Monday, January 6, 2014

Interviewing Scott Lefebvre

  This is the interview I conducted with Scott Lefebvre.  You can read a short story of his at

Zombie Evolution: There's so much realism in the first chapter of your book, 'The End Of The World Is Nigh'.  Do you have any sort of background in science?

Scott Lefebvre: Not really.  No more than your average layman.  I do a lot of research.  I downloaded the complete library of U.S. Military field manuals and I like reading them.  I’m also constantly using the internet to look stuff up since it is now the world’s poorly fact-checked encyclopedia and sometimes I watch videos of animals doing cute things and pornography… but not at the same time.  I secretly fear that I’m on an NSA watchlist for googling military bases and firearms and diseases and explosives while researching my book.  I have read at least five different dictionaries and one entire set of Encyclopedia Britannica encyclopedias.   I’ve just always been fascinated by post-apocalyptic scenarios.  I grew up during The Cold War.  You know, the “duck & cover” days?  I always secretly suspected that the contrails left behind by planes that had passed overhead and disappeared were the incoming vapor trails from ICBMs sent over from Russia… with love.   I had a very active imagination as a child and I guess I still do to this day.   My seventh grade science teacher finally settled the matter by telling the class that in the event of a full-scale thermonuclear attack that the entire east coast would be annihilated.   I found that strangely comforting.  It wasn’t the bombs I was worried about, but having to live in a post-apocalyptic world.  Keep in mind, I’m, like, ten years old. Thirteen when I finally stopped worrying and learned to love the bomb.  I was still fascinated by post-apocalyptic film and literature.  Red Dawn.   War Games.  The Road Warrior series.   Recently I have enjoyed 28 Days Later, Dead Set, Doomsday, and The Road.  The Road freaked me out so badly I had chest pains and went to an emergency clinic after seeing it in the theater.  Granted, I had been having occasional chest pains around that time anyway, but the film certainly didn’t help.  I guess all of that stuff had been rolling around in my head for so long that when I was asked by J. Travis Grundon to contribute a story to his Anthology Of The Living Dead, I knew exactly what I wanted to write and I pretty much wrote the whole thing in a day.  It was waiting in my head.  All I needed was someone to ask me to write it.

ZE: How long have you been doing your blog?

SL: I started my blog on October 1st.  I started the interview blog because I was trying to get coverage for the crowd-funding campaign I was running for the post-apocalyptic zombie-epidemic book project I was working on.  A novel-length expansion of the short-story Whimper.  My gimmick was that if people kicked fifty bucks towards the campaign I’d write them into the book as a major character.  Kind of like buying your way into being a character in Stephen King’s The Stand.  I sent a press release / request for interview to Fangoria Magazine, Rue Morgue Magazine, HorrorHound Magazine, Famous Monsters Magazine, Ultra Violent, Girls & Corpses, Dread Central, Bloody Disgusting, , Fear Net, Shock Till You Drop, Horror Society, Horror Happy Hour, Horror Etc., The Providence Journal, The Providence Phoenix, Motif Magazine, Providence Monthly, and The Valley Breeze.  The only one to follow through was Motif Magazine and that was mostly because I had a friend that was a staff writer that put in a good word for me. Coincidentally, that interview earned me a $100 contributor, so I can only imagine what might have happened if I had been able to receive better coverage for the campaign.  I thought that it was unfair that I wasn’t able to get any kind of coverage without purchasing advertising space so I decided to start interviewing my Facebook friends that were artists, authors, musicians and film-makers to give them something to use to help them promote their work and upcoming projects.  I started the blog on October 1st, and as of today, January 6th, I’ve completed almost 99 interviews and the page has received almost 7,554 registered page views which isn’t bad.  Actually it’s quite good, considering it’s something that I’m doing by myself to help other people promote themselves.  I was trying to think of a way to monetize the site without having to resort to running advertisements, which I’m not even sure if you’re able to do on Blogspot. I decided to put out collections of interviews in print-on-demand / e-book format of each twenty-five interviews as I finished each twenty-five.   Not all of the interviews came out good enough that I’d want to put them into a collection for sale, so I put out a “Best Of” as the first volume collecting what were, in my opinion, the best interviews from the first 50 or so interviews.  I noticed that a theme was emerging.  I had been interviewing a lot of artists, because when you interview one artist and they post the interview, and you check out their friends lists on Facebook, you end up interviewing a lot of other artists, so the second volume of collected interviews is “artist” themed.  I noticed that there was another trend of interviews with authors working in the zombie genre so I decided to work towards putting out a collection of those interviews. When I put them all together, I noticed I only had around six interviews, and I wanted to have between twenty and thirty interviews, so I cruised the zombie groups on Facebook looking for zombie authors to interview.  The list of authors in the Zombie Book Of The Month Club was really helpful as it contained the names of a lot of authors actively looking to promote their books, and each author usually promoted other authors so I’ve got around fifty interviews in various states of completion and I’m shooting for the end of January to put out the collection.  My intention is not to profit from the interviewees and I’ll be sending every interviewee a free PDF copy of the book, and what they do with their free PDF copy is none of my concern.  I’d kind of appreciate it if they kept it to themselves, but if they decide to share it with their friends, family and fans there’s nothing I can do about that.  Either way, at least they’ll be reading the book.  It’s true that if you interview someone, you get their fanbase for free and I’m not oblivious to that.  The blog is called “You Are Entitled To MY Opinion” after all.  If an interviewee isn’t quick on their feet and able to keep up their end of the interview I’m going to treat them as a hostile interviewee.  I can’t make anyone be interesting, but hopefully they know how to be interesting on their own.

ZE: How long have you been writing?

SL: That’s a loaded question.  I started off as most people that grow up to be writers do.  By loving books. When I would get in trouble as a hyperactive child, and was “grounded” the only place I was allowed to go was the public library.  One thing my mother never took away from me was the access to books.  I could read all I wanted and as a result my reading comprehension skills were always in the 98th percentile when they subjected us to standardized testing every other year when I was in grade school.  I was reading at the reading level of a forty-five-year-old in fifth grade.   My first slashes at writing were awful gothic poetry that thankfully doesn’t exist in any form if I’m lucky.  Then I was in a few punk rock bands in high school and I wrote the lyrics for a few album’s worth of songs.  That taught me rhythm and rhyming and how to match the feet of a sentence to a beat and how to write economically.  You only get three verses of four measures each in most punk rock songs, so if you want to use a word and you run out of available “feet” in the line, you use a different word, and it has to rhyme, which leads to a lot of creative problem solving.  Punk rock is just fast, angry spoken-word poetry.  But I’ve never really considered myself a “writer” until lately.  I was never one of those authors who was constantly burning with the desire to put words onto paper and looking to get my stuff published.   My writing was always more purpose driven.  If someone asked me to contribute a story to their anthology I just wrote one.  It was that easy for me.

ZE: How did you get into writing?  How many books have you written, what are they called and what are they about?

SL: I was reviewing books for Scars Magazine.  For two months I’d get a four-page spread for my reviews and it was cool seeing my writing in print and getting to be in a horror magazine.  The editor and I parted ways less than amicably, and I began reviewing books for Icons of Fright.  Pretty much I was the book review section.  Anyone can sit down and watch a movie and write 3-5 pages of their opinion about it, but it takes a lot more time and effort to read a book and write up something that is critically useful and worth reading.   There’s not a lot of people up for the task, so it was easy to find places willing to run my reviews. One of the books it was suggested that I pursue for review was by a local author named Thomas D’Agostino.  He was friends with the editors of Scars Magazine and wrote a book titled Haunted Rhode Island and since I lived in and we published out of Rhode Island and he was a friend of the editors it made sense from every angle.  I saw him at a convention and asked him if I could have copies of his books for review.  He said he would give me copies, but the publisher made him buy the copies that he sold at conventions, but if I contacted the publisher and asked for copies for review, they’d send me free review copies.  I sent the publisher an e-mail asking for review copies of his books, and they agreed to send them to me, but at the end of the e-mail the publisher asked me if I had ever thought about writing a book.  I was like Banky at the end of Mallrats.  Of course!  They asked if I could write a regional paranormal book about the Long Island New York area.   I thought there would be a book advance and I would be able to travel to Long Island and research the book.   That’s not the way it worked.   The way it worked was, I wrote the book, they produce it, and if it sells, they cut me in for 12% of the profits.   It’s a shitty deal, but it was my first book and I didn’t know any better.   I did most of my research by reading other books on the subject and researching online and compiling information.   When I had all of the information I could find on a given topic, I’d boil it all down so that I would have the most comprehensive version available of the topics I was covering.   I tried to imbue it with a fair amount of my own style and I think I did a decent job without infringing on the original content of any of the authors whose works I had used to gather my information.   It took me six months to write my first book and it clocks in at 128 pages and was pretty much the longest college term paper I had ever written.   It’s also non-fiction, which is harder to write than fiction because you have to use the facts available to you.  Of course I use the term “non-fiction” loosely because I don’t believe in the paranormal.  My goal was to try to write a collection of scary stories like the old Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark books by Alvin Schwartz, illustrated by Stephen Gammell and I think I accomplished my goal. The first draft was pretty flawless as I had gone over it pretty thoroughly.   The editor’s primary contribution was suggesting that I break the chapters into sub-chapters to break up the chapters.  The publisher wanted me to call it Haunted Long Island or Ghosts of Long Island but since two of the books I had used for my research already had that title, I flat out refused.  I decided to call it Spooky Creepy Long Island based on my experience as a make-up artist at a haunted attraction called Spooky World.   It was supposed to be “spooky” but a lot of the people that worked there were “creepy” and my friend Aimee would shout “SPOOKY CREEPIES!” whenever I would tell her stories about my misadventures at Spooky World.  The book sold well and is #25 in “Books > Travel > United States > New York > Long Island” so I guess I did something right.  My editor at Schiffer Books liked the title that I came up with so much that she named her next book, Spooky Creepy Baltimore County… without letting me know first… and over the past seven years they’ve released a dozen books in their regional paranormal series with Spooky Creepy (Place Name) titles written by people so creative that they couldn’t come up with original names for their books.  Don’t believe me?  See for yourself.
I just started a Facebook campaign to get it artificially pushed to #1 in “Books > Travel > United States > New York > Long Island” because I think that would be hilarious and I like monkey-wrenching the system.

