Name: Roy C. Booth
Where are you from?
Roy C.: Bemidji, Minnesota, USA
A little about yourself, your education, family life, etc.:
Roy: I am a published author, comedian, poet, journalist, essayist, game designer, and screenwriter/script doctor (w/. screenplays optioned), also an internationally award winning playwright with 55 plays published (Samuel French, Heuer, et al) with 725+ professional and amateur productions worldwide in soon to be 28 countries. I am a 1983 graduate of Pillager High School (and a 2011 Hall of Fame inductee) and I have college degrees from Central Lakes College (Brainerd, MN in Associate Arts) and Bemidji State University (BA in English/Speech-Theatre and an MA in English with a Creative Writing Emphasis). I have a very extensive theatre background having worked on over 200 professional and amateur productions as an actor, director (which I prefer doing, btw), stage manager, scenic designer, make-up/FX designer, and fight choreographer, amongst other duties and job titles. I’ve owned and operated a comic book/games/used speculative fiction store for twenty years, presently with my wife, Cynthia, also a writer and a filmmaker, and my three sons, ages 12, 6, and 3, respectfully.
I own over 200,000 comic books. And I’ve read nearly all of them.
My wife has also pointed out to me that I have actually spent an entire combined year of my life in a black box theater and that I have spent most of my adult life living/working a handful of blocks away from the former hospital room that I was born in and Bemidji’s famous lake shore statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Roy: Flesh of Fallen Angels, a Weird Western novel with R Thomas Riley, gets released by Grand Mal Press sometime in March. That and I will have a play of mine produced in Luxembourg around the same time. Another installment of the Tales of Suruale fantasy series with Brian Woods will be made available on Kindle as well.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?:
Roy: I’ve always wanted to be an author since age six. It beats washing dishes for a living.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Roy: When I sold my first pro-pay story at the age of 14.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Roy: Profound disability and crushing unemployment.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Roy: Yes. I am told it is very cinematic, and I believe that is in part due to all of my years of doing various script work.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Roy: I try to make my titles a bit memorable and catchy, sometimes on the bizarre side and have received national recognition for doing so with some of my plays, most notably “Do You Have Gas?” (w/. Michael Paslawski) which was cited in USA TODAY and Two Wives and a Dead Guy (w/. Cynthia Booth, Samuel French URL) just as recently as last month on National Public Radio. “Unconventional titles for unconventional work,” as one of my friends likes to say.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Roy: Depends upon the genre; I deal with racism, personal empowerment, the power of literacy, diversity, and a host of other “message themes” in my playwrighting, especially with children’s plays. My fiction, not as much directly, although there are such undercurrents present. My messages in theatre are more in the here and now, of course, while in fiction I allow them to creep up on you after time, hopefully when still thinking about it well after you’ve read it.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Roy: Again, depends upon the genre and what I set out to accomplish. I’m big into Expressionism, theatricalism, and Postmodernism, so…
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Roy: For poetry it is The Poetic Edda, Henry Longfellow’s The Song of Hiawatha, and Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. When it comes to plays I have to say William Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Henry V, Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt, Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound, Eugene Ionesco’s Rhinoceros, A Christmas Carol as adapted from Charles Dickens, The Long Christmas Dinner and The Hairy Ape by Eugene O’Neill, and Buried Child by Sam Shephard. For books the works of Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft, Poul Anderson, Gordon R. Dickson, Philip K. Dick, Richard Laymon, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Karl Edward Wagner, Lawrence Watt-Evans, and others. However, my biggest influences come from comic books, especially comics created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Will Eisner, Roy Thomas, and my all-time favorite, the legendary duck man, Carl Barks.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Roy: I am, unfortunately, self-taught in that regard and have never really had one. However, I try to be a mentor for a few other writers and I find it very rewarding.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Roy: In fiction I am reading The Damned Highway by Brian Keene and Nick Mamatas and in non-fiction I am reading The Kingdom of the Hittites by Trevor Bryce. And I read about 40+ comic books and graphic novels a week.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Roy: Well, there is that R Thomas Riley fellow and a few others you can pick out from below…
