Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Gal's 2017 Halloween Frivolities Day 10: SOS's Character Has Spoken


Byron is our main antagonist in Those Who Follow.  He has the power to enter another world and there he enjoys torturing and killing his victims inside of a rickety old church he had built for him by a group of missionaries before ending them.  He's egotistical because he's gotten away with murder for decades and he feels invincible because of the strange powers he holds.  He mentions in the church in the middle of nowhere that it is his realm and he is both god and the devil.  He's a bloodthirsty psycho who enjoys brutalizing women, eating the flesh of his victims, and making them literally vanish from the face of the earth.


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hi, Byron.  Thanks for sitting down with me today.  Now, some of my readers have yet to read your story.  What should they know about you?

Byron:
I hold the supreme power of life and death in my hands.  I can take you to MY world and there you'll be helpless.  Even when you scream, no one will hear you.  There is no police there.  Only me, and I'm god and the devil rolled into one.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you believe in?

Byron:
I learned at a young age that it don't matter what people think in this world, what sins they turn their noses up to, because when given the power of being the ruler of your own world, you'll actually upon the most devious thoughts in your mind.  Like me, I take what I want, do what the hell pleases me, and there ain't a damn thing anyone can do about it.  I'm beyond ordinary humans.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What haunts you?

Byron:
There are a few things that haunt me, like the time I let that special girl slip through the doorway.  I came back carrying only her arm.  I would have liked to keep her as my wife there in the church and to have taught her to obey my authority.  Those damn shadows that creep around after dark are a nuisance, too.  I don't stick around long enough to let them get the best of me, though.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any phobias?

Byron:
I'm beyond phobias.  I am a nightmare myself.  I fear very little in life.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the worst thing that has ever happened to you?

Byron:
The worst thing that ever happened to me was when one of my brides got away from me.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Are you lying to yourself about anything?

Byron:
I don't need to lie to myself about anything because I've embraced what I really am.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What was your childhood like?

Byron:
My childhood was typical, as most people's were, but I always felt different, even around my twin brother.  When I discovered the power within me, it made all that melt away, and I no longer cared.  I could walk between worlds and I did.  Those adventures taught me everything about who I am, and what I am.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Were your actions the result of freedom of choice or destiny?

Byron:
My actions are a result of my destiny, what I was born to do.  Otherwise I might just be an ordinary man suppressing my desires and urges for fear of what god might think.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could go back in time and change anything, would you?

Byron:
If I could go back in time and change anything, it would be the night eighty-three broke loose.  Other than that, I feel like I've lived more lives than most men and had more freedom than anyone.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What does your name mean to you?

Byron:
Byron has become the name of god in my land, in the middle of nowhere.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What scars, birthmarks, tattoos, or other identifying marks do you have?  What stories lie behind them?

Byron:
I'm an older fellow who has yellowed teeth.  I'm called the preacher for keeping my victims in an old church in a desert in another world, and by the end of this story, I'm much more.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What was unique about the setting of your books and how did it enhance or take away from your story?

Byron:
The settings bounce between the human world and an alternate plain in which only folks with my power can get to.  The deserts in Arizona are dangerous, but those in the middle of nowhere, my stomping grounds, are deadly, and I make certain those who step foot there don't leave in one piece.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How do you see yourself?

Byron:
I see myself as a superior being with the power of life and death in my two hands.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How does your enemy see you?

Byron:
My enemies see me as a reckless sadist, I'm sure of it.  They don't approve of the way I pass time in my own territory and are afraid that ordinary people might discover who we really are.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How does the author see you?

Byron:
The author probably sees me as a nightmare.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Why do you think the author chose to write about your story?  Do you think they did a good job?

Byron:
They wrote my story because it was something they have to purge from their minds before I drove them crazy with my bloodlust.  They did a decent job of portraying me, though I'd like to claim them both as my number seventeen.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think about the ending?

Byron:
The ending was brutal.  They ran me through a gauntlet of abuse... but I'm still here!

