Max Brallier Interview
First let’s get to know you, Max Brallier is an author, He recently caught my eye with an amusing book called can you survive a zombie apocalypse. It's in the style of choose you own adventure books which i used to love as a child.He has also written a number of other amusing books Reasons to smoke, reasons to drink and one of my favourite types of books toilet humour. Not about toilets of course just fun little trivia snippets to read while taking a long one!
I would suggest these books to anyone with a sense of humour, though of course this being a horror site today we’ll focus our interview on the foray into zombiedom.
I have here a few questions Jonathan has graciously agreed to answer for my blog.
Q. Hi Max, first off how are you these days?A. Doing great!
Q. Secondly how long have you been writing for?A. Began writing sorta seriously in college. Been writing for money since 2007. Full-time since 2010 or so.
Next I have a few questions from my co-writer on this blog Max:
Q. when did you realise you wanted to write comedy/horror as you have?A. Kind of on a whim. I loved zombies. Zombies were popular in pop-culture. I lived in New York City. So I started playing around with a book about a zombie apocalypse in the city, and made basically a version of myself as the hero. But I had a bunch of different places I wanted to take the story, so I had the idea to do it in this pick your own path style. I didn’t know if it would work – I thought it would be a disaster. But I did about 15,000 words of it and I thought it was really fun.
Q. And one more, how do you keep your writing fresh?A. Hmm. By reading a lot. Reading history, reading magazines, reading the Daily News – there are an abundance of great stories out there waiting to be written.
Back to me now:
Q. Max there’s a lot of Indie writers out there that cater to a very specific crowd of readers now I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing a few such as Mark Tufo and James Cook, how do you feel about these and would you put yourself in that bracket?A. I don’t think I’d put myself in the indie bracket – though I’ve honestly never thought about it. But I do a lot of writing for big publishers like Penguin, Simon & Schuster, etc. And I have an agent. So no, not really independent. I did self-publish one novella digitally– really just as an experiment. I think independent writers – by which I assume you mean writing and publishing without the help of a publisher – are fantastic. It takes balls. And publishing is such a screwed up industry in many ways – so any shake up is good. Authors don’t make enough money in the current/traditional publishing system – they give up a lot and, quite often, get very little in return. So keep doing what you’re doing, independent authors, fight the power. J
Q. On that note your book has a very specific niche itself, what took you from your usual style of writing and apply to the ZA (zombie apocalypse) setting?A. I just wrote the book I wanted to read. It was the first piece of fiction I really wrote – so I didn’t have a usual style when I wrote it. I kind of developed it as I wrote. Also – I’m a lazy reader – I skim big paragraphs. So I try to leave that crap out. Anything I wouldn’t read, I leave out. At least I try to – how successful I am at that, I dunno!
Q. What influences if any have had an impact on your work?A. Movies, more than books, were my biggest influences. I wanted the action scenes in Can You Survive to feel like a movie – the pacing, the feeling.
Q. What information do you think you can give anyone who hasn’t read or would sway them onto reading your books?A. I’m a nice person and my rent is overdue so you should probably buy my books please thanks.
Q. How popular do you think literature is in the world at moment, as in popular, less popular or on the come back? In my views thanks to kindle/E-readers it’s making a come backA. More books are being read, thanks to e-readers. And that’s awesome. I prefer physical books for my own personal reading, but I think e-readers are fantastic. It’s not the format of the book that matters – it’s the words that matter. The more people reading, the better – regardless of whether they’re holding a stack of bound paper in their hands or they’re holding a digital screen.
Q. Do you have a favourite book or series of books if so what is it?A. Hmm. Favorite book of all time is probably Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg. Favorite series is Richard Stark’s Parker series. Someday, I’d really like to write a series about a hard-boiled anti-hero, like Parker. I think they’re still doing new Parker books with a different author, but I haven’t read them. I still haven’t finished all of Westlakes. I also like Robert B. Parker’s western series a lot and I was pretty devastated when he passed. I devoured TinTin books when I was a kid and I still come back to them. I love The Goon and Atomic Robo.
