Interview with Author Dane Hatchell

Bec: Welcome to my blog, please start out by sharing a little bit about yourself –

I appreciate the invite. It’s been a while since we’ve ‘worked together.’ Work meaning: I made a big mess and you came in and cleaned it up.

My dad was a Baptist Redneck from Livingston Parish (we don’t have counties in LA) and my mom a Catholic French-Cajun from West Baton Rouge Parish. I was born four years after they were married, and raised in the middle, East Baton Rouge Parish. I think my dad was afraid to have sex in fear that it might lead to dancing.

Fifty-three years later, I’m still in big BR. I’ve worked at the same oil and chemical plantation since I was nineteen.

Bec: What first got you interested in writing?

My early exposure to comic books initially lit the fuse. I was a huge fan of Marvel Comics and James Warren’s Creepy and Eerie magazines. I loved the artwork as much as reading the stories. I initially wanted to become an artist. I had zero abilities in that department, and developed a desire to write.

Bec: What are the worst struggles you think writers face, writing and marketing?

Reading is down as a form of entertainment. Paying markets for short stories are at an all-time low. Fortunately, there is still a market for novellas and novels. Unfortunately, the Big Six publishing houses aren’t introducing new authors in the same number as they did in the past.

If you can’t catch the eye of an agent or a publisher, you at least have the option to self-publish. That brings a host of other challenges. Marketing a short story or novel to a target audience can be expensive and can consume 26 of the 24 hours in a day. Your writing time suffers greatly.

The positive with self-publishing is that everyone in the world can now have access to something you have written. A big negative is that you are just a drop in an ocean of digital media. So, you have to find ways to get your work noticed.

Bec: Tell us about your book/s –

Over the last two years, I’ve had around 30 short stories published. They appear in various imprints such as Living Dead Press, Open Casket Press, Pill Hill Press, and Rainstorm press. I’m currently finishing up on a novel that I have been working to perfect for nearly two years.

The title of the novel is Resurrection X: Zombie Evolution. I wanted to just name it Resurrection X, but I was afraid it might get confused for a new erectile dysfunction medication. Let’s just say, it ain’t your grandfather’s zombie survival story.

What I did in the novel is to take zombies and incorporate them into society. The idea has been explored on certain levels before, but not in the way that RX does. The story takes place five years after the zombie apocalypse, in the year 2020. A recombinant DNA weapon turns the flesh-eating zombies into docile slaves. Society is being rebuilt with the aid of the undead, as the Living population had been decreased by half.

That part of the story serves as a backdrop for the protagonist, Lisa Goudard. Lisa is a strong willed, politically conservative, successful member of the Living. An experiment gone awry infects her with a strain of ‘zombie’ virus. A recombinant DNA treatment saves her, preventing the change into a mind-numbed zombie. The caveat is that by receiving the treatment, her human physiology changes, which negates her first class citizenship as a member of the Living. Lisa becomes a member of the Non-Dead, Sub class Y, loses her job and many of her rights, and is forced to seek employment in the labor-service industry.

Lisa finds herself in opposition to her previous societal philosophies, now that the ‘shoe is on the other foot.’ Refusing to accept the wicked hand that fate has dealt her, she fights against the political and religious movements that seek to eliminate the infected in the workforce.

It’s even more complicated than that. Lisa harbors a prototype virus, Resurrection X, designed to produce immortality. While she is fighting to regain her lost rights, a group of strange bedfellows covertly compels her into a lifestyle that permits the viral research to continue.

After she travels through numerous levels of despair, an uninfected man with national political influence connected with her misfortunes eventually falls in love with Lisa, offering new hope, and a chance for a better future.

Multiple characters of the Living and the Non-Dead intertwine in a bitter tale of coercion, lust, and exploitation. Think of True Blood with zombies instead of vampires, with a dash of twisted characters reminiscent of Lynch’s Blue Velvet.

I am ecstatic to announce Resurrection X: Zombie Evolution is scheduled to be published by Post Mortem Press in the June/July 2012 time frame. Eric Beebe of PMP is out to shake the horror world with dynamic new titles. I am proud to be one of his knights storming to push the limits of fiction.

Bec: Are you working on a sequel/s?

I’m working on both a sequel and a prequel to Resurrection X.