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?  Would you change anything about the story told? Did they miss anything?

Byron:
They wrote me well enough, but I would have loved it if they had related a few more of my earlier works to their audience.  My younger days were non-stop blood fests.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Have you read any of your authors' other work?  Any good?

Byron:
They gave me a copy of their novel, Mayan Blue.  It was a good book.  I especially liked the way the lord of Xibalba tortured those young men and women.  He's my kind of guy.



About the book:
A WAYFARING STRANGER

Tormented by visions of women imprisoned in the middle of a barren wasteland and an old man with a yellow-toothed grin, Casey has been wandering this country's highways following a song that she believes will lead her to her other self.

A CHURCH IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE

Held captive in a desecrated shrine, Celia would have given up long ago if not for a song that keeps her hope burning.  Someday she will escape from the shadowy creatures that claw at the windows of the church, the monstrous dog with a taste of human flesh, and the old preacher with inhuman powers.

A BOND THAT CROSSES WORLDS

Two women divided by fate but connected by blood.  Will the song help them lead the way to each other and defeat the forces aligned against them?  Or will they suffer the dreadful fate of...

THOSE WHO FOLLOW

The Gal's 2017 Halloween Frivolities Day 10: Among the Stacks with The Sisters of Slaughter


Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason - the Sisters of Slaughter - are one talented set of twins... and some really nice gals to talk to.  I love their stuff and can't wait to get my hands on some mine.  Yup, that's a The Gal recommendation right there.


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Welcome back, ladies.  It's been awhile since we sat down together.  What's been going on since we last spoke?

Sisters of Slaughter:
Since we last chatted, we've been writing away and recently released our second horror novel, Those Who Follow, through Bloodshot Books.  It's a continuation of a short story we wrote for Widowmakers, a benefit anthology of dark fiction.  It has been a great experience working with Peter Kahle and Bloodshot Books.  He's a great guy and a die-hard horror fan.  We've also been working on a few more releases coming from Sinister Grin Press and another bizarro novella that will be released next year, but we can't name the publisher yet.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Who are y'all outside of writing?

Sisters of Slaughter:
Outside of writing, we are both mothers.  Our children range in age from three years old up to eleven years old.  They keep us super busy so our writing is really done on the run.  We are constantly stealing moments to write her and there, but we're still managing a decent word count each week, so that's all we can ask for.  We are also both married to wonderful husbands who support our work and the craziness that comes along with it, so we're really grateful for them.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How do y'all feel about friends and close relatives reading your work?

Sisters of Slaughter:
We don't really mind relatives or close friends reading our books.  They know us well enough to not be surprised or offended by what's in the story.  We don't look to them for critiques, though.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

Sisters of Slaughter:
Being a writer is both a gift and a curse, depending on the day.  Some days the writing seems to be going great and you feel like some kind of oracle you can see into other worlds and relay the details to anyone willing to listen.  Other days, when it's not going smoothly, feels like hell, like the need to purge something from yourself that isn't just festering enough to come out yet.  Haha.  The good days remind us of why we wanted to become writers to begin with, while the bad days make us question why we even bother, but that's the life of a writer - you buy the ticket and hope on the rollercoaster.  Where it takes you isn't always where you want to go, but most often it's somewhere you need to go.  Rejection hurts, but it should be used as a tool for improvement and not for tearing yourself down with when you're not feeling what you're working on.  Basically just be ready to get up and dust yourself off many, many, many times.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How has y'all's environment and upbringing colored your writing?

Sisters of Slaughter:
Our environment has colored our writing greatly, but everyone could say that.  A writer must always first be an observer, a listener.  We need to remember those feelings, both crushing and elating, in order to put them on a page.  We've suffered greatly, but we've also found some of the happiest moments anyone could ask for.  Growing up in the desert made us very aware of the weather and the change in seasons - it feels like a beast we live with constantly, so that's something we try to incorporate into our writing.  We were raised in a middle-class family, so we know what it's like to have to save your pennies for things you really want, and I think that adds something that people can relate to in our writing.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the strangest thing y'all have ever had to research for your books?

