If you’ve read my review of P. A. Douglas’ book Watchers then you know how much I loved it. So I was really excited to do this interview with him so that I could get a little info into the creation of what has become one of my favourite books!
Please be sure to visit http://indie-inside.com/books to check out Watchers or to browse through his list of titles.
Now . . . Onto the interview!
JC- Watchers arrived when I was in the midst of a cleaning frenzy and I was unable to sit down and read it, but I was just so excited I had to open it up and take a quick look. I knew from the very first line that this was going to be something I could really get into, and even though I hated to put it down, I set it aside and hurried through my chores. I wanted to be able to enjoy it so I could savour every word. But something about the first line really caught my attention. Was it in all of your drafts, or did you have to go through a lot of editing before you came up with it?
PA- I feel like the first line should be a hook line and sinker, ‘if’, the book is intended to be a fast paced read. Not all of my books are as fast as Watchers or Epidemic of the Undead. A lot of readers like the story a little slower, and with more character development. So I try to do a little bit of both. Watchers happened to be the former of the two.
JC- As a zombie buff, I was excited to see a new breed that may just be even more terrifying than your run-of-the-mill variety. Where did you come up with such a wonderfully chilling concept?
PA- Simply, I didn’t intend for them to be zombies, at first. But I really liked the idea that it went beyond a bite. These zombies didn’t want to bite, no, they just need to touch you and you’re done. It was fun to write, so I just kept going with it.
JC- Watchers has so many tones and atmospheric shifts throughout the book, and the transition is seamless. And interestingly enough, your voice never fades and seems to be laced with a lot of your own personality. How do you perceive your writing style if you had to label it, and what are some of your trademarks?
PA- I think my writing style would go along the lines of campy, splatterpunk, and grindhouse. I know that those genres in the horror world can be a bit much for the soft of heart… but come on, we’re talking horror. My trademarks and how I transfer myself into the writing is super subtle. I add myself into the main character every time. In Epidemic of the Undead I was on tour, so my characters were on tour. In Watchers, I was on the couch a lot, so Kyle was a couch potato. In Hitchers I had just ended tour, so my lead character had just had a band breakup. Most of my lead characters listen to the music I do, drink the drinks I do, watch the shows I watch, drive the cars I want to drive. That kind of thing. Readers want to be able to see themselves in the story. So, why would that be any different for the writer?
JC- Speaking of your voice…Your books, song lyrics and vocals on The Cries Of albums are all equally amazing! I love your music and wear the shirts all the time! Are there any tours or new CDs in the works?
PA- I toured nationally, full time, for over 5 years. With this long break, and picking up writing, I think that time in my life has come to a close. I will definitely miss touring and the friends I made doing it. As far as music releases, I plan to release a full length next year and might do a small one-week tour release for it. Beyond that, I don’t see much happening with TCO. I am, however, trying to get a Hardcore band together. Stuff like Impending Doom, August Burns Red, The Chariot, old Norma Jean.
JC- One thing, among many, that gave Watchers an air of reality were the allusions to pop culture. Jerry. Maury. The Incredible Hulk. Star Trek. The Fog. But were there any tributes to other things in pop culture in the book? Maybe something so subtle that only an avid fan might catch?
PA- Maybe something so subtle that only an avid fan might catch? Well, one of the characters worked at Best Buy, and like many of us today, was a techno junky. Beyond that, none that I can think of.
JC- How did you want your readers will react to this book? What emotions did you hope to incite?
PA- sick. I want for some of the gore to be a bit too much.
JC- Whenever I read a horror story I try to figure out who’s going to make it out alive. I don’t want to give anything away, but since you’re a horror writer, we can assume that in at least one of your books, someone is going to get whacked. Do you ever get so attached to a character that you find it difficult to rub them out?
PA- Nope, the ones I get attached to the most are the ones that I want to kill off. That makes it more unexpected for the reader.
