Guest Author Day with Scott M. Baker
I started writing back in elementary school (though I hope the quality has greatly improved since). I was a huge fan of horror and sci-fi movies, and as so many kids my age I read Famous Monsters of Filmland with an almost religious fervor, at least as much as a fervor as a ten-year old can have. I wanted to be just like Forrest J. Ackerman, so my old man gave me a manual typewriter which I set up in the corner of my room, and every week I typed out my own monster fan mag. It only had a circulation of one -- my mother -- but she was a devoted follower.
After grad school, I spent several years honing my writing skills on espionage novels and techno-thrillers. I rarely admit to writing the first novel because it’s so amateurish. But by the third novel I had hit my stride and found my voice. The problem was, by the time that novel was ready to be published, 11 September had occurred and the market for those type of books had dried up.
In 2003, a dear friend (Renee) who re-ignited the horror bug inside me suggested that since techno-thrillers were not selling, I should try my hand at horror. I started writing The Vampire Hunters in the fall of 2003. The first book in the series will be published by Shadowfire Press in March, and I’m putting the final touches on the last book of trilogy.
Tell us about your favorite character from the book.
I have two. First, there’s Alison Monroe, Drake’s colleague in hunting the undead. She’s my fantasy girl. Smart. Confident. Can kick vampire ass. And looks hot in leather.
Next is Antoinette Varela, the mistress of the Washington coven. I loved writing her parts because she is pure, unadulterated evil, as are all the vampires in my trilogy. I’ve never been a fan of kitschy vampires filled with remorse for the bad that they’ve done. (I’m not putting down these books or their authors -- this genre has an important and extremely viable place in the market.) I grew up watching Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee battling it out. My only gripe was that in most books and movies, the vampires were two dimensional. In TVH, I flesh out the vampires, not so the reader will like them, but will understand them better.
Tell us about your current/upcoming release.
TVH is the classic good-vs.-evil story, with a modern twist. In most vampire stories, the undead prey on single victims who are begging to get bit (the pub girl walking home through dark alleys early in the morning) or small communities to terrified to fight back. TVH taps into the national angst of post-9/11 America. My vampires attack the average person in places where they would normally expect to be safe. Drake and Alison, the vampire hunters, represent the two sides of those fighting the evil -- Drake, who’s in it for the long haul and will fight until either he or the vampires are defeated, and Alison, who harbors doubts about their ability to defeat an unseen enemy whose numbers never seem to end.
For anyone interested in my current work, Living Dead Press recently has published two of my zombie short stories in some of their anthologies. “Cruise of the Living Dead” appeared this past summer in Dead Worlds: Volume 3. For anyone who likes their zombies sprinkled with a little holiday cheer, “Deck the Malls with Bowels of Holly” appeared in October’s Christmas Is Dead anthology (think zombie reindeer). Both are available at Amazon.
Who are your literary heroes and why?
Brian Keene: Where many people rest on their laurels, Brian refused to spend his entire career known only as “the zombie guy.” Brian constantly reinvents himself and finds unique ways of marketing himself, and still maintains quality.
Joss Whedon: Anyone who can write edge-of-your-seat material and still successfully infuse it with tints of humor has me coming back for more.
Tell us five random things about yourself.
I relax with whiskey and cigars.
I’m allergic to cats and most dogs (which explains the rabbits).
I’ve traveled extensively through Europe, Asia, and parts of the Middle East.
My writing desk is covered with horror statues.
My most interesting job was as an exterminator in the Boston area.
From the moment you conceived the idea for the story, to the published book, how long did it take?
Six and a half years.
When it comes to writing, are you an early bird or a night owl?
Normally a night owl, but with a day job and six rabbits, I’m an any-time-I-get-a-minute person.
What book are you reading now?
Just finished Mark Kramer’s The Real Night of the Living Dead. Awesome read. Am currently getting caught up reading my graphic novels.
What hobbies do you actively pursue?
My love of history and working with animal rescue groups, particularly Loudoun County Animal Shelter.
What would we find under your bed?
Dust bunnies and rabbit droppings.
Beatles or Monkees? Why?
Monkees. I’ve never been mainstream and I try not to rake myself too seriously.
Tell me about the absolute best fan letter you’ve ever received.
“Best story you’ve written yet. When are you coming home to visit? Mom.” (What can I say -- I’m a newly published author.)
Where can readers find you on the web?
My homepage is Things That Go Thump in the Night at www.scott-m-baker.com. The best place to keep up to date with what I’m doing is at my blog at http://scottmbakerauthor.blogspot.com/. I can also be found on Twitter as vampire_hunters and on My Space and Facebook as Scott M. Baker (author).