Interview (& Giveaway): Chuck Wendig, author of Blackbirds!

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.”

The best?
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!

Keep up with Chuck: Website | Twitter

**Read my reviews of Blackbirds, Double Dead, and Dinocalypse Now!

1. You MUST fill out the form below (lots of chances for extra entries!)
2. Giveaway is for 1 copy of Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig to 1 winner.
3. Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY (wherever The Book Depository ships)
4. Must include a valid email address with your entry
5. You must enter on or before 5/3/12
6. Please see my Giveaway Policy.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Blackbirds:
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.


  1. I love horrors and thrillers, but I’m a little ashamed that I’m just now discovering the awesomeness of Chuck Wendig! Also, now I know that to be a successful writer I just need some bat’s blood and wear a dead possum’s pubic wig on my head… easy enough. 😉 The covers of Blackbirds and Mockingbird are just amazing! Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  2. I’ve been seeing these covers around lately and boy they sure are fantastic!! I also wish I could go to Hawaii….the ocean!!! Thanks for the wonderful giveaway. I’ve definitely added Blackbirds to my TBR list.

  3. Love that story about the angry review getting you more readers! That’s pretty awesome.

    Still shuddering from the pubic-hair wig. Bleh.

    Optimism level about book: high.

  4. I’m a huge fan of Chucks e-books, and especially his blog ( ). I would read anything he decided to write, because it’s Chuck, and trust me, once you get sucked into the profanity laden treasure filled debris cluttered sewer of madness that Chuck calls his mind, you’re hooked.
    It might help that I share a certain bizarre humor, but I’m a writer, so obviously that means I’m also insane.
    Blackbirds sounds epic, and I look forward to getting to read it!

  5. Angry reviewers rock. lol I love Robert Mccammon have you read Swan Song. I read it cover to cover when I was 15 than read it again. Scared the beejesus out of me but loved every moment of it.

    Looking forward to reading Blackbirds

  6. I’m really intrigued by these sorts of plots, so I’m excited to read it!

  7. Great Q&A! Chuck’s answers are hilarious and I’m excited to read Blackbirds, whether I buy it or win it. Great cover art, too!
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  8. I liked Shotgun Gravy a lot. I think I’d like Blackbirds no less.

  9. Priscilla Pomeroy

    I have never had the pleasure of reading any of the author’s books. No matter what a review says, good or bad, I like to check out books for myself. I will put these on my TBR list, as they all sound pretty good.

  10. I love Chuck’s sense of humor, his “25” blog posts are hilarious. I can’t wait to read his novel.

  11. Wow! Great plot. I look forward to reading this.

  12. Chuck Wendig is amazing. <3

  13. I really enjoyed the interview and I’m looking forward to reading Blackbirds. And checking out the rest of Chuck Wendig’s books.

  14. I’m dying to read Blackbirds!! Thank you for the great interview. I can’t wait to read it!!

  15. Fantastic interview! What I’ve heard about Blackbirds so far has really sucked me in; I haven’t read any of Chuck’s books yet, but this sounds like a great place to start.

  16. I’m looking forward to reading more of Chuck’s work.

  17. Thanks for the great comments, everyone!

  18. great great interview! cannot wait to read this : )

  19. I need to suck it up and figure out the new dad writing thing too. Blackbirds sounds like it’s right up my alley.

  20. Awesome interview 🙂 I love his snark and I’m definitely going to go check out his book. I’ve been reading awesome reviews!

  21. Chelsea Hornbacher

    This book looks awesome, I noticed the cover first, and seriously looks fantastic. Then I read what it was about and I really want to read it!

  22. I saw the cover of Blackbirds about a week ago & it instantly captured my attention. I read the summary & on my TBR list it went. I am excited to read this. Thanks for the giveaway =)

  23. Just download Chuck’s other new release, Dinocalypse Now. He’s a busy guy.

  24. Very fun interview. The books sound good. Very interesting covers.

  25. Loved the angry review! Probably would have made me buy the book as well 🙂 And now I am really curious about embarassing moment!

  26. Haha, that negative review actually sounded like a great pitch! 🙂 I would love to know who is the cover artist for Blackbirds and Mockingbird – they are so striking!

  27. I love the covers for Blackbirds & Mockingbird.

  28. This book looks fantastic, with a cover like that I do not know how people would pass this book by. I am looking forward to reading this book

  29. I have seen these books a lot. I am sorry to say I have not read them yet. I will be fixing that shortly!!

  30. I think this is the first I’ve heard of this series looks interesting, thanks for the giveaway.

  31. I would love to read BLACKBIRDS thank you. It looks amazing.

  32. I haven’t read your book, but I’m intrigued by these sorts of plots, so I’m want read it!

  33. You have a wonderful sense of humor…bats blood…lol
    Thanks for the great give away!!! Gale

  34. Great interview, if I don’t win, I’m buying myself some copies.

  35. Pingback: Robot Round-Up, 27.04.12 :: Angry Robot Books | The City Robotics Site

  36. I know authors don’t get much input in their cover art (if at all), but I must say yours is AWESOME! How involved were you in the creative process leading up to them?

  37. Hi, Chuck! Congrats on the book release. You’re a new author to me and your books look great so I hope I win!!
    msmjb65 AT gmail DOT com

  38. After hopping over and reading the review of Blackbirds, my fingers are itching to get it. Thank you so much for taking the time to share with us today and for the awesome giveaway opportunity.

  39. Always interesting to see what Chuck has to say. 🙂

  40. I bought this book even though I vowed to NEVER pay more than $4.99 for an ebook. I can’t wait to read it! 🙂

  41. How is it possible that I have no come across these books before? Those covers are amazing and the story sounds so too. Thank you for bringing these to my attention, win or lose I’ll be reading these!

  42. Blackbirds sounds so interesting!The covers are so unique and pretty!I’m a sucker for these kind of covers!Hope to read this one soon 🙂

  43. So the question is – how did he arrive at the idea of ‘death vision’ for his main character? (And how’s he feel about that one movie the eerily apes that concept?)

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