James is a Philip K Dick Award Finalist, his novel 'State of Decay' won the Compton Crook Award and his work will be featured in the upcoming 'The Doomsday Chronicles.'
Let's see what James had to say about reading, writing and zombies!
1. It’s Halloween, pick 3 of your favorite writers to paint the town red with and tell us why you chose them.
James says: I'd pick Paolo Bacigalupi, Stephen King, and, since it's Halloween, the ghost of Edgar Allen Poe. I'd pick Paolo because he is very nice, draws large crowds, and would probably put up with my constant ordering of candy corn shooters. I'd pick Stephen King because Stephen King. Finally, I'd pick the ghost of Edgar Allen Poe so that when I invariably need a break from the crowd we can hang out in a booth in the back of the place and talk shop (I am the only one who can see and hear Poe in this scenario), then later I can freak him out by watching Saw with him on my phone.
2. You’re ready to head out with your pillowcase to collect loads of confections on All Hallows’ Eve, what’s your costume and why did you choose it?
James says: I would dress as a Terminator, for a couple of reasons. One, as an 'intact' Terminator my costume would be relatively cheap. Two, it would give me an opportunity to flex my horrible Austrian accent for the night, something which everyone knows never ever gets old, and Three (and most importantly) I saw an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer a long time ago where some sort of supernatural tomfoolery caused everyone to literally become whatever they were dressed as on Halloween, and on the off, off, off chance that actually happens I'd love to be a Terminator.
3. Old Mrs. Robinson opens her door and you’re holding open your pillowcase patiently waiting. “Oh deary,” she says in her frail, little old-lady voice. “I forgot it was Halloween. Don’t know why you kids go begging anyways. Let me go find something to give you.” She shuffles off and finally returns three and a half minutes later with 5 pennies, 2 peppermint candies that look like they went through the dryer, and her deceased husbands dentures. “Take what you like,” she offers, squinting at you.
What do you choose and why.
James says: This is a classic trap - Old Mrs. Robinson is clearly a witch of some sort and is trying to pawn off 'Needful Things' style cursed objects to me. Assuming that the pennies are cursed to offer *bad* luck to whoever picks them up, the peppermint candies are cursed so that when sucked they actually coat your tongue with wintermint flavor, and the dentures are cursed so that while the wearer will always know 'just what to say' in any given situation, 'just what to say' in this case will invariably be something horribly racist and/or misogynistic. I would therefore pick the pennies, since I think pennies now officially cost more to mint than they are worth - it is far less likely anyone will bother to pick them up and get cursed, especially once I toss them into the same plastic bin where I discard our cats' used litter.
4. I really love reading Dean Koontz but some of his stuff scares the bejesus out of me. What’s the spookiest book you’ve ever read?
James says: This is a short story and not a book, but I have to pick it because it is one of the creepiest things I've ever read; Born of Man and Woman, by Richard Matheson. Double-U, Tee, Eff?
5. You’re a writer by day and supernatural creature by night. (Shed that human skin you sack of bones) What are you and why?
James says: I actually have to buck the trend, here (something I very rarely do, I assure you) - I write almost exclusively at night, and transform into a Werecoder during the day. My curse isn't as bad as you might think...at night I appear as a Fabio-esque hunk who has the pecs and abs of a young Brad Pitt, the hair of Brad Pitt, and the confident swagger of Brad Pitt...during the day I'm actually still a lot like that, except with the pecs and abs of Ron Swanson, the hair of Jason Statham, and the confident swagger of Brad Pitt (just not nearly as effective). My transformation occurs when the sun comes up, usually in the shower, and involves a certain amount of swelling and hair-graying.
6. Every author has a bookshelf filled with his or her favorite reads. Run on over to yours and tell us the scariest book you have.
James says: Honestly? Down on the bottom shelf, all the way to the left, are some old yearbooks of mine. Scarier than Saw.
7. We don’t all write horror but there comes a time when you’ve got to surprise your readers and make sure their hearts are still beating. How do you prepare yourself to get in the spooky writing mood?
James says: Sadly I don't have to - readers too often seem to find even my comedy dark...
8. Stephen King’s front porch light is on but there are no Halloween decorations.
a) trick-or-treat and cross your fingers that he’s handing out the good stuff
b) run screaming
c) call your mom to bring your favorite King paperback and beg for an autograph
James says: Well...in my scenario, Stephen King is already with me, Paolo, and the ghost of Edgar Allen Poe and King already thinks it's kind of weird that I insisted on going to his house to trick or treat when we all know he isn't there, but after he goes around the back and opens the front door to humor me I then run screaming just to mess with him (and to make Edgar Allen Poe laugh because, let's face it, he's still kind of messed up from watching 'Saw' on a phone).
9. Congratulations, you just won the literary lottery and sold a million books at full price! The royalty check clears on October 28th. What are you buying for the neighborhood kids?
a) an assortment of mini candybars
b) an assortment of cheap, hard candies
c) full size Hershey bars
James says: I'm sorry, but in this scenario I am far too drunk and (with the exception of my monocle and top hat) far too naked to hand out treats to children.
10. Your writer friend calls you with some frightening news. They’re giving up on writing, can’t take the pressure any longer. What do you tell them?
James says: Remind them that, no matter how discouraging the business end of it may be, they love to write almost as much as they love candy corn shooters - never give up...everything worth doing is hard, that's why it's hard. If it's what you love, then never stop writing.
Connect with James!
Buy his books at his Amazon Author Page
James Knapp was born in New Hampshire in 1970, and has lived in the New England area since that time. He developed a love of reading and writing early on, participating in young author competitions as early as grade school, but the later discovery of works by Frank Herbert and Isaac Asimov turned that love to an obsession.
He wrote continuously through high school, college and beyond, eventually breaking into the field with the publication of the Revivors trilogy (State of Decay, The Silent Army, and Element Zero). State of Decay was a Philip K. Dick award nominee, and won the 2010 Compton Crook Award. Ember, The Burn Zone, and Fallout were all written under the name James K. Decker.
He now lives in MA with his wife Kim.