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Interview: Author John Passarella

He is one of our generation’s most gifted writers. His first novel “Wither” was published and Passarella won the Bram Stoker Award in 2000 for Superior Achievement in a first novel. He has written some of the horror/science-fiction/fantasy books of our generation including “Supernatural: Night Terror,” “Wither,” and “Kindred Spirit.” Joss Wheadon created shows and Passarella’s books were based on the show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel.” Joss Whedon created show and Passarella was given the opportunity to write original novels based upon those shows.

Passarella is a brilliant author and I was able to conduct an interview with via email. Here is what the legendary author had to say.
For more information about John Passarella, go to his website and you can Follow him on Twitter and join him on Facebook.

Janel- What inspires you to write and do you have any advice for future writers?

John Passarella- I’ve been drawing stories since I was 10, writing stories since I was 12. I wrote all through high school and college. Writing is something I’ve done most of my life. I love books and I love getting caught up in a thrilling story. I would suggest that aspiring writers write the same type of stories they enjoy reading. If you’re passionate about reading a certain genre, chances are you’d be passionate writing in that genre.

Janel- Out of all the books you have written, do you have a favorite and why?

John Passarella- That’s like asking a parent which is their favorite child. Technically speaking, I want to believe that I’m growing as a writer, so I hope that my next book is better than my last book. For example, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Ghoul Trouble was my first original media tie-in novel and I had a lot of fun writing it, but I hope that Supernatural: Night Terror is a better and more complete story. With tie-ins, the author is limited in terms of character arcs or character fates. The popular analogy among writers is that you get to play with the toys but when you’re done playing with them; you have to put them back in the toy box in the same condition. In my own novels, I’m free to have more complete character arcs, change relationships, even kill off main characters.

Janel- What Authors/Writers inspire you? Who inspires you in general?

John Passarella- When I accepted the Bram Stoker Award for first (coauthored) novel WITHER, I listed three writers as inspirations: Harlan Ellison for the passion in his writing, Stephen King for his storytelling ability and John D. MacDonald for his characterizations. In general, people who inspire me are those who are dealt a personal tragedy and channel their experience, often grief, into positive causes, either raising money for charities or getting laws enacted to make the world a better place.

Janel- Buffy, Angel and Supernatural have such a cult following now, did you think they would be as successful as they are now? (I watch Buffy on Chiller constantly!)

John Passarella- the Buffy movie was a bit of a dud. But I read good press on the TV series before it aired. Persuaded my wife to watch the pilot with me and we were hooked from episode one. I thought Angel would be a success because it was a spinoff from a popular show based on a popular character in that show. With Supernatural, I had hope. I had been watching from episode one there as well. I’m more likely to give a genre show a chance and stick with it while it finds its legs. At the same time, I know that genre shows appeal to a niche audience, so they have a better chance of surviving when launched on smaller networks. I’ve watched many genre shows come and go in a season, maybe two, but it’s always heartening to see a show go on and thrive for multiple seasons.

Janel- If you could meet anyone dead who would it be and why?

John Passarella- Based upon my inspiration answer above, if we’re talking authors, I’d have to say John D. MacDonald.

Janel- Would you ever consider writing a film or made for television series with Stephen King?

John Passarella- Is that a trick question? Yes, definitely, even better if it’s a 50/50 split.

Janel- What prompted you to have your fans submit their stories on your site?

John Passarella- If you’re talking about the true tales of the supernatural, I thought it would be a cool way to get people to talk about the kind of things that happen in Kindred Spirit, my paranormal thriller. Not to that extent, but I’ve know people who have had unexplainable phenomena happen in their lives. I’ve experienced some weird things myself. And a bunch of strange things actually happened while I was writing that book.

Janel- What do you think of the current Horror/Mystery genre films and television shows out there today?

John Passarella- With film, it’s a mixed bag. A movie either works or doesn’t. I’m willing to give TV shows some time to find their legs, whereas many people sample an episode or two and bail out before it has a chance to get good. It’s probably related to our culture’s ever decreasing attention span and need for instant gratification.

Janel-When you won the Bram Stoker Award what went through your mind? Were you inspired at all to write something based upon the legend of Bram Stoker?

John Passarella- the Bram Stoker Award is the award given by the Horror Writers Association. There is no direct connection between Bram Stoker’s work and the works that win the award, other than the horror genre. Wither won for Superior Achievement in a First Novel. I was there when it was announced. It was a surreal feeling when they called my name. Wither made the final ballot for the International Horror Guild Awards and those were announced at the same convention the night before the Stokers. Wither did not win the IHG award, so I was thinking it probably wouldn’t win the Stoker either. It was a pleasant surprise. As a bonus, I spoke with Harlan Ellison from the podium. I met one of my writing inspirations the same day I won the Stoker. That’s something I’ll always remember.

Janel- What is your all-time favorite book?

John Passarella- This is almost impossible for me to answer. I’ve been reading books almost as long as I’ve been writing. I’m always reading a book. As soon as I finish one, I pick up another one. My to-be-read pile is in the hundreds. Stephen King is one of my favorite authors because story always comes first with him. And my favorite King book is the extended (unedited) version of The Stand. I love John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee series. And Harlan Ellison’s stories almost always amaze me.

Interview: Author John Passarella

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