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“There’s no question that horror’s thriving, but horror is a beast with many faces.” -Nick Grabowski

November 13, 2011

Arts & Literature, Interviews

by Alex Mcdermott:

I had the pleasure to sit down with horror author and now publisher Nick Grabowsky to talk about Black Bed Sheet Books, writing, and the nightmares of Hollywood!!!

Alex Mcdermott: You are a well-established author! What inspired you to add publisher to your credentials?

Nick Grabowsky: Well, being an author certainly helped inspire me in itself. But in all my years as an author, I gained a lot of connections, repute, a little fame and celebrity status, learned to treat my craft as an art form and to perfect it.  And in the process I learned editing, web design, marketing, contract legalities, cover layout and design, necessary computer office software & hardware; carry over some film and TV production experience, life experience and the kind of ambition that once made me a preacher, a wanna-be rock & roll performer and a leader, and combine it with my obsession with advertising and the fact that I’m more than a little nuts.

Actually, around the sixth grade, I drew my own comic strip, circulated it regularly around my school and neighborhood, and some of my friends followed suit and I’d help circulate theirs as well. So I guess you can say I was publisher even back then in a way. I began publishing in the traditional sense when I made a deal with Trancas Films to reissue my Halloween IV novel in a special edition, and when I published that myself I decided in doing so to call my publishing self Diverse Media. My collection Diverse Tales followed, and then I started publishing the works of friends of mine around town, namely Jake Istre’s acclaimed poetry. I began personally marketing Jake as Sacramento’s Street Poet, who has a day job as a top chef in the region and served Governor Schwarzenegger a few times.

What really set off Black Bed Sheet Books, though, is that I had bad experiences with publishers and the last one was the last straw. That publisher left over 140 authors and disappeared, in the middle of everything, and in the middle of their anger and frustration a lot of those other authors started looking to me for direction. I took a look at the mechanics of how the publisher operated to publish books and told myself, “I can do that, and I can do it right.” So, with a lot of blood and sweat and tears, I did.

AM: Writing and publishing seem a bit adversarial! How do you use your extensive background as a writer to help you as publisher?

NG: I don’t see how you can operate as a publisher if you don’t at least understand writing. Writing and publishing isn’t supposed to be adversarial. They should work together. And I’d be useless as a publisher without my writing background. It taught me almost everything I needed to know to run a publishing business. I say almost because I’ve learned a mutitude of things as a publisher that you wouldn’t normally know unless you filled these shoes. That goes with anything, though. I feel, as a writer, if you want to be a good one, you have to involve yourself in the writing world. That includes working with publishers and understanding the whole process. It’s all the same industry, writing and publishing. If you’re serious about being really good at anything, you have to understand the whole nine yards and surround yourself with people who are successful at doing the same thing, roll up your sleeves and work in it, bathe in it, make it your life. You have to know your industry.

AM: What is your opinion of the horror genre now? Some argue its become saturated with gore/splatter and others argue it’s thriving!

NG: There’s no question that horror’s thriving, but horror is a beast with many faces. It’s also subject to trends. Some argue that it’s saturated with Paranormal-type stuff, or too many Twilight vampires, or you can say “everything’s about zombies nowadays”, and certainly we do see a lot of gore and splatter. It’s always argued that there are too many sequels or remakes and that nobody’s coming up with anything original anymore. The fact is, there have always been sequels and remakes, and there have been good ones and terrible ones. And immersed with all the same ol’ same ol’ are truly original works and awesome re-imaginings. And where Hollywood is cranking out bastardizations of the same stuff we’ve seen before over and over again, I am content that they are at least in doing so continuing to pump fuel into the great horror beast.

AM: How is working in Hollywood? What is the difference between writing novels and writing screenplays?

NG: Working in Hollywood is all political, who you know, and as a writer it’s oftentimes about handing your work over to others so they can have their way with it and you get a little money from it and walk away. And that’s if you’re lucky enough to get anyone to read it… what with the billions of scripts flying around trying to get the same attention as you are. I’m for doing it for yourself. If you want to work in Hollywood, don’t first work in Hollywood. Work independently, get a bunch of independent filmmakers together and raise money, make the movie yourself. If it’s good enough and if you push yourself, you’ll be a lot happier with the course you’ve taken and you’ll get more of Hollywood’s attention than just with a script — you have experience, credentials, a resume, and an edge on those who are still only pushing typewritten words on 150+ pages of paper held together by faciners in three punched holes.

