Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Next Big Thing: Harry Shannon

My talented and devious Top Suspense Group colleague Mr. Stephen Gallagher tagged me for this project. I didn't even realize I'd ticked him off. Anyway, it's called a Blog Hop. Here's how it works. You follow this design, answer ten questions on the next big thing that you're working on, then tag five other writers to do the same. This could go on forever and may outlast Twinkies.

What is the working title of your next book?
The Hungry 3: At the End of the World, co-written with Steven W. Booth. The novel should be out in February, 2013. It concerns the further adventures of Sheriff Penny Miller of Flat Rock, Nevada, who is still braving the Zombie Apocalypse.

Where did the idea come from?
The first book The Hungry began as a short zombie story written for a charity anthology. Steven and I had so much fun doing it we continued on and finished the novel version on a lark. It sold very well, so The Hungry 2: The Wrath of God followed in August. We're still not sure if this finishes a trilogy or if we'll feel compelled to do more.

What genre best defines your book?
Zombies, baby! And tongue in cheek horror, I guess.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie?
The actress featured on all three covers of The Hungry books is the lovely Ms. Gillian Shure, who co-starred in my micro-budged ode to 80's horror Dead and Gone back in 2007. She has become so connected in my brain with redheaded Sheriff Penny Miller it has become difficult to imagine anyone else playing the part. Our fans tell us Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl on The Walking Dead, has simply got to play her biker friend Scratch.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Sheriff Penny Miller and her friends hide out at a hunting lodge in the snowy mountains of Colorado, hoping to escape the zombie plague. It is not a Merry Christmas.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
All three of The Hungry novels are published by Genius Books, which is owned by my co-author Steven.

How long did it take you to write the first draft?
We do an outline first, emailing back and forth, working out just the key beats of the story in rough chapter form. Once that is set, Steven generally does the rough, I rewrite that and send it back. Once we get going the actual first draft (one pass for each of us) generally takes us about three months.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I suppose we'd be considered a mix of drama and comedy. We have loads of redneck humor, a touch of Zombieland or Shaun of the Dead, but the satire is mixed with genuinely creepy scenes similar in tone to the zombie work of Jonathan Maberry and Joe McKinney. Joe and Jonathan are friends of ours, and fans of Sheriff Penny Miller. In fact, Joe wrote the introduction to the first book.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I've always loved zombie lore, particularly the George Romero school and the 1970's classic Night of the Living Dead. I'm from Nevada, and often set stories and novels in that state. When we were writing the charity story, it just tickled me to combine those two and see how a redneck Sheriff in a small town might react to facing a horde of the undead. We began in the jail, in a salute to Rio Bravo, and it took off from there and became a series.

What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
You can read The Hungry: At the End of the World by itself come February, or buy and read the first two now and start from the beginning. Either way, be sure to make a very, very big bowl of popcorn, dim the lights and be prepared for a mix of laughs on scares. These novels have been a ton of fun to write, and we think anyone who loves shambling monsters is bound to enjoy reading them.
These "Next Big Thing" blogposts are planned to appear every Wednesday. As of now I'm tagging Gene O'Neill, Scott Nicholson, Brian Knight, Steven W. Booth, and Tim Marquitz.

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