Hello, kiddos! This week’s interview is with Mr. Franklin E. Wales, an author whose work reminds me exactly why I’m doing this blog. I’m very pleased that he requested an interview, otherwise I might have overlooked his unique talent and mad storytelling skills! I don’t get paid to say this, folks. This project is done strictly for the love of fiction, so trust me when I say… you NEED to check out his work! Very enjoyable stuff!
FREEBIE ALERT: Franklin has been kind enough to offer three FREE copies of his story “3 Fingered Jake and the Traveling Roadshow”. All you have to do is “like” Author Interview Corner on Facebook. There is a “like” button on the side bar of this page, or here is the direct link: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorInterviewCorner. Anyone who likes the page before the end of this week (including those who already have) will be entered for a chance to win! Thank you, Franklin! You are an awesome writer, and a cool guy to boot!
When and why did you begin writing?
I have been writing stories since I was a kid. My earliest memory of that would be the fourth grade where I used to write these little spook stories on one side of the paper (kid stuff, you know? Like something that ended “and they went into the house, never to be seen again”) and when school was over I’d drop them on the teacher’s desk as we left. I signed them all “The Ghost Writer”. At the end of the school year I found an envelope on my desk with all my stories in it along with a note saying I should keep writing. It never dawned on me that of course my teacher knew my penmanship!
Where can we find your short stories?
I’m not really much of a short story writer. I started out that way and placed a few in the smaller press. Between then and my first novel, I did a lot of entertainment journalism. I do pop up in the occasional horror anthology, “Welcome To Hell” being the latest. Currently I’m putting together my own collection of shorter works to publish later this year or early 2013.
Your novel “Deadheads: Evolution” takes place in a world that has already been ravaged and overran by zombies for over two years. Have you always wanted to write a post-apocalyptic book?
No, I actually wanted to write a post-apocalyptic movie script. The story began life as a movie script titled New Hope, after the small town in the book. The production company that had expressed interest tanked just as the script was done. I sent it around to several independent companies and the response was very good, but not good enough to buy the rights, so I filed it away. Sometime later Jacki (my wife) learned of Brad Pitt’s debut into the zombie film genre and told me that perhaps I might want to rewrite the script as a novel. There’s a ton of zombie books out there and I wasn’t too keen on the idea, but I’ve learned to trust Jacki’s instinct, especially when it comes to popular culture, so I dug it out again. An artist friend of mine, Joseph “Jody” Adams had expressed interest in doing some sketches for inside illustrations and it sort of came together. I’m glad I listened, “Deadheads: Evolution” has become one of my most popular titles. (It was Jacki who also thought I should adapt another movie script of mine, “Purgatory Junction” into a Western for my Dad’s Christmas present. That one has surprised both of us in how well it’s doing in the marketplace.)
Ironically since I turned Deadheads into a book I’ve had a producer in Miami contact me about possibly turning it into a movie. Knowing what I do about the independent film world, though, I’m not spending the check until it comes.
As I was reading “Deadheads: Evolution” I felt as though it had an underlying dark humor that would work great in a comic strip, or even a cartoon. Any plans to expand on this novel? Perhaps a series?
Yes. When it was a planned film, it was to be a trilogy; if successful DE followed up by “Deadheads: Revolution,” in which we continue the tale began in EVOLUTION. I had plans to end it with a prequel, titled “Deadheads: The Beginning” in which we learn the back-stories on all the characters we’ve met in the first two. Since then a reader suggested the title “Deadheads: Persecution”. I like that title so much that now I’m considering adding another book to the series. Of course I’m getting way ahead with all that. I am planning at least one sequel, REVOLUTION. If that is as popular as the first, we’ll move on to PERSECUTION.
What are the hardest parts about writing a novel?
In order it would be 1) Finding enough time to keep your ass in the chair to get it done. 2) Read and edit 3,4,5) Repeat step 2 ad nauseum.
Your short piece “3 Fingered Jake and the Traveling Roadshow” gives us a glimpse into the world created in “Deadheads: Evolution”, and it puts a new spin on the carnival freak show! My favorite sideshow freak was Caterpillar Boy. How did you think up the idea for a zombie carnival show?
If the world fell and the human race was knocked back out of our technology filled world, we’d still be begging for entertainment. I have always been intrigued with the traveling carnivals of old and the magic they brought to small towns across America when people were willing to let go of their preconceived ideas for a night of thrills and chills when the carnival came to town. It seemed to me bringing a rag-tag carnival around featuring the freak show of old and utilizing the undead would be someone’s idea of a good quick buck.
Your stories present a wide range of characters: even a carnival worker who is so dedicated to the sideshow, his last request is to return from the dead and keep performing. Do you make a deliberate effort to present characters all types? Or is it something that comes naturally when you sit down to write?
I really am one of those authors who listen to the characters as the story unfolds. It seems they have the best ideas on who they are, so I follow their leads.
I ask this of all horror authors, but I can’t resist…. what scares you the most?
A person’s real life, just the day to day, so called mundane living, is as scary as it gets. As a reader I want the book I’m reading to be the biggest attraction in the amusement park. Something that when I close the cover I want to say, “Man that was a ride!” I want my readers to do the same. Compared to a crying child that can’t tell you where it hurts, an aging sickly parent who won’t be with you much longer, getting laid off and wondering if you’ll make the rent again next month, or just trying to stretch that paycheck to pay the bills and buy enough food for the week, horror stories ain’t nothing. I’ve been through all those things in my life at different periods, and that is fear. With my work I hope to make someone forget those things, at least for a little while, and enjoy the ride before real life sets back in.
Besides the titles we’ve discussed, what else have you been working on?
I’m currently putting together a charitable horror anthology titled “Scare Package” where all proceeds go to fund Rockcastle Regional Respiratory Care Center. My latest novel, “Eaton Falls” (A werewolf tale set in a small New Hampshire township) is making the rounds, while I bounce back and forth between “Deadheads: Revolution” and a horror/western story featuring a werewolf gunslinger who tracks and kills vampires. I’m always hawking my other novels as well; “Booger,” a grownup Boogeyman story, “Gamemaster,” a psychological thriller, “Friend,” my demon comes to flesh tale and my western, “Purgatory Junction.”
Where can we find you on the web?
JOIN THE EVOLUTION! Pick up a copy in print or on Kindle: