First off, how did this collaboration come together?
JONATHAN MABERRY: This was the fifth book in a series I was doing for Citadel
Press. I’ d used a collaborator on two of the previous books (fellow Bram Stoker Award-
winner David F. Kramer) but he wasn’ t available for this project. However Janice Gable
Bashman, a former writing student of mine who has become a fierce new talent, was
available. Janice is a superb researcher and writer who has been selling articles, short
stories and interviews all over the place. I asked her if she’ d be interested and she jumped
As it turns out, our collaborative rhythm was harmonious from the jump; and even
though we have markedly different writing styles, we were quickly able to find a ‘ voice’
that worked for the entire book.
How did each other’ s style of writing work together?
JANICE GABLE BASHMAN: We each came into this project with our own strengths
and that made it easy to decide who should tackle what part of the book. The most
difficult aspect was finding one voice that worked for both writers so that the book read
like one person wrote it. We accomplished this fairly easily, with some trial and error,
since we had worked together on a number of articles in the past.
MABERRY: We also divided the book according to personal interest and existing
knowledge base. I tackled stuff that played to my strengths—vampires, comics, pulp
fiction, etc. Janice played to her strengths. She’ s writing a book on thrillers, so she
tackled serial killers, etc.
I agree that finding a single voice was a challenge. We’ re different kinds of people
and different kinds of writers, but now, even I have a hard time remembering who wrote
what. Janice even picked up my smartass sense of humor—which means that I may have
caused her some permanent damage. On the other hand, she’ s an enormously disciplined
writer, so I hope I picked up some good writing habits through osmosis.
For those who haven’ t yet heard of WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE: Vampire Hunters and Other Kick-Ass Enemies of Evil, could you tell us a little of what to expect from the book?
BASHMAN: WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE deals with the struggle of good vs evil
in film, comics, pop culture, world myth, literature, and the real world. Everything from
vampire slayers to paranormal investigators to FBI serial-killer profilers. It includes
interviews with folks like Stan Lee, Mike Mignola, Jason Aaron, Fred Van Lente, Peter
Straub, Charlaine Harris and many more; and the book is fully illustrated by top horror,
comics & fantasy artists.
M ABERRY: Our book starts with good vs evil as a concept and then we chase it through
philosophy, religion, politics, literature, art, film, comics, pop-culture and the real
world. It’ s such a complex topic, one that’ s fundamental to all of our human experience,
from evolution to the formation of tribes and society. We take a look at it historically,
mythologically, in terms of storytelling from cave paintings to literature, we track it
through pop culture and into our modern real world.
The book has a real sense of humor, too. We have fun with the topic as well as
bringing a lot of information to the reader.
Plus the book is illustrated with forty black and white pieces and eight killer color
plates. Artists like Chad Savage, Jacob Parmentier, Don Maitz, Francis Tsai, David Leri,
Scott Grimando, Jason Beam, Alan F. Beck, Billy Tackett and more.
Could you sum up WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE: Vampire Hunters and Other Kick-
Ass Enemies of Evil in 3 words?
MABERRY: Deep, surprising, provocative
BASHM AN: Fun, informative, kick-ass
I’ m a vampire lover indeed. Which are your favorite vampires from film?
BASHM AN: I like the character Mike in the 1987 movie THE LOST BOYS. At first
he’ s just a normal guy, but then vampires come to town and he becomes one of them. It’ s
up to his brother to save him. What I find appealing about this character is that we see
both vampire and human qualities in him. He’ s not pure good or evil, but a mixture of
both. In WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE, we explore that whole good vs evil idea as it
relates to vampires, monsters, serial killers, ghosts, real people, and more.
MABERRY: There are several versions of Dracula that I dig. Louis Jourdan in COUNT
DRACULA was remarkable for the blend of understated menace and sexuality. Very
powerful performance. And Gary Oldman’ s take on the Count in BRAM STOKER’ S
DRACULA was brilliant though, sadly, most of the rest of the film was not.
I also love conflicted vampires in stories, creatures who are at odds with their own
natures. Anne Parillaud’ s ‘ Marie’ in INNOCENT BLOOD; Elina Löwensohn as the title
character NADJA; Catherine Deneuve as Miriam Blaylock in THE HUNGER; and the
characters played by Adrian Pasdar and Jenny Wright in NEAR DARK.
