Ladies and gentlefunk, get ready for something entirely special and delicious. It is my absolute pleasure to welcome to the Dark Hayride, fellow zpoc author, Claire C Riley. Let’s spare the intros and get to the juicy bits.
JW: You are a fellow indie author who gets it. You understand that we work as a whole or we don’t work. You also write outside of the zpoc (Zombie Apocalypse) genre. I love that. I write a number of series and feel like each one helps improve the others. Ultimately, they all come from the same space – my heart.
But zombie fiction, horror, that is where my soul exists. It is what drives me forward as a writer, as one longing to connect with anyone and everyone willing to suspend enough disbelief to follow my thread of thought.
And speaking of disbelief – let’s talk about science fiction, of aliens, and space ships, and far-off planets with far out technology.
No? Okay, we’ll stick to terrestrial monsters. Or…whatever you like.
CCR: Nooooo, not aliens & spaceships! Urghhh, I just don’t get it. I’ve even tried to read sci-fi written by some of my favorite authors, but I can’t get into it at all. It’s just so…unrealistic! Seriously, I get zombies, apocalypses, and dystopian worlds. It works in my head. Aliens don’t. I don’t even find them scary, though after some of the goretastic scenes I’ve written, that’s hardly surprising. Ha!
So yes, let’s go with zombies, vampires (no sparkles!) ghosts and monsters. I write old school horror. At least I try. I’m talking Bram Stoker esq vampires—dark, sexy & dangerous. The same goes for my zombies, though skip the sexy part. I like old school zombies, slow, stupid and mindless. Think George Romero. I think it’s because I think I may stand a chance against these zombies, I can at least out run them and that’s a start haha. These clever, fast zombies freak me out! I would be doomed if that were too happen.
It was actually down to these two talented writers—Bram Stoker & George Romero, that I got into horror from a young age.
JW: Oh don’t even get me started on the sparkle-ization of the vampire. Though I respect the Twilight series for engaging younger readers to take on the genre, I loathe how they’ve watered down the creature. Yes, vampires have an aura of sensuality to them (unless you’re Nosferatu), but adding a soft, gooey center of teen angst really did a disservice to one of the most frightening creatures to ever been put to paper.
It was the old black and whites that first captured my attention as a young boy. You simply cannot go wrong with the progenitors of the genre. The Universal Monster films should be required viewing for all writers of horror. Even if you gain no joy from the gothic, see what those makers of magic did with so much less is a master class in mood and storytelling.
I agree with you on Twilight, though part of me loves that teenage angsty shit. It’s good for the soul—to know I’m far from it now ha ha, and like you said, it got so many people back into reading AND reading about vampires which is always a good thing in my opinion. But it was sad in the respect that films like 30 Days of Night worked so damn hard to make vampires scary and then Twilight blew it all to hell with its vegetarian vampires. It was a shame, but I can appreciate the story nonetheless.
One of my other favorite vampire films, and probably one of my all-time favorites ever is The Lost Boys. They also brought horror back to vampires. There was still the teenage angst, but they were scary vampires, and they did it in a way only 80’s films can. A lot of films of recent years are all shock value films. Saw, Hostel, etc, films that are so twisted that they go above and beyond horror.
No, I like my horror with a paranormal element.
JW: The wife and I just watched Nosferatu on Halloween. It’s a very odd film, but I think part of that comes from the fact that we are so far removed from silent films. Most modern film goers simply don’t get silent film. That’s not an insult, just a reality. It’s a dead art (which is a shame). It would be wonderful to see a company revive that form – but I don’t see it happen.
Yeah, I can see your point about angsty shit. Sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that it is no longer part of the equation – or shouldn’t be.
And Thirty Days of Night – now THAT’S a killer vampire flick. And the Lost Boys did teenage angst right…so it’s not a total lost cause. But then, I grew up in the 80s, so I’m very partial to the John Hughes flicks. But then…how can you not be?
CCR: You’re so right. Kiefer Sutherland aka David, had the biggest daddy issues. Now if that isn’t teenage angst, I don’t know what is, ha ha.
I love 80’s films. There’s just soooo many good films from back then, I couldn’t even begin to name them all. I mean I could, but I wouldn’t ever finish the list. I like my films and music like I like my books – eclectic. I guess you could call me a genre hopper. Though I’m a pretty bad hopper if I’m honest. I have zero coordination. **shrugs** Shush, don’t judge me!
You know what was a good movie? The Little Shop of Horrors. ‘Feed me Seymour’ ha! That was one of the first horror movies I watched that I really started to get tongue in cheek humor. It’s something that I try to incorporate into my own writing. I love the way this sort of writing can have you feeling queasy or highly emotional and then have you chuckling at something a character will say. The best humor is the unexpected type.
JW: My horror schtick partially came from a 70s horror host I watched growing up in Indiana. Sammy Terry. He was Elvira (without the cleavage, dress, and shoes) before Elvira was cool. That taught me horror could be cool. Of course, at the time, I didn’t realize how cheesy it was – but, in the end, that was part of the allure.
Humor has always been a weapon of mine. I made people laugh when I was young to try to distract them from bullying me. It worked every time. I use it in my writing to often change the rhythm or emotional drift of a scene. People like to laugh, and to make them laugh when they should be worried, cringing, or vomiting is a special kind of ‘hell yeah’.
CCR: That’s totally it. I mean if you can get someone to laugh when it’s really inappropriate to, well, that’s a win to me every time. In Odium—my zombie book, most of the humor comes from something I would actually say, or those dark thoughts that you have yourself. Come on, you all know the ones I’m talking about. The ones that you wouldn’t normally say aloud to anyone, because people would be highly worried about your state of mind. Because surely, it can’t be amusing to have a zombie with a missing penis? Can it? Can it? ***grins** yeah, you know that stuff makes you chuckle.
That’s not to say that it’s not scary, it is, but I’ve dashed in some snark, a lot of sarcasm and a lot of other very human characteristics that people can relate to.
JW: In Lie Zombie Lie, I wrote a Zombie Jesus scene. Had to. It makes some people uncomfortable, but with enough humor, anyone can make it through nearly anything. Honestly, people have become too uptight. What the world needs more of is laughter…the ultimate healer of wounds, rifts, and life itself.
CCR: I concur, and we’ll do it…killing one zombie at a time!
Thanks for having me, and chatting books, films, zombies and vampires—but not aliens, ha ha.
It’s been fun.
Claire C Riley, is a mother first, a wife second, but a writer at heart.
Her first novel Limerence is a dark paranormal romance.
Claire likes to break boundaries with her writing, incorporating an old school style of horror and romance. Sexy and dark.(Think Bram Stokers Dracula, but for the 21st century!)
Claire’s current novel is a dystopian post-apocalyptic zombie novel called- Odium, and it focuses on survival, and how it would change us.
She has also written several short horror stories, with more coming in the new year. Her newest creation is Odium Origins. A Dead Saga Novella. Part One. It releases December 27th 2013 and is an accompaniment to Odium.
She is currently working on the sequel to Odium with a tentative release of March 2014, the sequel to Limerence creatively named Limerence II: Mia and a horror romance novel titled Chance Encounters.
Claire is an avid reader of all genres, a book collector, general procrastinator and has a great zombie apocalypse plan in place thanks to a questionnaire she asked her readers to fill in for her.
Purchasing links for Odium