Sisters of Slaughter:
Some of the strangest things we've researched so far for our writing have been ticks, female serial killers, crucifixion, poisoning, and a variety of phobias.  Which really seems kinda tame for horror writers, but we're certain our search history will only get stranger by the day.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Which do y'all find the hardest to write: the beginning, the middle, or the end?

Sisters of Slaughter:
We find the beginning of a story to be the biggest challenge.  Most of the time we already know how the story will end, but those first few lines are always crucial so we struggle to get those right.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do y'all outline?  Do y'all start with characters or plot?  Do y'all just sit down and start writing?  What works best for y'all?

Sisters of Slaughter:
We always outline first, that's just how we've always worked.  We get a good outline of the story and we include in that introductions to characters and settings to keep us on track.  We find it easier to keep moving and suffer far less writer's block when working from an outline.  Plus there's two of us so even when we are apart, we know where the story is supposed to go.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do y'all do when characters don't follow the outline/plan?

Sisters of Slaughter:
When a character doesn't want to follow the outline, we may let them grow beyond it a bit as long as it doesn't change the outcome of the story.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do y'all do to motivate yourself to sit down and write?

Sisters of Slaughter:
We subscribe to the Lansdale school of writing.  We sit down and write, whether it's super awesome or not.  Just getting those words on the page kick starts your brain and actually, when you look at them after, you sometimes find they're not as bad as you originally thought.  The only way to really get anything done is to treat it like a job, sit down for your allotted time, and get those fingers typing. This is another reason to jot down at least a rough outline so, on the days when you don't feel motivated, you have something to work from.  We are also motivated by the praise of our mentors, like Brian Keene, to keep pursuing the dreams we want to achieve.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Are y'all avid readers?

Sisters of Slaughter:
We love to read.  If you don't read, you're doing your writing a disservice.  Reading the works of others in many different genres will teach you craft and inspire you to work harder.  Reading was our first love.  Before ever thought of writing our own stories, we loved reading and being read to.  The magic of storytelling took a hold of us at a young age.  We read in many different genres, from horror to science fiction to fantasy, to young adult stuff, and even children's books.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What kind of books do y'all absolutely love to read?

Sisters of Slaughter:
Besides horror, we are extreme fans of reading about ancient cultures, religions, and mythologies.  When someone says they have writers block, we recommend picking up a book on mythology or even true crime.  It gets your imagination flowing and gives you ideas you might incorporate into other stories of your own.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How do you feel about movies based on books?

Sisters of Slaughter:
We don't mind movies based on books because, long ago, we learned to never expect a movie to be able to portray everything from the book it was based off of.  If you go into the theatre expecting a movie to be able to hold a candle to the book it was based off of, you're basically dooming yourself to not like it at all.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Have you ever killed a main character?

Sisters of Slaughter:
We have killed main characters.  You gotta kill your darlings, as they say.  We do it because books are just like real life and unfortunately not everyone lives.  People die sometimes, though tragedy and sometimes through self-sacrifice.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do y'all enjoy making your characters suffer?

Sisters of Slaughter:
We sometimes take pleasure in making our characters suffer.  We like to put them through the ringer and see what happens.  People know us mostly through our horror writing, so I'm positive they expect a certain amount of both physical and emotional trauma to take place in our books and we aim to please.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the weirdest character concept that y'all have ever come up with?

Sisters of Slaughter:
We can't describe our strangest character concept quite yet, but we will say the story blends one of our favorite classic horror movies with a childhood fairytale figure and also one of our deepest fears.  It came out really special and we're delighted to know the press that picked it up will do it serious justice when it comes to cover artwork.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the best piece of feedback you've ever received?  What's the worst?

Sisters of Slaughter:
The best piece of feedback we've received so far came from Brian Keene who said he loved Mayan Blue.  The worst feedback we've ever received so far came from reviews that weren't constructive in any way, just says they hated the story.  A beta-reader for Sinister Grin was absolutely brutal in picking apart Mayan Blue, but it only improved the story so reviewers should try to do the same and explain what they didn't like about the book in order for the author to improve next time.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do your fans mean to y'all?

