Interview: James H. Lucas

I'd be lying if I said I was able to keep a straight face by the answers to these interview questions. Thanks for keeping us entertained here, James! (P.S. should I ever find myself on death row, I'm stealing your last meal!)

James H. Lucas is the author of "Vampires in Pimptown," "An Undead Wedding," "Ramblings and Reveries: Stories and Poems," and "The Widow Wilkins." In addition, for younger readers, there is "Billy's Tales of Wonder and Horror" (Volumes One and Two - with more coming soon!). 

He currently resides in Colorado with his wife, son, daughter and several monsters in the basement. Follow him on Twitter @Bcnubooks.

Give us a quick bio. A little about yourself, your work and how you got into writing.

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember (I sound like Ray Liotta in Goodfellas, don’t I?). I didn’t just wake up one morning and decide to start writing stories; rather, as soon as I knew my alphabet, I was piecing together one-paragraph short stories about school bullies or talking snakes or whatnot. I studied writing at an arts school my last two years of high school. I published my first novel, An Undead Wedding (about zombies) back in 2009. Vampires in Pimptown was released in 2010, followed by two volumes of Billy’s Tales of Wonder and Horror  (for younger readers) and now, The Widow Wilkins.

Do you have a most embarrassing moment? 

Yes. Yes, I do.

If you were to create a writing soundtrack, what artists would be on it? 

When writing Vampires in Pimptown, I listened to a lot of James Brown, The O’Jays, Earth Wind and Fire, Curtis Mayfield, Isaac Hayes and so on, to really get into the vibe of 70’s blaxplotation. Whereas, while writing The Widow Wilkins, I listened to Dean Martin, Johnny Mercer, Glenn Miller and things from a previous era to get into the mindset of an eighty-something year old woman. I usually make some kind of soundtrack, just to help put me in the right mindset.

Have you ever written yourself or people you know as a character in one of your books? 

I think, in a way, all of my characters are me. They’re not necessarily  the me that I want to be, or even the me that I will admit to being, but I think that there’s some aspect of me in all my characters. You don’t want to put too much of yourself in your characters and wind up writing some kind of half-assed Mary Sue fan fic, but, Hemingway said you should write what you know. While I've never been a pimp, a vampire, an 84 year-old woman or a large African-American woman jilted on her wedding day, there are things within those characters that I identify with, be it, a denial of the fact that the world has changed (An Undead Wedding), or a willingness to defend what is mine (Vampires in Pimptown), or simply knowing how it feels to live alone for the first time in your life (The Widow Wilkins).

Do you laugh at your own jokes as you write them? 

Sometimes. In An Undead Wedding, there is a character who is trying to recite The Lord’s Prayer and royally screws it up. My favorite line is: “Forgive us our crossdresses as we forgive those who crossdress against us.” Still makes me chuckle.

Do you write full time or do you keep a day job? 

Currently, I keep a night job, working third shift. Writing is certainly spiritually fulfilling, but it’s difficult to pay the power bill on spiritual fulfillment.

How long does it take you to write a book? 

It varies. An Undead Wedding took me nearly two years, but a lot of that was because while writing it, I got divorced and was dealing with a lot of problems in my personal life, whereas Vampires in Pimptown took me about three months, but I was out of work at the time and had nothing else to do but sit and write. The Widow Wilkins took a little less than a year from start to finish (which is to say, I started the book in November 2012, put it aside, moved halfway across the country, tinkered with it here and there, and then, coming down with shingles, had nothing else to do except wince in pain and write, so I finished it).

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination? 

Mostly all imagination. Sometimes, real experiences pop up as character details, but nothing from my life has ever been used as the central plot. My life just isn’t all that interesting.

What's the one question you wish you would get asked but never do? 

Do you mind if Scarlet Johansson/ Kat Dennings joins us?

OK, so, what’s next, do you already have a new project in the works? 

Yes, but I don’t like discussing works in progress, as they tend to change. Sometimes, you come up with an idea and are very excited about it, only to discover that it’s already been done, or that your interest in it is fleeting or that it simply needs to cook a little more.

In ten words or less:

  • Are you a morning person or a night owl? 
    • Night owl.
  • Favorite TV Show? 
    • Big fan of Doctor Who and Mystery Science Theater 3000.
  • If you could choose your last meal, what would it be? 
    • Unicorn. I’ll wait while you find one.
  • If you realized that you got a free item by accident after leaving a store, would you go back and pay for it? 
    • No, I might need those Tampax for something.
  • Last thing you dressed up as for Halloween? 
    • Nosferatu.
  • Oreo’s…Bite into the entire cookie or deconstruct it? 
    • Eat whole, only after a slow dunk in milk.
  • Worst job ever? 
    • Telemarketer.

Where can readers stalk you?
Amazon Author Page