Friday, October 21, 2016

JEFF STRAND: Interview

On behalf of Halloweenpalooza, thanks so much for agreeing to participate. Let’s start with some quickies:
Favorite horror movie: Shaun of the Dead. If we're counting that as a comedy instead of a horror movie, then I'll go with the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Favorite guilty pleasure: MasterChef. ("Is the steak going to be raw when they cut into it? Is it? Is it? NO, DON'T CUT TO COMMERCIAL BEFORE WE FIND OUT IF THE STEAK IS RAW OR NOT!!!")
Dogs or cats: Dogs, but I've only owned cats for the past 20 years.
Ever carve a pumpkin:  Every year when I was a kid.
Favorite Halloween candy:  Twix.
Favorite color:  Orange.
Favorite quote: "I have no loyalty to a funny line. If a scene works better without it, out it goes." -- Neil Simon.
Would you allow the police to search your basement: I live in Florida, so I don't have a basement. Our attic can't really be used for storage. The garage...well...

1.  What brought you over to writing about the dark side?  Why do you write horror?
Despite being a huge fan of horror fiction and films, my career goal was to write humor, not horror. But though my early published novels were all over the place, genre-wise, GRAVEROBBERS WANTED (NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY) got me labeled as a "horror writer." (And that book was written to be a whodunit mystery, but it ended up significantly darker than I'd intended.) I embraced the label, and most of my work has been connected to horror since then.
2.  What is it about your work that you’d like readers to take away?
I just want them to say, "Wow, I had a really entertaining few hours with that book." Some books may go a bit deeper than that, and I'm never trying to dumb anything down for mass consumption, but it's always entertainment first, message second.
3.  What scares you?   
"Death" is a pretty generic answer, but I'm at the point where even if I live a really long life, I could easily be halfway through. I don't lie awake at night contemplating my own mortality, but it's scary stuff! And, of course, I think most of us agree that the upcoming election is scary as crap.
4.  Your book STALKING YOU NOW has been adapted into a movie, MINDY HAS TO DIE. (The trailer looks awesome, by the way!) What’s the best part of this process? Is there a downside?
Hopefully the best part is yet to come: seeing the movie! As of now, though I've seen some stills that haven't been shared with the public, I haven't seen any actual footage that's not in the trailer. The downside is that the movie (directed by George Clarke) was made in Belfast, Ireland, and I'm in Tampa, Florida, so I didn't get to be on the set and watch any of the fun!
5.  Since STALKING YOU NOW is about … a stalker … and since stalking” is this year’s theme … can you please tell us what goes on in a stalker’s head? What was this guy’s problem?
In the case of STALKING YOU NOW, the stalker is seeking revenge. The reason why will SHOCK YOU and clearly you have no choice but to immediately read the book to satisfy your intense curiosity. In real life, I think stalkers are often oblivious to the fact that their behavior is unwanted and creepy. It's less about "I'm going to wear your skin!" than a lack of awareness about social cues.
6.  You’re walking alone down a dark alley, what’s the one character you’ve created that you would most want to not encounter? Why? 

Ivan from WOLF HUNT. It's bad enough that he's a werewolf, but I tried to create a character who was a horrific monster even without the lycanthropy. He really sucks. I wouldn't want to encounter him even in a well-lit alley filled with police officers.
7.  If you could channel one master of horror that’s passed for a collaboration, who would it be and what do you think the result would be?
Richard Laymon. The result would be very much like a Richard Laymon novel, because I'd let him win all of the arguments.
8.  What’s the best memory you have of celebrating Halloween?
I loooooved trick or treating. My friends and I would make detailed maps of the neighborhood (a neighborhood that was just a bunch of squares and required no map) to plan our attack. This was in Alaska, so our mighty plans were always foiled by getting too cold to continue, but we'd collect candy until our faces were too numb to say "Trick or treat!"
9.  After all the blood has settled, what do you do for fun? Have any hobbies that might surprise us?
I'm not sure I do! Reading, watching movies, goofing around on the internet...these are all typical hobbies for people in my profession! I'd also play video games, but I can't allow that or I'd become instantly addicted and never write another book.
10.  What’s next for Jeff Strand? What do your fans have to look forward to?
My new book, CYCLOPS ROAD, just came out. I've got two novellas that are finished but don't have a publication date yet: COLD DEAD HANDS and AN APOCALYPSE OF OUR OWN. And another young adult comedy, STRANGER THINGS HAVE HAPPENED, which will be out in April 2017. Plus much, much more...


Today’s Giveaway is another good one!!! Jeff is giving away FIVE PAPERBACK COPIES of DWELLERS!!! What?!!! YES!!!!

To win: go to the Official FB Event Page; find the post announcing  today’s giveaway; and comment, “I WANT TO WIN” in that post and you just might!!!

When Toby Floren was eight years old, he discovered a monster living in the woods behind his house. A ghastly, frightening creature with claws, fangs, and a taste for human flesh. As he ran out of the forest, Toby felt that he'd been lucky to escape with his life.
Years later, Toby finds comfort with the creature. It's his own special secret--something that nobody else in the world knows about. Somebody to talk to. Somebody to confide in. Sure, Toby has concerns about his own sanity, but really, what boy wouldn't want to be best friends with a monster in the woods, especially if he's being tormented by bullies? The creature, who he names Owen, may be the answer to his problems...
From Jeff Strand, the author of PRESSURE, comes the story of a macabre, decades-long friendship. A relationship that will last their entire lives, through times of happiness, tragedy, love, loss, madness, and complete darkness.
DWELLER. The lifetime story of a boy and his monster.

Jeff Strand is a four-time nominee (and zero-time winner) of the Bram Stoker Award.
His novels are usually classified as horror, but they're really all over the place, from comedies to thrillers to drama to, yes, even a fairy tale.
His book STALKING YOU NOW is being made into the feature film MINDY HAS TO DIE.
Because he doesn't do cold weather anymore, he lives in Tampa, Florida with his wife and cat.