Sisters of Slaughter:
Our fans mean so much to us.  We really never thought we'd have so many people reading our work and enjoying it.  We can't thank them enough for their time and interest in our work.  It puts a smile on our faces every day.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could steal one character from another author and make them yours, who would it be and why?

Sisters of Slaughter:
If we could steal one character from another writer, it would be our best buddy Craig Mullins' character Trent Gunner.  He's a paranormal investigator and monster hunter who has truly won our hearts.  He's got a badass attitude and supernatural tattoos that alert him to nearby monsters.  He's a character we want the world to know about and we hope Craig continues to write the tales of Trent Gunner for many years just so we can read them.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could write the next book in a series, which one would it be, and what would you make the book about?

Sisters of Slaughter:
If we could write the next book in a series, we guess it's not really a series, but we'd take the world of Goblin by Josh Malerman and continue the adventures in the creepy town.  It seriously rocked our world reading it and we still think about it, which means it's totally awesome.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could write a collaboration with another author, who would it be and what would you write about?

Sisters of Slaughter:
If we could collaborate with another author, it would totally be Brian Keene.  We would probably write something about an orangutan farm that is struck by a zombie virus and three hillbilly writers have to survive by our wits alone.  (Yes, there's inside jokes there.)  Hahaha!

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What can we expect from you in the future?

Sisters of Slaughter:
This coming year, our fans will see a few more projects coming out through Sinister Grin and one novella by a press we can't name yet.  We're also hooked up with a really awesome gig that we shouldn't speak of until everything is finalized, but basically we'll be writing stories based in a fictitious world filled with horror.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you'd like to say that we didn't get to cover in this interview or the last?

Sisters of Slaughter:
We just want to tell our fans and comrades out there that we're so grateful to know you and have you along for this crazy ride.  We love you guys and thank you for reading our words and supporting us.


About the books:
Xibalba, home of torture and sacrifice, is the kingdom of the lord of death.  He stalked the night in the guise of a putrefied corpse, with the head of an owl and adorned with a necklace of disembodied eyes that hung from nerve cords.  He commanded legions of shape-shifting creatures, spectral shamans, and corpses hungry for the flesh of the living.  The Mayans feared him and his realm of horror. He sat atop his pyramid temple surrounded by his demon kings and demanded sacrifices of blood and beating hearts as tribute to him and his ghostly world.
            These legends, along with those that lived in fear of them, have been dead and gone for centuries.  Yet now, a doorway has opened in Georgia.  A group of college students seek their missing professor, a man who has secretly uncovered the answer to one of history's greatest mysteries.  However, what they find is more than the evidence of a hidden civilization.  It's also a gateway to a world of living nightmares.

A WAYFARING STRANGER

Tormented by visions of women imprisoned in the middle of a barren wasteland and an old man with a yellow-toothed grin, Casey has been wandering this country's highways following a song that she believes will lead her to her other self.

A CHURCH IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE

Held captive in a desecrated shrine, Celia would have given up long ago if not for a song that keeps her hope burning.  Someday she will escape from the shadowy creatures that claw at the windows of the church, the monstrous dog with a taste of human flesh, and the old preacher with inhuman powers.

A BOND THAT CROSSES WORLDS

Two women divided by fate but connected by blood.  Will the song help them lead the way to each other and defeat the forces aligned against them?  Or will they suffer the dreadful fate of...

THOSE WHO FOLLOW

Monday, October 30, 2017

The Gal's 2017 Halloween Frivolities Day 9: Wilburn's Character Has Spoken


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Welcome to The Gal, Tiny Jones.  And Happy Halloween.  Some of my readers have yet to read your story.  What should they know about you?

Tiny Jones:
Well, it's the zombie apocalypse.  I fell in with music collectors who go around recording the music of the survivors.  My stage name is Donna Cash and I perform mash-ups of Madonna and Johnny Cash songs.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you believe in?

