Thursday, March 11, 2010
Pro-File: Harry Shannon
Harry Shannon has been an actor, an Emmy-nominated songwriter, a singer, a recording artist in Europe, a music publisher, a film studio executive and worked as a freelance Music Supervisor on films such as Basic Instinct and Universal Soldier. He is author of Night of the Beast and Night of the Werewolf in addition to Daemon (formerly Night of the Daemon). Harry also wrote the Mick Callahan suspense novels Memorial Day, (2005) Eye of the Burning Man, (2006) and One of the Wicked (2008), as well as the acclaimed thriller The Pressure of Darkness (2006). Harry’s horror script Dead and Gone was recently filmed by director Yossi Sasson.
Pro-File: Harry Shannon
1. Tell us about your current novel (or project).
I've just turned in my first collection of short fiction in nearly ten years. "A Host of Shadows" will be released by Dark Regions Press, initially in a limited edition hardcover, then eventually as a trade paperback and ebook. It contains 25 crime and horror stories, four of them new, and the Stoker nominated story "The Night Nurse." Based that one on a nasty experience in the hospital last year. Checked out missing a gall bladder.
2. Can you give a sense of what you're working on now?
I have a couple of screenplays in the works, hope to pitch them to Paramount shortly. Partnering up with another fellow on a possible-remake of an 80's camp horror classic. More importantly, there's a novel ticking like an IED in the back of my brain, really wants to be born but taking it's own sweet time. Oh, and I sent part of a thriller to a well-known noir author, we may collaborate if he bites. Great guy. I could use some of that kind of fun.
3. What is the greatest pleasure of a writing career?
Just the process itself. Getting lost in a novel for months is a great joy and a true escape from the mundane. I find screenplays a bit less rewarding, although the collaborative process of making a movie (assuming you like your team) is a whole other kind of crowd pleaser. And opening a box of your own books, smelling and handling them, that's something special. Can't possibly be the same with ebooks. Hell, how do you fondle and sniff pixels?
4. What is the greatest DISpleasure?
Freezing up before the start of something. Blank page. Happens to me every year or so. Not writer's block exactly, just growing anxiety and a lack of focus. I hate the feeling. Eventually something gets me going, though. A close second is having to sell and promote stuff. I'd rather email things and see them finished and put them on the shelf for my daughter to read someday. At least the internet lets me pimp at a distance, bless it.
5. If you have one piece of advice for the publishing world, what is
Adjust quickly. Find the new business model and get moving. Don't go down in flames like music and indie film due to a lack of imagination and inflexibility. We all need to get into focus together, figure out this ebook thing, and help one another, or any chance of decent compensation and participation for mid-listers may be gone forever. A couple of large firms will soon choke off the distribution points, and we'll be left selling a few hundred copies ourselves via Amazon, marginalized indefinitely.
6. Are there two or three forgotten mystery writers you'd like to see
in print again?
Hardcase Crime is doing a great job bringing those back. Most of my favorites, like John D. MacDonald, are still in print. Haven't seen a Richard S. Prather in a long time, and a Shell Scott would sure brighten my weekend. Used to love those old Donald Hamilton Matt Helm books, not sure if they're still in print, but bet they'd be fun.
7. Tell us about selling your first novel. Most writers never forget
A really nice guy named Ed Gorman sent me an email saying "You sure can write." I'll never forget that. And he asked what it was I really wanted to do. I said crime fiction, so he asked me to send him something to forward to Marty Greenberg and Five Star. They bought the book. I'd written a couple of fun small press horror things, but I do consider that work, "Memorial Day," my first real novel. And I'll always be grateful to Ed for reaching out. He's inspired me to help newer authors whenever I can.