Author Joe R. Lansdale Talks about ‘Cold in July’ and Writing

 

By Jason Harris

Joe R. Lansdale

Joe R. Lansdale

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.cold_in_july

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.

Editor’s Note:

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.

Recent News in the Writing World

Ray Bradbury Dies

Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury

On Wednesday, June 5, the literary world lost a legend with the passing of Author Ray Bradbury, writer of Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles. He was 91. Here is a link to the Associated Press story,

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jnjbPvChVLLS0e3dnWXe–6OT8ww?docId=d0ae6225d805419bbd4bb1d9ca311c0d.

Clive Barker News

There was some Clive Barker news this week. Amazon Studios has hired the horror author to rewrite Zombies vs. Gladiators. Here is the link to the story, http://www.thewrap.com/media/article/amazon-studios-recruits-horror-cult-hero-clive-barker-rewrite-zomvies-vs-gladiators-42731.

Stoker Award-Winning Compilation Now an E-Book

Author Stanley Wiater’s Bram Stoker Award-winning compilation, Dark Dreamers: On Writing, has been republished as an e-book by Necon E-Books. It is subtitled, “Advice and Commentary from Fifty Masters of Fear and Suspense.”

It is a collection of how-I-did-it quotes from such talents as Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Anne Rice, Clive Barker, Ray Bradbury, Jack Ketchum and many more. Wiater has “culled well-selected quotations from his interviews with horror’s creators. These include major influences; the day-to-day work of writing; choosing a form; fame and fortune; the game of making movies; sex and death; censorship; personal fears; surprising advice; and the function of horror.”

Check out the e-book here.

A Collection Celebrating Ray Bradbury

Press Release

Borderlands Press & Gauntlet Press Present: Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury

The collection is edited by Sam Weller & Mort Castle and will be released this summer.

Signed and numbered edition limited to 500: $75.

Signed (including Ray Bradbury) and lettered edition limited to 26: $500.

To order, click this link and go to More Information: http://www.borderlandspress.com/. (The collection’s cover hasn’t been announced yet)

Under a joint imprint, Gauntlet Press and Borderlands Press will publish a limited, signed, and numbered edition of Shadow Show, a tribute anthology to celebrate the career of Ray Bradbury. In the collection, editors Sam Weller and Mort Castle have assembled short stories from 26 of the most celebrated authors today to honor Ray and his contribution to the literary canon. Also included is an introduction in the form of a personal essay “Second Homecoming,” written by Ray Bradbury, specifically for the book.

Limited to only 500 copies, this book is signed by all contributors (except Ray Bradbury) including Margaret Atwood, David Eggers, Neil Gaiman, Alice Hoffman, Joe Hill, and many other award-winning writers.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Sam Weller and Mort Castle – Introduction

Ray Bradbury – Second Homecoming

Neil Gaiman – The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury

Margaret Atwood – Headlife

Jay Bonansinga – Heavy

Sam Weller – The Girl In The Funeral Parlor

David Morrell – The Companions

Thomas F. Monteleone – The Exchange

Lee Martin – Cat on a Bad Couch

Joe Hill – By The Silver Water Of Lake Champlain

Dan Chaon – Little America

John McNally – The Phone Call

Joe Meno – Young Pilgrims

Robert McCammon – Children Of The Bedtime Machine

Ramsey Campbell – The Page

Mort Castle – Light

Alice Hoffman – Conjure

John Maclay – Max

Jacqueline Mitchard – Two Of A Kind

Gary Braunbeck – Fat Man And Little Boy

Bonnie Jo Campbell – The Tattoo

Audrey Niffenegger – Backwards In Seville

Charles Yu – Earth: (A Gift Shop)

Julia Keller – Hayleigh’s Dad

Dave Eggers – Who Knocks?

Bayo Ojikutu – Reservation 2020

Kelly Link – Two Houses

Harlan Ellison – Weariness