Eric S. Brown is one of the most prolific and hardest-working authors in the genre. He is the author of numerous books including WAR OF THE WORLDS PLUS BLOOD, GUTS AND ZOMBIES (Simon & Schuster), HOW THE WEST WENT TO HELL (Pill Hill Press), SEASON OF ROT (Permuted Press), and LAST STAND IN A DEAD LAND (Grand Mal Press), to name only a few, while his short fiction has been published hundreds of times in the small press and beyond. He lives in western North Carolina with his wife and family, where he continues to write tales of blazing guns, hungry corpses and the things that lurk in the woods. He can be found on Facebook usually rambling about horror, comics, and Weird Al music.
Craig: Welcome, Eric! You frequently write about zombies. What makes zombies so interesting to write about?
Eric: Zombies can be in any setting. You can pretty much do anything with them and still pull it off as being realistic. So much has already been done with them, though. I like to think however that my books LAST STAND IN A DEAD LAND and BIGFOOT WAR II bring something new to the zombie genre by having them face off with Sasquatch.
Craig: As a writer, do you prefer fast or slow zombies, and living or undead? Building on these basic themes, what do you consider to be your own trademark or unique innovation as an author?
Eric: I like and write all types of zombies. I do think the faster kind are scarier though. There’s a beauty to the slow movers that is hard to top, but if you want fear in this day and age, I think you gotta go fast.
Craig: What have you contributed to the genre? What’s your best known work? Tell us about it!
Eric: That’s an easy one. BIGFOOT WAR is what I consider my main contribution. It’s the first of its kind, I think. It takes the Bigfoot mythos and turns it apocalyptic.
Craig: You’re an incredibly prolific writer, and have written across the genre. As you point out, lately you’ve been writing a series about Bigfoot, and later tying it back to zombies, thereby carving out a unique niche in survival horror. What attracted you to write about Bigfoot?
Eric: I grew up loving horror and watching Bigfoot B movies was a huge part of that. Bigfoot was the one monster that scared me. With zombies, fast or slow, you might have a chance if you’re prepared and well armed but when facing a half ton plus beast that can leg press a car and run at up to 40+ miles an hour, you’re screwed unless you have a tank or you get lucky. I remember I would always be so angry that those movies; they would have one or two monsters in them and usually just alluded to there being more at the end. I set out with BIGFOOT WAR to fix that. It’s full throttle, pedal to the metal, action from page one. It’s gotten great reviews from pretty much everywhere including places like Rue Morgue, The Horror Fiction Review, ChiZine, and so many more. I put my heart and soul as a horror fan into that book in some ways and I think it shows.
Craig: In your BIGFOOT books, Bigfoot is a mean, tribal, almost indestructible monster, not some misunderstood hermit living in the woods. How did you conceptualize this kind of Bigfoot?
Eric: I live and breathe the apocalypse. I love the end of the world. If I am going to write a monster, it’s usually got be targeting the whole human race or at least the story has to feel like it is. I wanted to take the Bigfoot from my own nightmares as a kid and put that on paper.
Craig: Which writers do you particularly admire, and what did each teach you about the craft or profession of writing?
Eric: David Drake is my personal hero. I love his military SF. His HAMMER’S SLAMMERS series is one of the main things that got me into writing. The man is a genius. I totally learned how to write action from his style. Jonathan Maberry is another key writer for me. He’s encouraged me a lot and I guess I sometimes see him as a mentor. And I think I have to at least mention H.P. Lovecraft here. There’s also this other guy, who is kind of like the David Drake of the zombie world that I aspire to write like. I think you might have heard of him [laughs].
Craig: [laughs] Thank you for that, Eric! What was the last book in the genre that you particularly enjoyed?
Eric: Joe McKinney’s APOCALYPSE OF THE DEAD was awesome. Joe’s book are super fun. I would highly recommend him to anyone.
Craig: What is your approach to writing? How do you complete a novel?
Eric: My approach is usually pretty chaotic. Between all the projects I juggle at a single time and being a dad, it’s amazing I get anything done at all.
Craig: What is the best review you ever received on Amazon, and why did you like it?
Eric: A fan once wrote, “This is hands down the most original zombie book I have ever read. If you think you have read them all and got the zombie apocalypse figured out, think again,” about LAST STAND IN A DEAD LAND. If that’s not high praise, I am not sure what is. However, all those reviews of BIGFOOT WAR and how original it is in the world of horror, are the ones that mean the most to me. With BIGFOOT WAR, I think I really started something new and brought Bigfoot back to being a real monster not just a beef jerky spokesperson.
Craig: What are the key elements to a great story, and how do you approach them?
Eric: For me, it’s all about the fun, action, and gore. I’m a pretty simple guy who gets straight to the blazing guns and adrenaline pumping combat as you can certainly see with my book LAST STAND IN A DEAD LAND. If that book doesn’t leave you clinging to your seat with white knuckles or at least leave you breathless, then I didn’t do my job right.
Craig: What are you working on? What can we expect next from you?
Eric: LAST STAND IN A DEAD LAND was just released and it is by far my fastest paced, craziest book to date. I strongly suggest checking it out if you enjoyed BIGFOOT WAR or SEASON OF ROT. Some of my upcoming books include A PACK OF WOLVES from Grand Mal Press which is a Young Guns style Werewolf western, a new zombie book from Severed Press entitled SWARMERS, and of course BIGFOOT WAR III and IV will be out next year as well. I also have a new collection which was just released called THE BEASTS AND THE DEAD that features my version of the Mothman legend, Bigfoot, zombies and more. And I have another new collection on the way with Shawn Riddle entitled THE MAN IN WHITE. Its title story is about a character of mine who first appeared in HOW THE WEST WENT TO HELL, and is actually the demon Legion from the Bible.
The story is about what happens to him after the events of A PACK OF WOLVES and BIGFOOT WAR IV, which he appears in. I also have my first comic book coming out from Knightwatch Press which is a BIGFOOT horror comic. Who would’ve guessed that right? And on a side note, there’s quite a bit of stirring in Hollywood about one of my books and a possible movie in the works. I can’t say much about it yet but let’s just say it will feature a ton of very hairy monsters if it happens.
Craig: Thanks, Eric, for dropping by to talk to us!
Eric: Thank you sir for having me by for this chat.
Get LAST STAND IN A DEAD LAND now here.