Bio--Michael S. Walker is writer/artist/musician living in Columbus Ohio. He has a BA in English and has seen his poetry and stories published in a number of small magazines. His first boo," will be released through Horrified Press (a UK press) on Oct. 8th, 2015. Besides his creative pursuits, Mike likes to watch movies, read, and listen to music. (Mostly on vinyl records.)
Twitter- Michael Walker (@intents2000) | Twitter
Your novel The Vampire Henry will be out October 8th, tell us a little about it and why you wrote it.
I have always loved the vampire genre, and I hated HATED what Stephenie Meyer did with it in Twilight. (Really? Vampires who sparkle and strut around in the daylight?) So, I wanted to write a vampire book that was, in essence, the antithesis of that. I wanted to create a bloodsucker who was as un-Twilight as it gets. And then the idea of making Charles Bukowski, the misanthropic poet/writer, my main character came to mind. I don't know if your readers know who he is, but he was a writer associated largely with the Beats, who became famous after a long life of alcoholism and working-class jobs. (He worked for a stretch in the post office.) So, I basically gave Bukowski fangs, and was off and running. I must add that Henry is based very loosely on Bukowski. A lot of the scenes in the book come from my own life.
Henry is not your average dime a dozen sparkler, 6 packer, or brutal nasty of a vampire, how is he different? What are his character strengths and weaknesses?
Henry is an artist. A writer. That is his primary reason for going on--he wants to create. The fact that he is a vampire, with all that entails, is kind of incidental. Just one more thing to write about. That is probably the most noble thing about him. What is his primary weakness? The fact that he is unable to compromise, to come to terms with the gray corporate madness that he sees all around him. I don't know if that is a weakness or a strength, really. At heart, buried under layers and layers of cynicism, is a very human heart that yearns for love and beauty. If that is a weakness, then heaven help us.
Are there any other major characters you'd like to mention? How do they affect Henry? What do you like and/or dislike about them?
Sarah. Sarah is another vampire who Henry becomes involved with romantically. She is a young woman with a bi-polar disorder who really hates being a vampire, truth be told. I like Sarah, because I think she is a great foil for Henry: the Ying to his Yang. My one problem with her, I think, is that I wish I had spent more time creating her backstory--letting readers in on how she became a vampire. I think at that point in the narrative I resorted to telling rather than showing and that all came out a bit too rushed.
You've compared Henry to Charles Bukowski, how is this so? What made you want to tell Henry's story and make him the vampire he is?
I think this all goes back to your first question. I wanted, like I said, to create a vampire character who was the total antithesis of the vamps in Twilight. And the most unglamorous person who came to mind was Bukowski. I wanted a vampire narrator who could comment on the mundane, ugly aspects of this life, in the same way that Bukowski did in his novels and poetry. And the idea of addiction is there like it was in Bukowski's work--only this time instead of alchohol, it's blood.
Will there be other books about Henry? If yes, what will happen? If no, why not?
No. I was tempted to write a sequel to Henry, because I think the ending is kind of open for something like that, but no. Right now, I am working on a third book about a rock band in a small town. After that, who knows?
You have a YA science fiction novel out as well, called 7-22. Could you tell us a bit about it and what makes it unique?
Sure. 7-22 is just a bit of whimsy. A lark. It is really indebted to Lewis Carroll and the kind of absurd logic he created in his Alice books. It also has a lot of the same absurdist logic you find in quantum mechanics. I was reading a lot about that when I wrote 7-22--stuff like the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. And that all became part of my crazy narrative.
Lee Drison is facing a very strange scenario which the blurb compares to alternate reality stories like Alice in Wonderland and humorous sci-fi likeThe Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy, how does he cope? Do you think you might react the same way?
Lee is rather indifferent to what is going on. I don't know why that is, and if I was to go back I think I might write his reaction to all the crazy events rather differently. I think the thing is, the events that are happening to him have, in one way or another, happened before and at this point in the narrative he is kind of over it all.
You also have several poems and stories in magazines, tell us a bit about some of your favorites of these and what you usually enjoy writing in shorter works.
I have published a few short stories that are, ostensibly, horror stories. Really they are more surreal than anything, Kafkaesque (as much as I hate applying that adjective.) There was a story called "Fingernails" that was published online, in which a man on a subway train encounters a woman with inordinately long fingernails, and then begins to obsess about her. That was a good story. And then there was another short, published in a UK anthology called Dark Lane, that was pretty good. It was about this guy, going for a job interview, who gets trapped forever in this weird Mid-western industrial park. That is the kind of horror that appeals to me I guess. Weird ambiguous shit without a hint of ghost or zombie.
Humor, satire, and a sense of the surrealism of life seem to be themes in your work, would you say any one genre speaks to you or do you write a story more for exploring an idea rather than suiting the typical aspects of genre?
More for exploring an idea. I love horror, and I have many friends who are horror writers. Henry is ostensibly a horror novel, but it is more a literary novel than anything. I have used the genre to comment on capitalism, and the various other forms of vampirism that exist in our society. I am currently working on a novel about a rock band in a small town--it is largely autobiographical. It is literary fiction again--close to Kerouac or Hunter S. Thompson. Nothing genre about it.
What do you hope people will get from reading your work? What did your writing offer you as an author that you don't feel you find in other writers' work?
Just the truth. What it is like to live in this country, at this time, with all the crazy horrible things we have to deal with. And all the beauty that remains...
Do you have any other work in progress? If so, tell us a bit about it.
The rock n' roll book. And poetry. Always writing poetry...