By Jason Harris
JH: The movie version of Cold in July comes out in May. Did you have any involvement with the filmmakers?
JRL: Yes, Jim Mickle, the director, and Nick Damici the writer, kept me in the loop and asked my opinions frequently. I was on the set for two weeks watching them film. It was a great experience, and as icing on the cake, I like the film. A lot.
JH: If you did have any involvement, what was your involvement and how did you feel about it?
JRL: Mainly just as an adviser. They respected me enough to make me a producer on the film. I did teach Sam Shepard a finger lock for one of the scenes.
JH: What do you think about the casting of Michael C. Hall, Sam Shepard, and Don Johnson in the roles of characters you created?
JRL: It was like they were born for those parts. I didn’t think about them as the actors, but as soon as they said their names, I thought, oh hell yeah.
JH: Are there anymore film adaptations in the works of your books?
JRL: There are several. The Bottoms is the only one I can talk about right now. Bill Paxton is set to direct, and there is a great script by Brent Hanely. He wrote Frailty and Bill directed it. I think we’ve got a winning team. Next actors are to be chosen. The plan right now is to shoot this fall.
JH: How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?
JRL: Sometimes I just want something common. And there are times when I feel something a little unusual is better. I’m not picking names like Bill Storm or Willie Hammer, but now and again I go for something a little exotic like Vanilla Ride.
JH: Do you have a favorite conference to attend? What is it?
JRL: ArmadilloCon in Austin, Texas. I go most years.
JH: What is your least favorite part of the publishing/writing process?
JRL: Proofing and promotion, though I have learned to embrace those things.
JH: Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?
JRL: I don’t know. I never say never, but I’m sure there are some things I wouldn’t want to write about, but I’d have to come up on that one before I’d know it.
JH: Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?
JRL: Not really. Not if I like the story and feel it works in the context of that story.
JH: Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?
JRL: Too many to name here. But among them: Jack London, Mark Twain, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Charles Beaumont, William F. Nolan, William Goldman, Raymond Chandler, James Cain, Dashiell Hammett, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, [William] Faulkner, a little, Flannery O’Conner, a lot Glendon Swarthout, some [Larry] McMurtry, and the list goes on.
JH: What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
JRL: Read a lot, and learn to write regularly, daily. Put your ass in a chair and write. Have a reasonable goal each day. Say one to three pages, and reach it, and if you go over, great, but try hard to reach that goal.
THe movie version of Cold in July comes out in limited release in theaters on May 23.
You can read an earlier article about Lansdale receiving the Horror Writers’ Association’s Lifetime Achievement award here.
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