Q. I am currently trying my hand at writing I find it hard to concentrate on it for any long amount of time though, cooking, eating, something else catching my interest. So I write it bit by bit on a blog, how do you stay focused or what are your tricks for sustained and successful writing?A. Oh god. It’s so hard. Don't get discouraged. It’s all cognitive behaviour stuff – figure out what works for you, and do that more. What doesn’t work, change it. I have a million tricks. My concentration is terrible. It’s not easy. I rarely write at home – it’s so hard. For a long time I wanted to write at home – I had set up a little office area and I bought a nice chair and everything. But it just didn't work. I couldn’t get stuff done. So I go to a coffee shop everyday. I need to be out to write. I write for 50 minutes at a time – I set a little alarm on my phone. When that 50 minutes is up, I shut my laptop and read a book or step outside or play a game on my phone – anything. I do that for 20 minutes. Then another 50 minutes of writing. Then another 20 not writing. I do that until I’ve written enough for that day. I try not to do research or fact-checking while I write – it’s too easy to get side-tracked. So usually, I shut off the wifi on my computer while writing. Sometimes I’ll listen to music, but not often – I find it distracting. If I do listen to music, it’s always something instrumental – lyrics mess me up. More often than not, it’s the Temple of Doom soundtrack. J
Some fun questions now Max if you would
Q. Do you have a Zombie Apocalypse plan?A. You would think so – but no! Not really! I’d want a sawed off shotgun though. That seems like the coolest zombie killing gun.
Q. What are your favourite horror films/or series?A. Original Dawn of the Dead is my favourite horror movie ever – it was a huge influence on me. I’m not a huge horror fan in general, though. I never liked slasher films much – like Jason or Freddy. They terrified me when I was a kid. I did love Scream when it came out though. Other stuff I like: From Dusk ‘Til Dun, Jaws, Planet Terror, Shaun of the Dead (I friggin LOVE Shaun of the Dead). Oh, and American Horror Story!
Q. Aside from the obvious what are your favourite classic monsters, Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, Wolfman?A. I like big monsters. King Kong, Godzilla. Godzilla was my favourite when I was a kid.
Q. What is your favourite non horror works, films TV etc.A. Oh boy: Everything Walter Hill, Beverly Hills Cop, Indiana Jones, original Star Wars, Breaking Bad, Seinfeld, Happy Endings, Godfather, Newsradio, Die Hards, Lethal Weapons, Predator, everything Ridley Scott, the Wire, Total Recall, Bridge on the River Kwai, Strange Days. I could go on and on.
Q. I believe out of the major horror icons or even apocalypse settings that the zombie isn’t too far off in reality with all the chemicals and other types of ways zombies can be created isn’t it just an accident waiting to happen, what’s your views?A. You’d have to ask a scientist! I’d like to hope it won’t ever happen. But yeah – a lot of recent zombie stuff seems to be based on some sort of fringe science. Jonathan Maberry writes a lot of stuff like that – and it’s all fantastic.
Q. On that note what is that your favourite zombie reanimation way or do you like/prefer any of the following and what are your views, God/Supernatural, Chemical, Radiation, Voodoo or Extra-Terrestrial?A. Chemical and radiation are my favourite. Voodoo is super creepy though.
Q. Where do see your series’ and writing going in the future, as in any follow ups?A. I’m doing a lot of work on licensed properties at the moment – comic book and novel adaptations of existing properties. I’d love to do another original zombie book in the fashion of Can You Survive. We’ll see if that happens!
And is there anything else you would like to say to your readers and viewers of this blog?Just, thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter if you want to hear about my really boring life and how far into FarCry 3 I am.
Thanks Max for a great interview and i hope this gives some people an insight into your world and how their fave author is getting on!
Everyone else please join me on twitter look for @thehorrornation for updates on reviews and more interviews