FlamesRising.com is pleased to present an interview with author Thomas Sniegoski. Tom is a veteran author who has written for dozens of comics titles (BONE, THE SISTERHOOD), media tie-in novels (HELLBOY, ANGEL) and his original fiction (The Remy Chandler Series). Fans of Christopher Golden might recognize Tom’s work; the two have collaborated on a number of projects. Our first Girls of Gore article highlighted their character named Eve from The Menagerie.
Tom’s books span multiple audiences from juvenile fiction to adult fiction and everything in between. His latest release is a young adult novel entitled LEGACY, about a young kid whose deadbeat father is actually a vigilante superhero.
In this interview, Tom Sniegoski discusses what he enjoys writing, monkeys and some of the challenges he faces.
1 ) You’ve written both original stories (THE REMY CHANDLER SERIES) and media tie-in fiction (HELLBOY). Which do you prefer writing and why?
Y’know, I really enjoy doing both. There’s a little bit different mind-set for each, but they’re both quite a bit of fun to do. With the media tie in stuff, I’m usually getting a chance to play with characters that I love, so there’s that whole geeky/fanboyish type feeling you get when you’re able to put your stamp on the stuff (characters, worlds) that you love. My Lobster Johnson novel came out in July from Dark Horse Comics and that thing—though a pain to work on sometimes I might admit—came out really great. I’m pretty proud of it. And right now I’m editing my first original BONE novel for Scholastic, and getting ready to write the second. Again, extremely exciting stuff because of my love and admiration for the stuff that came before.
But the original stuff is a complete blast as well… though a lot more work, y’know? I have to come up with everything for those bad boys… which is extremely rewarding. I think if I had to come up with what was harder… more mentally taxing… I would have to say the original stuff. But still, how cool is it to make a pretty good living coming up with stories, characters and the worlds they inhabit. I still find it all pretty amazing.
2 ) Can you tell us how you came up with the idea for THE REMY CHANDLER SERIES?
I’ll probably sound like a broken record here (Dating myself here? Records? Oh well!) But I was raised a good Catholic boy in Lynn Massachusetts, and used to attend this old, Polish church in my neighborhood. Inside the church were these ceiling murals and statues of Saint Michael with these gigantic wings spread, wearing this gray body armor, and wielding a golden sword. In some instances, he was standing on the head of a man, whose body morphed down into this green serpent. This serpent man was supposed to represent Satan. But I would stare at these pieces of religious art, and my brain couldn’t quite grasp what I had been taught about angels (cute little baby like things in diapers) and these almost frightening warriors that I would see every Sunday as I daydreamed during mass. The Remy Chandler novels, and my first Young Adult series The Fallen came out of those church visits. Remy allowed me to combine this fascination I had with the angelic, with my love of hard boiled mysteries and horror novels.
3 ) In addition to your adult fiction, you’ve also written both young adult (THE FALLEN) and juvenile (OUTCAST). How challenging is it to switch gears writing for kids, teens and adults?
Y’know, I really don’t have a problem with this at all. There is very little gear shifting to do. When I begin a novel, I have a pretty good idea who my main characters are, and how they work. In YA, they just so happen to be younger, and think younger than my protagonist in my adult novels. I think the only thing I have to be kinda careful with is my language. Sometimes I can be kind of filthy… or at least my characters can.
4 ) You’ve worked on several projects with author Christopher Golden. Can you tell us a little bit about how you met?
Chris and I met in the early nineties when I was writing for Harris Comics doing Vampirella and just about anything else the company was doing at the time. They were thinking of hiring some new writers for some new projects, and then editor in chief Meloney Crawford Chadwick hooked us up. Of course I viewed Chris as the enemy at first… remember, I had just left my full time job to write full time so Chris was infringing on my territory. It didn’t take long for us to hit it off though, much to my chagrin.
5 ) Do you write differently when you’re collaborating with Chris than if you write on your own?
When working with a collaborator I think both writers are striving for a more singular voice, a cross between both. In Chris’ and my case, we have similar characteristics in our work, so it made the whole process a little bit easier.
6 ) How did you break into the comic book industry?
I’d met comic book artist Stephen Bissette, who was then working on DC’s Swamp Thing with Allan Moore and John Totleben, at my local comic book shop and we really hit it off, having many of the same interests in movies and comics. We stayed in touch over the years, and when he was putting a comic book horror anthology together called TABOO, he asked if I wanted to adapt one of my short stories to comic book form…and the rest is history.
7 ) Have you learned anything from writing comic books that has helped you go on to write other stories?
I think it’s helped me quite a bit in regard to my description. Remember, when scripting a comic book story you have to describe to the artist what you see inside your head, so I think it’s helped me to refine that skill a bit. Thought I haven’t dabbled all that much, it’s also helped in the film scripting department as well.
8 ) We have to ask…who’s your favorite comic book character?
It’s a toss up between Batman, and Hellboy. If you saw my office you’d probably guess Hellboy… there’s Hellboy crap everywhere.
9 ) Your latest work is entitled LEGACY. Can you tell us about it?
I’m pretty excited about this one, and don’t want to give too much away. Basically, the main concept of the book is… what if the deadbeat dad, that abandoned you before you were born, came back into your life and is asking you to take over the family tradition because he’s dying… and, oh yeah, he’s a superhero and pretty much this particular world’s equivalent to Batman. What the hell do you do? That’s all I want to say.
10 ) For fans that have read all of your work, what do you think they’ll enjoy the most about LEGACY?
I think my fans will find all the stuff that they’ve come to expect from my work… quirky characters, odd attempts at humor, bigger than life heroes and villains… and an unlimited special effects budget. There are some pretty wild action scenes in this one.
11 ) How do you keep all of your projects straight in your head?
Scotch. Seriously, I just have stuff broken into categories inside my head. Everything has its own file inside my brain.
12 ) You’ve recently started to become more active on social media. What’s with the monkey avatar?
Anybody who knows me knows that I have this bizarre fascination with monkeys. Don’t really know where it comes from, though I did work with monkeys for about a year as a pre-freshmen at Northeastern University, and for at least a year more after starting college. Those dudes were nasty!
13 ) How can fans keep up with your recent releases?
I’m sort of a high tech retard, but people can visit my website at www.sniegoski.com
or they could follow my Tweets through my Twitter account. (@tomsniegoski
) Just look me up!
14 ) If you could work on any property, in any format, what would it be and why?
Oh, that’s just not fair. I would LOVE to be able to keep doing my original stuff… Remy Chandler is the best… but I’d also love to do more media tie-in stuff like Hellboy and Lobster Johnson. And I’d die to get my hands on some of the old time pulp characters like Doc Savage, The Shadow, and The Spider. That would be completely awesome.
FlamesRising.com would like to thank Tom Sniegoski for taking time out of his busy schedule for this interview. Be sure to watch for an upcoming preview and a few more reviews of Tom’s works. If you’re interested, you can read a review of MEAN STREETS, which features a novella set in the world of Remy Chandler, or the book review of CHAOS BLEEDS set in the world of Buffy: the Vampire Slayer. We wish him the best on all of his creative endeavors!
Tags | dark-fantasy, hellboy, horror comics, Interviews, modern-horror, remy chandler, ya-fiction