Today I have F.A. Tallahassee with me, the author of “Champagne Jackson Kicks Zombie Ass”. Under his pen name he’s adopted the persona of a Bigfoot-type character who lives in the Florida swamps. So, check out the interview questions he’s answered in that vein and get to know more about him and his work!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi. I’m Furry Armpits Tallahassee, also known as the Florida Ape-Man. I don’t rightly recollect how I wound up living among civilized folks. That is, if your idea of civilization is Yeehaw Junction. I was found on a riverbank deep in the swamp by hunters. They say I was raised by wolves or alligators and that I was completely wild at that time. They had to tie me up on account of me biting and clawing and generally being a handful. Well, it wasn’t easy for a feral child to adjust to life among humans, and I spent most of my youth at the Yeehaw Junction Reform School and Sewing Circle where I learned to read and write and also acquired some kickass dressmaking skills. Of course, that was in between me running away and getting dragged back, which happened a lot.
By the time I was sixteen, I had graduated to the Yeehaw Junction State Penitentiary where I broke rocks on a road gang. Upon my release, I decided to mend my ways and try and stay on the right side of the law. I took up ‘gator wrestling and have been the state champion seven out of the last ten years. It’s cost me a finger and a couple of toes, but I keep on choogling. I’m also regional spittoon-target champion and can launch saliva into a gnat’s eye from twenty paces.
When did you realize you were a writer?
During my incarceration at the Yeehaw Junction State Penitentiary I occupied the long, empty hours in my cell making up stories to keep myself entertained. When I got out, I found that the habit was ingrained, and I recently decided to start writing them down. Not with my toes and a crayon as some local joker indicated, but on one of those new-fangled typewriting machines that have just arrived in town. If you stroll into the woods and listen, you’ll hear the sound of me pecking away at the keys, keeping the birdsong and the wind-rustle company.
Other authors who have inspired you and your work?
I’m a huge fan of Joe R. Lansdale, a writer with a unique and wonderful voice who writes crime and horror fiction, my two favorite genres. I would urge anyone who hasn’t heard of him to pick up ‘The Best of Joe R. Lansdale’ as an excellent introduction to this superbly gifted writer. He crafts hard-hitting tales, laced with sadness, but with lines that’ll have you laughing out loud too. I also love Elmore Leonard and Ed McBain, Stephen King (of course), Robert E. Howard, Lawrence Block, John Wyndham and Robert Louis Stevenson. I like writers who keep you entertained; keep that plot cooking and the action flowing.
‘Champagne Jackson Kicks Zombie Ass’ began as a short story idea. The first chapter of the book pretty much is that short story, but Champagne Jackson is somewhat larger than life and refused to be constrained to such confines. She insisted that she had more profanities to spew and butts to kick. So the story snowballed and other characters wanted their say and it wound up as a novel.
The story will appeal to fans of apocalyptic horror and there’s certainly plenty of guts and gore, but there’s also lots of action, a good dose of humor, and plenty of rapid-fire dialogue. It’s a fun and fast-paced page-turner.
What’s your favorite thing about the genre you write in?
The monsters! I’ve always loved the icons of horror. I grew up with Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, The Creature From The Black Lagoon and all the rest. I watched the movies, read the books and the comics and the fan magazines. If you write horror, then you get to play with all the dark beasts that our fevered brains have ever conjured to keep sleep at bay.
Thoughts about self and traditional publishing?
If you’ve landed on sufficient slush piles and collected enough rejection slips in your quest to get your writing out there, then self-publishing is a no-brainer. The odds against success are probably just as high as with traditional publishing, but at least you are a published author. Your books exist somewhere other than in your imagination. And that is really cool.
Any upcoming works we should know about? What’s next for you?
There’ll be some short stories appearing over the next few months. The first is titled ‘King Kong vs God,’ and has the big ape squaring up to the Supreme Being in a grudge match for the ages. Obviously I can’t tell you who wins. Then there’ll be ‘The Body In The Trunk’ which is more of a crime thriller than a horror novel. After that, I’ll work down my list of things to write which just keeps getting longer all the time. Thanks for listening and have a most un-horrific day!
Have you read “Champagne Jackson Kicks Zombie Ass” yet? Let us know!
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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