Wednesday, March 16, 2011

An Unpublished Interview

J. Travis Grundon with Joe Schwartz at the 4th Annual Author Shout Out, in St. Louis

An Interview w/ Author J. Travis Grundon

First of all, let me say that I am in total agreement with you as far as the ebook format is concerned. Do you think the ebook format is one of the main reasons that print book sales have dropped?

I wish ebooks were the main reason, but I can’t even tell you how many people I meet who don’t read. It breaks my heart. It seems like you’re not cool if you read. I may be resistant to the electronic books trend, but at least if people are reading ebooks they are still reading.

I, myself, believe that print media is in big trouble. I mean, why would anyone want to read a novel on a tiny little screen, when they could have a brand new hard copy in their hands?

I think people have to always be on the go. The biggest argument I hear for ereaders, is that it is about accessibility and discover-ability. It might be cool to carry around every book I own and show people my work with the click of a button.

Speaking of print media, what was the inspiration for the book Forrest J Ackerman's Anthology of the Living Dead?

The idea came from being a member of I noticed that there were a lot of authors and writers on there, and we all loved zombies. I thought it would be a cool idea to collect all of those storytellers into one book and use the book to promote, but that never happened.

I had my first zombie story War and Pieces ready to go, several authors lined up, a great Daniel Serra cover and a publisher ready to go with the title The Anthology of the Living Dead. Sadly nothing happened with the idea for a long time. The publisher went out of business and never contacted anyone. Some authors dropped out. The book was dead.

It wasn’t until Joe Moe called and said Uncle Forry wanted to be a part of it, that is was reanimated to spread a collection of infectious fiction. We picked up new authors like Robert Freese, Del Howison and Axelle Carolyn. We also had a better book and an new publisher.

Did Uncle Forry ever get a chance to see it before his untimely passing?

Joe read Forry most of the final selected stories including Joe’s, Cassandra’s and mine, but he unfortunately did not get to see the finished book.

Did you ever get a chance to meet him in person?

I never got to meet Forry in person or see the fabulous Akermansion. Living in Indiana, with a fear of flying, it was hard to get to Horrorwood, Karloffornia. I didn’t make it to the West coast until I attended Forry’s Memorial Tribute at the Egyptian Theatre.

It was a sad, but incredible event. I was given a chance to really get to know him though the people who knew him best. It was a real honor to be there.

You strike me as a big fan of pop culture. Does it seem to you that pop culture changes with each new decade, and mainstream literature and film right along with it?

I like pop culture in the same way I like watching people at Wal-Mart or the mall. I think it’s funny. It may not be a popular opinion, but I think pop culture is degenerating with each generation. I think books like I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell, movies like Not Another Teen Movie and TV like Jersey Shore, Sponge Bob Squarepants and Bad Girl’s Club are distracting people from quality entertainment.

At some point stupid became funny, “reality” drama took over and movies with big stars, product placement and explosions replaced movies with a plot. I don’t really see a lot out here that make me want to watch TV, read a new book or watch new movies.

I like to be challenged to think. I’ll stick to reading Kerouac, Vonnegut and Palahniuk. I’ll be watching Castle and Californication and save my big screen dollars for the type of movie with a limited release.

What decade was your favorite as far as film and fiction are concerned? 70s? 80s?

My favorite films are from every decade. I really like Guy Richie and the Cohen Brothers, but I have the biggest crush on Lauren Bacall. I also think that as cool as Johnny Depp is nobody will ever be as cool as Humphrey Bogart.

I am a fan of classic horror like Frankenstein and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. I don’t really get into reading or watching much modern horror. I have enjoyed films like trick R treat, or Red Velvet, but I think Hollywood had it right when it was black and white.

What do you see for the future of horror fiction or film? Some critics say it is in a slump.

I think “in a slump” puts it mildly. I see a whole generation of horror authors that want to be the next Stephen King, instead of trying to be the first at anything. I see Stephen King selling a ton of books, but I haven’t read a good King story since the late 80’s or early 90’s.

I see the same thing in film. The creative well is tapped and we are reduced to bloody stool samples and the few good, original horror films out there are being over looked.

Any new books on the horizon?

I found out I was included in Toe Tags 2, the sequel to the book that went head to head with Forrest J Ackerman’s Anthology of the Living Dead in the Preditors and Editors Reader Poll. I’m really excited about that.

I'm working with a few friends like Joe Schwatrz, Scott Lefebvre and Brandon Bennett to put together a collection of transgressive short fiction we are calling Fracas: A Collection of Short Friction. It looks like it's going to be pretty cool.

I hope to have that and another manuscript out in time for Contamination 2011: The Sequel. That should be in June, but I'd like to keep the details to myself until they are more developed.

There are also two other short story collections I’ve been asked to join, but I don’t have much information on them.

I stay busy.

Any last words for our readers?

Thanks for asking me to do this interview. I look forward meeting everyone that likes my work, and maybe even a few that don’t.

Check out my website to stay posted on all things J. Travis Grundon.

This interview was conducted for a book of interviews, with “the future of books, film and music.” The author/ publisher of this book has recently been charged with plagiarism, allegedly stealing nearly his entire body of work and plagiarizing such wordsmiths as Dean Koontz, and the great William S. Burroughs.

It is the belief of this author, that the book will never see the light of day, but now my interview has been posted for my friends and fans to read.

- Travis