Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Mr. Moon Interviews Benjamin Rogers
Hello all! I'm very excited to bring you now a few questions with one of my brothers from The Library of the Living Dead; Benjamin Rogers! Benjamin has been working hard at spreading the world for the first novel in his trilogy, Faith and The Undead. Benjamin is also a fellow zombie fan and Pink Floyd fan that is a convention going fool. He has taken time out of his busy schedule to chat with me, so we'd better get down to it!
Q.Let’s start at the beginning. How long have you wanted to write and what were your earliest influences? Has your style changed any as you read more and more authors work?
A. Actually I don’t ever remember wanting to be an author. I wrote in High School and college but that was for assignments. It hasn’t been until the past couple years that I really took up the pen for ‘me’ and just let the words flow.
My style changes every time I read something by a different author. I pick up something new. Except Cormack McCarthy’s lack of punctuation. I can’t stand that! I guess I’m a blend of every author I’ve ever read from William W. Johnstone (The Ashes series) to Shakespeare.
(Interviewer Note: Blood Meridian is one of my favorite novels of all time and the lack of punctuation drives me crazy as well.)
Q. Your debut novel is FAITH & THE UNDEAD, part of a trilogy. How much of the story have you figured out? How long has such a big idea been in your head?
A. To be honest I have the entire story in my head. I know where everything is going and what is going to happen to each character. The big task is getting down on paper. I’m pretty sure some of the things I do are going to confuse and upset some people but I don’t write for pulp. I write because I have a story to tell and usually my tales have a definitive purpose.
The story came about after the 2009 Horror Realm in Pittsburgh. I was working on a different story at that time, but after the convention I chose a different route that led to the Trilogy of the Undead!
Q. What is keeping you busy right now?
A. Well, I’m obviously working on Book 2, CRUSADES & THE UNDEAD which is now a weekly blog post on my website at www.benjamincrogers.com. I’m also working on recording FAITH & THE UNDEAD as an audio book but that is something I have no experience with so it is taking a little time!
Of course there are the endless home improvement projects and my beautiful 18 month old daughter Mallory Jayne to keep me busy!
Q. Fast zombies or slow zombies?
A. I’m a diehard traditionalist so I lean heavily toward slow zombies. I prefer the concept of mass death moving towards you. There are plenty of other fast monsters out there!
Q. How far would you make it through Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory?
A. Now that I’m diabetic I’d like to think I could make it all the way through but my guess is that I wouldn’t make it past the river of chocolate! There were so many things to choose from in there that I’d be running the other kids over!
(Interviewer Note: If I fell into a chocolate river i wouldn't come back up until I couldn't feel my arm.)
Q. Where do you see independent horror is three and a half years?
A. Honestly I really see independent horror taking over from the larger publishers in that time. There are so many great authors out there like Dunwoody, North, Moon, Long…. It is hard for me to say nothing will change. We have the LOVE that large publishers don’t!
(Interviewer Note: Hey, I know them dudes!)
Q. To what do you attribute the growing popularity of zombie fiction?
A. We had an interesting discussion at Horror Realm 2010 about the zombie being the last monster archetype. I think that people are realizing that the zombie is the closest thing to a 'true’ monster we will ever get. It could be your wife, lover, child, neighbor, or someone you don’t even know moaning on the other side of the door or pounding on it to get to your flesh! That is truly scarier than some vampire lurking outside your window!
Q. Who said, ‘I don’t roll on Shabas!’?
A. First of you crazy fool, the Jewish day of rest is spelled ‘Shabbos’! And the man who said it is Walter Sobchak from “The Big Lebowski”. One of John Goodman’s greatest roles ever!
(Interviewer Note: Way to point out my non-Jewness, Benjamin! And ten bonus points for your correct answer!)
Q. What was the first scary movie that you remember watching? Do you remember the last time you watched it?
A. Omega Man, with my Dad when I was little. We had just moved to Pittsburgh and bought a house that needed a lot of work. One Saturday it was really nasty out and Dad decided to sit down on and watch some B-grades on Superhost out of Cleveland. He called me in with him and we watched Omega Man. I watch it twice a year and am due on 11/6 since it was my Dad’s birthday!
Q. Speaking of that, if you could pick 6 horror movies for an all-night movie marathon what would they be?
A. Night of the Living Dead – Got to go old school here!
The Exorcist (original uncut) – Dude, seriously! I get to meet Linda Blair at Horror Hound next week and have no clue what I’m going to say!
Dawn of the Dead (original) – No doubt. Screw the remake!
Event Horizon – Gotta feed the sci-fi fan in me!
The Last Man on Earth – Vincent Price & a Richard Matheson story to boot! This was a no brainer for inclusion!
Omega Man – I know. Charleton Heston in an inaccurate remake of The Last Man on Earth. It has sentimental value for me!
(Interviewer Note: I am down for this marathon!)
Q. Okay, spotlight on Mr. Rogers, please….What is your all-time favorite piece of zombie fiction so far?
A. Damn, MoOn! Not an easy question to answer. If you are talking film then there is no doubt only one choice and that is Night of the Living Dead. When it comes to the written word I have to say it is Empire by David Dunwoody. Something about Empire really struck a chord in me. Something deep. It is a big inspiration behind me writing the Trilogy of the Undead. I will say that I greatly prefer independent zombie work as opposed to major publishing. I think we have more unique ideas and presentation!
(Interviewer Note: I agree, Empire is one hell of a great zombie novel!)
