… and, I of course, obliged. He told me it was a lot of fun. Score!
So, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will have seen how amazingly well TSBCGTSV (phew) is doing. It is a New York Times BESTSELLER for god’s sake! So, I chewed the fat with Grady to see what is is all about …
Q1. If you were to be killed off by any fictional character, human or otherwise, who would you chose and why?
I would prefer to be murdered by Bunnicula, the vampire rabbit, because it would be so adorable I really wouldn’t mind.
Q2. Just before you are offed, the killer allows you a Last Meal. What do you chose?
Carrots, fried lightly with a carrot puree, served with a side of carrots and sparkling carrot juice. And it would be dinner for two, preferably candlelight, because I really want to know what Bunnicula has to say for himself.
Q3. Do you tend to adhere to lore and tropes of a particular creature, or do you invent your own attributes for your characters?
I write by applying the reality principle to horror trope, then easing up on the pedal before it becomes too ridiculous, because if you make any horror convention totally realistic they all wind up getting completely silly. So when I came up with my vampire for The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires I had to make the initial decision: supernatural or natural? I decided to go natural, which meant that he couldn’t turn into a bat or mist (where does all that mass go?), he’s not scared of religious icons, and I had to rethink the bloodsucking thing. There aren’t enough calories in the human blood supply for a living creature to survive for more than two or three days so unless I wanted my vampire dropping corpses all over the place like used Kleenex, I had to find another reason for him to need to latch on to a human being’s neck.
Q4. Have you ever experienced something supernatural or unexplained? If so, has it made it into any of your work?
For years, I answered the phones at a parapsychology lab and talked to lots and lots of people who called in because they felt like they’d experienced something supernatural. What it taught me is that having this kind of experience is a very common, very human thing. Like everyone, I did see something as a kid that I experienced as a ghost. And, like most people’s experiences, it’s pretty boring when I describe it to others, so I’ll never put it in a book, but it made a huge impact on me. These days, I know why I saw what I did (it had a lot to do with the lightning) but at the time I experienced it as an unexplained phenomena and it profoundly shook me.
Q5. Why do you think Southern Book Club has been so well received? Was it a case of right place, right time or have you managed to tap into a fan favourite (vampires)?
An editor from the Eighties I spoke to once said that she didn’t think of vampire books as horror novels, because the horror cycle goes boom and bust but vampires always sell. So maybe it’s a case of the right monster at the right time. I also think that I’m the last person who could answer this question. I put everything I’ve got into every single one of my books and then throw them out onto the market the way a shipwreck survivor throws a message in a bottle into the ocean, just praying it washes up on the right beach and the right person reads it.
Q6. You are in the line in Starbucks. What are you going to order?
An oat latte, because I am a pampered and effete urbanite who will be eaten by plague dogs the second society falls apart and I can’t get my preferred European beverage made with the obscure and expensive dairy replacement of my choice.
Q7. Nearly all successful writers read a lot too. Who are your favourite authors? Is there someone you would love to collaborate with?
Most of my favorite authors are dead, so any collaboration would be pretty one-sided and I don’t want to wind up doing all the work. I think it would just frustrate us both. A lot of what I read are horror paperabacks from the ‘70s and ‘80s because I can’t seem to stop after getting addicted to them while writing Paperbacks from Hell. Shirley Jackson became my spirit animal for Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, and if anyone hasn’t read her two memoirs about raising kids, Life Among the Savages and Raising Demons, they should stop reading this now and go pick them up. They’re two of the funniest books ever written. Valancourt has reissued almost all of Michael McDowell’s work and he’s one of those neglected writers who should be better know. His Southern horror novels like The Elementals and The Blackwater Saga are really accomplished and totally entertaining.
Q8. What can we look forward to seeing from you in the future? Can you foresee SBC being picked up for a movie? And if so, who would you like to see star in it?
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires has actually been picked up for television by Amazon, so that’s happening. In terms of actors, I see my characters so well in my head I have a hard time imagining them as real people who need to be paid salaries.
I asked my husband and 10 year old daughter for their contributions … if it were up to them I would have been asking your favourite type of cheese (hubby) and your favourite childhood memory (daughter) …
I really, love stinky cheeses — the more they smell like dirty socks the better. However, if I have to admit the cheese I actually eat the most? It’s American cheese. And yes, I know, it’s not really cheese at all. I am ashamed.
It’s not my favorite childhood memory, but one that really stuck with me is when I was 12, riding my bike 20 miles in the burning hot summer sun to buy fireworks so my friends and I could shoot bottle rockets at each other, and then accidentally setting myself on fire while doing so, and getting third degree burns on my leg and blowing off two of my fingernails. All in all, it was one of those days where nothing goes right.
Follow Grady on Twitter HERE.
Check out his stuff on Amazon HERE.
Well! That was a blast for sure. Famous and fan-favourite writers get sick of ‘why do you write books?’, so I tried to be a little more creative, and Grady enjoyed it.
What do you guys think? I hope you had fun too. And, as always, sleep well …