Today I have author Gerald Rice in the house.
Gerald: Fleshbags is about a minor zombie outbreak in the industrial section of a major city in Metro Detroit. There are five sets of people who are dealing with this situation in their own ways—a father who’s trying to get to his young daughter, a home health-aide who just wants to go home at the end of her shift, an ex-con who’s trying to get out of town, a teacher who just wants to escape her students, and a cop tasked with keeping everything under control.
JET: What drew you to fantasy and horror?
GERALD: What pushed me to fantasy and horror was my mother. She took me too all kinds of age-inappropriate movies. She took me to see Creepshow after I got out of class when I was in kindergarten. She was a huge Stephen King fan and had all his books in hardcover. When I was about twelve or so she gave me Eyes of the Dragon and really turned me on to reading horror.
JET: What’s been your most challenging hurdle on the road to publication?
GERALD: Probably cultivating an original idea. When I first started trying to write for publication I wrote a zombie story and submitted it to Cemetery Dance. I thought it was revolutionary at the time, but in the form letter they sent rejecting me, one of the possible reasons they had for rejection was the exact thing I’d done in my story.
JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?
GERALD: Seeing my name in print. It was on-line, but still a thrill. Either Alien Skin Magazine or Nocturnal Ooze, can’t remember which, but they had actually rejected my story originally, but gave reasons why and encouraged me to resubmit. I saw what they found wrong and once I’d redrafted it was a better story.
JET: Which authors had the most influence over you growing up?
GERALD: Stephen King, obviously, but F. Paul Wilson was a major player. I read his Freakshow anthology when I was a teenager and my mother bought me The Keep. Honestly, that one was too difficult for my thirteen year old brain and I put it down. I think I wound up reading it when I was seventeen, but that was after Reprisal and Reborn. Other than those two guys, I’d say Al Sarrantonio and Thomas Disch.
JET: When did you know you wanted to take the plunge into the writing world?
JET: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of book research? Most interesting fact you uncovered?
GERALD: I never did anything remotely close to what that guy did in Stuart Connelly’s Red Coyote Weekend, but one thing I did find out is there are documented cases of people bleeding from the pores in highly stressful situations.
JET: Of all the novels and stories you’ve written - which one is your favorite? Why?
GERALD: You’re putting me in a real Sophie’s Choice situation here.
JET: Any advice (from a writer’s standpoint) for the novices out there?
GERALD: Write what you love and you’ll never fail. It might take a while before you to succeed, but if you dedicate yourself to improving your writing by learning from the books you read you can get there.
JET: All right - now that I’ve hammered you with the big questions, let’s tackle my favorite (and geeky) quick ten. . . starting with: Paper or Plastic?
JET: Steak or Tofu?
JET: Beach or Mountains?
JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?
JET: 2012 Mayan Prophecy Believer or Ain’t Gonna Happen?
GERALD: Ain’t gonna happen.
JET: Angels or Demons?
GERALD: Angels by default. They’re probably just as scary.
JET: Paper or Digital?
JET: Silent Film Classics or Cheesy B Rated Horror?
GERALD: Cheesy B-rated horror.
JET: Sword wielding ninja or Gun toting momma?
GERALD: Sword-wielding ninja.
JET: Coffee or Tea?
GERALD: Tea, preferably rooibos.
JET: Thank you for indulging me. Before we wrap this up, can you tell us what you're working on now? What's next?
GERALD: Got a few things in the pot. I should be working on the follow-up to my first novel, but I just came up with an idea too intriguing to ignore (I blogged the first few entries of Dead Right on my website). Then after that I may either start on a Christmas horror novella or a collaboration project I decided to go it alone on.
JET: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog. Folks, you can find out more about Gerald Rice and his work at the following places: You can follow me on Twitter @GeraldRice, like the Gerald Rice fan page, or go to my website, http://www.feelmyghost.webs.com/.
Until next week