Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Night of the Snarky Dead

So Mario Acevedo sends me a message and says: you ought to interview Mark Henry. Since I’m used to doing everything Mario tells me (even though I’m still traumatized that he threw a sandwich at me after I drove across town to deliver it to him) I knew I had to prioritize this.

After doing my homework about Mark, it all made sense. Besides being an author, one of Mark’s talents is “snark stylist.” Ergo, I immediately liked the guy. His signature creation is the drop-dead gorgeous, bratty zombie Amanda Feral who can say it like it is…because she’s dead.

RT Book Reviews deemed Battle of the Network Zombies as one of the best urban fantasies of 2010.

Mark will be signing at the Broadway Book Mall in Denver, 7pm, Friday, Feb 11, 2011.

CIR: If I read it correctly, you basically pitched an idea for a novel to an editor at a conference, the editor asked for a partial, you went back and wrote it. Had you written anything before?

MH: I’d written short stories and submitted a few of them to various contests and anthologies and stuff, but I’d never completed a novel. I’d started one, but you have to understand that the timeline is even weirder than it sounds. I had worked as a psychotherapist up until 2006, before getting completely burnt-out and getting this bug up my butt that I could actually write. So, I started going to a writing class, which turned out to be more of a critique group that you pay for (never a good idea). Out of that, I found out about writing conferences and ended up down in Portland pitching like I had clue one about publishing. Luckily the editor I talked to thought my idea was funny because I hadn’t written a word of it. Over the next four months I cranked out a zombie comedy to offend EVERYONE and it sold shortly thereafter.

CIR: Do you test your manuscripts with “pilot” readers to see if the material is funny?

MH: The first book went through my wife’s horrific blue pencil ordeal, but no one else. The humor is definitely an acquired taste, very dark and irreverent and, some might say, brutal. It’s a direct representation of the humor in my social group: gallows humor born from working as a psychotherapist in broken systems with abused children and domestic violence. You develop a pretty sick coping mechanism or you leave the business after six months.

CIR: I see that you’re working on horror comedies and horror erotica themes. Clearly, you’re a scary movie buff too, so what about writing a traditional horror?

MH: I’ve written traditional horror stories, but don’t have any plans to jump into horror, the voice I’ve developed and feel comfortable in doesn’t exactly lend itself to high tension. I am writing some young adult fantasy that gets fairly close to horror under the name Daniel Marks.

CIR: Did you ever try stand-up comedy?

MH: Never. In fact, I used to be very uncomfortable with public speaking until I stopped giving a crap. I guess, in a sense, my vlogging is as close as I’ll get to stand-up. And readings, of course, like the one at the Broadway Book Mall. Even if that’s just a signing, I’ll probably jump on the intercom and read passages from the Snooki book.

CIR: What do you think the next level will be for zombies and vampires?

MH: Definitely interspecies marriage. If the Christians can’t get behind zombies hitchin’ it up with vamps then screw ‘em and their blue laws.

CIR: I have to ask at least one bizarre question. It’s my sickness. Please bear with me. Would you write books if you had to do it with a quill?

MH: Oh hell no. I’d end up jamming that feather up under my fingernail faster than you can say P.O.W. fetish.

Interviewed by Gusto Dave


Patricia Stoltey said...

I love snarky, irreverent authors who write snarky, irreverent books.

Dave, thanks for interviewing Mark for Chiseled in Rock. Gonna hop over to Twitter now and spread the word.

j. a. kazimer said...

Great interview, Dave. I'm so excited to go to Mark's book signing on Friday. Hope to see a lot of you there.