Bec: What other projects are you working on or involved with?

I’m currently re-editing my short stories and I will be making them available for digital download through Amazon. They’ll be available for .99 cents a pop. My stories normally range from 5,000 to 9,000 words in length. I’ll bundle some of the shorter ones to give the reader a better value. I did that on my first release, Dreaming of an Undead Christmas. Those two stories totaled around 13,000 words.

Bec: If your wife turned into a zombie, what would you do?

I’d let her sleep with my worst enemy.

Bec: What’s your favorite color?

I have always had a fascination with green.

Bec: Do you like to listen to music while you write or have complete silence?

I like to start with music sometimes, but find myself tuning it out. Complete silence is best for the stories to come together in my head.

Bec: What genres do you most like to read/write?

I like horror, science fiction, and mystery. I read a lot of science books too, mostly particle physics and genetics.

Bec: If a leprachan showed up at your door selling girl scout cookies made from real girl scouts, would you buy some?

Only if he would take me to the end of the rainbow.

Bec: Do you find writing a lonely profession?

I do, but I like being alone. One day though, I hope to make a friend so I’ll know what the feeling is like.

Bec: Fire or ice?

It’s got to be fire. The universe started that way. The ending will be no less eventful.

Bec: What would you share with a beginning writer?

First, don’t write with the goal of earning money. That is not why writers write.

Anything you write will suck if you don’t have an adequate grasp of grammar and sentence structure. All of the boring crap you ignored in English class will come back to haunt you. Do read books on how to write short stories and novels. Pay close attention to established formulas. Don’t think your work is so special that you’ll wow readers by your uniqueness. There is a word for writings like that, it’s called ‘unpublished.’

Try like hell to find a competent, educated critic that will be honest with you. Pay for an editor whenever practical. Listen to the advice. Be honest with yourself and act accordingly. Don’t expect to see drastic changes in your writing in days or weeks. Expect months and years.

Lastly, don’t quit your day job.

Bec: If one part of your body was going to get stuck to dry ice, which part would you prefer it to be?

Maybe my ass. I could stand to lose a little off the backside.

Bec: What do you wish someone would have told you when you first started your writing journey?

Your work never reads as good to others as it does to you.

Bec: Do you think having other writers as friend is a good thing for your growth as a writer?

If it instills competition, then yes. Whatever it takes to motivate a person to write a better story or write more often. Otherwise, it just helps to have someone to whine to.

Bec: If you had evil minions, what would their daily routine be?

Breaking the fingers of politicians when they tell a lie. When you run out of fingers, go to toes. When you run out of toes, go to bigger bones.

Bec: What’s your favorite book? Why?

I’ll go with Dune, by Frank Herbert. Dune created a world that I immediately became engulfed in. I could feel Paul’s hand frying at the hand of the Bene Gesserit witch. I could smell the cinnamony aroma of the spice through the oil fumes of the drilling rigs. When Paul became the Quizat Haderach, so did I.

Bec: If I gave you $5 and told you to spend it wisely, what would you buy?

I would give it to a food bank. I don’t want anyone to go hungry.

Bec: Who’s your favorite author? Why?

I’m going with Robert Crais on this one. I met Bob at a sci-fi book club in Baton Rouge when he was in college and I was in high school. Bob pursued his passion to write and established himself in Hollywood writing scripts for TV such as Beretta, Hill Street Blues, Cagney and Lacy, and a host of others. He changed careers and started a gumshoe detective novel series featuring Elvis Cole and Joe Pike in the late ’80s. He has written a few stand-alone novels here and there. Hostage was made into a movie that starred Bruce Willis.

Bob tells a story the way I think a story should be told. Something about the way he blends action, suspense, and humor just clicks with me.

Bec: Is there anything you would like to share that I haven’t asked you about?

“It is not the present which influences the future, thou fool, but the future which forms the present. You have it all backward. Since the future is set, an unfolding of events which will assure the future is fixed and inevitable.”  FPH

Bec: Thank you for stopping by and sharing! Best of luck with your book and future projects!

Thank you. I’ll meet you at the end of the rainbow and we can share some cookies.

 

 ©Rebecca Besser & Dane Hatchell, 2012. All rights reserved.

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