SG: Ha! I think everyone is leery of being my friend in the beginning anyway. I am socially awkward in person, especially around strangers, so there are always uncomfortable silences, and I tend to say things that I wish I hadn’t. Conversely, I think I am super cool on Facebook, so if you want to meet me, meet me there! LOL. After people get to know me, they usually like me. Anyway, you asked for three, so here are some:
1. As the director of a non-profit, I am always asking friends (and strangers) to volunteer, donate, and participate in the organization. I’m sure that gets annoying.
2. I love garlic. I eat it all the time.
3. I am horrible at small talk, and I don’t watch sports. So….no small talk about sports, please.
BBB: What actors would you choose to play some of your characters if your book were made into a movie or a TV show?
SG: I would love to see the Clayfield series as a movie or mini-series. I have to admit, however, it is difficult for me to imagine specific actors in the roles. Some of the characters are based on real people, such as Brian Davies and Nicholas Sommerville, so when I see them in my mind, I see the actual people.
BBB: How do you keep track of your world building?
SG: Ha Ha!…Google Maps! The actual setting of Clayfield and the other surrounding towns are all based on real places, so that part is easy. Sometimes, I’ll go out for a drive or a walk to have a look around, but often I’ll take a look at the town using Google Maps and Street View. Keeping up with secondary characters has been the most difficult part in the Clayfield books.
BBB: Please tell us more about All that I See and the storyline that drives it.
SG: All that I See is the sequel to The King of Clayfield, which is a zombie apocalypse story. My intention with the series is to keep it centered on the people of a small town. The zombies are not the main focus of the story. It is about the people that are trying to live through it. The main character is a museum director and one of the last people you’d expect to survive. He doesn’t have many skills, he’s sort of out-of-shape and out-of-touch, he doesn’t own a gun, and he doesn’t know what to do. As the story progresses, he changes. In All that I See he is forced to make more difficult decisions and do things he would have never done before to protect the people he cares about, particularly the woman he cares about.
BBB: How many more books there be in the King of Clayfield world?
SG: Right now, I’m going to say three. I could change my mind later and write more.
BBB: I understand that this series is based on the town that you and I both live in. What has been the reaction of the people who live here so far when the find out about your book?
SG: The reactions from local readers have been positive. I wrote the entire first book on my blog in regular installments. In the beginning, I thought my local friends would be the only ones to enjoy it, because they would recognize the places and even a character or two. Then I started getting messages from people all over the country and then from different parts of the world. A reporter from the local newspaper read the first book and contacted me about doing a story on it. It gained a broader local readership after that, but really though, I think the bulk of my readers aren’t local at all. Most of people in the area do not even know about it.
BBB: Are you a plotser or a panster? or a Planster (a combo of both – lol)
SG: When it comes to creative work, I am definitely a panster. I usually have a limited idea of where I’m going with the story when I sit down to write. It might be difficult to believe, but there are many times when even I am surprised by the direction the story takes. I had an experience a few days ago where I killed off a character, and I didn’t even see it coming until just before I typed the sentence. I actually stopped typing and stared at the words unsure if I should proceed. It felt like someone I knew had died, and I actually felt bad. In this way, I think it makes the writing exciting for me. Sometimes, I’ll have an idea for a new character or subplot, and I will try to direct the story there, but it doesn’t always make it there. I like to trust my intuition on these things. I also work in the visual arts. I have learned that I make my best paintings when I trust my gut and try not to over think it.
BBB: What types of creatures can readers expect in your world?
SG: Human zombies of all kinds. In The King of Clayfield world, the Canton B virus changes people in stages. There are people that are sick and out-of-their mind, but not yet dead. These are fast, albeit uncoordinated. Then there are those that come back after death. These are like the traditional slow, shambling sort. As the story progresses, there are less of the fast ones.
BBB: Tell us more about your covers and what went into to designing and creating them.
SG: I do the covers myself. They are composites of different pictures. I shot the background photographs at locations in my hometown. The photo of the courthouse spire on the cover of the first book was taken by a local artist, Ronn Moyers. The main character on the covers is me. When I was writing The King of Clayfield blog, I would include maps and photographs as illustrations for the posts. I got some of my friends and family to pose as zombies back then. We had a lot of fun doing that.
BBB: What’s coming up for you in 2012 and 2013?
SG: I am still working on the third book in The King of Clayfield series. I had hoped to release that in November, but it looks like it will be December or later. In 2013, I plan to break away from the zombie genre for a while and give a fantasy story a try. I’ve been thinking about possibly doing something in young adult fiction, because my nine year old daughter reads a lot, and I’d like to write something I would feel comfortable with her reading. I don’t think she’s old enough to read The King of Clayfield right now. Of course, as I mentioned in a previous question, I like to let the story progress on its own, so I won’t say anything is definite.
-Shane Gregory is the director of a nonprofit art center in western Kentucky.
-He studied fine arts at Murray State University with an emphasis on drawing and photography.
-He has worked on farms, in a grocery, as a janitor, in a toy factory, in a one-hour photo lab, as a freelance artist, as an art teacher, and for three different galleries.
-His interests include growing his own food, running, painting, reading, and writing.
-He met his wife in college in 1993. They were married in 1999. They have two children.
-Shane self-published his first novel in 2005 under a pseudonym.
-The King of Clayfield was written in 2011 as regular installments on his blog.
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