Welcome to the 12 Days of Creepfest; a celebration of Christmas spooks and horror and an opportunity to introduce you to some wonderful horror and Dark Fairytale writers. Firstly thanks to the wonderful Rebecca Treadway (@creepywalker) for organising this fun trip.
Today I am happy to welcome the brilliant Stant Litore, author of the series The Zombie Bible.
In 140 characters, describe your private self.
Will stop on a blizzard day to help someone whose car is busted. Have an incurable phobia of zombies, jellyfish, and Westboro Baptist Church.
In 140 characters, describe your writerly self.
Knives flashing in the dark. Sometimes you have to cut deep to find the real beating heart of the story.
Tell us more about your current work and projects?
You’re going to want to check out The Zombie Bible. It’s a series of biblical tales retold as episodes of humanity’s long struggle against hunger and the hungry dead. Not your parents’ Sunday School. These stories have teeth. And heart. The most recent novel is set in second-century Rome and it’s about a priest who can bring peace to the walking, ravenous dead. But Rome might burn him for it.
How do you like to bring the 'dark side' into Christmas?
I’ll be honest, Christmas is the one day of the year that my mind is not dwelling on horror. In Hamlet, the guards describe how all the ghosts and bogeymen go to sleep when the cock crows at dawn on Christmas day. It’s the day when peace and goodwill lies over the earth.
But I will say this; While we eat our Christmas dinners and spend time with family, in many parts of the world children are starving, women in remote villages are walking ten miles to fetch a bucket of clean water while other women in crowded cities – right here in our own country – are working strip clubs under duress because if they don’t, they’ll have the shit beat out of them. Still other people are watching their homes be burned, or are packing in a hurry to get out. The dark side of Christmas is that a whole lot of people are suffering, and most of us aren’t thinking about them or acting to see justice done. Most of us are just breathing a sigh of relief that we managed to buy so many things before they sold out; in many cases, these are things manufactured in sweat shops and slave factories on distant shores.
I think if we really want to talk about wishing a merry Christmas and a happy New Year, we should have a moment of silence somewhere in the day and resolve to do what we can to make one hell of a difference this next year. Even if we just make a big difference for one person. Because otherwise, our Christmas dinner is a dinner served on the backs of broken and enslaved people and on the beaten bones of children, and the beautiful truths we tell ourselves about the season start to become lies.
Describe your perfect fantasy Christmas day.
Now that is a happier question. I actually think I am going to skip over the first few hours of that perfect Christmas and not describe them at all, and as my beautiful wife would be intimately involved in those hours, I think she’d appreciate that. But later in the morning I would see my two girls opening gifts and playing together, and we would have family calling in or visiting in the afternoon, and a dinner with some glorious vegetarian options for my wife and the most delicious turkey or ham you can find, for me. There would be wine. There would be laughter. There would be pictures and old stories. Wouldn’t mind a bit of snow outside and warmth in the hearth. I suppose this sounds real lazy – someone interviewed on here is going to want to go sky-diving on Christmas Day, I just know it – but there it is. Just Christmas at home with the people who matter to me.
Which six famous figures (dead or alive) would you love to have sitting at your Christmas table?
Since it’s the Christmas table, I’d pick the famous people who knew how to party and how to laugh fit to shake the room. I’d want Hafiz there – I think he’d be belly-laughing over pretty much everything, and trying to get the rest of us to. I think Abe Lincoln, because I admire him and he really needed a break and some people to cheer him up, there toward the end. Think we might could do that; my family is a cheerful crew.
Let’s see, how many left, four? Anne McCaffrey. She’d be spinning yarns, and a Christmas dinner isn’t anything without a few good yarns. And, well, I miss her. How about Themistocles, the hero of the Persian Wars? Frankly, you need a veteran at the table. He’ll show off his scars, his voice will boom out when there’s a lull, he’ll belt out carols off-key, and he may well try to dominate the table, but we’ll enjoy having him there.
Also, I’m sure this is one of those ‘oh come on, you didn’t pick him’ answers, but let’s get the Rabbi Jesus there, too. We won’t run out of wine, and he always seemed to have just the right thing to say. And since I’ve got one left, Barack Obama. If you’ve seen the benefits dinners, you know. Man can tell a joke.
What are your New Year wishes?
I’d like to introduce a lot more people to The Zombie Bible. :) Seriously, though, I would really like to be a better father this year. I am acutely aware that my two daughters are growing fast, and I’m aware of how much of a man gets sunk into work and projects. My girls need me, and I don’t want to miss one moment with them.
Just for fun: TRIVIA
Bing Crosby or The Pogues?
Crosby for Christmas. But please give me some good Celtic music the next day.
Jolliness or Bah Humbug?
Jolliness. I’m not old and bitter yet. May I never be.