ZE: What inspired you to write 'The End Of The World Is Nigh'?

SL: I drove out to Indianapolis to attend the HorrorHound horror-genre convention because the editor of the Anthology of the Living Dead was a friend of mine and wanted to do a signing event to celebrate the launch of the book.  So I drove fourteen hours on my own dime and crashed in the back of my van that weekend because I’m a good friend.  Turns out the publisher fucked up and didn’t get the books in on time.  So I drove fourteen hours to sit behind an empty table and smile and wave at people who would have absolutely no idea who I was.  I wasn’t going to let that happen.   I went to the hotel’s copy center and printed up fifty copies of my story and talked the editor into letting me offer them to people that showed an interest as a free sample/test-drive/teaser for the book.  He didn’t like it, but couldn’t stop me.  One of the people I gave my story to was Jerry Chandler from Synapse DVD.   The next day he saw me and he said, “I read your story last night.  I really liked it.  I want to read more.   Where’s the rest of it?”  I was confused.  I asked, “What do you mean the rest of it?  That’s it.  That’s all there is, it’s a short story.”   He said, “You created a world. This is just a tease.  Let me know when you write the rest of it.”  I let that roll around inside my head for five years and one night when I was bored at work I started writing little chapters in what I refer to as “Nigh World”.  Stark little vignettes like scene descriptions from a screenplay.  I kept expanding on the paragraphs until I realized I had enough for a short story and I saw the outline for the whole book.  I decided to try to crowd-fund the project, and if no one showed any interest, I wouldn’t write it.  Easy as that.  I ran the campaign with the help of my friend Rick Laprade.   I went through RocketHub and my goal was $2,500 or 50 contributors at $50 each.   I finished the sample chapter I had been working on and used it as proof of concept for the book to show people the caliber of writing they’d be getting for their contribution.  I only received ten contributions for a little over $600 total and I got to keep $500 of that after RocketHub took their commission.   Mostly my friends contributed.  People that know me in person and know that I’m a crazy motherfucker and work harder than anyone else I know.  I also traded in every favor I had and took out some new ones.  By that time, I had the whole book in my head and would have written it anyway.  I have the finished sample chapter.  A finished contributor chapter.  A half-finished NPC chapter and a half-finished contributor story and the entire outline of the book written out.  Now I just have to fill in the gaps. I’ve got just over 58,000 words written towards the project already and I have eight more contributor character origin stories to write.  Those are clocking in at between 15K and 20K, so even if the remaining eight chapters come in on the light side, that’s still over a hundred-thousand words and that’s just the origin stories.  My goal is to publish the origin stories as they come out as stand-alone novellas to generate some momentum behind the project then shuffle the pages like a deck of cards so you spend a few pages with each character like Stephen King did in The Stand, then to interweave the characters into a central storyline. My word count goal is around 400K because that’s around what The Stand clocked in at.  I know it’s ambitious, but I want this more than anyone else wants anything else.  I have to.  I can write 10K words per day when life doesn’t get in the way.  I’m taking a break from The End Of The World Is Nigh to publish a collection of my previously published short stories and an novelization of a paranormal screenplay I wrote in the hopes of selling it outright because I had a really good idea I came up with while spit-balling screenplay ideas with my friend Rick who is also an independent film-maker and an excellent writing partner.
You can read chapters from The End Of The World Is Nigh as I finish them for free here:

