David: As a child I wanted to write comics. They were my dream job, but as I grew older I began to read all manner of things. London, Twain, Kipling, Poe, etc.. I read horror, some mysteries, science fiction, you name it. But when I read Edgar Rice Burroughs I no longer wanted to write, I had to write, and I wanted to write Science Fiction. I outgrew Burroughs, but not the love and interest he inspired. No matter what I write now, I have a science fiction writers heart, but at some point I realized my interests were leading me in a lot of directions. In my late teens, in college, I discovered Hemingway and Fitzgerald and a lot of those types of writers in school. I went on a readathon of their works, and spent a lot of time in the college library in Tyler coming the stacks. In my twenties, through a science fiction author, Keith Laumer, I discovered crime fiction. I had read some crime and mystery before, but his novel DEAD FALL, also known as FAT CHANCE, was a Chandler pastiche, and it was dedicated to Chandler and Philip Marlowe. Fat Chance was a kind of parody/pastiche of Chandler. No sooner had I read it, then the Chandler novels were reprinted in paper, and I went nuts for them. That led me to reading every crime and mystery novel I could get my hands on. I'm a naturally fast reader, so I covered a lot of ground fast, realized I had read a number of those writers in short story form, and had seen films based on their works. Like Westerns, I had always loved crime and mystery films, but now I had discovered the books in those fields, and they hit me hard. For a while all I wanted to write were those kinds of novels, especially private eye stories. I broke into print writing what they called novelettes for Mike Shayne Mystery magazine, and then I suddenly was interested in returning to an early love, horror, and I discovered Westerns, and then I was reading a lot of "straight fiction" and returning to classic things by Hemingway and Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Flannery O'Conner, Carson McCullers and so on. I understood them better by then. So, as you can see, I'm a mixed up mash-up of genres. All I wanted to write were stories, but there have been periods where a different kind of fiction interested me more than another. Now I don't think in terms of type. I just read and write what appeals to me. I can certainly get excited about someone offering me an opportunity to write a certain type of story for an anthology or magazine, but I have to find my way to approach it. Sometimes that's out of left field, sometimes its more traditional. I let my interests lead me.
Trisha: Given that Batman and its characters are so well known and established (through comics, tv, movies, etc) what was it like to work on that series as opposed to your own original work?
Trisha: I fell right in with BATMAN THE ANIMATED SERIES. I was born to write for that series, and wish I had more opportunity to do that. I also wrote a Batman animated film, SON OF BATMAN, and the mood for how they wanted the stories done had changed, so though I think it's a fun movie, it was a little less satisfying for me than the series. But I grew up reading Batman. My favorite comic character. I also wrote a novel and a young reader novel about Batman. I had been with Batman since I was four or five years old, so I loved that character. But it can be hard sometimes, especially with other characters, and the more I write the more I want to be me, not them. Right now my son and I are working on a comic series, and I won't say what, that has ground rules and established characters, and we're having fun, but I wouldn't want to do it monthly. I like the challenge now and then, or the change of pace, but mostly, especially as I grow older, I just want to do my work.
Justin: You were quoted in an interview as saying that horror imploded in the 1980s because it failed to mutate at a crucial time. Do you think it needs to mutate now, and if so, into what?
Justin: There's so much self-published stuff, it's hard to know what direction its going to. When anyone can be published, anything can be published, and most of it isn't very good, as it goes with being vetted. There's good stuff there, but it's a bigger morass than ever before, so it's hard to know what's what. My interest in reading horror isn't as strong these days. I read some, mostly short stories, but the bulk of it is 80s retreads. It still needs to change more, and it needs someone publishers that buy and vet the material. Horror has mostly splintered back into being a small press and self-publish affair.
Melissa: What inspired The Drive-In and what his own favourite scary movie?
Melissa: I went to drive-ins growing up, and that inspired the book, that and all the movies I saw there. Drive-ins still existed when I wrote the book, though they were on their way out. I had written an article called HELL THROUGH A WINDSHIELD and an editor friend, Pat LoBrutto, saw it and liked it and asked me to write a novel from it. He then asked if I had more on the drive-in. I did. Part two happened, and years later I wrote part three. The first one, the article, came out of a series of dreams.
