Interview with B.J. Burrow

by on Dec 8, 2009 in Interviews | 0 comments

By Whitney Mims

B.J. Burrow co-wrote the screenplay, The Monster Hunter, which premiered on the Sci-Fi channel and starred David Carradine. The Changedis his debut novel. He lives in Austin, TX, with his wife, Melissa, and two daughters. He has won his fantasy football league four out of ten times.

As you can see, B.J. has a sense of humor (writing a Sci-Fi channel movie?) and has his priorities straight (winning fantasy football).

Apex This is a fairly standard question, but what inspired you to write The Changed?

B.J. I tend to be drawn to darker story matter as a writer. I also have a pretty good sense of humor, which I like to use in my writing. When the idea of a zombie running for senator popped into my head, it seemed like a natural fit with the writing that I like to do.

Apex So, if you had been changed, how do you think you would have fitted into the world you created?

B.J. If I had been changed, I think I would have ended up like Christian. He is more in line with my attitude. I wouldn’t want to be the one running for Senate; instead, I’d be the one in the background coming up with the ideas. I would also be trying to find a community so I wouldn’t be entirely alone. If that community existed, it would be a natural progression to forming a group to help overcome a hostile situation, and survive. When you are alone and isolated, things are much harder. I should note that it is hard to say all this without sounding pretentious!

Apex You don’t sound pretentious at all, which is one of the reasons I enjoyed your book so much. It could well have been, but it wasn’t. One thing I was curious about was the setting of your work. Where do you imagine The Changed took place?

B.J. When I was underwriting for a movie, its setting was much more definite. East Texas is the town where I am from and it just fitted. However, I did not want to place The Changed in such a definite location. I intentionally never named the town, though I wanted to make it a metropolitan, small or mid sized sort of town. Where did you see it?

Apex: That was the sense I got from reading it. I sort of placed it in my own hometown, just because that was what I was most familiar with.

B.J.Yes. I always imagined it north, perhaps in the Wisconsin area, somewhere kind of colder. However, I never placed it in a concrete spot. And, well, I knew Texas wouldn’t work. There are too many crazy people with guns. The zombies would never have stood a chance!

Apex How long have you been writing?

B.J. My mom always tells me that I was first interested in being a writer in second grade. I was always drawing little comics and whatnot, though none of them survives. I don’t remember this, though I do remember my first rejection letter from Twilight Zone Magazine. It was for a short story I wrote back in 1983, which was around seventh grade or so. That was also when I asked for my first electric typewriter so I could write better on a writer’s tool. So, for almost my whole life, that is exactly what I’ve wanted to do.

Apex And it is wonderful that you’ve managed to do just that! I’m going to throw another “standard interview question” at you. What is your favorite thing you have written?

B.J. This is pretty typical of writers, but it is what I’m writing right now. I know that’s standard, but working on a project makes me most excited about that. Other than that kind of answer, I would have to say that it’s the next novel I’ve written. I think it is really good. It is a standard thriller, detective hunting down a killer, kind of novel. I have worked with the genre and have played with what other writers have done in a way that I think works really well. It doesn’t have the high concept “zombie turning into a senator” kind of hook like The Changed does, though it does have its own dark humor. However, it is an entirely different work from The Changed, and would be a bit like comparing apples to oranges.

I should mention that anything I’m unhappy with has never made it out the door. I like everything that has.

Apex So, I’m kind of new at interviewing. Is there anything you feel like I should have asked you but haven’t?

B.J. Ha-ha! No. I’m totally new to this. I was interviewed for the movie, but I worked with a co-writer. It is a lot easier to do this sort of thing when you have someone to play off of. I had the same problem when I was asked to write an author FAQ page for the website. I’m a new author. I have no frequently asked questions!

Apex Thank you very much for chatting with us.

B.J. My pleasure. It was great to talk with you.

On that note, I would like to say that I feel very lucky that Apex was my first publisher. They have been great. I’ve heard a lot of horror stories from other first time authors who receive no support and have to navigate their first book on their own, but I’ve received a lot of help and am very impressed with the quality of their work and not just because they published my book!

The Changed is available for purchase from Apex Publications

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