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Friday, June 7, 2013

L. Andrew Cooper Virtual Tour: Guest Post and Giveaway

Hi, everyone!



I am pleased to participate in L. Andrew Cooper's Virtual Tour hosted by Tomorrow Comes Media.


About Andrew:

L. Andrew Cooper thinks the smartest people like horror, fantasy, and sci-fi. Early in life, he couldn’t handle the scary stuff–he’d sneak and watch horror films and then keep his parents up all night with his nightmares. In the third grade, he finally convinced his parents to let him read grownup horror novels: he started with Stephen King’s Firestarter, and by grade five, he was doing book reports on The Stand.

When his parents weren’t being kept up late by his nightmares, they worried that his fascination with horror fiction would keep him from experiencing more respectable culture. That all changed when he transitioned from his public high school in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia to uber-respectable Harvard University, where he studied English Literature. From there, he went on to get a Ph.D. in English from Princeton, turning his longstanding engagement with horror into a dissertation. The dissertation became the basis for his first book, Gothic Realities (2010). More recently, his obsession with horror movies turned into a book about one of his favorite directors, Dario Argento (2012). He also co-edited the textbook Monsters (2012), an attempt to infect others with the idea that scary things are worth people’s serious attention.
After living in Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and California, Andrew now lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where he teaches at the University of Louisville and chairs the board of the Louisville Film Society, the city’s premiere movie-buff institution. Burning the Middle Ground is his debut novel.

CONNECT ONLINE WITH ANDREW:


Welcome to Darlene's Book Nook, Andrew!

Andrew has written a guest post, so I will now turn the floor over to him!

What’s Sex Got to Do with It? (where “It” is horror and dark fantasy)
by L. Andrew Cooper


As soon as I finished saying there’s no sex in my novel Burning the Middle Ground, I realized I was a complete liar, but the potential buyer had already moved on anyway. Well, dispensation: I didn’t mean to lie. In that moment I was thinking about how strong a warning to give about the violence, so I really did forget about the scene that, depending on how you look at it, is either just really immoral sex or really, really kinky and immoral sex. But there’s just that one scene. And it’s not like there are man-hammers slamming against the pulsing heat of need or anything. It’s not written to arouse, amuse, or do whatever that sort of prose is supposed to do. That sex scene isn’t a sex scene at all in my mind; rather, it is a scene that develops characters and charts the growing power of an antagonist. It just happens to involve hot banging in a cheap motel room in the middle of the day. Because that was the best way to advance the narrative.


So I’ve written a lot about how horror relates to sexuality (in my non-fiction books, Gothic Realities and Dario Argento), but that’s different from just plain sex, the cheap motel sort of thing I mentioned, people doing it being described by the words on the page. Just plain sex is so much more awkward. As a professor, I can talk about literature and film and “the phallus” all day. But it just feels different when I start writing about someone doing something with/for/to/by/around/on/because/inside…


No one has ever mentioned, by the way, whether that sex scene in Burning the Middle Ground is hot. I don’t really mean it to be, but if it is, hey, cool—you enjoy it; I get credit. But I do have trouble imagining trying to write a hot sex scene in a horror novel. The reservation makes me think of the oft-quoted moment when Peter Straub said of Stephen King, “Stevie hasn’t discovered sex yet.” Good to know an ubersuccess can be more reserved. The genre itself can go pretty far; I’ll sum it up with hoping I’m not the first to tell you that zombie porn means the number of orifices is almost beyond imagining.


I don’t know whether King’s reservation has anything to do with mine. For me, it’s a matter of affect. Horror is about reveling in icky feelings. Sure, I’ve got to give characters and readers alike some variety of emotions, but pages are rare real estate. Let’s say I can devote a page to details of two characters either having dinner or having sex. Which will afford me more opportunities to convey distinctive, important aspects of these people’s lives, particularly those aspects relevant to a horror story? Okay, the beast of the story can be a beast in bed or something, but assuming the sex is consensual, it’s a happy act, so it’s a distraction from the primary affect, horror. Whereas dinner is at least closer to value-neutral than sex. And the vocabulary of affect, of the feelings people can express and that I can narrate, over dinner is broader (even though the affect itself may be narrower). In short, I can say more with dinner than with sex, and what I say can develop more dimensions of the narrative while staying in the narrative’s spirit of horror rather than straying into the spirit of joyous eroticism.


But that may not be how I’m feeling the next time I draft a manuscript, because generally I think sex is good. Sex is good for marketing, fun to read and fun to write, subversive, and when done well, anything but the “copulation of clichés” Nabokov accused pornography of being. In horror as in any genre, a little explicit sex can deepen characterization, develop characters’ relationships, sustain readers’ engagement, and contribute to an emotional pattern that makes contrasting emotions (e.g., attraction and revulsion) more shocking, not to mention more meaningful. As for my stuff, I’ll use whatever and however much sex I need to tell my stories as my stories get told. Burning the Middle Ground just needs the one scene. Well, and a few hints at other sexy things happening. I mean, it all depends on how you define….

Thanks so much for joining us today, Andrew!



About the Book:














Burning the Middle Ground is a dark fantasy about small-town America that transforms readers’ fears about the country’s direction into a haunting tale of religious conspiracy and supernatural mind control. A character-driven sensibility like Stephen King’s and a flair for the bizarre like Bentley Little’s delivers as much appeal for dedicated fans of fantasy and horror as for mainstream readers looking for an exciting ride. Brian McCullough comes home from school and discovers that his ten-year-old sister Fran has murdered their parents. Five years later, a journalist, Ronald Glassner, finds Brian living at the same house in the small town of Kenning, Georgia. Planning a book on the McCullough Tragedy, Ronald stumbles into a struggle between Kenning’s First Church, run by the mysterious Reverend Michael Cox, and the New Church, run by the rebellious Jeanne Harper. At the same time, Kenning’s pets go berserk, and dead bodies, with the eyes and tongues removed from their heads, begin to appear.




Tour Participants:

May 8 - Read 2 Review - Character Post

May 9 - readings Sunshine - Review

May 10 - Spellbindings - Guest Post

May 11 - Beagle Book Space - Promo/Spotlight

May 12 - SpecMusicMuse - Review

May 14 - Workaday Reads -Guest Post

May 15 - The FlipSide of Julianne - Interview

May 16 - Once Upon a Time - Guest Post

May 17 - Sheila Deeth - Character Post

May 18 - Azure Dwarf - Review

May 19 - MikesFilmTalk - Review

May 20 - Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews - Interview

May 21 - Beauty in Ruins - Review

May 24 - Book Den - Guest Post

May 25 - Come Selahway With Me - Excerpt

May 28 - The Dan O’Brien Project - Promo/Excerpt

May 31 - Armand Rosamilla, Horror Author - Guest Post

June 1 - Bee’s Knees Reviews- Review

June 3 - Rachel Tsoumbako - Review

June 4 - Fictional Candy - Excerpt

June 5 - I Smell Sheep - Guest Post

June 7 - Darlene’s Book Nook - Guest Post

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