The following is an interview with Scott Cole regarding the release of his new novella, Crazytimes, from Grindhouse Press. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Cole about the inspiration behind the new book, his creative process in bringing the project to life, what readers can anticipate from Crazytimes, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent release of your new novella, Crazytimes! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the book’s premise, and what inspired you to tell this story?
Scott Cole: Thanks! Crazytimes is the story of a man named Trey, who wakes up one morning, heads off to work, and suddenly realizes that everyone he encounters is acting crazy. Crazier than usual. As the day progresses, he becomes witness to all sorts of bizarre sights, as meteors begin crashing through the sky, people start mutating, and violent chaos unfolds all over the city. He doesn’t know what’s happening, but he’s got to find a way to survive it. Meanwhile, he’s already dealing with survivor’s guilt from a past tragedy, as well as trying to cope with the recent collapse of his longterm romantic relationship. So, it’s not a great day.
I live in Philadelphia, where I’ve had my fair share of unusual encounters with strangers. More than most people I know, it would seem. Like random naked women carrying oversized teddy bears on the subway and wild-eyed men attacking newspaper boxes with hoses. Those sorts of things. So, I suppose these experiences over the years inspired this story to some extent, although I also just had the urge to write something a bit bloodier than a lot of my previous work.
BD: What can you share with us about your creative process in crafting the narrative, and what have been some of your creative influences?
SC: Whenever I write something longer than a few thousand words, I feel like I need an outline, some sort of framework to build upon. That’s been the case with my previous novellas, and other longer works that are still in progress. But for Crazytimes, I woke up one morning with this rough idea and decided to just dive in and write without much of a plan, almost stream-of-consciousness – although a bit more like I was just peeking over Trey’s shoulder as the events unfolded on their own – and happily the story took shape as I wrote. I worked at a much faster pace than usual with this one too, with my daily word count being about double what I would normally consider to be great, and my first draft was complete in less than a week. There were plenty of revisions and additions to come, but I was surprised at how quickly the core of it all came together.
As for creative influences, I have a million. I devour all sorts of media, from books to movies to comics to audio drama, and I enjoy pretty much every subgenre under the umbrella of horror, whether it’s slow and supernatural, or fast-paced and gory, or Weird, or absurd, or whatever. I love it all.
For Crazytimes, I’m sure some mixture of Clive Barker, David Cronenberg, Ray Bradbury, John Carpenter, and Carlton Mellick III were swirling around in my head somewhere.
BD: At Fanbase Press this year, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Crazytimes’ story will connect with and impact readers, and why do you feel that this story was important for you to bring to life?
SC: Well, I certainly hope my fiction has an impact on readers, whether they simply enjoy it as a way to pass some time, or they get something deeper out of it.
If Crazytimes connects with people right now, I suppose it may have something to do with the current state of the world. Although I wrote it before COVID-19 was really on my (and probably most people’s) radar, I suppose some random news report may have been lurking in my subconscious, and I woke up one day needing to tell some sort of apocalyptic story. Artists don’t always completely know why we’re doing what we’re doing, but we usually feel a need to express something, and I’m happy to let someone else interpret it if they like.
BD: What makes Grindhouse Press the perfect home for Crazytimes?
SC: As the name implies, Grindhouse Press publishes books that fans of grindhouse/exploitation cinema would probably like. My previous novella, Triple Axe, was published by them, and they’ve been fantastic to work with – not to mention that I really enjoy a lot of the things they’ve put out from other writers (Kristopher Triana, John Wayne Comunale, Gina Ranalli, Matt Serafini, Patrick Lacey, Bryan Smith, C.V. Hunt, and Andersen Prunty, to name a handful) – so it was natural to want to return and work with them again. Thankfully, they were willing to take this new project on.
BD: Do you foresee expanding the novel into subsequent books or even into other entertainment mediums, if given the opportunity?
SC: So far, I haven’t written any sequels, though I wouldn’t completely rule them out. Crazytimes feels like a standalone story, but who knows. There are certainly ways to tell further stories, even at the end of the world.
As for other mediums, sure! What writer wouldn’t be open to having their work adapted into some other form, particularly for the screen? I’d love to see something I wrote turned into a movie or TV series. We’ll see what happens.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
SC: I’ve always got a few things in the works, although I’m hesitant to discuss any of them in too much detail until they’re finished, or very close to it. That said, I’ve got a few longer pieces in progress (one is slashery, another is kind of witchy, and another involves a sort of haunting), and I’m always working on shorter stuff. My story, “The Penanggalan,” appears in Worst Laid Plans: An Anthology of Vacation Horror, which is due out any moment, also through Grindhouse Press.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Crazytimes and your other work?
SC: All of my books are available at all the usual suspects – Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop, etc. More info about them, and about me, can be found at my website, 13visions.com, and people can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.