Tiny Jones:
Not much anymore, Pumpkin.  I want to believe in my friends and that everything will work out, but that's not so easy to do when the dead keep coming back to eat you.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What haunts you?

Tiny Jones:
I used to beat and rob people before I met Satch.  Without him, I'd probably still be doing it.  My father and brothers never really accepted me and they tormented me.  I'm not sure when I fully accepted the fact that I was gay, but they knew it all along and resented me for it.  My father died before the dead rose and my brothers are probably dead too by now.  I guess it's always the dead who haunt us, isn't it?  They do it through memories, songs, writing, and now dead bodies walking around trying to bite us.  It's a haunted world.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any phobias?

Tiny Jones:
I hate zombie children.  They are the worst.  Creepy little shits.  Bad make-up jobs terrify me, too.  I mean, the world is dead.  What are you in a hurry for?  Finish putting on your damn face, bitches.
            I'm sorry.  Is this a family show?  Stop me if I'm going too blue, would you?

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the worst thing that has ever happened to you?

Tiny Jones:
Waiting until the apocalypse to let myself love someone and then letting myself love someone during the apocalypse.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Are you lying to yourself about anything?

Tiny Jones:
My real name is Timothy Javier.  We don't tend to share our real names.  We are as much the person we show to people as we are the person we hide from others.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What was your childhood like?

Tiny Jones:
We moved a lot with my dad's work or lack thereof.  I was the new kid at school all the time.  My brothers were too, but they were cooler and more masculine.  They weren't the type of brothers who stepped in to save their sissy little brother.  I got my ass beat at home, too.  Others than that, it was all rainbows and yellow brick roads.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Were your actions the result of freedom of choice or of destiny?

Tiny Jones:
I don't know how free I am.  I hope it isn't destiny, though.  Destiny is a bitch and will get heroes killed.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could go back in time and change anything, would you?

Tiny Jones:
Maybe not be in Detroit when the dead rose.  That was no fun.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What does your name mean to you?

Tiny Jones:
That I am small and invisible, I suppose.  Someone else gave me the nickname and it stuck.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What scars, birthmarks, tattoos, or other identifying marks do you have?  What stories lie behind them?

Tiny Jones:
Mostly just bruises which go away and the emotional kind that don't.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What was unique about your setting of your books and how did it enhance or take away from your story?

Tiny Jones:
It opened up with me performing in drag in the last bar open in Milwaukee and then the zombies busted in during the middle of the performance.  I met Satchemouth Murderman and Kidd Banjo that night and we were off to the races.  I still haven't been paid for that show.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How do you see yourself?

Tiny Jones:
Two or more people trapped in the same body.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How does your enemy see you?

Tiny Jones:
Some as harmless.  Others see me as the cause for the biggest war in zombie-infested America.  I swear I was just passing through.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How does the author see you?

Tiny Jones:
Maybe as a paycheck.  He could be nicer to all of us.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Why do you think the author chose to write about your story?  Do you think they did a good job?

Tiny Jones:
The short story got picked up in Best Horror of the Year Volume 5 and then again in Zombies: More Recent Dead.  There was enough interest that he started a novel, which grew into a sprawling series.  So, I guess you could say bad planning and poor life choices.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think about the ending?

Tiny Jones:
I haven't reached it yet, but I'm hoping he'll consider setting it in Paris.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?  Would you change anything about the story told? Did they miss anything?

Tiny Jones:
Maybe too much so.  I'm not sure he is always showing my best side.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Have you read any of your authors' other works?  Any good?

Tiny Jones:
Books are for nerds.  His work is a bit pedestrian, too.  He's no Donna Cash, but then no one is.


About the author:
Jay Wilburn is an author of horror and speculative fiction.  He lives in Conway, South Carolina and recently received a kidney transplant.  He is doing well since then.  He is the author of the Dead Song Legend series and The Great Interruption.  He cowrote The Enemy Held Near and has a piece in Best Horror of the Year Volume 5.  Check him out at his website.