ZE: What projects are you currently working on?

SL: I’ve also got at least five other screenplay into novelization ideas, book ideas, and interview collection ideas I’ll be working on this year while simultaneously working on The End Of The World Is Nigh.  The short story collection will be titled Dead Letter Depot.  The paranormal book will be a hard YA and will be titled Abandoned and I will be publishing a third collection of interviews from my interview blog You Are Entitled To My Opinion.  My goal is to publish at least twelve books this year and I will be publishing three this month since I just have to format and publish Dead Letter Depot and the third You Are Entitled To My Opinion collection, and I am over halfway done with the novelization of what use to be called Hell’s Gate but will now be called Abandoned and I plan on finishing that tomorrow and reading it out loud to edit the draft and commissioning a cover from a book designer I met and publishing it at the end of the week.
That will put me three books towards my twelve book goal this year and it’s only the first week of January.
And I published three books last month.  How do I do all this?  I’m single and an insomniac.  I sleep less than you and I write more than you and I want it more badly than you do.  If you write for eight hours and write two-thousand words per day I’ll write for twelve hours and write ten thousand words.   The only thing getting in my way is my need to cover my rent and feed myself.  That’s it.  Oh, and cigarettes and coffee.  I like cigarettes and coffee.  That’s what the twelve books are for.  If I can sell enough of those, then I can support myself with the royalties and work on The End Of The World Is Nigh which will be my magnum opus.  My ninth symphony.  My love letter to all of the post-apocalyptic and zombie epidemic books and movies that I know by heart and my homage to Stephen King.  I love The Stand, but now that I’m older, I don’t like how the characters become polarized into “good guys” and “bad guys” and the way that it becomes a Judeo-Christian parable of the army of the pious old God-fearing black woman against the morally reprehensible army of the amorphous man in black.  I think it turns some excellent characters into caricatures.  I’m an antitheist and a moral relativist and I know that given a difficult situation that good people will do bad things.   I loved The Walking Dead comic book series, but I think that it lacked the scale of The Stand.  My intentions is to take what I liked from the things I love and leave behind the things I could do without and write the book I always wanted to read.  I know I can do it, but I need people to buy the books that I put out along the way or to contribute to the campaign that I’m still running through the blog using PayPal so I have the time I need to write.  I’m also contributing a story to an anthology that you’re working on under the WIP title Possessions: An anthology of short stories about the abject horror of extraordinary objects.   I’ll be designing the book cover, handling the formatting of the interior, and publishing it through CreateSpace as a Burnt Offerings Book, and will not be counting it towards the twelve books I plan on putting out this year so I guess that makes it thirteen.  You’ll be doing the hard part of herding the cats and getting them to push water uphill and telling your writer friends that they have to try harder and write better.

ZE: Who are your favorite writers?

SL: Helen Hoke, Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Edgar Allan Poe, and H. P. Lovecraft.   I also like Chuck Palahniuk, Douglas Coupland, and Bret Easton Ellis.   For noir I like Chandler, Hammett and Thompson.   I love Bukowski, have read my weight in Burroughs, and love the books of Henry Rollins.   On my wrist I have a tattoo of a fragment from Sappho in Greek that translates as, “Day in, day out, I hunger and struggle” and it is a constant reminder to myself to work harder.

ZE: What are your favorite movies?

