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  • Random-Ass Interview: Autumn Christian

    Do you think we’ll ever reach the singularity?

    Duh. Where have you been?

    Favorite swear?

    Fuck. The word that powers the universe is Fuck. It is the perfect word – it is noun, verb, adjective, and adverb. The fucking fuck fucks fucks is a gramatically correct sentence. It touches the tip of the tongue like the power word of the gods reverberating through the whole mouth sending fissions down the throat and earthquakes made out of nerves down into the spine and stomach. It is the word for every occasion, event, and mood. It can be sexy. It can be angry and vulgar. It can be used both to celebrate, and to express displeasure. It can be used casually. It can be used to make people jolt out of their daydreams and pay attention. It is a word that is both shapeshifter, and indelible. It will leave its mark like a thumbprint inside your brain.

    If your dog’s could talk, what do you think they’d say?

    “For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can’t readily accept the God formula, the big answers don’t remain stone-written. We adjust to new conditions and discoveries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command nor faith a dictum. I am my own god. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state, and our educational system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.”

    Who do you think would win in a fight, Bukowski or Poe?

    It depends on what age they’re fighting each other at. What most people don’t know about Poe is that he was quite the athlete in his youth – he swam 7 miles upstream of the James River when he was a teenager. Only later did he begin to suffer poor health from drinking and possibly diabetes or head trauma. Bukowski was a mean son of a bitch but I mean if I had to put money on it I’d have to go with Poe just because that lithograph of him with the wry smile looks like he’s probably killed a motherfucker before.

    Last cereal you ate?

    This is an unacceptable question and cereal is unacceptable.
    
Acceptable breakfast foods: breakfast tacos, breakfast bagels, fried eggs, hash browns, scrambled eggs on avocado toast, cinnamon buns, leftover birthday cake, beer, kratom tea, coffee and an omega 3 pill, jelly-filled doughnuts, a ham sandwich.

    You’re working on a novel right?

    Yes.

    You ever seen that video of the like floating pants cryptid?

    
Are you talking about the Fresno alien? I just typed it into google. Now I’ve seen the video. It just looks like someone walking around while wearing pants.

    On average, how many Red Bull do you drink a day?

    I’m down to one or two Red bulls a day. I didn’t start drinking Red Bull until I met up with Robert (my current boyfriend) in Austin and we drank Red Bull in his car one night while talking about Bigfoot. When I went back home in Seattle I drank Red Bull just because the taste reminded me of him and I’m a hopeless romantic. Then a month or so later we were reunited and every time I drink Red Bull I’m reminded of how much I love him. So really what I’m trying to say is that Red Bull taught me about the love between a man and a woman.

    What’s the longest you’ve ever played a game, as in hours logged?

    Around 19 hours I think, but I rarely log that much anymore. Yes I’m a filthy casual, I know people who have stayed up playing for days. In an attempt to be health conscientious the game I was playing, Lineage 2, decided to post an update every hour that you were logged in and reminded you that you should probably take a break because you’ve been playing X amount of hours. Most of the people I played with just laughed at this warning message and took it as a point of pride to keep score for how long they’d been playing.

    Do you think loggers have a lot of shitty jokes about wood?

    It’s possible, but I imagine most loggers want to distract themselves from their day jobs when they’re out having fun.

    Where does love go when it dies?

    Okay, it’d take me a book to explain this but let me try to condense it down into a paragraph: Love isn’t just an emotion. It’s the byproduct of what powers a universe that seems to have a propensity toward creation. When we love it’s because in us is an appreciation of what powers the universe and what exists around and inside of us. Love cannot die – it can only change shape and form and when we no longer feel love it doesn’t mean the love no longer exists.

    You like cartoons?

    No. I only watch live-action movies about serious things.

    Three wolf moon is in the running for best t-shirt, in my humble opinion. Do you think there are better t-shirts?

    
I actually own a three wolf moon t-shirt and it glows in the dark. If there are better t-shirts I haven’t seen them – the three wolf moon conveys a primal power and raw courage that is rarely seen in lesser t-shirts. The three wolf moon wearer is instantly marked as an alpha by their peers. The brazenness required to wear a three wolf moon t-shirt

    Is Autumn Christian your real name? If you were to use a pseudonym, what type of name you think you’d use?

    FOR THE LAST TIME AUTUMN CHRISTIAN IS MY REAL NAME. It’s on my birth certificate and everything.

    I’ve used a pseudonym before when I was writing SEO stuff. I went by something like April Lee because I thought it sounded bland and immediately forgettable. Another contender is Winter Heathen.

