Monday, June 8, 2015

Interview with Alexander Zelenyj.

Full Name:

Alexander Zelenyj

Do you have a nickname or what do your friends call you?
Alex, Al. My girlfriend calls me Xander. And Xand. And Xanadu.

Birthplace / Current hometown:
Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

Favorite city and why?
I haven’t traveled too much, so I guess I’d have to say Windsor, although as with a lot of places you have to take the terribly bad with the good.  I’d like to live in the Muskokas, where it’s green and quiet and there’s no trace of the chemical city-stink I’ve grown so accustomed to here.

Birthday / Age:
Old enough to cleverly avoid answering that question, ha ha.

How would you describe yourself physically?
Tall and lanky.

How would someone else describe you physically?
An Adonis-like physique, a marvel to the human eye and a testament to the potential of the human body to be sculpted into a work of art. But more likely “tall and lanky”.

The first thing people notice about you is…
I honestly have no idea. My shyness maybe?

Religion, if any?
I’m curious and hopeful. I’ll let you know what I find out on the subject.

Are you superstitious? Any phobias?
Superstitious, yes, definitely. Phobic, not really.
So, what are some of your superstitions?  Delve, damn it.
Well, for one thing, I believe that there are good numbers, and that there are very, very bad numbers.  In terms of everyday scenarios, for example, if the numbers on a digital clock display are the latter, whether in their individual digits or as the sum of those digits, then I have to wait until a better number takes its place before even attempting to go to sleep.
Also, among my many weird little rituals is the following important one: the final image in my mind before I turn out the light in any given room has to be a positive one, whether it’s a person, a place, an object, whatever; if a negative image is the final one I see as I shut off a light I must immediately turn the light back on and repeat the process until I successfully envision something good. This sometimes takes some doing.
There are more, but that might be beyond the scope of this conversation, ha ha.

Do you smoke/drink? If so, what? Any bad habits?
I don’t smoke. I drink socially, but I’m not picky about what I drink.  As for bad habits...I eat an overabundance of cookies.  I am the Cookie Monster.  But there are worse vices, I guess.  I could be the Cocaine Monster, for example.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
Read books, watch movies, spend time in forested areas and on islands.

What is your zombie outbreak survival plan?
Now that I know I need one, I would say to retreat to a mountainous area in the far north of Canada, and build a fortress there which, given its altitude, would be easier to defend against all would-be invaders, both undead and human alike.  Growing food would pose a problem, though, now that I think about it.  We could hunt mountain goats and birds? But their populations would dwindle pretty quickly.  Hmm...I need to give this some more thought...

Weapon of choice:
Human ingenuity, second only to killer robots.

Do you have any special skills?
I’m a pretty formidable Dungeon Master.
The world needs more good Dungeon Masters.
Absolutely!  At the very least it needs more Fighting Fantasy Game Book players.  Do you remember Fighting Fantasy books?  I swear some of them are actually impossible to win, but no less fun to read for it.
I don’t remember Fighting Fantasy books.  But at least now I know what they are.

Did you go to college and, if so, what for?
Yes, I graduated from the University of Windsor with a degree in English Literature/Creative Writing & Psychology; I also have an Education degree from the same school.

Any pets?   If so, what are they and what are their names?
Yes, we have two cats, Lucy(fur) and Callie.

What is your favorite animal?
Extinct: the Ankylosaur
Living: the turtle. But monkeys are awesome, too.

Speaking of pets, any pet peeves?
Nepotism, and the pretentious, self-absorbed people who reap its benefits without deserving to.

What is your favorite quotation / motto / saying?
Ray Bradbury: “Get your work done.” Exactly!
That’s great advice.  I’m working on that as I type this.  I fell way behind on my interview homework.
Yeah, Sir Ray always was full of wisdoms.

What is the best thing that ever happened to you?
Re-meeting the girl that would become my girlfriend over a decade after originally meeting her. Aww...

What is the worst thing that ever happened to you?
Having to wait through the above-mentioned decade to re-meet the girl who would become my girlfriend. Aww...

