March Madness presents: Frazer Lee, DIRECTOR, SCREENWRITER, AUTHOR
Bio: Frazer Lee is a writer and director whose screen credits include the award-winning short horror movies On Edge, Red Lines, Simone, and the horror/thriller feature film screenplay and movie novelization Panic Button. His Bram Stoker Award Nominated first novel The Lamplighters is published by Samhain Horror and his short stories have appeared in anthologies including the acclaimed Read By Dawn series. He lives with his family in Buckinghamshire, England, where he is working on new fiction and film projects.
Links to your works:
Thank you so much for participating in the madness. Why don’t you take a break from the action, grab something cold to drink and let’s chat.
Thank you for inviting me! Time for an energy drink. Mmm, let me crack open this nice cool bag of type-o-neg…
Q: You’re an up-and-coming star but you’re not new to the game. Can you tell us more about yourself and how you set your sights on the Horror genre?
A: I don’t know about ‘star’, but I am a monster kid through-and-through. From an early age I was watching Hammer and Universal double-bills on TV, listening to ghost stories on the radio and reading voraciously. Those formative years gave me a lifelong passion and inexhaustible well of inspiration, which have carried over into my professional life. I have worked in other genres as a screenwriter and script doctor, but when I’m working on a personal project it so often opens up into horror. I’ll be writing a cute fluffy bunny rabbit family picnic scene and ten minutes later people will start bleeding. I’m just programmed that way.
Q: You’ve sat in the Coach’s seat as a film director and screenwriter. What made you take The Lamplighters to the written page? Any plans to bring it to the big screen and if you did who would you cast in the lead role?
A: It’s difficult to describe, but when The Lamplighters came to mind, it was clearly going to be my first novel. I’d love to bring it to the big screen of course, and the lead role of Marla Neuborn would be played by whoever the next Winona Ryder or Zooey Deschanel is. The Skin Mechanic would have the looks and physique of Rupert Everett and the brute animalistic force of a gladiator.
Q: We’re all dying to know, where did you get your inspiration for The Lamplighters? And how do you go to sleep without nightmares?
A: I hope I don’t go to sleep without nightmares, because that’s where much of my inspiration comes from. Other than that I have no idea where this stuff comes from, and no real desire to find out, in case I can’t claw my way back from there! Marla and the Skin Mechanic came to me fully formed, so I just put a pot of coffee on the boil and let them tell their story.
Q: You’ve been nominated for a Bram Stoker Award for best first novel, which sets the bar high. What’s your game strategy? How do you plan on following up on such an amazing performance? What do you have in the pipeline next?
A: I should maybe specify, as per the Bram Stoker Awards rules, that the nomination is for ‘Superior Achievement in a first novel’ not the ‘Best’. It’s an amazing surprise and great honor to be nominated alongside such fine authors and works! I am working on my third horror novel now, and if it is even half as well received as The Lamplighters and Panic Button I’ll be more than happy. In addition to that, I’m working up some cool film projects, either as screenwriter/director or both.
Q: It seems like the Horror genre is making a comeback. Is that the case or has it never really been down? Any thoughts on where the genre is heading?
A: As a lifelong horror fan, I don’t believe the genre has ever been down. The perception that there’s a comeback is probably based on another of those moments in horror history when the genre’s popularity widens into the mainstream. But for those of us ‘inside’ the genre it never goes away because – and I think this is key – the horror fans are the selfsame people who are creating and celebrating horror on a daily basis. My first short horror film ‘On Edge’ has played festivals every single year for twelve years running (it’s in the official selection at the World Horror Con, Salt Lake City, March 2012). I don’t know of any other genre that has the longevity that horror has. Sure, there are peaks and troughs, but the beast will never die. I don’t know where the genre is heading, that’s part of the beauty of it. But I can tell you one thing – I am along for the long haul!
Q: Finally, for any aspiring horror writers out there, what words of advice can you give them on their road to publication?
A: I would say, if you aspire to write horror be sure to read and write outside of the genre every once in a while. Horror is just one way to tell a story and other forms can be truly inspiring and revealing. And never send out a first draft of anything. Always give your work a polish, or two, or more. Because if you don’t look at your work twice, why should an editor, publisher or agent look at it once?
It was a great pleasure having you with us today. Thank you!
Thank you for having me!
Drawing: One lucky commenter will receive a signed paperback copy of Frazer Lee’s The Lamplighters. In your comment please include an email address. The drawing is open until midnight PST. Good luck and come back again tomorrow!
Gabriella Note: Frazer is up for a Bram Stoker Award for his novel The Lamplighters. The winners will be announced on March 31st. Frazer is not able to attend, but his editor, Samhain Horror Executive Editor Don D’Auria will be there. Keep your fingers crossed and wish them both luck. If you want to know more about Samhain Horror, check out yesterday’s post. Don was our guest.