I am very proud to bring you another Monkey Faced Demon interview with another one of my very talented brothers from The Library of the Living Dead, Patrick D'Orazio! Mr.D'Orazio is not only a friend but someone I've had the honor to share a ToC with a few times now (we both have killer stories in The Zombist and Houdini Gut Punch). Not only is he a friend but he is literally so talented it leaks from his ears in small streams (making him one of the most popular guys to sit next to at conventions). He is so prolific he was like, 'Debut novel, *scoff*, I'm doing a damned DEBUT TRILOGY and it's gonna frickin' rock!' Okay, I don't know if he ever had that verbalized inner dialogue but I like to imagine he did. With out any further jibber jabber, Patrick D'Orazio...
Q. I like to start these off with your influences. Who or what made you want to write?
A. Well, there are people who’ve influenced me, like family members and friends who have always encouraged my desire to read and write and to be creative in general, and also writers who know how to tell a story that sucks you in and leaves you gasping for more once the story is over. World builders who create intricate places that have blown my mind over the years and fill me with envy and the desire to do something similar, or at least take a shot at it. Of course, the horror influences include both movie makers like Romero and Carpenter as well as writers like King, Straub, and many others. But other independent writers out there also rock my socks off-the folks who just write for the joy of it, and may never know for sure if they will become household names and aren’t really worried about such things. They are the folks that keep me motivated day and night to get better and do something that matters to me, even if what I come up with doesn’t matter to anyone else.
Q. You’ve built up quite a resume of short stories. Can you give us a run down of ALL you short story appearances over the past few years as well as this year?
A. Well, actually, I’ve only been writing short stories that I’ve been trying to get published for a little over a year now, but here is the list of those published or to be published soon:
“I’m Sorry” appears in Letters from the Dead
“The Woeful Tale of Dalton McCoy” appears in The Zombist
“A Soldier’s Lament” appears in Eye Witness: Zombie
“Consumer’s Paradise” appears in Houdini Gut Punch
“Compulsion” appears in Daily Bites of Flesh 2011
“Humans Being Human” appears in Zombiality
“You Only Die Twice” appears in Doomology
“What A Fool Believes” will appear in Zombidays
“Little Lost Lamb” appear will appear in Deep Horror
“NZLB” will appear in Night of the Giving Dead
“The Seven Habits of Highly Successful Zombie Slayers” will appear in The Moron’s Guide to the Zombocalypse
“Hell in the Family” will appear in Groanology
“Slow Goth and St. North” will appear in No More Heroes
“Dog Days” will appear in Rapid Decomposition
“Swing Shift” will appear in Nocturnal Emissions
“What’s Eating You?” will appear in Groanology II
“The Intervention” will appear in A Glitch in the Continuum
“The Collective” will appear in Fearology III: Planting the Seeds of Terror
“Cicada” will appear in Zombie: The Other Fright Meat
“Victus Mortuus” will appear in Zombies without Borders
“VRZ” will appear in Look What I Found
“Legacy” will appear in appear in Live and Let Undead
“Animal Magnetism” will appear in a Collaboration of the Dead Anthology
and I am also a contributor of a couple of chapters to the novel project that is currently titled Collaboration of the Dead with a huge array of authors.
(Interviewer Note A: say it with me, "Dammmmmmn.')
(Interviewer Note B; I'm in Collaboration of the Dead too!)
Q. Fast zombies or slow zombies?
A. I wrote about slow zombies in my trilogy, but I am an equal opportunity fan of all types of zombies. Slow have the allure of being able to build that dread as they slowly close in, giving survivors the time to devour each other, at least figuratively, before the zombies ever get the chance to. But fast zombies have that adrenaline pumping, no one is getting out of this thing alive, type tempo to them that really freak me out as well. I plan on writing a few stories using fast zombies in the near future, because they fit with the narrative I am cooking up. So I guess fast or slow, it all depends on the setting and what works for the particular story is my wishy washy answer.
Q. Favorite zombie movie? Why?
A. Day of the Dead and Dawn of the Dead are neck and neck, but there are so many that make the list of really great movies. The remake of Dawn revitalized my passion for zombies after a few years away from them, so it gets honorable mention along with 28 Days Later. But it almost seems unfair, because there are a lot of movies that have contributed to my love affair of zombies like Shaun of the Dead, Return of the Living Dead, Dead Alive…and of course, Night of the Living Dead. So I suppose I am being wishy washy once again in making a firm choice as one absolute best movie.