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Roy: And then the minutes turned into hours, and the days into weeks…
I have dark poetry in the upcoming The Terror of Miskatonic Falls to be released sometime this year by Shroud Publishing. Brian Woods and I have more installments for the Tales of Suruale along with some stand alone novels on wizards and dragons and such. R Thomas Riley and I have some projects lined up including expanding upon the Diaphanous universe, the horror novel Mortuary of Madness, some short stories, and some other book length projects. This summer we plan to do quite a bit with film. I am doing play adaptations of work done by Scotty Roberts, William F. Wu, Wrath James White, and J. F. Gonzalez along with a screen adaptation of a short story by Mary SanGiovanni that we hope to shoot this spring/summer. R. Scott McCoy and I are working off and on on a screenplay adaptation of his terrific novel The White Faced Bear (Belfire Press). Twin Cities science fiction editor and expert Eric M. Heideman and I have a bizarro science fiction novel that’s past the second draft. New York-based filmmaker Rachael Saltzman and I have a horror novel in the works entitled Oh, Baby. Paul Copeland and I have have a 100K+ YA fantasy novel that should be fully edited by now. My screenwriter in crime John F. Mollard and I are working on the novelization of our modern day action/thriller film noir screenplay MacGuffin. There is the biblical thriller The Azerbaijan which I am finishing up for the estate of a deceased writer. Throw in some more plays and screenplays and my own solo novels and some work I cannot even talk about due to contractual non-disclosure agreements. And I am really, really looking for some opportunities in comics, which is what I (still) really, really want to do…
2012 should turn out to be a very interesting year.Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Roy: Easy. Mr. David Vieths, my junior high English teacher at Pillager High School. Fantastic guy, very supportive. Even had the opportunity to do some stage work with him in college, which was a blast and would to love to more with him in the future with film.
On the scholarly side of things Dr. David Beard at the University of Minnesota: Duluth has been a terrific supporter as well in the field of academia and has even gone as far as to write the Introduction to my Theatre of the Macabre from Skullvines Press, which is now in a second digital edition on Kindle, Nook, et al.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Roy: Absolutely. I have set office hours (I try to write 2,000+ words a day, seven days a week, but it’s not life or death . . . yet) and my entire family is trained to treat it as such, meaning if my office door is closed, I am not to be disturbed unless someone is on fire or some other equivalent. If the door is slightly ajar, you can come in and wait off to the side until spoken to. Writing is my career and my profession and we all treat it as such. They’re terrific and very supportive, especially my wife who has a very good understanding of what it is that I do (thank God).
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?:
Roy: Once I’ve finished a project, I’ve finished a project, and I move one. They are what they are when they were.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Roy: For playwrighting it came from being a professionally paid actor in an outdoor drama saying to myself, “I can write better than this…” Two years later the co-written (with Bob May and Cris Tibbetts) Beanie and the Bamboozling Book Machine was picked up by Samuel French.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Roy: Sure, this is a beginning of my one-act comedy Dante’s Infernal Nursing Home, which will be featured in an upcoming issue of Tales of the Unanticipated, the first play to be featured in the magazine’s 25 year history that has also included work by Fritz Lieber, Gore Vidal, Ursula LeGuin, Neil Gaiman, and others.
MALGERGOTH……….A retired demon, and not liking it.
LAVERNE………An addled former patron demon of drive-ins, retired. (NOTE: LAVERNE’s role is not gender specific.)
NURSE…. The caretaker presently on duty.
BEELZEBUBBA………A devil, claims to have been around since the Fall.
Time and Place: The “sun room” of a nursing home for infernal beings, floating about in Limbo, bordering the First Circle of Hell, a few short years from now.
At Rise: In the center of the stage is LAVERNE, a worn out incubus/succubus, neatly dressed and spit polished. Sitting next to them is MALGERGOTH, a former demon god, looking quite ratty and depressed… and very, well, Gothic. Both look very freaky.
LAVERNE: “Did Bill bring the pizza?”
MALGERGOTH: Hm. I’m not sure I know that one… must have been after 2010…
(Enter the NURSE, another demon, who is all smiles and always talks in an icky sing-song sweet voice that sounds like marshmallows dipped in molasses.)
NURSE: (Cheery and upbeat) Good morning, everybody!
LAVERNE: “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”
MALGERGOTH: This is Limbo, how the Heaven are we supposed to know if it is morning or not?
NURSE: Now, now, now, Mr. Malgergoth, watch your language…
NURSE: (Claps hands together) Now, I have some great news…
MALGERGOTH: What, Hell is now full and zombies are roaming the Earth?
LAVERNE: “Shoot ‘em in the head!”
