Interview with S.G. Browne

S. G. BrowneAt the World Fantasy convention it was my pleasure to meet S.G Browne and hear him read the first chapter of his novel, BREATHERS. Happily, when I asked if I could interview him for this blog, Scott said yes. 🙂

I’ve really enjoyed reading your flash fiction on your Live Journal, in particular “Oh Say Can You See…” and “Zombie Gigolo”. Can your fans expect more zombie-themed flash in the future? Will any of them feature characters from BREATHERS?

There will definitely be some zombie-themed posts on my Live Journal blog or on the Undead Anonymous web site, though whether they’ll feature characters from the novel other than Andy remains to be seen.  The “Zombie Gigolo” piece is actually the opening to my entry into the Gross Out Contest at WHC in 2008.  It’s a little more graphic and gritty than the narrative in BREATHERS.

Speaking of BREATHERS, I’ve got to ask, how nervous are you about Breathers? Speaking as someone who has been lucky enough to hear you read some of it, I’m sure it’s going to be a smashing success, but I can’t imagine your insides are in much better shape than Andy’s as you wait to see what’s going to happen.

I vacillate between oddly calm and completely freaked out.

So, why do you write about zombies?

Because I dream about zombies chasing me and I find it thrilling.  Not in a necrophilia sort-of-way, but in the adrenaline rush kind-of-way.  They’re creepy supernatural creatures, without the erotic allure of vampires or the masculine, bestial appeal of werewolves.  They’re also tragically comical.  There’s this humanity about them, about who they were before they became the living dead, that I find amusing and compelling.  Which is essentially why I wrote BREATHERS.

We’ll assume your favorite character from BREATHERS is Andy, so who is your second favorite character in BREATHERS? Why?

Jerry, a twenty-one-year-old zombie who listens to rap music and wears his pants halfway down his ass.  I like Jerry because he’s a bit of a goof and he has no filter on what comes out of his mouth, but he has a good heart and he says “Dude” all the time.  My favorite word is “Dude.”JBreathers by S.G. Browne

Oh my god, I love the word dude. I say it all the time (my friends even tease me about it). It seems very cruel that I need to wait until tomorrow to read this book! LoL One of the things I love the most about BREATHERS is that your zombies are sentient but decomposing. How is it that you are so knowledgeable about things like sloughage and decomposition rates?

Isn’t everyone?  While I was writing BREATHERS, I realized that in order to add some visceral reality to my decomposing protagonist and the mythology I’d created, I had to do some research.  I wanted to ground my story with enough details to offset the liberties I’d taken with zombie physiology.  While I cannibalized some facts about human decomposition from an on-line article by Dr. Trisha Macnair, I have to give special props to Mary Roach, author of STIFF: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, from whom I learned about sloughage, cadaver impact testing, and that up until 1965, necrophilia wasn’t a crime in any U.S. state.

Historically, zombie movies and stories have often been used to make political statements and social criticism. Does BREATHERS have a deeper meaning, or is it pure entertainment?

Initially, I just wanted to write a story where the reader would empathize with the zombie as protagonist, even when he gave in to his instincts.  It was an angle on zombies I’d never seen done before — a dark comedy about a reluctant zombie learning to cope with his new existence in a society that reviles him.  While there is an underlying theme about racism and prejudice, that was never the driving force behind BREATHERS.  It just naturally evolved out of the story.

A little birdy (meme) told me you used to work for Disney. What did you do?

I worked post-production for a company that made all of the TV spots and theatrical trailers for all movies Disney, including Touchstone and Hollywood Pictures. I started out as a driver and left as an assistant producer after two years when I realized working 60 hours a week left little time for writing. Or having any kind of a social life.

Did you ever meet anyone famous?

I met Kevin Costner in 1990 while we were cutting spots for Dick Tracy. He asked me if we were working on the Dick Tracy campaign and before I realized it was him, I answered, “Yeah,” then was too stunned to follow up with anything else. That was it. That was the extent of my reply. One word. Four letters. One syllable.

What’s this I hear about BREATHERS being made into a movie?

Well, it just so happens my film agent also represents Diablo Cody, so one thing led to another and the next thing I know, Diablo Cody and Mason Novick, the writer and director of JUNO, are on board to co-produce the film version of BREATHERS, with Geoff Latulippe adapting the screenplay. Fox Searchlight bought the rights and suddenly my book is on the front page of the Daily Variety. I scrubbed out my toilet the next day just to keep some perspective.

If your fans want to meet up with you in person, what conventions should they plan to attend?

I’ll be attending the World Horror Convention in Winnipeg, April 30-May 3, as well as the HWA Stoker Weekend June 12-14 in Burbank, and the World Fantasy Convention in San Jose, October 29- November 1.

Thank you so much for taking time to answer my questions Scott. Good luck with BREATHERS, I’m sure it will be a roaring success. See you in Winnipeg 😉

Scott’s Website –> http://www.sgbrowne.com/
Undead Anonymous –> http://www.undeadanonymous.com/

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