Q. Are there any local legends around where you live?
A. We don’t have anything major like Bigfoot, but we do have some things that are based in historical fact. We have Mansfield Penitentiary, which was a brutal prison and is purportedly quite haunted. There is also Camp Chase which was a Confederate Prisoner of War camp. It is haunted by the voices of children and a woman that is dressed in white who is supposedly looking for someone. Also this area was on the front edge of the frontier so we have a lot of ‘dead’ towns around here. You’ll find a lot of old buildings that have fallen down to rubble so there are hauntings around there. We do have a ‘plague’ cemetery. When they built all the canals through Ohio there was a rash of mysterious deaths during the construction near a small town called Lockbourne, OH. They buried all the people together to isolate the disease but there is no documentation of the cause of death. You can actually see it in the center of a cornfield now a day!
Q. Aside from zombies, what is your favorite ALL-TIME monster from film or book?
A. While not a huge fan of gore I love Pinhead from Hellraiser. There is just something about him. The stoic nature, the dark poise. He scares the crap out of me!
Q. Quick, name drop five great independent horror talents!
A. Okay MoOn, I’m going to treat this like NFL picks. Four that everyone knows and then I’m going out on a limb for my fifth!
David Dunwoody, Stephen North, TW Brown, Ben Jones, and my out on the limb pick Monique-Cherie Snyman (Keep an eye on this writer! I think she is going to go a long long way!)
Q. The zombie virus is spreading across the face of the planet at an alarming rate. America is torn asunder by the gnashing teeth of an undead army. China has gone dark and black smoke billows from the devastation of its greatest cities. South America is crowded with the risen dead and even the dense forests offer no safety. Britain is the last country to fall and people are doing their best to just go on with life. Agent 007, James Bond, is as stressed as the rest of his countrymen and, like many, he seeks the calming trance a Pink Floyd show brings. Halfway through the laser show chaos erupts and zombies attack. Crew, security, and fans alike are attacked and then rise again to claim their pound of flesh. In all the chaos 007 and Pink Floyd frontman David Gilmore escape the crowd of ravenous dead and climb up into the catwalks. 007 sends Gilmore up the ladder first and for his act of heroism he receives a zombie bite on his ankle. He manages to climb the ladder but collapses at the top. David Gilmore, armed only with a day-glo green guitar, approaches the super spy but backs up when 007 snarls viciously at him with blood dripping from his open mouth. SO now, Benjamin, tell me what happens when Zombie 007 faces off with David Gilmore! You have 1,000 words to describe the carnage and the outcome!
Gilmour looked down upon the now green skinned Bond as he pulled himself across the catwalk. The wound on his ankle had festered so badly that Bond’s leg couldn’t support his weight. The Pink Floyd front man backed up slowly knowing that he had some space behind and some time to figure out what he was going to do about this current predicament.
Let’s see. I’ve thrown a concert in a Roman amphitheater in Pompeii, made beds fly, and pigs soar through the sky. With that rhymed thought, Gilmour began to strum his day-glo green Strat that he was trying out for the show. At any regular concert he would have gone for his black one but there was something special about today. Something special indeed!
“What’s wrong my dear David? Is there something amiss? I told you years ago I would control the world,” the voice behind Gilmour exclaimed.
He turned his head partway to the voice, never taking both eyes off the undead Bond that had paused his forward progress. On the giant screen over the stage, Gilmour could see a giant white Persian cat with a hand stroking the fur on its head. As the camera panned back the face that greeted the guitarist shocked him, Roger Waters.
“You stole my band, David. I’m here to take it back!”
Gilmour bristled at the accusation and began to strum the tones of a modern Floyd favorite, “Dogs of War.” He knew that Waters was always jealous of that song and that the undead were oddly terrified of the large animal. As Bond picked up with his advance towards him, the giant German Shepherds from the video came up on the huge screen and began their lope across the field.
Bond, in his extreme fear, fell shrank back from the guitarist opening a large gap between the man and zombie. Realizing his chance, Gilmour changed songs to “Pigs (three different ones)” from the Animals album. When the song starts, Gilmour knew that Algie the Fifth, would come fly across the top of the stadium right where his nemesis stood. Sure enough, from behind the stage, came Algie the large inflatable pig that had kept audiences entertained for almost thirty years.
The slight breeze gently buffeted the remote control porcine blimp as she made her way out into the open stadium. The laser show that displayed on the large screen kept Bond occupied with flashing lights as the porker made its way closer and closer until it was too late for the undead super spy. The forelock of the pig caught him in the small of the back and flipped him over the railing that the zombie had used to pull himself upright. Gilmour watched the body tumble through the air as he led into one of the songs many guitar riffs and splatter against the seat that had been set up on the stadiums floor.
“Damn it Gilmour! You bloody git! How dare you foil my plans again?” shouted the voice from the screen.
“Anytime, Roger. I warned you once and I’ll warn you again; do not mess with The Floyd!”
With that declaration the screen went dark. During his battle with the British Agent, Bond, the stadium had managed to clear out as the undead chase their living quarry out into the night air of the town. Stand atop the catwalk and looking out into the empty venue, Gilmour smirked and began to play one of his all-time favorite songs, “Comfortably Numb.” He broke into the lyrics through his wireless microphone and had a surprise.
When he asked the line, “Is there anybody out there?” a voice spoke up from the arena floor.
“I am sir!”
Gilmour looked down to see a young girl, maybe fifteen years of age standing below him amongst the strewn seats and body parts.
“Have you been bitten?”
“Good! Do you know who I am?”
“You’re the lead singer of Floyd!”
“Yes, but what’s my name?”
The girl looked down at the floor and built up the courage for her reply. “I don’t know, sir!”
Gilmour stood back for a second and looked around the arena taking in the carnage, devastation and most of all Bond’s broken body not twenty feet from the teenage survivor.
“It’s Gilmour, David Gilmour. Double O Pig, Zombie Hunter!”
Ladies and Gentlemen, Benjamin Rogers!
Be sure to track Benjamin down at his web site
NEXT Up- William Pauley III!!!!!