And for pure fun, I love BLADE as played by Wesley Snipes. Ass-kicking, trash-
talking, sword-swinging fun.
What are some ways you can officially kill a vampire? Is it the usual stake to the chest, or
BASHMAN: Sure a stake was used in folklore but it didn’ t provide the instant kill we
see in most modern day vampire movies and books. To kill a vampire, a stake was driven
through the body of a resting vampire.
MABERRY: This prevented the vampire from rising and the creature could be destroyed
through the Ritual of Exorcism, which generally included decapitation, stuffing the
mouth with garlic (and sometimes turning it backward in the coffin), immobilizing the
body with steel pins or a tightly-sewn shroud, and other equally nasty measures. The only
vampire species believed to die from a stake through the heart is the Kozlak of Dalmatia.
I’ m pretty superstitious. Would you both say you fall for superstition?
BASHMAN: I fall for a few superstitions—on occasion I’ ll knock on wood to bring good
luck and I don’ t walk under a ladder, not only because it may bring bad luck but because
I don’ t want anything to fall on my head. I had a black cat for 16 years. He crossed my
path many times and that turned out all right, so I don’ t believe in the superstition that a
black cat crossing your path brings bad luck.
MABERRY: I’ m very superstitious. There are plenty of good luck charms seeded
through the pop-culture stuff in my office. And I wear a Ganesha medallion even though
I’ m not Hindu—he’ s not only the god of writers, he’ s the remover of obstacles. But as for
everyday superstitions, I do the salt over the shoulder and heads-up penny thing.
Janice: You’ re primarily an author of non-fiction. Was this a big change in direction from
your usual writing style?
BASHMAN: WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE is non-fiction, but it’ s a fun and exciting
read filled with interviews with really exciting people. We cover so many topics and
delve into that whole good and evil thing in so many different areas. Unlike many of my
non-fiction articles which are shorter in length, I was able to expand on topics beyond
what I’ m used to and to explore them further in depth, which was nice. Plus, I had a
great time writing interesting sidebars on topics related to the subject matter. In terms
of writing style, I had the freedom to write the book in a fun voice and to insert humor
Jonathan: You’ re a writer for Marvel Comics. (Of which I adore!) And you also wrote
THE WOLFMAN in 2009. I was wondering, which do you prefer, the original movie
(1941) or the newest remake (2010)?
MABERRY: Both, and I say that because the new version isn’ t really a remake so you
can’ t compare the two. The 1941 THE WOLF MAN has been a favorite from childhood,
but it’ s dated and it was a bit too short to allow for much subtext. The new film has a
marvelous cast and terrific production values, however the version that was released was
edited in a way that makes it drastically unlike the script from which I worked or the
novel I created. I recommend the unrated director’ s cut for more character development.
All that said, I enjoy both films—and I own them on DVD and will re-watch them.
What’ s in the works for both of you now that WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE:
Vampire Hunters And Other Kick-Ass Enemies of Evil is released?
BASHMAN: I’ m finishing up a proposal for my next non-fiction book; it’ s still under
wraps so I can’ t share the details at this time. I can say that dozens of key players are
already on board for the project and it’ s sure to be a fun one. I continue to write for
various publications, and I’ ll also be shopping a young adult novel shortly.
MABERRY: This has been my most productive year to date. Between novels, nonfiction
books, short stories and comics (for Marvel), I’ ve had something new coming out every
month, and often multiple things coming out in a single week.
Next up is ROT & RUIN, my first young adult novel. It’ s set fourteen years after
the zombie apocalypse and kicks off a new series that will be released in hardcover by
Simon & Schuster. Then I have my third Joe Ledger thriller, THE KING OF PLAGUES,
hitting stores in March from St. Martins Griffin. I also have three mini-series from Marvel
in the pipeline. MARVEL UNIVERSE VS THE PUNISHER is already running, and it’ s
a post-apocalyptic existentialist adventure. Very strange, even for me. Next up is BLACK
Thanks for stopping by Janice and Jonathan!