And really, the difference between writing novels and screenplays is evident in the simple act of physically comparing the two. The obvious aside, a book represents directly and more freely and intimately the story that the author is telling, whereas a screenplay is meant to be an instruction and blueprint for the same story to be told, only visually and for a number of other people to work as a team with a director’s vision to express it.

AM: What changes have you seen in the horror genre in the last two decades?

NG: The real changes I’ve seen is that every Halloween, despite the Christian conservativists, people overall seem to celebrate it more, even under the guises of Harvest Festivals where it’s all really Halloween, just a P.C. version for what conservative Christians think makes J.C. happy. Walmart stocks its Halloween shelves in the middle of Summer. Profound changes in the last two decades in the way horror is expressed in movies are results of social changes and technology. Nowadays, through new filming techniques and digital imagery and all the latest pizzazz, we can put on film virtually anything the human mind can conceive of in a story. And makeup effects are cooler than ever, though I’m more for that than I am for the digital stuff. Horror, overall, is more accessible than ever before. And horror in literature is running rampant with unpublished or first-time authors in the independent arena with genuinely exciting ideas and stories, some of which would knock the socks off of you with no special effects necessary. I’m behind getting horror fans to read more horror than actually see it. Anyone who calls themselves a horror fan these days is usually only a fan of horror movies and the inspiration drawn from those movies. Someone who digests the whole pie, movies and TV shows and literature, now that’s a horror fan — and a well-rounded human being.

AM: With both a publishing house and a film production company, what differences do you feel set horror films and horror novels apart?

NG: It’s the medium. Films are visual and audial, and novels require more attention to an audience than films. A novel is intimate, starts off as intimate with the writer writing it intimately, typically for others to read just as intimately when a reader opens it in their alone time to intimately absorb it, to mentally envision the pictures the writer has painted for them to experience in an intimate way. In film, the pictures are already there, and far more than just the writer are responsible for them.

AM: What can we expect from you next?

NG: From Black Bed Sheet Books? More books! We are just assembling our 2012 lineup, and we also have at our online store an ebook section where we not only offer our BBS titles under practically every format under the sun, but we are developing an “Ebook Only” line of books to give first-time authors who submit to us more of a chance if we can’t ordinarily accept them because of lack of funds for print books. Also, we recently joined forces with the legendary Hacker’s Source Magazine, for the past decade an independent horror staple, and with Shot in the Dark Comics, who are currently converting almost every story in my Red Wet Dirt horror collection into a series of graphic novels and comic books and have some awesome super hero stuff. Black Bed Sheet is in charge of ebook versions of their entire catalog. Also, BBS Productions is currently working on a film adaptation of my story CUTTING EDGES, about a creature made of shaving cream, and we’re pushing the script I co-wrote with author Norm Applegate called INTO THE BASEMENT, based on Norm’s novel. I’m going to be doing another Red Wet Dirt-like collection called THE DOWNWARDENS. BBS is also a sponsor of Black Hamster TV, showcased on our official site and in the comedy section on www.veetle.com, which has generated over 50,000 viewers and showcases BBS titles and short indie horror films between hours of offbeat genre humor, and we also sponsor the highly popular Blog Talk Radio show Francy & Friends, which primarily showcases indie horror filmmakers and writers and BBS authors and famous other people.

What’s really in the future for Black Bed Sheet Books? Taking over the world!

______________________________________________

Nick Grabowsky is a Featured Member of  DarkMediaCity, a free social network for those who like it Dark.  Whether it be literature or film, horror or sci-fi, paranormal romance or paranormal investigation, we’ve got something for you.  www.DarkMediaCity.com

To find out more about Black Bed Sheet Books, please click here.

(All interviews are the exclusive property of DarkMedia, and may not be reproduced or shared without permission, excepting links to the interview.)

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One Comment on ““There’s no question that horror’s thriving, but horror is a beast with many faces.” -Nick Grabowski”

  1. James Garcia Jr. Says:

    Thanks, Alex and Nick. As a new author, I was very interested in hearing Nick’s take on all things horror. These are exciting times and I’m glad to be enjoying the opportunities that I have had because of it.

    -Jimmy

    Reply

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