In running ZombieMall.com I’ve had the pleasure of encountering several horror writers. I think I’ve read more in the past four months than I have all last year. When I ran across Sheldon S. Higdon I knew at some point I was going to have to have an interview. Over the months I’ve gotten to know this guy, and ya know?… He’s a crafty one! What makes him all the more interesting is that he has not confined himself to just writing a novel. He has a comic book that is currently being illustrated, has had several stories published in various magazines, and even has a short script in development with an independent filmmaker in L.A.! To that end, let’s crank up this interview!
I had heard once that you tried to act like a zombie and got your nuts kicked, what was that all about?
It happened during the first year of the Zombie Walk. Sometime ago. There were thousands of us dressed up as zombies shambling through the streets of Monroeville. And there was this hot, bloody girl next to me dragging herself forward, and I thought it’d be funny to grab at her and try and bite her. The only problem was I didn’t expect her to knee me in my Swedish meatballs. Now that I look back on it, I probably shouldn’t have done the Zombie Walk naked. No wonder people veered away from me. But hey, at least I met my future wife that day! Who knew? Okay, so I’m completely lying about the whole event. It never happened. Sorry, it’s the writer in me.
Actually what you’re referring to was an article I wrote about my take on writer’s block. In it, I liken writer’s block to that of being a zombie. Whereas your brain dead in either situation. Can’t think. Have to run on instincts, if you will. And in it, my wife does knee me in the nuts. And so far, she’s never had to do that in real life. Thank __________! (Fill in your deity here.)
I’ve seen your credentials; you have a good number of writings published in various magazines. Can you recall what it felt like to land that first publication?
What I remember…is working on another story. I didn’t celebrate or anything and I didn’t tell anyone except for my wife, of course. But, really, I just continued working on the next piece.
Lately it’s been hard for me to find or even make time to write, when you are not writing what do you do with your time?
I write. And occasionally go to the movies when I’m drained, to get away from the world for two hours. Or read. But when I have free time, I write. Now come next spring that’s going to change because of the upcoming birth, but I’ll just rearrange my schedule (once I can figure out what that’ll be) and write accordingly. If I have to I’ll write on diapers, bottles, receiving blankets, etc. I already write on napkins and toilet paper and whatever else I can find when I’m not at my computer, so it’ll make no difference. But either way, I write. You make the time!
Aside from horror, what other genre would you like to explore writing in?
I would like to try my hand at a Mystery, as well as Science Fiction. Maybe even Crime. And definitely Comics. As a writer you have to adapt or you won’t last long.
What is something that truly frightens you?
Horror writers don’t get frightened; we frighten everyone else.
I’ve got two children, both saw Star Wars pretty much since they were a week old; and several times since then. My daughter looks up to me each time the Fox Fanfare plays, regardless of the movie she goes: “Star Wars?” I understand you are due to have your first child. I’ve heard rumors that the child will grow up on horror and Star Wars. What age do you think you will expose him/her to their first horror movie? Do you already have one picked out to watch?
As for Star Wars that’ll pretty much be a given since my house has a room that’s purely a storage unit for my countless boxes of Star Wars toys—all unopened (geek, I know.) I used to be a serious collector of toys (Star Wars, Spider-Man, X-Men, anything Horror, etc.) and occasionally I still buy them but only if it’s horror related. But no matter, this child will have toys galore until he/she is thirty.
Now the horror side of it is a tad bit different. I saw my first horror film—”The Crawling Hand”—on late night television when I was a young kid. Not really a scary movie but when your mother acted as if her own hand was out to get you just as the hand in the film did, it scared you. So for my own child that first horror film probably won’t happen until they’re about twelve or so. But if he/she gets into my film collection then it very well could be earlier. I remember seeing “A Nightmare on Elm Street” at the theater when I was thirteen. And if I remember correctly the film was rated R, but I got in because I knew the owner. At thirteen I had connections. LOL! Hopefully my kid won’t have connections. But, seriously, it’s very hard to say. There’s really no ‘real’ answer.
And no, I don’t have a specific film picked out. But one of the Universal Monster films wouldn’t be a bad choice. Start with a classic, I guess.
When the impending doom/plague of zombies breaks out, what will be the first thing you do/would do, and where on the planet will you go?
I’d take my family up to my Fortress of Solitude that lies in northern Maine where a buddy of mine has enough guns, ammo, food, and water to get us by for quite some time. And once we run out of all of the aforementioned supplies, then I’d say, “Inyuk-chuk!” and grow to a gigantic proportion and stomp the hell out of all of the zombies; therefore, saving the world.
What were the last three books you read?
“Survivor” by J.F. Gonzalez, “Kill Whitey” by Brian Keene, and “Cuts” by Richard Laymon.
In closing do you have anything you would like to plug? The floor is yours!
I have two stories appearing in the upcoming anthology Northern Haunts where all of the proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society. Also, another feature article that I wrote will be appearing in an upcoming issue of the Portland Magazine, as well as a story appearing in Werewolf Magazine.
And while I’m waiting to hear on other work, I’m currently tightening a ‘longer’ short story that may be published as a chapbook. And in between a few other short stories, I’m working on a novel.
Everyone’s welcome to visit me at: www.myspace.com/sheldonhigdon
Sheldon, thank you for your time and thanks for the interview!