I am beyond thrilled to have the awesome Chuck Wendig on the blog today. Chuck was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about his brand new release, Blackbirds (feel free to check out my review), and I’m giving away a copy, so check out the details at the bottom of the post!
Please welcome Chuck to the blog!
Chuck, in your words, you’ve written a “metric boatload” of writing related ebooks (not to mention Shotgun Gravy) and you’re the author of Double Dead, plus the upcoming Blackbirds and Mockingbird. What made you finally take the plunge and write the crass, terrifying, and utterly wonderful Double Dead? Did you happy dance when you found out you sold it?
I did not actually sell it in the traditional sense. Abaddon liked my other work and said, “Hey, pitch us something for one of our established book lines.” So, I thought, I’ll pitch them a zombie story for their zombie-themed novel line, TOMES OF THE DEAD. Except for some reason by brain kept thinking about vampires? I was like, “Bad brain! Bad!” and I swatted myself with a newspaper.
But then, suddenly, I got a little vampire chocolate in my zombie peanut butter, and the pitch for DOUBLE DEAD was born. They wanted a chapter-by-chapter outline, so I write one up – and boom, they said “Sure, okay.” They must’ve been drunk or something that day.
I hear it was their fastest selling title of 2011. Enough to earn an e-book sequel – BAD BLOOD.
I’m so excited for the Blackbirds release! Can you tell us a little about it?
I can tell you all about it. Miriam Black knows how you’re going to die. All she needs to do is touch you and she can see the time and manner of your demise, though not the place. She believes she discovers a grim truth about this—nothing she can do will thwart the deaths. And so she lives as kind of a vulture, waiting for people to die and, in effect, looting their corpses.
That’s her at the start of BLACKBIRDS. She soon meets a truck driver whose “death vision” seems connected to Miriam in some way she cannot understand—is she somehow going to be responsible for his death? It renews her quest to see if fate can be overturned, if the reaper’s blade can be turned away. Fate versus free will, with some troubled romance and freaky horror thrown in for good measure!
What are a few of your favorite writers and/or books?
I’ll read anything by the following authors: Robert McCammon, Joe Lansdale, Bradley Denton, Christopher Moore.
What are you reading now?
I’m fortunate enough to have an ARC of McCammon’s THE PROVIDENCE RIDER, the next Matthew Corbett book. So good. Adventure! Horror! Danger! Mystery!
What’s one of your most unusual writing habits?
Gosh, I don’t know if I have unusual habits in terms of writing. I like to drink a draught of bat’s blood before I write, and I can only write wearing a dead possum pubic wig, but that’s, y’know, that’s everyone. I’m nothing unusual there.
What’s the worst thing anyone’s ever said or written about your work?
I’ve been fortunate that, for the most part, reviews of my work have been very good. But I get people at times taking exception to the profanity. I got this review at Amazon for 250 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT WRITING:
“If this author actually had anything helpful to say, it was impossible to find. The book is a conglomeration of abusive statements, excessive swearing, arrogant side-tracking and blatant lack of any sense of how to communicate ideas. Definitely not worth the 99 cents, and since I cannot get a refund, I am hoping this review will save others their hard earned money.”
Great thing about that review is that it sold books for me. Some of my readers were like, “Wow, swearing? Abuse? Arrogance? I’m in.”
Stephen Blackmoore, friend and fellow author of the wildly-good CITY OF THE LOST (and doubly good next-in-the-series, DEAD THINGS), seems to think BLACKBIRDS should win awards. Which is very kind.
Author-of-excellence and all-around nice human Lilith Saintcrow also said some very wonderful things about BLACKBIRDS.
Is it tough balancing your writing with being a brand new dad?
The first six months were very difficult. Lots of adjustment and wibbly-wobbly time management issues going on. But that’s the thing about writing – it’s tough managing any kind of Normal Life and the Writing Life. You just have to suck it up and figure it out.
You write “the scary” very well, but what’s something that truly terrifies you?
Death is very terrifying. It used to paralyze me, thoughts of death. BLACKBIRDS comes out of that, actually.
If you weren’t a writer, what would be your fantasy job?
Vigilante? Tour guide in Hawaii? Crime scene photographer? Some bizarre-o combination of the three?
Assuming you’re willing to share, what’s one of the most embarrassing things you’ve ever done or said?
Oh, man, I dunno. I try not to catalog my embarrassments – of which there have been assuredly many! – because otherwise I’d nest over them like a bird sitting on bad eggs. I will say only this: there was this thing in college about a condom? I’ll say no more than that.
If you could pack your bags and go anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would it be?
Hawaii. It’d always be Hawaii. I feel eerily at peace there.
Is there any more news about upcoming projects or events that you’d like to share?
Just got the cover back for MOCKINGBIRD, the next in the Miriam Black sequence. I’ve got the first book in the GODS & MONSTERS series for Abaddon? I may Kickstart BAIT DOG, my Atlanta Burns novel, soon. And then I’ve always got other things hidden in the dark, seeking a rough and bloody birth…
**Update: BAIT DOG, of which I’m hugely proud to be a backer, has indeed been “Kickstarted“! Check it out
**And that’s not all, DINOCALYPSE NOW, Chuck’s pulp story of dinosaur awesomeness, was also (very) successfully “Kickstarted“: Click here for more info!
Miriam Black knows when you will die.
Still in her early twenties, she’s foreseen hundreds of car crashes, heart attacks, strokes, suicides, and slow deaths by cancer. But when Miriam hitches a ride with truck driver Louis Darling and shakes his hand, she sees that in thirty days Louis will be gruesomely murdered while he calls her name.
Miriam has given up trying to save people; that only makes their deaths happen. But Louis will die because he met her, and she will be the next victim. No matter what she does she can’t save Louis. But if she wants to stay alive, she’ll have to try.
Author comments are in a darker gray color for you to easily identify the posts author in the comments