Last week I was honored to be tagged by the legendary John Skipp as one of his 5 writers in this meme. This week it's my turn to pass along my interview and, my honor to name my 5 writer friends as The Next Big Thing!
1. What is the title of your book?
DIE, YOU BASTARD! DIE!
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
The core of the story -the setting, main characters and general plot line-was something I had been kicking around for years. When agent/editor/writer/publisher extraordinaire Lori Perkins told me she was looking for a revenge story with a female protagonist for John Skipp’s new Ravenous Shadows imprint, it all kind of fell into place.
3. What genre does your book fall under?
I’ve been calling it Extreme Horror, John Skipp called it a Crime novel and others have called it Noir. I’m happy with any of those labels.
4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I’ve always thought it would make a great movie, but I honestly have never given much thought to casting it.
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Claire Valentin, a heroic paramedic and survivor of childhood abuse, reluctantly returns home only to find herself dragged back into a brutal nightmare of sexual depravity and deepest betrayal.
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
BASTARD was published in February 2012 by John Skipp’s Ravenous Shadows imprint, a division of Ravenous Romance.
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
BASTARD was conceived at NECON 2011, which was held the third weekend in July, Skipp accepted the final draft on January 3, 2012 so the whole novel took about 5 months from conception to completion. I seem to remember the first draft being due in October, but honestly, those months are pretty much a blur.
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
SUFFER THE FLESH by Monica O’Rourke is the first book that comes to my mind. For others, I defer to friend, fellow horror writer & omnivorous reader Bracken MacLeod, who suggests Jack Ketchum's RIGHT TO LIFE or WEED SPECIES, Elizabeth Scott's LIVING DEAD GIRL and Virginie Despentes’ BAISE MOI.
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Honestly, the opportunity to work with John Skipp is what drove me to write BASTARD and, even though it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life, working with Skipp was worth every second of it. He is a phenomenal writer, editor and human being and I hope we get to work together again one day.
10. What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
Again, I’m going to defer to what others have said about DIE, YOU BASTARD! DIE! Here are few quotes from some of my favorite reviews:
"Die, You Bastard! Die! is an uncompromising down-and-dirty revenge tales that would be right at home as part of a double bill in a 1970's-era grind house theater."
"Thought-provoking, gut-wrenching, action-packed and just plain, darn good. Die, You Bastard! Die! should be on every horror reader's TBR list."
"Die, You Bastard! Die! is like a perfectly executed revenge/thriller and fans of 70's style exploitation will eat this up. Those looking for a well told story of vengeance will also find a lot to like about this one. Totally recommended."
Dreadful Tales-Colum McKnight
"Every once in a while a book comes along that totally side swipes you. A piece of fiction in this genre almost always allows you to experience some sort of emotional peak, but it's rare that one lulls you into a sense of security, only to flip around and turn someone you've become accustomed to, or even begun to find yourself attracted to, into a goddam human pincushion. And yeah, I'm looking right in the direction of Jan Kozlowski at the moment."
Horror Talk-Gabino Iglesias
"Try to imagine an author that brings together the pull-no-punches prose of Edward Lee, Richard Laymon or Jack Ketchum with whatever an M. Night Shyamalan movie would be like if his plethora of twists were incredibly good. If you were able to conjure something like that, rejoice: that author is here and her name is Jan Kozlowski."