About the book:
"In a world where Twilight has the balls to call itself a 'saga,' I think it's time to take a step away from that word.  I go to a book store and see a book proclaiming to be the first in a dodecology, I'm gonna buy that book just cuz the author decided to throw down the gauntlet from the start." ~Indy McDaniel, author of Nady's Nights: Road to Vengeance.

"Truth is lost in legends and legends grow over time.  They grow because we need them to be bigger and we need them to explain the things we fear.  We write them for ourselves and for our world.  The Dead Song Legend of Tiny "Mud Music" Jones has captured the imagination of everyone that survived the apocalypse even as he captured the music of the survivors and the music that helped us all to survive." ~B.B. Tarmancula, Dead World Memorial Dedication.

The Gal's 2017 Halloween Frivolities Day 9: Among the Stacks with Jay Wilburn


Jay Wilburn has been one of my most favorite people for awhile now.  He's talented and a real inspiration, looking at all he has gone through lately and survived.  I was lucky enough to meet him (and his amazing wife) earlier this year at Scares That Care, and after several long conversations, he just became cooler and cooler.  If you haven't read him yet - do so.  If you haven't spoken to him yet - you are truly missing out.


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hey, Jay!!  Welcome back.  It's been awhile since we sat down together.  What's been going on since we last spoke?

Jay Wilburn:
I have three kidneys thanks to a life-saving transplant, so that's working out super.  I'm working on the fifth book in my Dead Song series.  I have other stories and pieces coming out here and there.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Who are you outside of writing?

Jay Wilburn:
I... don't know.  I'm a father and a husband.  I run a podcast for Project Entertainment Network on faith.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How do you feel about friends and close relatives reading your work?

Jay Wilburn:
I don't think many relatives do, actually.  Friends sometimes do and they seem to enjoy it.  I have circles of friends in religious communities and I get mixed reactions there.  Basically, I love when people read my work no matter who they are and whether they like it or not.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

Jay Wilburn:
It's got to be a gift.  Anything creative that you can do even if it is difficult sometimes is a great thing.  I don't think anyone really feels they are worse off for having created a piece of writing.  Some writing has blowback, I suppose, but that's a different issue.  Writing has allowed me to do what I love full-time for years now.  It is work and it requires a lot of creative survival, but still a gift to the writers and the readers ultimately.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How has your environment and upbringing colored your writing?

Jay Wilburn:
I write a lot of stories set in the South.  I have a lot of characters dealing with father issues.  I left teaching to become a full-time writer.  I noticed for a while that every time I wrote about a school, the principal of the school in the story tended to die.  I'm hoping that's just a coincidence and not anything deeper.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the strangest thing you have ever had to research for your books?

Jay Wilburn:
I had to look up how roosters have sex... twice.  For the second story, I forgot the information from the first time I looked it up.  It's hard to explain having to look something like that up twice.
            I was researching a scene for the first book of the Dead Song Legend.  My wife went to Google something on my computer and typed in the letter "S."  Google immediately suggested "Second Street Gay Bars from the 90's" and "Street in Milwaukee where Jeffery Dahmer found his victims."  She just looked at me and I said, "I don't have to explain myself."  She hasn't used my computer since.  But, Damn Google, why can't you be cool?!

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Which do you find the hardest to write: the beginning, the middle, or the end?

Jay Wilburn:
The beginning, I guess.  It is the section I most often have to rework in editing.  I'll sometimes skip to scenes in the middle or at the end during the writing process.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you outline?  Do you start with character or plot?  Do you just sit down and start writing?  What works best for you?

Jay Wilburn:
My current series is slotted for twelve book sand I know the story arc and character details for the whole thing.  The difference comes in where one book ends and the next begins.  Story changes some details in the broad outline along the way.
            That is unusual for me, though.  I tend to start stories, short stories especially, with a concept and a mood in mind.  I'll have the storyline rough in my head, but that almost always changes.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you do when characters don't follow the outline/plan?

