::Literate Blather::
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
5 Questions About: Horror Fiction

An Interview with Horror Novelist David Wellington

(DaRK PaRTY is devouring David Wellington’s new vampire novel “99 Coffins.” It’s a lot of fun – and it’s packed with some damn creepy moments. We won’t give it away, but it delightfully mixes in Civil War history and vampire hunting. We love writers like David because he busted his hump getting a book deal by posting his fiction online and developing an audience first. What’s not to love about that? Especially when it turns into a book deal for said hard-working scribe? David is now the author of five novels, including a zombie trilogy – “Monster Island,” “Monster Nation,” and “Monster Planet.” He’s also penned two vampire novels: “13 Bullets” and “99 Coffins.” David resides in New York City with his wife Elisabeth and his dog, Mary. He runs a excellent web site that is worth a visit. David was kind enough to answer a few questions about horror writing for us.)

DaRK PaRTY: What is your attraction to the horror genre -- especially zombies and vampires?

David: I grew up on horror. I grew up in Pittsburgh, where George Romero made his zombie movies – the guy was a local hero back then, and everybody in town had seen “Dawn of the Dead,” because we all shopped at that mall. My mother got me interested in writing horror. She is a staunch opponent of censorship, and the most eclectic reader I know. She would bring home Stephen King and Peter Straub novels from the local library and when she was done with them she would show them to me and say, "I'm not going to tell you that yo

u can't read this, but I don't think you should. They'll give you nightmares." Well, of course anything your mother tells you not to do is the first thing you're going to try. So I got hooked at an early age. I don't have a special love for zombies and vampires as opposed to any other kind of monsters – I've also written a werewolf book, for instance – just for monsters in general. Monsters are interesting to me because they break the rules. That's what makes them monsters. They don't fit in.

DP: You break some of the traditional rules with your "monsters." Take vampires for example. How do your vampires differ from the traditional vampires most readers are used to?

David: The typical vampire you read about today wears fluffy lace shirts and drinks wine while he's out on a date with his vampire-hunter girlfriend. I wanted to get back to what made vampires scary. My vampires don't want to read you bad poetry. They want to rip your head off and drink blood out of the stump of your neck. They're predators, pure and simple. Stronger than us, faster than us, more often than not smarter than us. To me, that's scary.

DP: You broke into published writing through the internet. Can you tell us about how you got your start?

David: I started by writing my first novel, “Monster Island,” as a serial. I posted it one chapter at a time on a friend's blog, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. It was just a way to get my writing out there where somebody might read it. Then a lot of people read it.

DP: Did your internet publications help or hinder you when you tried to break into traditional print books?

David: Well, without the online readers I would never have gotten a book deal. It's very tough to break into the publishing world right now unless you can prove people want to read your work. The internet let me prove that. I had to do a lot of work with no pay and no real hope of accomplishing anything, but it definitely paid off.

DP: What projects are you working on now and do you plan to revisit zombies again?

David: I'm working on a third vampire book – there will be at least four of them before I'm done. The next one is called “Vampire Zero” and it's a direct sequel to “99 Coffins.” I went back to zombies last year with a serial called “Plague Zone,” completely unrelated to my Monster Island trilogy, and for now I think I've achieved what I want to with zombies. Though you never know. I've got a great idea for a fourth Monster Island book, and if I ever get a chance I might have to write it down.

Read our picks for the best werewolf movies ever laid to film

Read our picks for the scariest horror movies made since 2000

Novelist Kim Harrison writes scary detective books. Read her interview here

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