What is the best thing you’ve ever done?
Writing-wise, one of the coolest things I’ve ever done happened a couple of years ago, when I was lucky enough to be asked to contribute an essay to a book called Back To Frank Black: A Return To Chris Carter’s Millennium, about Chris Carter’s (creator of the X-Files) Millennium television series, which was published by the amazing Fourth Horseman Press.  Millennium is one of my all-time favourite television series, and I was incredibly honoured to have been a part of the project.  Making it even better was the fact that Chris Carter himself wrote the book’s introduction, and series star Lance Henriksen contributed a foreword, and writer/producer Frank Spotnitz also contributed a foreword.
My editors sent me a picture of the actress Sarah Jane-Redmond (who played the character Lucy Butler, about whom I wrote my essay) reading the book. That was pretty fulfilling, to say the least.

What is the worst thing you’ve ever done?
Years ago, I wrote for a local magazine. I was given the job of writing an ongoing serialized fiction piece that was published on a monthly basis. The first couple of installments went okay but then the editors started doing hack-job edits on my submissions, omitting huge chunks of content for space constraint issues, making very questionable changes without asking me, and lots of other things that basically made the installments incomprehensible and un-readable. I stopped caring, though, and kept writing what I was writing, knowing that although what I wrote was destined to be put into the world in a much more awful version, I at least had my original version. So ultimately what was printed was just trash, despite the original material being better than that. The magazine was abysmal, though, so at least the editors helped sculpt my contributions to be a nice match for it.

What do you do?
I write; read; write; listen to music; read; write; escape into green places whenever possible; read; write.

How did you get started doing what you do?
I’ve always written fiction, as far back as I can recall. In the late ‘90s I had my first short story published, and it made me realize there were people out there who might enjoy my writing, so I began submitting my fiction to different editors. Before long I’d had quite a few publications under my belt. I’ve been going strong ever since.

What is your advice to other people that want to get started doing what you do?
The most important and obvious advice would be to write what you love, and to read and write every day.

What are some of the projects you’ve worked on/finished in the past? Give us a little history if you will.
In terms of bigger projects, I had my first book, Black Sunshine, published by Fourth Horseman Press back in 2005. My first short story collection, Experiments At 3 Billion A.M., was published by Eibonvale Press in 2009.  More recently, my fiction collection Songs For The Lost was published by Eibonvale Press, along with its companion volume, an essay and poetry collection entitled, Ballads To The Burning Twins: The Complete Songs Lyrics Of The Deathray Bradburys.

What projects are you working on now?
I recently finished work on two manuscripts – the first one is a novel influenced heavily by magical realism; the second is a fiction collection in much the same vein.  I’m really excited about them – they’re a lot different from my previous books.  The surreal motifs are woven into the gritty, realistic backdrop a lot more subtly.
Also, I’m working on another collection that’s a little more in line with the type of material of Songs For The Lost - it’s very slipstream in style and takes in influences from a lot of different genres.
I’m also finishing up work on an expanded version of my first novel, Black Sunshine, which is tentatively scheduled for re-issue later in the year as a collaborative release from Fourth Horseman Press and Eibonvale Press.
Eibonvale Press is also reissuing my first fiction collection, Experiments At 3 Billion A.M. in the weeks ahead, featuring new cover artwork by David Rix, a new foreword by author/Fourth Horseman Press editor Brian A. Dixon, and revised text by yours truly.
I’ve also been given the great honour of editing a forthcoming short story collection by the late, great Joel Lane, which is due from Eibonvale Press in the near future. It’s called Scar City, and it’s a great collection, and truly an honour to work on. I’ll be providing a foreword to the book as well, another huge honour.
I also freelance for our city newspaper.

What are you watching?
I just finished re-watching the X-Files in its entirety, in anticipation of Fox renewing the series. The truth is out there.

What are you listening to?
I’ve recently rediscovered my love of Sonic Youth, so I’ve been giving their entire catalogue lots of play.

What are you reading?
I’m currently reading 2666 by Roberto Bolaño, and Bill, The Galactic Hero by Harry Harrison.

Favorite author / book?
There are far too many to list, but a few of my favourites are Harlan Ellison, Robert E. Howard, Ray Bradbury, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Darcey Steinke, J.G. Ballard, Richard Matheson, Raymond Carver, and Frank Belknap Long.
That’s a really decent list of authors.  I’ve read extensively from six of them.
Yeah, the list just goes on, and gets regularly updated. For the past few months I’ve been obsessed with James Jones’ books, so I’d probably add some of them to the list, like The Thin Red Line. If you asked me the same question in a year there might be some new ones.

Favorite band / song?
This is also very tough to narrow down to just one.  If you could indulge me and let me list a top few here as well, they would be: Iron Maiden, Sonic Youth, The Gun Club, Black Sabbath, Bruce Springsteen, The Who, Tangerine Dream, the Stooges, the Misfits, and the Pixies, Faith No More, among others.