Tracy L. Carbone is a Massachusetts native living with her daughter and a house full of pets. She works full time for a bank and does most of her writing on the train or late at night. Her horror and literary short stories have appeared in several anthologies and magazines in the U.S. and Canada. Many of her stories are now also available on Kindle. She is Co-chair of the New England Horror Writers and edited their Bram Stoker Award nominated anthology, EPITAPHS, a creepy collection of horror stories and poems by the group's authors. RESTITUTION, a novel of suspense, is Tracy's newest novel. Her blog address is http://www.tracylcarbone.com/
Dana Fredsti is ex B-movie actress with a background in theatrical sword-fighting. Through her volunteer work at the Exotic Feline Breeding Facility/Feline Conservation Center, Dana's had a full-grown leopard sit on her feet, kissed by tigers and licked by jaguars. She's written numerous published articles, essays, short stories, screenplays, and two non-fiction books with Cynthia Gentry. PLAGUE TOWN, the first in a three book zombie/paranormal romance series with Titan Books, was released April 2012, with its sequel due out in April 2013, and she has a sequel in the works to her mystery, MURDER FOR HIRE: THE PERUVIAN PIGEON (Rock Publishing, 2007). She writes erotica under the nom de plume Inara LaVey, she has five stories and three novels published by Ravenous Romance. Her blog address is http://www.danafredsti.com/blog
Morven Westfield is a fiction writer, technical writer, and occasional podcaster who fuses her love of computing, vampire mythology, and modern witchcraft in a series set in the suburbs west of Boston. She has also contributed non-fiction articles on supernatural lore to The Witches’ Almanac yearly since 2006. Her podcast "VAMPIRES, WITCHES, AND GEEKS" returned from hiatus recently with a set of interviews with writers who attended Necon 2012. Morven served as a member of the Motherboard of Broad Universe for two terms and is a member of New England Horror Writers. Her blog address is morvenwestfield.blogspot.com
Spinetingler Award nominee Paul D. Brazill has had bits and bobs of short fiction published in various magazines and anthologies, including THE MAMMOTH BOOKS OF BEST BRITISH CRIME 8 and 10, and he has edited the anthologies TRUE BRIT GRIT & OFF THE RECORD 2– with Luca Veste - and DRUNK ON THE MOON. His short ebook collections 13 SHOTS OF NOIR and SNAPSHOTS are out now, and his novellas THE GUMSHOE and GUNS OF BRIXTON will be out pretty soon. His blog address is : http://pauldbrazill.wordpress.com/
Mercedes M. Yardley wears poisonous flowers in her hair and writes whimsical horror. She has been published in several diverse magazines and anthologies, and works for Shock Totem magazine. Mercedes' first collection of short stories, titled BEAUTIFUL SORROWS, was just released in October. Her blog address is http://mercedesyardley.com/
It's been an awesome week for DIE, YOU BASTARD! DIE!
Here are the links:
What dreams have you realized as the results of your writing?
Do you think gender has any impact on the way you approach horror?
And my favorite:
What is your take on genre snobbery?
Here's the link and please excuse the photo, I sent the weird one by mistake.
And, just in case you missed it, my Dark Editorial Overlord of Awesomeness, John Skipp, was interviewed a few weeks ago by FEARnet about Ravenous Shadows, Rose: The 3-D Bizarro Zombie Musical and his other projects and passions.
The orange and white Albany County ambulance cruised down Western Avenue, past the Georgian brick buildings and the green copper cupola that marked the heart of the SUNY Downtown campus. Paramedic Claire Valentin’s trained eyes scanned the parking lots, sidewalks and paths, searching for possible candidates. This was usually a pretty target-rich environment. The weather was perfect, bright and clear, with just the slightest tang of lingering winter chill. She checked her watch; it was the perfect time of day, too.
“Bogie at ten o’clock, Claire.”
“Beautiful, I see her. Wow, she’s a busy little multi-tasker, isn’t she? Sidewalks on both sides of the street but she’s jogging in the road with a stroller, a dog on a leash, and a cell phone plastered to her ear. Follow her down South Lake, nice and slow.”
The ambulance turned left at the Adventist church and settled in about a car’s length behind the woman and her entourage. By the time they had passed Thurlow Terrace, the jogger noticed them and moved over closer to the sidewalk, presumably so they could pass. When they were still hanging with her after she passed New Scotland Avenue, she took her hand off the stroller and motioned them past. When they didn’t respond, she continued running for another block, but put away the cell and kept glancing back at them. At the corner of South Lake and Madison, she moved up onto the sidewalk and turned to glare at them.