Q. Can you tell us about the Dark Trilogy?
A. No! Er, sorry, I always wanted to say that when asked in an interview. Actually, I can, but instead of giving a synopsis of the plot, I think I would rather focus on what I was trying to do, which was to pay respect to what really drew me to zombies and zombie stories in the first place-the human dynamic. Developing real characters who don’t know what the hell they’re doing as the world falls apart all around them. I think that drew me to what Romero created in Night and Dawn of the Dead, and it really walloped me when I watched them for the first time and the hundredth time. It really hit home when I saw Day of the Dead even more so. You can hate certain people for acting the way they do, but to say that they’re completely wrong for trying to do whatever they need to so they can survive, even if it seems evil on the surface, makes it all the more fascinating to me. No one comes out of this mess unscathed, and most won’t come out of it alive…that is what drove me on with this story. Everyone is shattered, not only by the dead rising up all around them, but by what they are forced to do, and what they are forced to accept about themselves and what it takes to stay alive.
Q. What are you working on right now?
A. I am working on another short story for an anthology called Soul Survivors, while at the same time working on another book set in the same universe as my Dark Trilogy, though it will stand separately from the trilogy. I have some other novel concepts in the works as well that I am outlining and writing up a few chapters for…the key for me is trying to stay centered on a single project at a time, which can be tricky. Too many ideas, too little time.
Q. How far would you make it through Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory?
A. Willy would be my bitch. I have thousands of ideas for uses for chocolate and candy that he never even dreamed up. The Department of Defense has contacted me about some of those ideas, so I can’t speak about them publicly. Old Willy, he would kick me out before I got through the front door of the place because I would have already schooled his Wonky Wonka ass the first moment I saw him.
(Interviewer Note: He who controls the chocolate controls the world.)
Q. Who is your ALL-TIME favorite bad guy from film or book?
A. Well, there are two of them, for different reasons. Randall Flagg from The Stand and the entire Dark Tower series of books, because Stephen created someone that was persistent and remained an influence across worlds, across realities, and tore that shit up. He keeps cropping up, like a bad penny, and has different names, different images, but he is always someone who will mess with your head more than anyone else.
Another one that isn’t necessarily a bad guy, but I loved what he did was The Mule from Isaac Asimov’s Second Foundation, because all he did was disrupt everyone in an entire galaxy’s and their view of how things should be-he knocked everything off kilter from some perfect plan of the future and of history. He stirred things up in an epic way, which I guess makes him a bad guy in a lot of ways. But it also makes him cool as hell. Screw all the math, because there will always be some fly who gets in the ointment and makes a mess of all your pretty little toys.
Q. Seriously, what are the odds of an actual Zombie Apocalypse?
A. I give odds as about fifty-fifty that someone will come up with some sort of prion based assault on us that turns most of us into maniacs. Then again, the term “zombie” can be applied loosely to about two-thirds of the population already, so maybe it has already happened and we just don’t realize it yet. They don’t have to eat your brains for you to turn into a walking lump of stupidity…you just have to let it happen. Most of us are more than happy to do just that.
Q. Who said, ‘You said it yourself, Dude, She kidnapped herself.’ ?
A. I don’t answer that question on Shabbos! I don’t answer that question, and I sure as hell don’t roll on Shomer shabbos!
(Interviewer Note: I am so buying you a White Russian when we go bowlin'.)
Q. Aside form being an author you’ve been a dedicated and honest reviewer of independent works. Where do you think Independent Horror will be in three and a half years?
A. Wow…well, I can base my answer on what has happened over the past four or five years. There has been an explosion of more stuff out there, both bad and good, because it has become that much easier to produce your own stuff, but at the same time, some of the smaller publishers have become more main stream with their offerings by partnering with bigger publishers (like Permuted Press has done). The smarter big guys might think about creating smaller, independent partners, like movie studios have done, where some big studio has an art house wing that gives smaller budget offerings more exposure while still maintaining their indy cred. But who knows if they’ll catch on? I think more small press writers will make it big, but do it on their own terms. There are authors out there self-publishing and getting in with smaller presses that are making a name for themselves just by being on facebook, twitter, and having fans who spread the word for them far and wide. They get on message boards and they toss out samples of their work and they are just as good, if not better, than some of the big names out there. They don’t write for a demographic or because this or that is “in” right now, they write what they want to write and to hell with whether or not it finds an audience. Good stuff finds an audience that craves what they write, because it goes against the grain and doesn’t fit into some sort of pigeonhole. Again, not all of it is good, but it’s amazing how far someone can go these days without having the big guns of a huge publishing house behind them. Electronic books will continue to expand the field. How easy is it to buy a book for $.99 to $2.99 for the nook or kindle instead of shelling out $20 for some big named authors work? That will keep things rocking. I think there will be exponential change. The big houses will adapt and modify their approach, while the little guys keep thinking of new ways to get their stuff out there without being beholden to any of them.
