the book for you.  It’s not only an homage to all the great Bigfoot B movies out there, full of gore and crazy rednecks with guns, but also an upgraded version of them in a sense.  It has dozens upon dozens of giant monsters coming out of the woods not just one.



Fran: What is your latest release and how did you get Simon and Schuster to publisher it?



Eric:  War of the Worlds Plus Blood Guts and Zombies was just released from Simon and Schuster on Dec. 14th, 2010.  The book was first released from Coscom Entertainment in 2009.  Coscom asked me to take War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells and make it scarier and filled with zombies.  I did my best to make it a full on horror/zombie work that stayed true to Wells’ original.  The book sold insanely well and got a lot of attention so Simon and Schuster came after it at the start of 2010.  Before I knew it, I had a contract for its re-release and Simon and Schuster and I were working on expanding it with new material.


Fran: Who are the authors that you identify with? Why?


Eric:  The films of George Romero are what my work most reflect but my hero is David Drake.  I love that man.  His Hammer’s Slammers series is the best military SF one will ever read.  Part of that comes I think from Drake’s own time in Vietnam.  I learned everything I know about writing action from reading his works.


Fran: How did you develop the main character in Bigfoot War?


Eric:  Bigfoot War doesn’t really have a central character so much as it has a Joss Whedon’s Firefly type cast and feel.  The viewpoint shifts a lot through the chapters so you get to see a bunch of folks reactions to what’s happening around them.  If I had to label a main character in it, I would say it’s deputy Zack.  Though he doesn’t appear to later, he is the character who wraps things up at the end of the book.


Fran: What is the message that you want to give your readers? How does this book teach humans a lesson about life and the wild?


Eric:  Bigfoot War is first and foremost a fanboy romp from someone who grew up loving horror and wanted to write something that Hollywood hadn’t done before that we all wanted to see.  You can certainly read a LOT of “green” messages into it though.  Perhaps it’s biggest message is don’t just not believe because others tell you too.



Fran: What road blocks or stumbling blocks did you face when writing this novel or any of your novels?


Eric:  The biggest challenge I faced with Bigfoot War was it was such a crazy and not really done before I idea, I had to talk the publisher into it.  I am known for zombies and have reliable sales in that genre.  Bigfoot War was something totally new as there’s not really much Bigfoot horror literature out there.  In the end, they gave me the green light on it and it has become the most praised and raved about book of my career even eclipsing my zombie work with the critics.  Though of course, I will still be writing zombies too as long as I am able.



Fran: Give our readers a short summary of your latest novel War of the Worlds and Blood and Guts?


Eric:  It’s basically Wells’ original tale but with zombies added.  The Martins unintentionally carry the “Z virus” to Earth with them and the war between man and Martin becomes a three way war as the dead begin to rise and eat the living, Martin’s included.



Fran: How did you create Weaponer and what is this character supposed to do to save mankind?


Eric:  The Weaponer came right on the heels of my book How the West Went to Hell.  I was really having fun with the sub-genre of the horror western.  As always, I wanted to do something a bit insane.  For The Weaponer, I took the best parts of Louis L’amour, who I read a lot of before starting it, and the best elements of Mad Max and The Road Warrior then tossed them together in world where zombies had wiped out most of mankind.  The main character is just one man and not even a real fighter so he can’t save the whole world.  The book is about him becoming a hero and growing into the man he “could be” as he helps to save those that he can.



Fran:  How the ending of your War of the Worlds different than Wells’ original?


Eric:  It’s a LOT darker.  I don’t want to spoil the ending but the zombies certainly are not totally defeated and do not go away.  You won’t find a true happy ending in the novel and I can safely say the main character walks away very scarred and tormented by what he’s endured.


Fran: Why are reviews by credible reviewers really necessary to help promote your book?


Eric:  They not only help spread the word about the book and let folks know it’s there but they also give you an idea of what it’s about and if it’s worth the cash you’re about to shell out snagging a copy.  I know I use Amazon reviews a lot myself when shopping.  I buy a lot of comic book trades and tend to use the reviews to know if the book I am looking at contains a storyline about say Green Lantern that I really want to read or not.


Fran: When reviewing a book I never focus on any typos or grammar errors left by the editors. I focus on the plot, character development and storyline and much more. What do you find are the primary points made by reviewers after reading your novels?


Eric:  Overall, folks say I write my books as if they were movies.  They are fast paced, very visually, and often original in some way.  It’s very flattering and I am very grateful for their words.



Fran: Are Zombies going to be the primary focal point of all of your novels? Why?


Eric: Zombies are my “bread and butter” so to speak and my one true love but I also write about fanboy things like superheroes with my books The Human Experiment and Anti-Heroes as well Bigfoot in my new series that kicked off with Bigfoot War this year.


Fran: Is your novel writing with dialogue or in narrative form?


Eric:  A bit of both usually.  Critics really seem to like my dialogue in Bigfoot War and say it’s a spot on take of southern culture.  Makes sense given that I grew up in the South.



Fran: Where do you get your main idea or plot line for your books?


Eric:  They can come from any where:  something I saw on a shelf walking through a Walmart to a line in a comic book I just read to my own nightmares.  Bigfoot War was totally born of my own nightmares as a child who loved zombies but lived in the south with creepy trees all around my house.



Fran: Have you ever written in any other genre? Why or why not?


Eric:  I have written zombies, horror, superheroes, bigfoot, fantasy, and even military SF.  Though I think of myself mainly as Z author most of the time, like I said, I am really just a fan so I don’t limit the genres I try to write in.  If it’s something that moves me, I will write about it.