SL: You know how some people are all like, “That’s not fair!  I could never choose just one!”   Well, I’m going to try to not be that guy.  On my walls I have art from Fight Club, Watchmen, Battle Royale, Yojimbo, Hellraiser, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Audition and Onibaba.  I also have tattoos of Bela Lugosi as Dracula and Boris Karloff as Frankenstein.
The top five movies I have watched the most times, and by “the most times” I mean at least two-hundred viewings per film, would be Apocalypse Now, The Exorcist, The Shining, Taxi Driver, and Sick: The Life and death of Bob Flanagan.  Films I have seen at least a hundred times are the Universal Monster films, the George Romero zombie films, and most horror franchises.  I also like experimental films and am a huge fan of the films of David Lynch, David Cronenberg and Alejandro Jodorowsky.   I also frequently re-watch Elias Merhige’s Begotten.
My two favorite films to watch off of 35mm film prints are Eraserhead and Casablanca although I hope to someday see Seven Samurai projected off of an archival quality film print.
I have a 3T external hard-drive with 6,000 films on it in high-quality AVI format and I watch two or three movies a night.  I’ve watched more than half of them and am working on the other half and I am Assistant Program Director for The Arkham Film Society.

ZE: What sort of music are you listening to?

SL: The easy glib dishonest answer would be “everything”.
Right now I’m listening to Lustmord.
Lately I’ve been getting into a lot of Hardcore, Punk Rock, Black Metal, Doom Metal, Doom Rock, Death Metal, Thrash Metal, NWOBHM, dark ambient, speedcore, old jazz and blues, and film soundtracks.
I’ve also been listening to a lot of Pixies, Superchunk, Jawbreaker, Jawbox, Sheer Terror, Crowbar, Danzig, (early) Misfits, (early) Metallica, (early) Anthrax, Neurosis, Milemarker, Kavinsky, Richard Thompson, Mary Lou Lord, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Chelsea Wolfe, RUN DMC, Eric B & Rakim, P.O.S. and whatever else I feel like listening to when the whim strikes me.  I like to fall asleep listening to audio books.
My favorite band of all time is probably Drowningman.
And this is my favorite song by them:
This is a great song too…
I’ve been working on putting together a YouTube playlist of my favorite music and it’s ridiculously underpopulated, but you can listen to it here:
I’ve been to easily over 500 shows, as in concerts, most of them for free from playing the bill or working the venue.

ZE: Anything else you'd like the readers to know?

SL: I think they’re probably fucking exhausted at reading all of my narcissistic bullshit, but if they want to read more, I blog and Facebook constantly because my laptop is my window on the world and I like to let myself have little social media snacks between pages of writing so I don’t become a total recluse.
I’m really quite boring in person, except when I’m not, and I like to have dangerous fun, except when I don’t.  Also, if you’re a real sado-masochist one of my interviewees asked me to subject myself to the You Are Entitled To My Opinion treatment and you can read that interview here:

Scott's bio:

Scott Lefebvre can write about whatever you want him to write about.
Mostly because when he was grounded for his outlandish behavior as a hyperactive school child, the only place he was allowed to go was the public library.
His literary tastes were forged by the works of Helen Hoke, Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Edgar Allan Poe, and H. P. Lovecraft.
He is the author of Spooky Creepy Long Island, and a contributing author to Forrest J. Ackerman’s Anthology of the Living Dead, Fracas: A Collection of Short Friction, The Call of Lovecraft, and Cashiers du Cinemart.
He is currently working on ten novel-length book projects which will be released in 2014.
He also publishes themed collections of interviews from his interview blog You Are Entitled To My Opinion.
His reviews have been published by a variety of in print and online media including Scars Magazine, Icons of Fright, Fatally Yours and Screams of Terror, and he has appeared in Fangoria, Rue Morgue and HorrorHound Magazine.
He is the Assistant Program Director for The Arkham Film Society and produces electronic music under the names Master Control and LOVECRAFTWORK.
He is currently working on a novel-length expansion of a short-story titled, "The End Of The World Is Nigh", a crowd-funded, crowd-sourced, post-apocalyptic, zombie epidemic project.

Scott's pages:

Check his author profile at:
Check out the blog for the book here:
Check out the Facebook Fan Page for the project here:
Follow him at GoodReads here:
Check out his publishing imprint Burnt Offerings Books here:
And here:
Check out his electronic music here:
And here:
Check out his videos at:
Check out his IMDB profile here:
Follow his Twitter here: or @TheLefebvre
Follow his Tumblr here:
Check out his Etsy here:
Join the group for The Arkham Film Society here:
Stalk his Facebook at:

E-mail him at:

Don’t call him on the telephone.  But feel free to send pictures of your breasts.  He likes breasts.

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