Q. Quick, name drop five great Indy Horror writers!
A. I could name a lot more than that, but here goes, off the top of my head: Tony Monchinski, Craig DiLouie, William Todd Rose, David Dunwoody, and Tonia Brown. I hate leaving out the tons of other great writers that I have devoutly followed and enjoyed, but they were the first ones that came to mind.
Q. Now, I happen to know you are almost as much of a fan of Science Fiction as you are of Zombies. So let’s mix things up a bit and give you a good gory Sci-Fi DEATHMATCH….
Deep in the 8th Dimension Buckaroo Banzi is cruising with his band of merry men (A.K.A. The Hong Kong Cavilers) are blasting to Earth to perform a rock concert as only they can. A sudden explosion rocks the ship, descending the crew into chaos. The smoke clears and there stands Dr. Emilio Lizardo surrounded by four of those nasty H.R. Geiger inspired, Sigourney Weaver tormenting Aliens!
In 1000 words (give or take) describe the carnage and the out come!
A. Immediately, Buckaroo and the Cavaliers see right through the aliens because they’ve all travelled through the eight dimension and recognize them as the Red Lectroids they really are. Lord John Whorfin (aka Emilio Lizardo), John Yaya, John Bigboote, John Gomez and John O’Connor don’t realize Buckaroo and crew recognize them and start spitting up some of the battery acid they’ve been drinking to stick with the alien imagery they’ve chosen.
Whorfin goes into his tired spiel about demanding the Oscillation Overthruster from Banzai so he can rescue his buddies from the 8th Dimension and they can get back to Planet 10, or he’ll sick the aliens on the Cavaliers. Buckaroo tells him that Planet 10 was sent through an interdimensional warp and the Black Lectroids are now cast members of The Jersey Shore, so they can get revenge on them if they stick around on earth rather than trying to get back to their home planet.
Whorfin and the other John’s take off and head to the shore, then proceed to beat the snot out of Snookie, The Situation, and all the other douche nozzles on the TV show. Since they still look like aliens to everyone watching on MTV, the network immediately signs them up for a five season revival of Celebrity Death Match/The Real World, where they end up killing everyone from every different reality show on television, as well as Springer, the Maury show, and all those damn Judge shows that play during the day. The ratings are through the roof, with the week where they shove a cattle prod up one of Sanjaya’s (from American Idol) orifices it surpasses ratings for the Super Bowl.
Whorfin and the John’s get jaded with their celebrity status and the fact that Buckaroo Banzai and the Honk Kong Cavaliers still outsell them in comic books, concert revenue, and t-shirt sales, so they plan on taking them on once again, and challenge them to a throw down on their TV show.
Buckaroo, who is scheduled to remove a malignant brain tumor from the President’s brain, refuses at first, but the John’s kidnap Penny Priddy once again and Buckaroo is forced to come up with a way to rescue her. Disguising himself as a Hollywood agent, Perfect Tommy meets with John Whorfin and tells him that NBC is creating a remake of Third Rock from the Sun, but this time Dick Solomon has been replaced by the Trinity Killer from the Fourth Season of Dexter, and they want him for the role. Whorfin refuses at first, but Tommy promises him that he will be able to kill at least one “monkey boy” a week if he signs up for the show and backs out of his MTV contract. Whorfin agrees and ditches the other John’s. MTV sues, but by then Whorfin has already joined Charlie Sheen on his Violent Torpedo of Truth Tour to promote the new show and has let Penny go because Charlie tells him that she doesn’t have Adonis DNA and is a troll in disguise. Then Whorfin proceeds to kill everyone at MTV, because they no longer play music freakin’ videos, like they did when the Buckaroo movie came out back in the eighties.
Buckaroo realizes that the idea of the show that Perfect Tommy came up with is actually a pretty good idea and invests in it and convinces the people on Spike TV to air it. It goes on to win an Emmy for best comedy and Whorfin gets a Golden Globe for best actor. Buckaroo and him go on to become good friends and work together to invent a new and improved Oscillation Overthruster that will take them to the eleventh dimension, which is just like the tenth dimension, only louder.
To be continued…
Son of a BITCH, Patrick! How can you leave a 'To be continued...? Why, man, why? You just made my OCD flare up like a damned tire and broken pallet bonfire!
Thanks for the fantastic interview and the OCD attack, Mr. D'Orazio!
You can find Patrick on his blog here.
You can buy his books (and some of his antho appearances) here.
NEXT UP...sometime...Jordan 'Boss' Krall!!!!!