    If I was a robot, would you really know?

    I try not to pry into people’s personal lives.

    You ever drank a 40?

    No, why would you even ask that question? Do I have the demeanor of someone who would willfully let a 40 touch my lips, with its awkwardly large size? I only drink beer that has been made by blind monks and poured over a playboy model’s gracefully aging nude body and blessed by a forked-tongue gnostic Christian. And no IPAs.

    I mean, obviously. Of course I’ve drank a 40 before.

    Favorite paint color?

    It’s a toss up between Gray Owl, Clouded Vision Gray, Cape Cod Gray, Whispering Waterfall Gray, Granite Gray, Drizzling Mist Gray, Plumett Gray, and Web Gray.

    Khakis or jeans?

    Jeans because they have a long history of being the clothing of the working class. Khakis were first worn by the British military. It seems like the choice is obvious here. But if I’m being honest I usually wear jeggings (A cross between jeans and a legging) because I want my pants to be as skin tight as possible so I can show off my ass. My physical therapist the other day told me I had strong glute muscles so you know, I’m pretty sure he was hitting on me.

    Thanks for taking part. Got any plugs?

    I think you’d really enjoy this claymation horror short:

    I also have books and a website:

    Autumn Christian Site

    Autumn Christian Amazon


  • Random-Ass Interview: Molly Tanzer

    Thetanz

    Molly Tanzer writes stuff and things. You can find her in places.

    Do you like techno music?

    I once owned a copy of that Orbital album with the samples from Star Trek:
    TNG?

    If you made a suit of armor, would it be Molly Tanzer panzer?

    Y…yes? Maybe?

    You seem to be drawn to writing about certain time periods, as many
    authors are. What were/ are some of your favorite time periods to
    write about?
    (I like writing about the near future, as I can make stuff up, and no
    one can say I’m wrong!)

    Well the 17th and 18th centuries are obviously huge for me… my Master’s
    degree is in 18th century English literature and culture, basically, so yeah, I mean, it’s easy for me to just go there and feel comfortable. Plus I love using especially the 18th century as a lens through which to focus on our
    time.

    Favorite cheese?

    Chao is really good, and the new Follow Your Heart blocks and slices are
    great. Uh, I’m vegan! Anyway, I home culture and cure my own cashew
    cheese so that’s actually my favorite but that’s a tough one to recommend.

    Who would win in a food fight, Kelly Link or Neil Gaiman?

    Rufio?

    Favorite animal?

    My cat?

    Favorite manimal?

    M… my husband?

    Do you like animal from The Muppets?

    He’s the red one?

    Do you wish you could just walk away from anyone who asked you
    “where do you get your ideas from?”

    Someone just asked me this on a cruise I took with my mom, but no, I
    didn’t want to walk away because I would have fallen into a river.

    Do you like tea?

    Yes! English breakfast tea is my favorite. Milk first.

    Do you climb trees?

    No. As a kid I fell out of a tree and scraped half my face off, or at least
    that’s how it felt, and I’ve never wanted to since.

    Now, climbing mountains or ruins? All the time!

    Have you ever drank tea in a tree?

    No…

    Have you ever worn a suit?

    Yes, naturally! I had an Ayn Rand thing in high school and I had this totally
    Dagny Taggart blue suit I wore to speech and debate tournaments and felt
    so slick.

    Who would win in a shoot-out: Clint Eastwood from The Good, the
    Bad, and the Ugly or Clint Eastwood from Unforgiven?

    The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.

    I liked your story from Cassilda’s Song, the new Joe Pulver edited collection of King in Yellow stories. Have you ever
    visited New York, and was “Grave-Worms” an easy story to write, or
    did it take you a while?

    Thank you; Yes; Kinda; Yes

    Do you believe there are other realities from this one? And in that
    reality, do you think you are in fact interviewing me about my book?
    Follow up: did you like my book in that alternate reality, and keep in
    mind I’m the one who can edit your answers when I post this. 😉

    I loved it!

    Got any special plans for the holidays? You know, like Festivus and
    stuff?

    My mom is coming up!

    Any pluggy-plugs?

    Yes, please buy everything I’ve written but most especially my debut novel,
    the weird western Vermilion, my historical crime novel The Pleasure
    Merchant, every anthology I’m in, and keep an eye out next year for my
    debut anthology Swords v Cthulhu as well as the standalone reprint of my
    novella Rumbullion: An Apostrophe.

    Vermillion

    Pleasure Merchant

    Thanks for taking part in el interview. Muy bueno.