JC- Since this book was drawn from a short story, how difficult was it to turn it into a longer piece while maintaining the essence of its original appeal? Is there a place where we can find the original short?
PA- Not hard at all. I cut the last 200 words and kept on writing from there. There is no original for the short. I saved over it. (Lol)
JC- I noticed how Watchers has such a unique style that you could easily write in any genre, but what made you choose horror?
PA- It’s what I read. I read campy pulp fiction. So, that was what I wanted to write. If I was a reader of humor, I would write funny. If I was a reader of sci-fi, I would write sci-fi.
JC- When a story idea pops into your head, where does your inspiration come from?
PA- Sometimes I don’t have an idea. I just write. In Watchers you will notice that the first chapter is just character development. I wrote the entire thing before knowing where I wanted to go with the story. Other times I get ideas just from brain storming, or manipulating my own real life experiences.
JC- Your comedic timing is just perfect and sometimes so out of the blue that it just had me laughing nonstop, even pausing a moment to re-read those lines all over again! Do you have experience in comedy, or is it just a natural gift?
PA- I think it is honed in from years as a solo touring singer-songwriter. When it’s just me on the stage in front of 100 people, I have to keep their attention somehow. I found that laughter keeps them more engaged than anything else.
JC- What defines a great horror story, in my opinion, is when the author brings an element of reality to it. How are you able to bring this book from being just a mere story to something so true to life that it feels as if it could actually happen?
PA- Because, in the back of my mind I thought it could happen. I live close to a plant like the one in Watchers. It’s a frightening thought.
JC- Were there times during the course of writing Watchers that you felt uneasy, like something was out there? Maybe even lost a little sleep?
PA- No, I never freak out about my own stories and I generally never dream about them either. Now that you said that, I might. I dream about flying like super man most of the time. But not like peter pan. That swimming in the air crap looks like way too much work.
JC- Zombies are shambling their way into every aspect of pop culture these days. You can’t turn around without “bumping” into them whether it’s in movies, literature or merchandise. In your own words, what makes you stand above the competition?
PA- I wouldn’t say I am trying to stand above anyone. If I happen to stand out a little more because my idea was original, which doesn’t happen a lot these days, then great. If not, then I am okay with getting lost in the crowd, as long as I get heard regardless.
JC- If Watchers was going to grace the big screen as a motion picture, who would play the following characters: Kyle, Mr. Hardy, Sarah, Becca, Z, and Ben Love?
PA- Jack Black could be Kyle. Jay from Jay and Silent Bob could play as Z. Ben Love could be someone like Ben Aflac or however you spell it. The others, I have no idea.
JC- What is your own personal draw to the living dead?
PA- I’m an 80’s baby. Do I really need to say more? The 80’s were the true era of pulp horror films.
JC- If you were in the midst of the Zombie Apocalypse, would you have gone back to save Ted? (You have to read the book to see what happens!)
PA- No. I wouldn’t have. However, I have someone like him that means a lot to me, so I could see it happening.
JC- Are you one of those, like myself, who is on board with the theory (and in my case a twinge of hope!) that zombies will actually rise?
PA- As much as every Christian generation thinks they are the last, and that the rapture is going to happen in their lifetime, the same is true for the zombie apocalypse. I think it could happen, but don’t see it happening any time soon.
JC- If there was an outbreak, what kind of zombies would you rather contend with? The slow-moving Romero kind, or the ones of your own creation from Watchers?
PA- Romero of course. At least we’d have a chance then.
JC- What other projects are you currently working on?
PA- I just released a new novel about invisible monsters that ride on the backs of humans called, HITCHERS. You can check that out, along with my other works, here http://indie-inside.com/books
I also just finished the first draft to a book called, THE DARK MAN. I would tell you what it is about, but it’s too hard to explain. LOL.
Thanks for the interview. I had a lot of fun going through the questions with you. Glad you enjoyed Watchers.
And a very special thanks to P. A. Douglas for giving me the privilige of chatting with him about his book, Watchers.
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