My fellow man-bitch: Mark Henry

I'm not sure if any of your readers out there have heard (because he's terribly shy), but fellow Leaguer Mark Henry also has a book coming out on 2/26. Against his better judgment (if he can be said to have any), he has let me put the screws to him. Enjoy!

Anton: Some people are calling you the Candace Bushnell of the George Romero set. And by some people, I mean me. I just made that up right now. Pretty good, right? Anyway, do you think that's a fair assessment? Feel free to shamelessly plug HAPPY HOUR OF THE DAMNED in your answer...

Mark: While I'll agree there's a certain Samantha-on-brains flavor to Happy Hour, the book is more of a satire of chick-lit as a genre rather than it's most recent incarnation. I do have a Bushnell story, though. When I was in New York meeting with my agent and editor, I got a little lost and ended up in Bushnell's building; confidential hilarity ensued--it'd probably be a better story if the punch-line didn't involve her address.

As it is and told with crass abandon...

Happy Hour of the Damned is the wild rollicking tale of Amanda Feral, a hilariously bitchy advertising executive who, following a chance encounter with an undead octogenarian with some nasty breath, turns into a flesh-hungry zombie. Lucky for her, Seattle's underworld teems with ghouls, bloodsuckers and horny devils, waiting breathlessly for their very own undead socialite to stalk with cameras and ridicule. It's not all parties, cocktails and sweetbreads, when her succubus friend disappears; it's up to Amanda and her friends to navigate a debauched world of nightclubs, demonic bowling leagues and 12-step groups for the recently departed. Along the way, she uncovers a plot to instigate the last great zombie plague and for Amanda, that just won't do, less food and all.

Anton: So I understand that HAPPY HOUR OF THE DAMNED will be your first and last book, that the anxiety of being released up against DEAD TO ME is so great that you're never going to write again. What will you do with yourself now?

Mark: I plan on buying a football helmet and sitting in the corner, banging my head against the wall. Or maybe... I'll finish up the next two in the series, ROAD TRIP OF THE LIVING DEAD and AMERICAN MINIONS. Right now I'm working on another urban fantasy comedy, THE DARK RITES OF JOE BARKLEY, about an impotent incubus, a hooker with a limp and the mysterious murders of patients at a secluded sex therapy clinic. You know, just trying to turn this weird fluke into an actual career.

Anton: I noticed recipes in HAPPY HOUR OF THE DAMNED. What can we expect in ROAD TRIP?

Mark: Those recipes are actually pretty good; we tested 'em out and everything. For Road Trip, you got your roadside attraction signs, iPod playlists and some veddy interesting correspondence, not to mention more "Interludes of the Bitter and Pathetic."

Anton: I've spent a lot of time, time I should probably have been writing, hitting refresh on the Amazon Ranking button, and I can only imagine you have too. WHAT DOES IT MEAN? WHY DO WE DO IT??

Mark: Oh yes. It's an addiction, sir. We must accept the things we cannot change, and all that. I don't know what the number means except that if it's low then I'm in a good mood and vice versa. I'm a slave to its power. I can't escape. I just checked while answering this question. Oh God someone kill me.

Anton: Preferred weapon in the coming zombie apocalypse?

Mark: Thanks to NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, I'm going with an air hammer with an extension rod. No need to reload until the tank is empty. Of course, I'll have to stock up on pressurized air, or else knock over some espresso stands for their whip cream dispensers. I could probably pick up an air hammer on Amazon; let me go check.

#70 on the contemporary fantasy top 100. Oh God! Someone help me.

Anton: Many people speculate that you get your ideas from consuming the flesh of the living and entering a trancelike state where you write out words on the page in savant fashion. Again, by many people, I mean me. Where do you get your ideas? What inspires you?

Mark: I'm inspired by anything that makes me laugh, cry, scream, cringe, etc. It could be the briefest moment from real life that I'll be able to harvest and turn into a scene. Some overheard conversation that resonates can turn into an entire chapter. Likewise the endless little horrors in my neurotic brain are ripe for our genre.

I suspect it all comes from being subjected to horror movies as a child. Let that be a lesson to all you parents out there. Make sure to shelter your children against objectionable film, television and books. I'd hate the competition.

Anton: Zombies: Which be scarier, fast or slow? Discuss amongst yourself.

Mark: Fast are scarier because they're just so wrong. You don't expect reanimated corpses to be so light on their feet, when you add that to the fact that there are so many of them and they just keep coming; it's too much.

On the other hand, slow build up tension, give you time to get a real good look at what's going to be gnawing at your armpits, Achilles tendons and groin--oh, I mean brains.

Anton: HAPPY HOUR OF THE DAMNED is quite heavy on the girlyness. One could mark that as the sign of a well-researched tactic by an author sharply on his game. One could, but that one is not me. In fact, it calls into question that you claim to be married, and to a "woman". Are we expected to buy that?

Mark: The only thing I expect you to buy is the book--HAPPY HOUR OF THE DAMNED a zombie comedy with eyeliner and cocktails in bookstores everywhere February 26th--the rest, I'll leave up to your imagination and the many photos popping up all over the internets.

Anton: Well played, sir, well played.


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