“What’s going on? Why are you following me?” the jogger demanded as Jim rolled to a stop next to her.
“Well Ma’am,” he drawled. “We were driving past and we noticed you, your dog, your baby and your cell phone bouncing down the middle of a city street. We knew it would only be a matter of time before we’d be getting a call to scrape your mangled bodies off the pavement, so we figured we might as well save the gas and just slide in behind you and wait.”
“Well, I never...Who do you think you...I have every right...”
“Yes Ma’am, that’s what’s so great about this country of ours. We all have the right to be as self-absorbed, reckless and stupid as we can possibly be. And frankly, that’s a big part of what keeps ambulance companies, hospitals and funeral parlors in business. You have yourself a nice day, now.”
“Ah, I love it when you leave them speechless,” Claire said as they pulled away from the open-mouthed woman and rejoined the flow of traffic.
“What can I say? I learned from the master. Remember the
guy who was walking down Central Avenue reading that big old Stephen King hardback? I thought you were going to make him eat that thing one page at a time.”
“Yeah, I was surprised we never got into any trouble over that one. He seemed like the call and complain type.”
“I don’t know, I recall you threatening to turn that best seller into a suppository if he ever, under any circumstances, crossed your path again. I have the feeling he believed you.”
“Well, we of the Street Smarts Division of the Rolling Educational Ministry can only hope. Isn’t that right, Brother Jim?”
“Hallelujah Sister Cl...”
“Albany police dispatch to Paramedic car 45.”
“Car 45, respond to 863 Myrtle Ave for a sick child. No details, but the caller sounded distraught, so take it on a priority one just in case. Patrol car is enroute.”
“10-4, Car 45 responding.” Claire hung up the mike and worked the lights and sirens while Jim maneuvered them through traffic.
“Damn, I hate the 800 block of Myrtle,” Jim said. “Every freaking house has a mile long set of stone steps, and it’s always the only way in. One of these days, you, me and the patient are go- ing to end up splattered at the bottom of one of them, just like that priest in The Exorcist.”
“Dimmy...why you do this to me, Dimmy?” Claire quoted. “Your mother sucks cock in Hell, Karras,” Jim countered. “All right, yours is better. First point in today’s Movie Quote
War goes to Aurelio. Okay, we’re on Myrtle. Let’s get a number. I’ve got 917, slow down.”
“There it is, 863, the house with the blue second floor.” “Albany PD, Car 45 arrival 863 Myrtle.”
“10-4, Car 45.”
“Is APD meeting us?” Claire asked.
“10-4, but it’ll be a few minutes. Advise you wait for APD back up before entering the scene.”
“10-4.” Claire already had the door open and was halfway out of it.
“10-4 my ass,” Jim said, picking the mike up off the floor where she had thrown it. “You’re going up there, aren’t you?”
“Nah...I’m just going to take a quick look around. The call was for a sick kid. It’s probably just a baby with a cold and a new momma who doesn’t know which end to diaper yet. You stay here and flag down the cops and I’ll...”
“Oh no you won’t. You know the rule. If you go, I go.”
“All right, let’s see what’s going on, then.” Claire grabbed the jump kit, and they hit the long flight of cement steps that led to yet another flight of wooden porch stairs.
“Do you want to bet these aren’t the last stairs we see on this call?”
“No bet. Inverse law of EMS, the size of the patient is always inversely relational to the number of stairs you have to traverse.” “Hey, even an 800lb 50 year old is somebody’s “baby”. No one said for sure this was a pediatric call.”
“Thanks. You are a font of optimism this morning.”
They crossed the wide porch and, out of habit, flattened themselves on either side of the door before knocking loudly. Claire’s second day on the job, eighteen plus years ago, she had seen a shotgun hole blown through a door just like this one. You only have to see one to forever break you of walking up to a door straight on.
“Ambulance!” she called out.
