Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Interview - Mark Henry

Darque Reviews welcomes Mark Henry, author of the upcoming Kensington Books release, “Happy Hour of the Damned”.

Hi Mark, thanks so much for sharing your time with Darque Reviews! We’re looking forward to getting to know a bit about you and your writing.

You must be very excited about your first novel, Happy Hour of the Damned. Can you tell us a bit about it?

MH - Well, first off, thanks for having me. The thought of this book hitting the shelves is driving me insane with anxiety and excitement and all those other emotions that cause bowel issues. So…yeah. I am totally excited.

And, here's that bit you asked for…

Amanda's an ad-exec turned flesh-eating ghoul searching for a missing friend, the perfect martini, and a way to stop the coming zombie apocalypse—'cause really, more zombies equals less food. It's the first in a contracted trilogy and I hope to cover every horrible, funny, and awkward thing you can imagine about joining the undead while retaining the use of your brain. I want people to have a really good time with it.

Where did the idea come from? How did it develop into a story?

MH - I've always loved zombies, in movies, fiction, whatever. Back in the 80s, Douglas E. Winter wrote a pair of stories for anthologies from the perspective of the sentient undead rather than the mindless shambling variety, Less than Zombie and Bright Lights Big Zombie, based, obviously, on two of the biggest novels of that decade, Bret Easton Ellis's Less than Zero and Jay McInerny's Bright Lights Big City. I always wanted more but further stories never materialized. When I decided to write my first novel, it was a natural fit. I asked myself what if the Sex and the City girls ended up rising from the dead with a craving for flesh? What would that be like? I wrote a short story called An Acquired Taste—the first appearance of Amanda and Wendy—that was published in a small press anthology and really started the ball rolling.

Can you tell us what you’re working on now and what we might see from you in the next few years?

MH - I'm in the middle of three projects, right now. I've just finished book 2 in the Amanda Feral series, Road Trip of the Living Dead, and preparing another comic urban fantasy called The Dark Rites of Joe Barkley, which if you can believe it is even darker than Happy Hour and teeming with all sorts of ludicrous sexual situations. Book 3 is outlined and partially complete, as well. So lots of irons in the fire.

Do you have a favorite author you read? Are they an influence on your writing?

MH - I love Christopher Moore and have been making my way through his books for the past couple of years. His humor is this absolutely brilliant, no-holds barred stuff and I can only hope mine bears a resemblance. In Joe, I'm attempting the kind of multiple narrative structure that Moore employs so comfortably. I also love Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next and Liz Williams Detective Inspector Chen, both series that just blew me away in world building and humor.

If you could choose anyone to co-author a book with, who would it be? Why?

MH - I can say, with all confidence, no other author would put up with my non-linear flights of extrapolation, lazy writing habits and/or filthy pottymouth. Except maybe my wife but she's not a writer, although she's my first reader and one hell of a blue pencil editor. Scary!

Is all of your writing filled with humor? Is that something that carries over from your personality?

MH - Not all of my work is humorous, but probably the stuff that gets published will be. It's the one thing that sets my work apart from other urban fantasies. That's going to sound snotty. Let's put it this way, people who haven't read the book will make an assumption based on the cover, but Amanda is not simply snarky ala Anita Blake, the book is built on a comedy framework.

It definitely carries over from my personality, and the group of friends I associate with are quite sarcastic, acerbic, and, dare I say, biting. Nyuk nyuk.

Do you have any bad writing habits?

MH - Oh God, tons of 'em. I'm lazy as hell, and as any writer can tell you, too much time between writing sessions is like starting over. I start over, a lot. I'm an incessant e-mail checker and internet procrastinator. Blogging is both fun and terrible for my work. I can easily spend five hours prepping and posting a blog and then have so much less time Plus, I have a tendency to interject my filthy vocabulary into my narrative. Maybe you've noticed?

Is there a favorite quote or saying you use often?

MH - Don't ask me that. I have tons of movie lines that seem to slip out at inappropriate times. Mostly really offensive quotes from John Waters' films. He's another huge influence on my work. Oops…here comes one now, don't say I didn't warn you.

"Lulu? Tell me you don't dance lewdly for the boys at school."
"For a quarter I will."

How do you spend your time when you’re not busy writing?

MH - I love to read, play with my dogs, go to movies, travel. After people read the book, they'll be expecting the answer to be: torturing innocents in my dungeon lair, but really just normal stuff. Oh…and I love to cook, body parts, of course.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers before we say goodbye?

MH - You keep laughing and I'll keep writing. Does that sound corny? I think it sounds corny.

Everyone can use that wonderful bit of humor in their lives, so I think we’ll all be happy to hold you to it. :)

Thanks so much for joining us and sharing your time. Congratulations on Happy Hour of the Damned!

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

You can visit Mark’s website here:

Visit Mark’s blog here:

Visit Mark at League of Reluctant Adults here:


Unknown said...

way coool interview!!!!!!1

Kimberly Swan said...

Wasn't he just great? :)

Wendy said...

Kimberly, I'm not even gonna comment on the fact that you read Happy Hour of The Damned before me. Mostly because there would be a lot of growling and snarky comments so I'll leave it at this -you keep giving me reasons to hate you! lol!

And ohmygod, there's a character named Wendy in the book? Dude, I can't wait to read it! I hope the character is awesome and not a stupid one but I digress (Mark, seriously, make Wendy a cool character)

Love the interview! Can't wait for the book! :)

Kimberly Swan said...

Wendy - You're such a sweet girl. *snicker* (shall we discuss those horns again? lol)

Oh, I can't wait for you to read about Amanda's friend 'Wendy'! :)

Wendy said...

Hey! I am a sweet girl! It's not my fault you keep reading books I want! And leave my lovely horns out of it! lol.

Tell me (although don't tell me too much) about this character Wendy - is she awesome like I am? (and no, that isn't a trick guestion! ;)

Kimberly Swan said...

I believe you! :) Have you given up on the halo and moved on to polishing your horns? *grin*

Wendy is definitely on the carnivorous side. lol

Wendy said...

Yeah, the halo was only giving me trouble, you know, it's not easy having to carry things around!

Ohmygod, are you telling me Wendy's a ZOMBIE? Oh. That's SO awesome.

Kimberly Swan said...

I'm sure the combo of halo and horns was only confusing people...lol

They're a very interesting group of characters. :)

ReadingIsSoMuchFun said...

Hi Kimberly & Mark,

Thank You Kimberly for introducing me to a new to me author. Marks book sounds great. Will have to check it out.

Great interview :-)

Kimberly when you get the chance come by my blog *Winks*


Kimberly Swan said...

Hi LindaH - Hope you get a chance to read it!

Thanks, the interview was a lot of fun. :)

I'll pop over right now.

Wendy said...

Oh, Kimberly, I got the book this morning! They so puurdy, lol.

Thanks, again! :)

Kimberly Swan said...

Wow, glad the package made it there alright. It took them 4 days to deliver it. lol I should clarify that's the book you won, "Heat of the Night". :) Happy reading!