Fran: Why should everyone read your books and if I read your books why would I give them five stars?



Eric:  If you like books written out of love and passion for a genre and that are often fast paced, different, and action filled, I think you’ll like my stuff enough to easily give it five stars.



Fran: Do you have a mentor or mentoring group you work with to support your goals and your writing?


Eric:  In some ways, I consider New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry a mentor.  He almost singlehandedly got me back into writing at the end of 2008 and is a constant source of wisdom about the industry.


Fran: Do you hear from your readers?


Eric:  Oh yeah, I get tons of fan emails and stuff all the time.  They really make me smile and I am super blessed by them.  They let me know I am doing what I set out to do and I try to answer as many of them as quickly as I can.


Fran: What advice would you give new authors that are just starting out?


Eric:  Never give up and always try to listen to your editor.  Determination is a huge part of making it in the world of writing.


Fran: Are all of your books traditionally published? Did you self-publish any of them?


Eric:  I have NEVER self published and have no plans to.  Most of my books are from indie publishers who really support their authors and let you have a more openness in your work than say the big New York houses.  However, as of this year, I am with Simon and Schuster and that has been an awesome experience as well.



Fran: What is next for you?


Eric:  I am currently hammering away on my second Bigfoot book.  It will be much more crazy than the first.  I promise you that.  Otherwise, I am hoping to slow down a bit in 2011 as I had 8 books in 2009 and 10 books in 2010.  I might also go back to writing some short fiction again.


Fran: How did you start writing and why become an author?


Eric:  I started writing out of a love of genre fiction and it was my wife who pressed me to try get to published when I started out.  I do what I do out of a true and honest love of the genres I work in.


Fran:  What are you websites and where can we get your books?


Eric:  You can find almost all of my books via www.amazon.com and you can track me down on Facebook.



Thank you for agreeing to let me interview you.


Fran Lewis
















Day One of my Interview with Jerry Banks

Three- time author of the Barry O’Shea series is my guest author this week. I am honored to have interviewed author Jerry Banks. Jerry practiced law for over 41 years and using his many years of legal experience and his knowledge of how the system works. He has written three outstanding mystery/legal thrillers for everyone to enjoy. I would like to thank author Jerry Banks for agreeing to do this interview with me. Jerry is the author of three outstanding novels that I have read and reviewed. Each day I will post several questions that I posed to Jerry along with his responses. Please feel free to comment, leave questions for the author and read the interview to get to know him better. I am reposting all three of his reviews to whet your appetites and entice all readers to buy the entire Barry O’Shea series written by this five star author. Thank you again for agreeing to do this interview with me. Fran Lewis

Interview Questions for Jerry Banks

Day One

Fran: How did you develop your character of Barry O’Shea?

Jerry:  I have to admit, that Barry O’Shea was modeled after me.  Of course, O’Shea can be a bit of a rule-breaker and I’m not.  But, for the most part, his reactions to events are very similar to how I would handle things.

Fran: In writing your first book in this series did you do any research before writing it?

Jerry:  Yes, of course.  Even though this is fiction, like all good fiction, there is foothold in reality.  Readers are willing to suspend disbelief the moment they pick up a novel, so you have to make it as really as possible for them.  To do so, I visited the site where I put the Lukarilla retreat camp and did research  to develop the NYC & Illinois characters.  I am personally familiar with the NYC scenes like Dorset Hotel which I stayed at many times.  I relied on my personal experience and knowledge for most of the locations and character types.  The saying goes, “Write what you know.”

Fran: As a lawyer how much of what you write about have you experienced in your career?

Jerry:  Most of it.  All of the courtroom scenes are based upon direct experience.  I have tons of expertise to draw from when it comes to direct examination and cross-examination.   My first novel, Secret Agenda, is about a case against a cult—it just so happens I tried a case in Oregon that involved a cult.  Of course, names, locations and circumstances within the novel are different…that’s the fiction part.  I played the game of “what-if” and that added quite a bit of drama to the plot.   My second novel, Second District is about contested election, the “fixing” of the ballots and the recount.  Just so happens I was involved in such a case.  However, in the novel I was able to explore how such a thing happened, whereas in “real” life, the facts were too difficult to prove.  It’s great writing fiction because I get to alter, change, or complete rewrite events.

Fran: In Second District: The character of Arch Sinclair is really interesting- what made you decide on a movie star as the character in your book to go after a congressman? How did you develop the idea for this book?

Jerry:  I like that question because entails a little bit of family history.  The character’s name is the actual my wife’s grandfather’s name, which to me sound so Hollywood and I suppose I was influenced by movie stars running for Congress. I’m not sure why, but that always intrigued me.  I always hope that they are more than just a pretty face!   I was developing a scenario for the novel that would end with a contest of a recount, while doing so I moved the location and was forced to come up with an election event that was much different from the one I was personally involved in.  I also had a case in the Steens Mountains, and I fell in love with the area.  It is distinct different from an area place in Oregon.  I knew of some movie stars getting into ranching, and the Steens Mountain area seemed to me like a great area in which to invest.  There was only one big ranch in the area at the time I was there, but in the book I had my “movie star” buy a fictional farm nearby the real one. I did investigate the existing ranch’s structure, and I patterned the fictional ranch the same way.  I figured that if I made the owner of the neighboring ranch the congressman for that part of the state, I could create a story where the movie star was shooting a movie in the area, fall in love with the scenery, as did I, and by an abandoned ranch.   The problems between the neighbors developed, which can be all to true, and I put them at further odds when the movie star runs against his neighbor in the election.  Again, I manipulated reality and played the game of “what-if”.