“Yes, coming,” a muffled female voice responded. Footsteps approached the door, followed by the clunking of locks turning. “Thank God you’re here. My baby...”
The woman that answered the door was covered in blood. Not light sprays or splatters, not a mist or drops, but dripping head to toe in thick, dark, chunky sauce, like Carrie on prom night.
Claire dropped her kit on the porch. “Ma’am, are you all right?”
“Oh, this...” the woman answered, looking down at herself. “Don’t worry, this isn’t mine. Please, my little girl is in the back. I don’t think she’s breathing. Please help her.” She turned and disap- peared into the interior of the house.
“Jim, get APD. Tell them to move it.”
“Claire, don’t go in there. You don’t know...”
“No choice. Get APD and I’ll check on the kid. Please. Now.” “I’m calling on the cell. I’ll be right behind you.”
Claire followed the woman through the fairly neat living room and kitchen. It looked homey and comfortable, except for the bloody footprints that crisscrossed the rugs and linoleum. Beyond the kitchen, there was a hallway with three doors. The woman led her to the last door, the only open one, and pointed her to the bed where the blond head of a small girl poked out from underneath the naked, bloody, and apparently unconscious mountain of a man.
“What happened here, Ma’am?” Claire asked as she rushed forward and tried to feel a pulse in the girl’s neck. There was something there. It was hard to catch under the circumstances, but she had a pulse.
“Jim! Get the oxygen and a basket, we’re going to scoop and screw with the kid. Tell dispatch to get another crew in here priority one for a second patient, an adult male.”
She took a quick body survey. “Tell them he’s got a thready pulse and he’s breathing, but it looks like Cheyne-Stokes respirations secondary to traumatic brain injury. Ma’am, you were telling me what happened?”
“I came home from work early. I work third shift at the 24- hour convenience out by the mall. I wasn’t feeling good and I got Shirleen to come in early for me. I got home and Bethie wasn’t in her bed, so I went in to ask George where she was and...and...he was passed out, naked and on top of her and she wasn’t moving. I...I...grabbed the first thing I saw, and I started hitting him with it, trying to get him off of her, trying to hurt him and make him move. Then there was blood, so much blood, and it made him even slip- perier and harder to move, and I kept hitting him. I got him rolled off her a little, and that’s when I called 911 and you came. Is she breathing? Is she alive?”
“Yes Ma’am, she’s got a pulse. Can you tell me how old she is?”
“She’s only four...she just turned four last week.”
Jim and three officers appeared in the doorway.
“Guys, help me move him. We’ve got to get the girl out from underneath him, now!”
The four men dug rubber gloves out of their pockets and waded in.
“Valentin, at least try to keep it somewhere in the forefront of that beautiful mind of yours that this is a crime scene,” the sergeant whispered in her ear as they sorted themselves into position to lift the man’s body.
“Yeah, it’s a real mystery, all right. And isn’t that just like a male, just assuming that your needs always have to come first.”
“Whooo, what’s a matter, Valentin? Your time of the month, or you just feeling a little more femi-Nazi than usual today?”
“Bite me, Sarge. And while you’re at it, lift!”
As soon as she saw a sliver of daylight between the two bodies, Claire grabbed the little girl by her shoulders and pulled her for- ward. Jim angled his long, skinny frame between Claire, the cops, the fat guy and the child and snapped the two halves of the rescue basket into place around the patient. Claire grabbed one end and Jim the other, and they slid her off the bed in one smooth motion.
“Okay, we got her. Lower him back down, nice and easy. Try not to move him around too much. And if any of you guys have an oxygen tank and mask in the back of your cruiser, it wouldn’t hurt to slap it on him until the other crew gets here. They’re en route. It should only be a couple of minutes.”
They set the metal stretcher down long enough to slip an oxygen mask over the child’s face, cover her naked body with a clean sheet, and take another quick pulse reading. Their eyes met over the kid’s head. “We’ve got to go, Claire.” Jim said.