    It was fun! Thank you!


  • Random-Ass Interview: Philip Gelatt

    stabgelatt

    Phillip Gellat is the screenwriter of Europa Report, and wrote a film adaptation of Laird Barron’s short story 30. I’m sure you’ll be hearing his name a lot in the coming months.

    What’s been the hardest thing for you to write so far?

    The hardest thing was a screenplay I was hired to write. An adaptation, though not of a short story or of a comic or a novel. I’ll leave it at that. The experience was – it was like having a bunch of nails fucked into my eye holes, while I slowly inserted rusty wire hooks under my fingernails so that a team of maniacs could manipulate my typing without my seeing.

    What’s the most challenging part of adapting a short story into a screenplay?

    The dread is the most challenging part. Dreading that.

    Shaken or stirred?

    Are you trying to get me to talk about Bond? I’d love to talk about Bond. Because listen to me here and now: George Lazenby and Timothy Dalton might not have been the best Bonds but they are in two of the best Bond films ever. Living Daylights does globe-trotting so god damned well. Bond and the Mujahadeen! It’s amazing.

    And On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is such a special movie. A Bond movie that ends with emotional devastation! It’s incredible.

    And also stirred, please.

    Do you like oatmeal?

    Yep. I eat it every morning. I’ve developed various ways of making it. I used to put a ton of powdered ginger in it. Now I put peanut butter. I like to think of it like my morning witch’s brew. Strength for the coming day.

    How do you like your coffee?

    Dark roasted and black. Two cups a day.

    Favorite short story?

    Oh sweet Jesus. Favorite of all time?! This interview is sadistic. The first short story I remember loving is The Lagoon by Joseph Conrad. Though, in all honesty, I remember very little about the story itself, just the feeling of having loved it.

    Lovecraft’s short stories are probably the ones I’ve re-read the most. Though I’ve also spent a lot of time with Barker’s Books of Blood.

    I can say that over the last two years I’ve been reading a lot of short fiction most of it in the weird and horror vein. I recently found myself floored by Robert Aickman’s work.

    Ever fired a gun? I haven’t, unless you count one of those tiny little rifles they let Boy Scouts shoot at camp. That’s more like a pellet gun though, I think…

    Yep. I have. I grew up in Wisconsin farm country and there were guns around. So I got to fire them. I have one particularly crazy story of getting taken to a weird little one room shack somewhere over the hills that bound my home town explicitly to fire guns. The shack was, at the time, covered in right wing propaganda (Limbaugh photos, anti-Clinton slogans, this was the mid-90s) and guns. Lots of guns.

    I spent the afternoon firing said guns with a bunch of hunter types, all of whom were there to both shoot and get drunk.

    One of them told me that the only way to ensure a hand gun is accurate is to dry fire it constantly. Like I should buy one and just walk around the house pretending to shoot things with an empty gun. Then he told me about how he’d accidentally shot a hole in his fridge that way.

    It’s a very strange memory.

    How did you get into writing comic scripts? Was it hard for you to get your foot in the door with that?

    Compared to the time other people have breaking into that world, I had a relatively easy time. The artist on my first comic was also working on The Venture Brothers. When you say that to publishers, they perk up a bit and listen.

    Have you ever actually got your foot caught in a door?

    I haven’t! But I have knocked my two front teeth out on a bathtub.

    What would you do if you came home, and there was a severed foot stuck in between the front door to your place?

    Ask it politely to leave.

    Who do you think would win in a fight, Robert E. Howard, or Howard the Duck?

    I… I… I’d love to say “The duck” and justify it in some epic fashion. But I’d have to say the Robert would win. Then again, I don’t actually know that much about Howard the Duck… except that he’s trapped in a world he never made.

    If trees scream, does that mean grass would too when you mowed it?

    One cannot assume such, no. They’d be entirely different species. Perhaps the grass suffers silently. Perhaps it weeps. Or perhaps it just bides its time, cataloguing every blade we trim, and waiting for its moment.

    What’s your favorite part about living in Providence? You do live in Providence right? I hope I didn’t just pull that out of my ass…

    I do live in Providence. I’ve been here for about 5 years. Providence is a weird city. It’d be a weird city even if it didn’t have the Lovecraft connection going for it.

    My favorite part is my house. We moved from Brooklyn so having a house felt really special. I have my office in the attic. When we moved in we found old chiropractic back braces under the eaves. It made the whole thing special.

    What kind of comics have you read which inspired you? What kind of films have inspired you to write films?