Jay Wilburn:
I trust the character and the impulse.  Thinking something through too thoroughly before acting is not how humans tend to operate in real life.  The gut instinct in the moment of writing is almost exclusively the best choice and the realest choice for a character under pressure.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you do to motivate yourself to sit down and write?

Jay Wilburn:
Some of it is just blocking off the time.  I spent a lot of years writing while sick.  If you say, "I'm only going to write one page or for fifteen minutes," you can usually get started even if you don't feel like it.  Once you are started, you're likely to get into a flow and go a little further than you allotted.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Are you an avid reader?

Jay Wilburn:
Avid and sporadic.  I'm rereading Stephen King's books in order, but then I'll read two dozen zombie novels when selecting authors for the Summer and Winter Zombie tours.  Then, I'll switch to a release from another author.  Then, a slew of short stories.  Then, I'll read court transcripts for a particular story I'm writing.  Etc.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What kind of books do you absolutely love to read?

Jay Wilburn:
I'm a big fan of short fiction.  I love really good horror stories in novels, too.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How do you feel about movies based on books?

Jay Wilburn:
I'll watch them.  I'm very forgiving of film, especially zombie movies.  I can separate the two and enjoy both by considering them different stories.  I think it is great even when the film is subpar.  Let's make some real money for writers.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Have you ever killed a main character?

Jay Wilburn:
Yes, I have.  I try to keep all deaths in stories meaningful.  The "anyone can die" gimmick is fine, but it comes at a cost for the story and the reader over time.  Death is weighty in real life and doesn't get shaken off as fast as it has to in many forms of media.  I try to keep that weight in place like it tends to be in real life.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you enjoy making your characters suffer?

Jay Wilburn:
No, I do what the story calls for, but I tend to try to draw out the emotion that would really be felt.  Most of those times it is mixed, even when a character deserves pain.  I try to make it uncomfortable for everyone involved on and off the page, including myself.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the weirdest character concept that you've ever come up with?

Jay Wilburn:
A transgender Baptist circuit preacher serving communities during the zombie apocalypse.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the best feedback you've ever received?  What's the worst?

Jay Wilburn:
"I couldn't stop thinking about it" is the best.  The worst is probably "this is not marketable."  I had enough of writing to market with ghostwriting.  I know the formulas for every genre and subgenre by heart - romance in particular.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do your fans mean to you?

Jay Wilburn:
Knowing that work is being read is a bigger boost than anything I could imagine as a writer.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could steal one character from another author and make them yours, who would it be and why?

Jay Wilburn:
Roland from Stephen King's The Dark Tower series.  The mix of knight and gunman has a ton of possibilities.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could write the next book in a series, which one would it be, and what would you make the book about?

Jay Wilburn:
I'd probably like to write a Dying Days story for Armand Rosamilia's universe.  I'd set it in rural South Carolina and put a family through the evolution of his zombies.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could write a collaboration with another author, who would it be and what would you write about?

Jay Wilburn:
I love writing with Armand Rosamilia.  I think some of our best work comes from working together.  I'd cowrite one with Stephen King, if I could.  Probably an alien invasion apocalypse.  Something I think would be interesting which he hasn't really done before.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What can we expect from you in the future?

Jay Wilburn:
I have a short story collection coming together.  The Dead Song Legend series will continue.  I'm going to pick back up with The Great Interruption series, too.  I have a horror novella I'm editing.  I also have some Intermediate Reader Scary Story books I'm shopping around.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Where can we find you?  (STaLKeR links.)

Jay Wilburn:

You can get to books and everything else from here, including signed copies mailed directly to you.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you'd like to say that we didn't get to cover in this interview or the last?

Jay Wilburn:
Thanks for reading thus far.  I appreciate you supporting THE GAL IN THE BLUE MASK and all the authors featured here.