“Ma’am, we’re taking her to Pine Hills Hospital. Is Bethie allergic to anything?”
“No, nothing. I’m coming with her. I have to be with her.” Claire saw the Sergeant standing behind the mother, shaking his head. More police began to fill the room. “The police will bring you along in a few minutes. They just have a few questions for you first.”
“Claire, we have to go.”
It's Launch Day! It's Launch Day!
In an interview with Publisher's Weekly, Literary Partners CEO Holly Schmidt said, "It was always our plan to expand our business model to other fiction genres, and when we had the opportunity to work with John Skipp, we decided to start with horror/mystery/thrillers. Skipp provided us with a clear vision and strong point of view for the line, and really is the heart and soul of Ravenous Shadows."
From Editor in Chief, John Skipp- "Welcome to Ravenous Shadows: a new line of startling, provocative genre fiction, dedicated to the proposition that short, powerful novels and novellas can pack as much punch, personality, and plot as books three times their size."
The four novels launching the line are:
Die, You Bastard! Die! by Jan Kozlowski-a sexual abuse/revenge story somewhere between Misery and Last House on the Left.
All the gorgeous, kick ass cover art was done by the fabulous Paula Rozelle Hanback.
Technorati Tags: Adam Cesare, cannibal, Die, Eric Shapiro, Holly Schmidt, House of Quiet Madness, John Skipp, Last House on the Left, Literary Partners, Mikita Brottman, Misery, Paula Rozelle Hanback, Publisher's Weekly, Ravenous Romance, Ravenous Shadows, The Devoted, Tribesmen, You Bastard! Die!
7 days without heat or electricity.
Average temperatures in my living room ranged between 48-52 degrees. At one point we had less than 10 hours worth of fire wood left before neighbors and Quality Landscaping came through with a cord of burnable firewood.
13 days without phone, cable or Internet.
Bad enough, but the real horror is going to hit when my cell phone bill comes in. I have an incredibly low monthly rate but once I go over my 30 free ones, they clock me 50 cents a minute.
Still, no one was hurt, the house is fine and ultimately we're grateful for the kindness of neighbors and people we barely knew who went out of their way to offer to help.
Lugosi was born Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó in Lugos, Austria-Hungary, ironically, not far from the western border of Transylvania. At the age of 12 he left home to pursue an acting career and by the time he was in his 20's he had become the number 1 ranked actor in Hungarian theater, touring with the National Theater of Budapest.
Forced to flee Hungary after the 1919 Revolution, he immigrated to the United States in December 1920, landing in New Orleans but eventually making his way to Ellis Island in March 1921. He became a naturalized citizen in 1931.
Over the course of his acting career, Lugosi made 100+ films from 1917-1959 and appeared in 180+ stage productions from 1902-1956. His best known role, was of course, Count Dracula, which he was first approachd to play on Broadway in 1927. The production was hugely successful, running for 500 performances before going on the road for two years as a touring show. In 1931, due to the unexpected death of Lon Chaney, Lugosi put his cape back on and stepped into the lead role for Universal Studios in their movie release of Dracula.
As Lugosi himself once put it, playing Dracula was "a living, but also a
curse" and he never did shake the typecasting that came with the role. He passed away in 1956 at the age of 73 and was buried in his cape.
A partial list of Lugosi movies include such horror classics as Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Raven, Son of Frankenstein, The White Zombie, Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman, The Body Snatcher, Zombies on Broadway and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.
Technorati Tags: 1919 Hungarian Revolution, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, Bela, Bela Lugosi, Bela Lugosi Jr., Blasko, Count Dracula, Dracula, Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman, Jan Kozlowski, Lon Chaney, Murders in the Rue Morgue, National Theater of Budapest, Son of Frankenstein, The Body Snatcher, The Raven, The White Zombie, Transylvania, Zombies on Broadway
Thank you Mr. Vachss for your Burke novels, for your role in creating the PROTECT organization and for being a warrior for the innocent.
The Zero-Andrew Vachss' Official Website