NURSE: No, but I appreciate you two trying to be so positive about this…
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Roy: Writing about myself.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Roy: Robert E. Howard. He could cram so much into a story and still maintain a good clip of pacing, atmosphere, characterization, and turn of phrase. And his output for his time in so many different genres is just staggering when you actually think about. Imagine if he hadn’t killed himself at age 30 and/or had access to today’s writing technology and paying markets. He’d darn near rule Amazon Kindle amongst speculative fiction writers.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Roy: Other than mostly doing some promoting at conventions throughout the Upper Midwest, no. This will probably change soon since my wife is gently pushing me to do more appearances and signings.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Roy: Now there I have been a very lucky, luck man. For Terminal: The Play with Brian Keene and Bloodletting Press we had Alex McVey who has done work for Stephen King. At Grand Mal Press R Thomas and I had Stephen Bryant on Darker Than Noir and Jade Moede on Flesh for Fallen Angels. For Tales of Suruale: Davi we had British artist Dru Morgan. Three Zombies and a Demon (Stygian Publications) nabbed Caroline O’Neal out of Denmark. Mark McLaughlin and Kh Khoehler have done the covers for both editions of Theatre of the Macabre. Diaphanous features the talents of Italian fan favorite Danielle Serra who has done work in comics and for Cemetery Dance and Weird Tales and was a British Fan Awards nominee last year. Australian artist Adam Jay Dobson did the cover to my play Pairing Energy (with Mitch Berntson, Original Works Publishing). The list goes on. I have been very, very blessed with wonderful talent from artists from all over the world.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Roy: Scheduling. Paying gigs come first, the non-sexy stuff like industrial film scripts, doctoring jobs, and non-fiction articles and fillers. I did a quite bit of ghost writing for years, but I no longer due that due to diminishing returns and the fact that I want my children to know my credits so they know why their father sometimes has to spend so much time away from them some days.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Roy: Well, as you can tell, I collaborate. A lot. And each and every time I do it I learn something new. Writing is an ongoing process, the more you write, the more you learn, and my teaming up with other writers, regardless of their current skill level, always provides me with effective on-the-job training. It’s a wonderful win/win situation in a usually rather lonely profession. I truly treasure my colleagues in this regard. I also like getting new authors their foot in the door, so to speak.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Roy: Pace yourself. And as long as you’re writing SOMETHING and you’re getting that much closer to completion, even if little by little, it’s ALL good.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Roy: Yes, buy my work. Our boys are eating us out of house and home.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Roy: Teach at the college level and/or stuck with doing professional theatre, probably at a technical level.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? if so what is it?
Roy: Mine is presently being redone, but you can easily find me on Facebook, Amazon, and on my author pages/entries at Samuel French, Heuer Publications (www.hitplays.com), ACA Books, http://www.doolee.com, et al.
Roy C. Booth
Publishing News: 11/1/11: Contract signed for Flesh of Fallen Angels, a novel w/. R Thomas Riley; 9/5/11: “Trespassers” — horror short w/. Cynthia — Northern Lights II (Sam’s Dot); 8/31/11: The Official “The Day Lufberry Won It All Script Book (Booth/Riley/Mollard) goes live on Kindle; 8/29/11: Became a full member of good standing in International Thriller Writers; 8/21/11: dark sci-fi short “Extremum” (w/. RTR) in Apexology: Science Fiction & Fantasy (online); 8/16/11: Marriage…After Death (zombie comedy w/. Abbey Ferrier) to be anthologized in Heuer’s upcoming Unleashed: 10 Minute Plays for Three Actors; 8/15/11: “Dante’s Infernal Nursing Home” (one-act comedy form OotH II) will be appearing in Tales of the Unanticipated #31, the 25th Anniversary Issue; 8/15/11: Heuer to publish “A Dozen Raw Eggs at the Airport” (one-act comedy from Out of the Hat I).
Next Scheduled Appearance: TBA.
Horror News THREE ZOMBIES AND A DEMON Review:
Roy’s May 2010 appearance on KAWB/KAWE’s COMMON GROUND:
Roy’s January 2010 Interview on Horror World:http://www.horrorworld.org/interviews.htm
Published author, comedian, poet, journalist, essayist, and screenwriter/doctor (w/. screenplays optioned). Internationally award winning playwright with 55 plays published (Samuel French, Heuer, et al) with 720+ productions worldwide in 27 countries. Check out his books on Amazon.com/Kindle, Goodreads, and elsewhere.