I've lived in New York State my entire life, I've been an independent filmmaker since 1984, a published author since 2004, and a proud fatehr since 2006. I've written and directed four low budget horror films, and two of them, Slime City and its sequel, Slime City Massacre, have become cult films. I've worked on several others in different capacities as well. Last year I produced a creature feature called Snow Shark: Ancient Snow Beast which will be released on DVD this winter, and I'm in pre-production now on a new film which I'm producing this summer. My films to tend to be goofy and fun, while my novels are dramatic and action packed, with a scope I could never capture in alow budget movie.
A lot of people are on Twitter these days, so can you describe Carnage Road for us in 140 characters or less (which is the size of a tweet)?
Two bikers set off to re-discover America during the zombie apocalypse and discover what the country would be like without government.
When did you begin writing Carnage Road? What inspired this book and how much research was involved in writing it?
About one year ago, RJ Sevin from Creeping Hemlock Press invited me to write a novel for Print Is Dead, the new zombie line he launched with his wife Julia. I sent him an outline which he loved, but my schedule was too tight, so I had to beg off. He suggested I write the story as a novella instead, which intrigued me because I only write novels and feature length screenplays. I only write horror tales, but I mash my horror up with other genres - crime drama, hardboiled noir, police procedural - I basically use my chosen genre in a way that allows me to tackle other genres. I'm not interested in zombies per se, but I thought I could tell a story about to friends fighting to survive while they travel across the country that would evoke the free spirit of Easy Rider and the emotional impact of Lonesome Dove - in a novella! I actually did very little research: I found a glossary of biker terminology online and I looked at a few maps to figure out where my guys would stop en route to their last stand.
What or who made the biggest influence on you wanting to become a writer?
Filmmakers and comic book creators, although I was always a big reader. Jack Arnold, who directed Creature from the Black Lagoon and The Incredible Shrinking Man; George Romero, who co-wrote and directed Night of the Living Dead; Dan Curtis, who created Dark Shadows and produced The Night Stalker; and Marv Wolfman, who wrote The Tomb of Dracula for MArvel COmics.
Every book I've written has been published - nine and counting - and I've never self published. The first was Personal Demons, the first book in "The Jake Helman Files" occult detective series, which won the IPPY Gold Medal for Horror. The third in the series, Cosmic Forces, was nominated for a Bram Stoker award last year; the fourth, Tortured Spirits, will be published in October; and I've just signed the contract with Medallion Press for the fifth.
Do you have any writing habits that people might find unusual?
I think friends of mine who wonder how I maintain my schedule - I write a novel every nine months, and this year I have three books being published - would be surprised at how much time I procrastinate and waste.
Do you have a favorite character or one that is especially close to your heart?
Absolutely: Jake Helman, the protagonist in my series named after him, is my favorite creation, and I love the supporting characters, villains, and monsters in that series. But I also really liked both of my biker characters in Carnage Road, which is my first experiment with first person POV. The secret to loving your characters is to punish and abuse them as much as possible.
What is the best gift you have ever received, do you still have it and who gave it to you?
I'm generally touched by any gifts I'm given, but my daughter is the best gift I've ever received.
What is something that you have always wanted to do, but just haven't gotten around to it yet?
I would like to travel more for vacations; I'd like to see some of Europe. But my wife and I get the same two weeks that most members of the 99% in this country get, and we spend ours at conventions and other events promoting my work.
If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you hope to find in your suitcase?
Since my family wouldn't fit in a suitcase, I'll go with books: The World According to Garp and A Prayer for Own Meany by John Irving, and First Blood by David Morrell.
What is your all-time favorite book?
I'll go with Garp, which I read in high school, because I identify with it so much. My grandmother and aunt were nurses; my mother was a feminist (she was the president of NOW in our town during the ERA era); and I was a wrestler who dreamed of being a writer.
Other than yourself, who is your favorite author?
I'm a big fan of Richard Russo, and of Michael Chabon. I actually read very little horror, because I don't want to be influenced by what other authors are writing; more to the point, I don't want to have to give up ideas because they're superficially similar to what someone else has come up with.
If a TV show was based on your life, what type of TV show would it be (i.e., comedy, drama, suspense, etc.) who would you choose to play the leading character (you), and what would the theme song be? Why?
My God. It would have to be a satire on HBO or Showtime; either a half hour drama masquerading as a comedy, or a one hour comedy masquerading as a drama. I would be happy if any actor - white, black or other, male, female, or other - from HOMICIDE or THE WIRE palyed me. That would work. The theme song would be "One Tin Soldier" from Billy Jack, because I see myself as a self righteous guy who doesn't tolerate stupid behavior.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
What is "spare time"?
Are you an early bird or a night owl?
I love Breaking Bad on TV. I haven't loved a movie since Sweeney Todd, and guess my favorite is Taxi Driver. I'm one of the directors of the Buffalo Screams Horror Film Festival, which spotlights indie films.
If you were throwing a dinner party and you could invite five people (fictional or real, dead or alive), other than family or friends, who would you invite and why?
Actress Debbie Rochon, who is a friend; author Peter Straub, who I consider the greatest contemporary author of horror fiction; George Carlin, because he would keep us all entertained; TV producer Dan Curtis, because he was my hero; and President Obama, because I admire the man, and if George Carlin had a sore throat the President could always sing.
If you had the opportunity to go anywhere you wanted, at anytime in history, where would you go and why?
My wife and I were married on St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands; I'd be happy to go back there during that week.
What are you currently working on?
Medallion Press has contracted me to write a novel called The Julian Year, which will launch a cutting edge e-book platform. It's the most ambitious project I've ever tackled, and I believe the technology is going to create a sensation. Then I produce this new movie in July, and then I start Jake Helman #5.
Where can people connect with you online?
My website is currently called slimeguy.com, though it will soon be gregorylamberson.com, and I'm easy enough to find on Facebook and Twitter.
Thank you so much Gregory for being on Hardcover Feedback!
Thanks for your interest!
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