Least favorite band / song?
Is Mumford And Sons still allowed to make music?
Ye gods, I hope not.
Amen to that.

If you could do anything other than what you do now, what would you do?
I’d be a forest ranger. And I’d write X-Files and Millennium comic books and episode screenplays in my cabin in the woods.

Who would you want to meet that you haven’t met? You get three choices: Alive. Dead. Fictional.
Alive: Steve Harris (bass player and chief songwriter of Iron Maiden)
Dead: Robert E. Howard (author)
Fictional: Frank Black (of Millennium)

What’s the best and worst job you’ve ever had?
The best: I was a puppeteer for six years, and helped put on educational children’s shows at schools, libraries, summer camps, etc., and that was amazing.
The worst might have been when I worked as a resume writer/interview coordinator for a couple years, and my boss revealed herself to be a demon from the deepest bowels of Hell.  I’m lucky to have survived, though I’m a changed man.

Are there any questions that I didn’t ask that you wished I had asked that you would like to answer now?
I can’t think of any, but I’d be happy to answer any others you think of!

Anyone you recommend I interview that you can put me in touch with?
David Rix – writer, artist extraordinaire, and editor at Eibonvale Press; Douglas Thompson, prolific author and part of the Eibonvale team; Brian A. Dixon and Adam Chamberlain, writers and editors and the masterminds of Fourth Horseman Press; and Elizabeth J.M. Walker, author of YA fantasy novels and short stories.
If you’ll vouch for them I’ll let them take a turn at bat.
They won’t disappoint.  I can’t think of better interview subjects with more interesting and diverse backgrounds.

Got any questions for me?
What made you decide to start this great site? Who would you most like to interview who you haven’t yet had the opportunity to interview?
I was working on a crowd-funded/crowd-sourced book project and I put out a press release to try to generate some momentum behind it.  It got almost no response.  I was disappointed, and thought it was unfair, so I decided to start a blog where I would interview anyone about anything.  After some trial and error, I developed a formula so it wouldn’t be a considerable drain on my time and effort.  As long as they’re willing to play along, I’ll take all comers.
As for who I’d like to interview that I haven’t gotten to interview yet, I’d like to interview some of the creative types whose work I enjoy.  Henry Rollins, Bret Easton Ellis, Stephen King, Clive Barker, David Lynch, David Cronenberg.  But since I don’t work for Rolling Stone, I don’t really have any weight to push around.
Those would all be amazing interview subjects, for sure. I’m a fan of each of their work, so hearing them talk is always enjoyable for me. They’re always insightful and interesting conversations. Clive Barker always has something interesting to say. He did this great and epic interview in the magazine Amazing Heroes years ago, which confirmed in my mind how intelligent I’d always thought he was based on reading his fiction.

Thanks for letting me subject you to being interviewed!
Thank you for subjecting yourself to my answers!

Pitch parade:
Give me all of your links for things you want to promote.   All of them.

My author website:
My publishers’ pages for my books:
Eibonvale Press:
Fourth Horseman Press:

About the Interviewee:
Alexander Zelenyj is the author of the books Songs For The Lost, Experiments At 3 Billion A.M., Black Sunshine, and Ballads To The Burning Twins: The Complete Song Lyrics Of The Deathray Bradburys. His fiction and non-fiction have been published in many different magazines and anthologies around the world.
He lives in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, where the mothership is due to arrive in the near future.

About the Interviewer:
Scott Lefebvre can write about whatever you want him to write about.
Mostly because when he was grounded for his outlandish behavior as a hyperactive school child, the only place he was allowed to go was the public library.
His literary tastes were forged by the works of Helen Hoke, Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Edgar Allan Poe, and H. P. Lovecraft.
He is the author of Spooky Creepy Long Island, and Condemned; and a contributing author to Forrest J. Ackerman’s Anthology of the Living Dead, Fracas: A Collection of Short Friction, The Call of Lovecraft, and Cashiers du Cinemart.
His reviews have been published by a variety of in print and online media including Scars Magazine, Icons of Fright, Fatally Yours and Screams of Terror, and he has appeared in Fangoria, Rue Morgue and HorrorHound Magazine.
Check out his publishing imprint Burnt Offerings Books here:
Check out his electronic music here:
And here:
Check out his Etsy here:
Stalk his Facebook at:
E-mail him at:

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