    I am and will forever be an Alan Moore apologist. From Hell is my favorite comic of all time and it is something I am always coming back to as a high watermark of storytelling. When I was a teen, I was all about Dark Horse’s “Legends” line. So the Mignola, Chadwick, Miller, Allred, Byrne stuff. Then in college I was all about the Vertigo books of the ‘90s and ‘00s (Preacher, TransMet, The Invisibles, Sandman). Lately I haven’t been reading many comics, sadly.

    As for film, I’m not exactly spouting a radical theory when I say that American film of the 1970s was something special. I find myself constantly inspired by that era. It was radical and philosophical and poetic and felt hand-crafted. Each of those movies, even the bad ones, is special in some way.

    Clowns, why?

    Because if there is a god, he hates us all. And if there isn’t, then it’s just us and our luck versus the clowns down here and isn’t that an upsetting thought.

    Go anything to pluggy-plug? Do it now!

    Well, I started shooting that adaptation of a Laird Barron short story last week, so everyone should keep their eyes peeled for that! Feel free to follow me on twitter (@pmjeepers) or instagram (philipgelatt) where I’ll be posting pictures and things from behind the scenes.


  • Random-Ass Interview: Stephen Graham Jones

    creepySGJ

    I’d love to be able to tell all of you I’ve read a huge amount of Stephen Graham Jones’ work. In the past, I might not have decided to interview an author whose work I haven’t read a lot of. But, see, sometimes all it takes is one story. I read this man’s story “The Darkest Part.” The story, which is ostensibly about a killer clown, is filled with such brilliant nightmare imagery, and out of all the stories in Ellen Datlow’s “Nightmare Carnival,” it is my favorite, and creeped me out the most.
    So, I tracked down SGJ, and asked him about soda, and movies. I snuck in some questions about the definition of horror fiction, too.
    Look, I made it a random format interview, I have to stick with it.
    Stephen’s collection After the People Lights Have Gone Off is currently available via amazon, and really, just google it, it’s all over.

    What’s your favorite episode of “The X-Files”?

    “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space,” easy. That’s the best 44:50 of television I’ve ever seen, really, and, of everything I’ve read and watched, it’s probably had the most influence. It’s a story that’s having fun with character, with form, and it’s still dipping from the well of the fantastic—and, most important, it’s got heart, it’s not afraid to be sentimental. I need to go watch it again now. I carry it on my phone at all times, in case.

    How would you define a horror story? Or, alternately, can everything be a horror story, if seen from the right angle?

    In bear-terms, which is how I try to understand most things, a horror story is “We fought the bear, and we either won or lost.” An up or down ending doesn’t make any difference, though I far prefer the up-endings, where there’s hope, rebirth, all that. To understand my bear-models, I would say that weird fiction, say, it’s more like “We couldn’t help it, we poked the bear, and then it stood ALL the way up and we had to try to comprehend it with our puny minds, and now we’ve got to back to our normal lives and try to live with the knowledge that this bear exists, and that we’re so small and insignificant.”

    Coke, or Pepsi?

    Pepsi all the way. Coke leaves my mouth hot, makes it hurt. I’ll only drink a Coke if I really, really need some caffiene. And then I’ll immediately regret it. And, I talked to someone recently who had been a nurse in a psychiatric center where some chemist or something for Coke was for a while, and she told me that he kept yelling about how cinnamon was the only difference between the two. I think. I wasn’t really listening as well as I should have, was writing a story in my head. And she could have been lying, too. No clue what city I was in for this, but it’s only been a couple of months.

    Your story from “Nightmare Carnival” fucked me up. You seem like a man who doesn’t like clowns. How do you feel about clowns, and have you ever had any nightmares about them?

    Clowns have never bothered me. I mean, unless they’ve got silver eyes, of course. Never had any clown nightmares, though. Most of my nightmares, they’re me moving through a crowd, and I’m not really in my right mind, I can’t feel my body, am just putting one foot in front of another, and the voices and lights are all smeary. Makes my heart beat hard, just thinking about that again. I hate it.

    Vinnie Jones or Tom Jones?

    I guess Tom? I don’t know who Vinnie Jones is.

    Favorite swear?

    I don’t cuss. If I’m reading something with profanity in it, and I have to say whatever word’s there, I always have a hard time not giggling when I say it.

    If you could be any monster, which kind would you be?

    Werewolf. When I was twelve, I did all the tricks the books said would get me there, too. Didn’t seem to work, though. Yet.

