Saturday, December 27, 2014

A Boy & His Corpse by: Richard B. Knight (Interview)

Title: A Boy & His Corpse
Author: Richard B Knight
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: YA Horror Comedy
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: Sept 24 2014
Edition/Format Available In: eBook & Print
Like any fifteen-year-old, Alan Chandler has to deal with the horrors of adolescence—social awkwardness, joblessness, and a father who drives him nuts. But there are some not-so-typical horrors too: His father’s job is to resurrect people as anti-terrorist soldiers. Even though his father keeps warning him that the day will come when he’ll need to take over the family business, Alan is more interested in starting an Undead Wrestling Federation—if only he could keep a corpse on its feet for more than a minute at a time.

Meanwhile, troubles are brewing in the Middle East. A mad dictator threatens to start World War III, and Alan knows that if his father leaves for war, he won’t be coming back. Not alive anyway. With the future at stake, Alan must choose between his adolescent dreams and becoming the leader his father needs him to be. He needs to find himself and understand how his powers work...before it’s too late.

“We didn’t want to have to resort to this, Herbert,” Agent Heinzelman said.
            “But you pushed us to it,” Agent Convington concluded.
            “Gentlemen, please,” Rosewater said as he got back up. “I want to resolve this peacefully.”
            As the two agents neared Herbert, Alan held his stomach. It was happening all over again. The fear, the claustrophobia, the madness.
            His living room turned green before his eyes.
            Everything that happened next was a blur. Mort moved with uncanny speed across the room. He got behind Agent Covington and grabbed him by the Adam’s apple. In one sharp maneuver, he pulled back and snapped the man’s neck as if it were made out of clay. The agent collapsed forward dead on his feet.
Alan watched a fleeting look of terror wash over Agent Heinzelman’s face as Mort punched a hole through the man’s chest and pulled out his heart. The man made a single gasp before he grabbed at the gaping hole and fell to the carpet. The blood ran out of him like water from a hole in a bucket.
            “No. More. Fire!!” Alan screamed, but his voice, which was unearthly and deep, didn’t come out of his mouth. It came out of Mort’s.
            Alan pointed at the President and Mort raised his arm in turn.
            “Get out,” Mort said in his horrible, throaty voice. “Get out! Get out! GET OUT!”
            President Rosewater didn’t have to be told twice. He stumbled over the corpses of his bodyguards and sprinted out the house.
            Alan shook his head and fell to his knees. The green shade left his eyes, and the room began to spin. James rushed into the house and gasped as he looked down at the two dead agents on the ground.
            “What the hell did you do?” he asked with bulging eyes.
            Alan couldn’t form the words to answer him before he passed out on the floor.

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Where did you come up with the idea for your book?

Hey, thanks for asking. It actually came to me in layers.  I first started writing about a father/son necromancing team, kind of like Ghostbusters, but in reverse.  The father and son would drive around in this van and raise corpses for the military for specific jobs. I actually wrote a whole book about it! All my first drafts are always just me experimenting and toying with ideas. Then one day, when I was going for a walk, I thought, well, what if the son liked wrestling and didn’t want to raise corpses for the military? What if he wanted to start an undead wrestling federation instead? This would create conflict and tension that wasn’t in the first draft. So I went from there. The political aspect and the Devil storyline came to me in the next draft. I never plan anything, which is why I usually have so many drafts, unfortunately. 

 How did you come up with your characters?
The boy in the story is pretty much me back in high school. Dumb, selfish, and overweight. It was easy to write him. The father, I don’t know where he came from. Maybe from one of my uncles who I don’t see very often. I’m not really sure. Next question, please. J

 Who did you show your first draft to and why?
I always show my first drafts to my wife, who will openly say, “Oh, this isn’t very good, Richard.” Or, “This doesn’t make any sense. Why did you write this?” It’s good to have such feedback early on.

 Do you have plans to do a follow up?
Naw. I don’t really like doing follow-ups. I always have new ideas for different stories. I’m already halfway through my next book, which is called The Interdimensional Subwoofer.  It’s even weirder than A Boy and His Corpse, which is really saying a lot. My writer’s group is digging it so far, so that’s good.

 Open your book to a random page and tell us the first paragraph…
 “At this intense speed, he shot down and flew past the others, flailing his arms and legs as if he were swimming against gravity. The blue soon turned to orange desert and the air tore at am completely.”

 What do you like to read? Do you only read the genre you write in?
I like to read all sorts of stuff. I just finished reading The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick, and right now, I’m reading Main Street by my man, Sinclair Lewis. It’s a really great novel and it was way ahead of its time. Next, I’m reading The Godfather, so my taste is all over the place. I usually like to read sci-fi and speculative fiction, though, since it’s the genre I mostly write.
 Where do you go to escape?
Like most writers, I go inside my head. Sometimes, I’ll think of something really funny on the bus or in the bathroom, and I’ll start laughing to myself. I’m sure many people think I’m crazy. They might even take several steps away from me. Whatever. I don’t care.

 Do you have a favorite chapter in A Boy and His Corpse?
Yes, I do! Thanks for asking. It’s the chapter where Alan’s father, Herbert, goes to work one day only to find that his job is going to change dramatically, meaning he’ll have less work raising corpses for the military. This, of course, pisses him off, and he starts raising corpses to attack the bearer of bad news. Said barer, however, isn’t a pushover. He presses a button in his pocket that attaches an automatic flamethrower to his body in seconds. Flaming corpses ensue.

 What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Write what you want to write, but be original. A Boy and His Corpse has “zombies” in it. Kind of. Well, not really, since they don’t move on their own, but you get the point. Dead bodies, shuffling along. But it’s not a zombie apocalypse story like The Night of the Living Dead or The Walking Dead. It’s weird and it’s VERY me. If you’re going to write, then write a story that’s very YOU. Don’t try to emulate your favorite author. There’s only one person in the world with your voice, and that’s you. So use it.

 Would you recommend self-publishing or main stream publishing for first time novelists?
Look, if I could have had my first book, which was The Darkness of the Womb (thanks for allowing the shameless plug: put out there by a mainstream publishing house, I definitely would have. I would have loved that, actually! But just like my last answer, when you write stories that are different, it’s sometimes hard for agents to see your vision. So if it’s a story that you’re just dying to get out there, but nobody’s biting, then self-publish it and seek out your audience. You might even find that it was the right decision. Personally, it’s been difficult for me to find an audience, but you’re a great deal of help, so I appreciate that. Thanks a bunch!

Richard B. Knight (The "B" stands for "Brandon") teaches Language Arts during the day and writes fiction at night. He decided that he wanted to be a novelist back in the fourth grade. It was all quite spontaneous. Back then, his teacher asked all of the students what they wanted to be when they grew up, and while many students chose "doctor", or "lawyer", or "astronaut", Richard, wanting to be funny, chose "drag queen garbage man". It wasn't until his peers starting reading off their choices that Richard decided that it would probably behoove him to write down another profession. He has stuck with "novelist" ever since.

Richard has a love of movies, video games, and comic books, and all three influences come through in his writing. He currently lives in Clifton, New Jersey with his lovely wife, Rona.

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