Q&A with Stephen Kozeniewski 08/2016

September 2, 2016

 

Q: What is your most recently published work?
 

SK: HUNTER OF THE DEAD.

Q: How long did you write before people took you seriously?

 

SK: Do they take me seriously now?  Maybe after this interview is published.  I’ll let you know.


Q: How many rejections slips away from quitting did you feel early in your career?
 

SK: Well, if it had been the ‘80s or ‘90s when I started I might have reached a point like that.  But with the advent of reputable self-publishing, I don’t think any number of rejection slips would have stopped me.  That being said, I amassed well over 200 before even a small publisher picked me up.

Stephen Kozeniewski (pronounced "causin' ooze key") lives in Pennsylvania, the birthplace of the modern zombie. During his time as a Field Artillery officer, he served for three years in Oklahoma and one in Iraq, where due to what he assumes was a clerical error, he was awarded the Bronze Star. He is also a classically trained linguist, which sounds much more impressive than saying his bachelor's degree is in German.

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Q: Do you have any stories you regret writing or releasing?
 

SK: Not so far.  I guess I’ve been fortunate in that regard.  I haven’t written anything that turned me into a pariah or that I really cringe to re-read.  Maybe there’s an advantage to hemming and hawing for twenty years before finally publishing: at least I don’t have any juvenilia I regret.


Q: What is your favorite scary book and why?
 

SK: Brian Keene’s THE RISING.  It’s the book that made me the author I am today.  I mean, thinky zombies?  If you don’t see the resonance in my work, you’re just not looking.  It’s just such a perfect piece of horror.  The family stuff, the body stuff, the feeling of futility.  It’s like a straight jolt of uncut nihilism.


Q: What are you reading now and is it any good?
 

SK: Right now I’m reading THE JOURNAL OF VINCENT DU MAURIER by K.P. Ambroziak.  It is very good so far.  It’s about vampires having to defend and preserve humans in the midst of the zombie apocalypse because they’re their only food source.


Q: How do you feel about eBooks?
 

SK: I’m not a big fan of reading e-books, but I have discovered a workaround to make Siri read e-books to you, so I’ve been making some progress that way on my commute.  As far as how they’ve revolutionized the genre, I’m all for them.  I mean, some people say that they’ve devalued writing, but I think they’ve simply democratized the publishing process.


Q: What was the first scary movie that you saw and what about it scared you?
 

SK: I’m not sure about first because I was basically weaned on Universal monsters and ‘50s Kaiju flicks, but I can tell you to this day nothing has ever scared the piss out of me the way “Aliens” did.  I don’t know if I was just the right age to be horrified or what.


Q: What is the worst scary movie you've seen and why does it suck?

SK: Oh, worst as in genuinely bad?  Because some movies are so awful they're great.  But in terms of genuine dislike I really hated the early '90s Tom Hanks movie "The 'Burbs."  I have no idea if it would improve upon re-watching, but it left such a bad taste in my mouth the first time I don't think I could ever force myself to do it.

Q: What is your favorite scene from the movie The Burbs?

SK: Well, now, this is ironic.  I didn't even read ahead...

Q: Who would win in an Olympic rules wrestling match Chucky or The Leprechaun?

 

SK: The audience.  The audience would win.


Q: Do you believe in ghosts and if so, is there one behind you?

 

SK: No.  There isn’t one behind me.  There’s isn’t one anywhere.  There’s no such thing as ghosts.  There is such a thing as humans desperately craving order in an amoral, senseless universe and wishing for ghosts.  But I think a hundred and fifty years after the invention of photography and audio recording we can pretty much say that if we haven’t found any proof by now, despite an assload of people being very eager to find it, we’re not going to find it. 

Q: If you were a ghost who would haunt/stalk/pester?

SK: Rachel Autumn Deering.

Q&As are sent and answered via email.

 

Stephen Kozeniewski (pronounced "causin' ooze key") lives in Pennsylvania, the birthplace of the modern zombie. During his time as a Field Artillery officer, he served for three years in Oklahoma and one in Iraq, where due to what he assumes was a clerical error, he was awarded the Bronze Star. He is also a classically trained linguist, which sounds much more impressive than saying his bachelor's degree is in German.

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Unnerving 
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