    Your style seems to be quite concise. Did it take you a while to learn your voice? Was there, for instance, a time when you longed to be more verbose, and ethereal?

    I used to want to be able to write like Kurt Vonnegut. But he’s way concise, and finally I figured I couldn’t be Vonnegut. Only person I’ve read who’s even close to Vonnegut—in delivery, tone, something—is Carlton Mellick III. Dude can write.

    Graham crackers, or Teddy Grahams?

    Crackers. Them and fishsticks are like eighty percent of my childhood.

    Do you have any writing rituals?

    Nope. Rituals are just a way to give yourself excuses to not write. “I don’t have this hat,” “I can’t do candles in the airport,” “the neighbors are too loud,” all that. Writing’s not something the world allows you to do. It’s something you can’t help doing. You shouldn’t have to trick yourself into it.

    What kind of music do you listen to when you write, or do you not listen to anything at all?

    Always listen. Right now, this instant, it’s Elton John and and Kiki Dee, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.” But this isn’t really fiction writing. Earlier I was working on a novel. Think it was Dire Straits? But, it’s usually Bonnie Tyler or Skid Row or Don Williams—just all over the place, really. With a lot of Footloose and Motley Crue. But I always come back to country. Country’s what I cut my teeth on. It’s where my heart mostly is.

    Beer or liquor, or neither?

    Definitely not beer. Not much of a drinker, really. I mean, I can nurse a glass of wine if the situation insists. But it’s not pleasant. I have to close off a big part of my mind, then chant in my head that you can do this, you can do this. And, I’ve tried people’s ridiculous-expensive bourbon and all that, and can’t seem to understand the draw. Problem is, really? I like to write when I get home. And I care about fiction too much to allow myself to do it with anything messing my head up. My head’s plenty messed up already. Also, when I was in seventh grade one of my coaches, who was legit-crazy, he said if any of us ever drank and drove and hurt his family, he would come in through our windows at night and hold our arms down with his knees and cut out throats very, very slowly, staring into our eyes the whole time. And then he showed us the knife he’d do it with. So, I’m still pretty nervous about that. Anytime I’ve got car keys on me, I won’t even consider that glass of wine. I’ll sleep on the sidewalk before I’ll get behind the wheel with even a sip of alcohol in me. I want my throat to stay closed, I mean.

    If you could eat dinner with anyone either alive or dead, who would it be?

    I’d like to grab a burrito with Kevin Williamson in 1994, or whenever he wrote Scary Movie. Dude was firing on all cylinders. Some of the sparks, they’d cross the table, I suspect. Maybe burn me up, but it’d be worth it.

    If there’s a definitive difference between weird fiction and horror, is there such a thing as weird horror fiction, that would not be considered part of the bizarro genre?

    Definitely a difference between horror and the weird. See the bears explanation, earlier. But, yeah, there’s weird that draws more from horror than from fantasy or science fiction, definitely. Really, a lot of the time? When you accidentally make your horror-monster too unbeatable, the horror story you’re trying to write can slowly shift into weird fiction territory.

    Would you consider yourself a fast or slow writer?

    Fast.

    Does Joyce Carol Oates sort of scare you? I feel like you don’t wanna fuck with Joyce Carol Oates.

    I’d be more nervous around Neal Stephenson, I think.

    Do you have any advice for new writers?

    Read outside your chosen area. Write stories you don’t think you can write. Don’t pin all your hopes on one piece. Always be writing something new.

    How many movies do you watch a week?

    Two, three? This week I think I’ve watched the second Paul Blart, which I loved, want to buy, and . . . and it’s only Tuesday. About to go see the new Terminator at the theater. So that’ll be two. I’d guess I’ll watch one more before the week’s through. Probably something werewolf. I just watched Dog Soldiers, but I’m kind of wanting to watch it again. And there’s that new Simon Pegg action-movie thing at Redbox.

    Favorite animal?

    Thylacine. I get really sad every time it hits me that I’m probably never going to see one.

    Do you have anything special you do when creating a character outside of simply writing your story?

    It’s just diguise, disguise, camoflouge. Because they’re all me, more or less.

    Thank you for taking part in the interview. Do you have anything you’d like to mention coming out soon, or any final words you like to impart?

    Got my werewolf novel Mongrels out in May from William Morrow. Very excited about that. I feel like I’ve been kind of a fractured writer for a while, but Mongrels brings it all together for me. Next stories are out in . . . let me think: Ellen Datlow’s The Monstrous and Josh Viola’s Nightmares Unhinged and Ann Vandermeers The Bestiary. All horror. What else is there?