Jassette: Growing up which was more of an interest to you, horror or westerns? And what was it like seeing Hap and Leonard come to life?
Jassette: Horror, by far. Western films I loved, but I had read very little that could classify as Western. Brett Harte, Mark Twain, some Max Brand, a few other things, and it wasn't until the 70s that I began to read Westerns in mass. To this day I read Westerns, but only certain ones. I don't read the basic series Westerns, though some modern Western series, things that take place in the here and now and are Western like, I sometimes read. Craig Johnson's Longmire are good, though I'm way behind in that series. Actually, Hap and Leonard are kind of a modern Western series. And it was great to see them come to life. I'm visiting the set tomorrow, and I look forward to it. I was on the set much of the first season and greatly enjoyed that. I'll only be spending a week this time, but I look forward to it.
Kay: How did you get the writing gig for Jonah Hex: Two Gun Mojo? Has you written any interesting un-produced scripts for comics, film, games, TV etc. ?
Kay: I had written a comic for DC called BLOOD AND SHADOWS, but the artist hadn't finished writing it. Another artist, who has become like a brother to me, Tim Truman, liked my work and they put us together, thinking we had the right sensibility for it. I think we did. I have written one unproduced script for animation, and I guess I can mention it now. Swamp Thing, supposedly adult oriented, but they changed their orientation by the time I finished it. Too bad, good script. I've written a number of film scripts that haven't been made. No games. Wrote Batman the Animated series, and worked on one Superman Animated Series, wrote an animated Jonah Hex short for DC SHOWCASE (interestingly I wrote a Hex script for Batman the Animated Series that was produced as "Showdown"), couple of things here and there. Number of things are in the mill currently, so we'll see.
Conor: Bubba Ho-Tep. What inspired you to write it and how did the film come about?
Conor: My brother wanted to be in music. He's seventeen years older than me. He lived in Memphis, tried to record at Sun Records without success. His wife, my sister-in-law, went to school with Elvis. John Kennedy was assassinated when I was young, and I always loved mummy movies, add to that the fact that my mother had to spend some time in a rest home due to an automobile accident, and you can see the sources.
Diana: Some children's movies are incredibly creepy (e.g. Labyrinth, The Dark Palace). Was there anything you watched as a child that has influenced your work? In a similar vein, is any of your work based on dreams you've had?
Diana: Wizard of Oz was creepy and fun when I was a child. A Christmas Carrol, the old black and white one with Allister Simms, Peter Pan, which looks ridiculous now, but was so fascinating then. It was just a stage, but back then we were used to filling in the rest of it with our imagination. A creepy film INVADERS FROM MARS, which still sticks with me, though on reseeding it, it's only the first twenty minutes that holds up. Noir and nightmarish. And yes, a lot of my work comes from dreams, nearly all from subconscious. I don't plot or lay out what I plan to do. I get up, it's there. I write about three hours, and I'm done until the next day. My brain seems to fill up with story at night, and I put it on paper in the mornings, though I sometimes work other hours if a story is driving me, or I'm traveling. But mostly, three hours in the morning is it.
Aidan: in season 1, episode 26 of Batman the Animated Series, you got to the core of Bruce Wayne as Batman with a single line: “why can’t I be happy?” - how did you get to that place?
Aidan: I think that's Batman's story, that's who he is in a nutshell. He keeps trying to punish criminals to relieve himself of what happened to his parents, but its hole that can't completely be filled. It's a question I think a lot of people ask themselves. I, fortunately, am not one of them. I am happy.
Fright Club 'Getting to Know You Pumpkin' questions:
Would you rather be eaten alive by rats or fish?
I'd rather not be eaten alive.
If you were going to be stranded on an island what 3 items would you bring with you?
A book on survival. A Swiss Army knife. And it would be nice if the island was close enough to swim to the mainland.