About the author:
Jay Wilburn is an author of horror and speculative fiction.  He lives in Conway, South Carolina and recently received a kidney transplant.  He is doing well since then.  He is the author of the Dead Song Legend series and The Great Interruption.  He cowrote The Enemy Held Near and has a piece in Best Horror of the Year Volume 5.  Check him out at his website.


 




 


In a world where Twilight has the balls to call itself a 'saga', I think it's time to take a step away from that word.  I go to a bookstore and see a book proclaiming to be the first in a dodecology, I'm gonna buy that book just cuz the author decided to throw down the gauntlet from the start. ~Indy McDaniel, author of Nady's Nights: Road to Vengeance.
            Truth is lost in legends and legends grow over time.  They grow because we need them to be bigger and we need them to explain the things we fear.  We write them for ourselves and for our world.  The Dead Song Legend of Tiny "Mud Music" Jones has captured the imagination of everyone that survived the apocalypse even as he captured the music of the survivors and the music that helped us all to survive. ~B.B. Tarmancula, Dead World Memorial Dedication.

This land has seen more than  its share of blood.  The soil has drunk it up in battles and from the deadly hunger of the undead.  Brothers and sisters have fallen in the fights seen here, including my own, and we honor them by remembering what happened here, but also by moving past it.  I want to include Tiny Jones in that memory.  He is the stuff of legend now, bigger than his physical stature, but he was also a real man with a real life.  He was here and I knew him.  I saw what he did with my won eyes.  Even by my own witness, it seems too fantastic to believe.  He may well have saved us all from ourselves and from the zombies. ~Senator Brokenoak, Maggie Valley Reconciliation Conference.

Tiny Jones didn't know me from Adam.  He walked into where they were keeping me and he put down a list with my name on it.  When they wouldn't let me go, he killed them and fought his way out with me under his arm.  I lived the rest of my life free because he demanded my freedom.  I know he is controversial and some people don't believe in him, but I know.  Some saviors go as a lamb to the slaughter; some come in like the lion and bring the slaughter. ~Sampson Samples, The Trial of Abbott Caradog
            Jay Wilburn manages to take us on an epic ride of horror... only the horror doesn't get in the way of seeing into what remains of the humanity.  I loved this book.  I loved the characters in this book.  I loved Jay's style and grace with which he handles what lesser writers would have turned into a hack and slash fest of one-liners and bad puns.  Jay's a class act and it shines through in his writing. Read The Dead Song Legend Dodecology or you're dead to the world of fine post apocalyptic literature. ~Jack Walden, author of the I Zombie series.

With the violent consequences of their actions following them across zombie-infested America, the three music collectors find new survivors and greater danger out west.  Tiny Jones, Satchelmouth Murderman, and Kidd Banjo seek escape from relentless enemies who only seem to grow in power.  They will have to decide how far they will go to defeat those that wish them harm among the living and the undead.

Katie's family is pulled apart by an unexpected disappearance.  As time goes on, it becomes apparent that these vanishings are more widespread and devastating than anyone could have realized.  By the time people begin to understand what is going on, it may be too late.  The Great Interruption follows Katie's fight to survive before, during, and after the vanishings.  As she becomes used to surviving alone, they all begin to return...
            The Great Interruption tells the story of a different sort of apocalyptic tale in which the world changes right out from under us.  Katie learns that the world she grew up in and the family she once knew may be things she will never be able to return to even as all the others start to reappear just as she remembered them.

Foster and Ruthie Turner tried to save each other, their marriage, and their family.  Every house is haunted with the past of the people who live there.  When one tries to stay and the other tries to leave, everyone will face the dire consequences of both those choices.
            Armand Rosamilia and Jay Wilburn have crafted an emotional haunted house story that cuts deep and true to the realities of trying to make family work.  The Enemy Held Near is a haunting which mirrors the struggle of a relationship coming apart. Everyone carries with them the ghosts of their past.  Every family carries the baggage of history which always goes deeper than anyone can imagine.
            Foster and Ruthie must find a way to survive the home they have built for themselves even if they can't do so together.
            We are all haunted.