[dozens of other interviews available at the main Interview Archive]
Interview by Brutal Dreamer 5/15/03
for Dragon Tales Newsletter
Brutal Dreamer: How would you describe yourself as a person and as a writer?
John Edward Lawson, editor The Dream People: As a person I’m generous and polite-to a fault to people tell me. Very quiet
and patient. As a writer, however, the ferocity inside stirs compelling me to create things people don’t wish to see. John the writer is aggressive and tireless, willing to commit shocking acts to achieve his goals shrewdly. Both sides of me share the same sense of humor. Another similarity is the diversity of interests I have, which as a writer manifests itself by attempting to master every genre and style.
Brutal Dreamer: What do you enjoy most about writing stories? Why?
John Edward Lawson, editor The Dream People: I started crafting stories at a young age for the purpose of amusement. When I was younger I was a talented artist and needed stories behind my drawings. When I was older the limitless boredom of working joe jobs prompted me to create stories internally to prevent brain death. Creating intriguing characters and situations is really where it’s at for me. It’s all quite selfish really; I can’t find the sorts of things that will entertain me in the mass media, so I have to make it myself.
Brutal Dreamer: How would other authors describe your writing techniques or style?
John Edward Lawson, editor The Dream People: I’ve been described as an absurdist, a surrealist, as the new king of gore.
Several have described me as “sick” and others refer to my creations as bizarre or uncouth. Currently I’m most frequently published in the horror field so most of the commentary refers to overpoweringly “grim” and “dark” elements in my work.
Brutal Dreamer: What can you offer us other authors that other writers cannot?
John Edward Lawson, editor The Dream People: Most of the comments from my readers regard what seems to be an unexpected element in my writing…maybe the over-the-top characters or untraditional plots, I’m not sure. Largely, people seem to be entertained by the sickening events that typically unfold in my stories, whether they’re funny or horrifying. That’s all I could ask for and I hope to continue doing so.
Brutal Dreamer: What about writing attracts you? Why?
John Edward Lawson, editor The Dream People: I was unable to continue with my music career because of money issues. At
that time I said to myself, “All I need to be a writer is a writing utensil and a supply of paper.” Well, I had both in abundance, and already I’d been cultivating stories while I worked. You can create worlds beyond anything people have seen, yet it’s physically easy to accomplish. Just sit down and do it!
Brutal Dreamer: What is unattractive about writing? Why?
John Edward Lawson, editor The Dream People: The only thing unattractive about writing, to my mind, is that it is performed by humans. My one and only wish is to write nonstop day and night but I would perish in the attempt. Already I’ve badly burned myself out and have been resting up. Although I’m no deity I’ll still attempt to complete the hundreds of lingering ideas I have for poems, stories, and novels.
Brutal Dreamer: How long do you see yourself as a writer? What is your ultimate goal as a writer?
John Edward Lawson, editor The Dream People: I see myself as a writer no matter happens: entropy, censorship, and personal obligations can never stop me. I’ll continue to write in some form or another until I’m physically incapable, which would probably be when I die. As for my goals, well, I’ve worked hard to construct a ruthless demeanor for John the writer. Nothing short of dominating and humiliating the entire existing world of writing will ever be acceptable. Perhaps this is an
untenable aim, but it has been said that if you aim for the stars you get the moon; you aim for a tree branch and you end up in the mud.
Brutal Dreamer: How would you describe your ideal writing environment?
John Edward Lawson, editor The Dream People: My ideal writing environment is secluded and hot. No distractions or
intrusions for hours on end, all day and night in fact. Generally speaking I listen to music the whole time, but it is not a necessity. I could write in prison or in a desolate forest if need be.
Brutal Dreamer: What are your greatest achievements in your writing career thus far?
John Edward Lawson, editor The Dream People: Aside from hanging out with you Taking second place in the Fiction
International Emerging Writers Competition/being nominated for the Pushcart Prize, both with my debut story, well that certainly stands out. Also the critical praise I’ve gotten for my poetry chapbook has been heartening. Aside from that, it’s been an honor to work with so many talented authors and artists as editor of the web zine and the anthologies.
Brutal Dreamer: What has been your greatest challenges in your writing career thus far?
John Edward Lawson, editor The Dream People: Thus far the insurmountable challenge has been Hollywood. I managed to get reads from over two dozen companies, but at the time I was unagented and unpublished. Now that I have some accomplishments under my belt I will redirect my onslaught and tackle the silver screen once and for all.
Brutal Dreamer: Put the Monsters in order 1 being the greatest and 5 being the less:
John Edward Lawson, editor The Dream People:
1 – PinHead
2 – The Tall Man
3 – Freddy Krueger (would beat the Tall Man one on one, but TM has the coolness factor in my book)
4 – Dracula (would be higher but I feel his legacy has been polluted)
5 – The Wicker Man
Brutal Dreamer: What is your VERY favorite Hollywood/Novel MONSTER? Why?
John Edward Lawson, editor The Dream People: The Thing has my vote. John Carpenter’s creation is merciless and unstoppable, capable of infiltrating your ranks with its boundless abilities. It’s alien and it doesn’t care. What more can a man ask for?!
Brutal Dreamer: What are your favorite horror specialty in order 1 being the greatest and 5 being the less:
John Edward Lawson, editor The Dream People:
1 – Werewolves
2 – Demons
3 – Ghosts
4 – Witches (pretty much a tie with ghosts)
5 – Zombies
Brutal Dreamer: If you could collaborate with any author in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
John Edward Lawson, editor The Dream People: A lot of names come to mind here. I’m lucky enough to be collaborating with Mark McLaughin, so not to be ungrateful or anything but I’d probably keel over if I had the chance to work with Bret Easton Ellis or Chuck Palahniuk. So much of their writing strikes directly to the core of what I’m attempting to accomplish with my own work. Or David Lynch…or Barry Gifford! Clive Barker! Argh, you torment me with this question!!!!
Brutal Dreamer: What is your all-time favorite Cult Classic? Why?
John Edward Lawson, editor The Dream People: I’m not sure I could say. Out of the hundreds of great old books and
films…hmm…well, The Bride of Frankenstein was a cutting-edge film. It’s from the early 1930′s but some of the cinematography is still relevant, and it blends the monstrous with some humor. The Invisible Man was great too.
Brutal Dreamer: Put the Authors in order 1 being the greatest and 5 being the least:
John Edward Lawson, editor The Dream People:
1 – Clive Barker
2 – Stephen King
3 – Poppy Z. Brite
4 – Wes Craven
5 – Dean Koontz
Brutal Dreamer: The best book ever written is? Why?
John Edward Lawson, editor The Dream People: The best book ever written is I’ll Fix Anthony, a children’s book. The
central character strives to become bigger and more intelligent than his older brother so he can torment him, instead of it being the other way around. Everybody should have a goal in life. The noble enterprise of tormenting older brothers should be respected.
Brutal Dreamer: If a story you wrote was ever to go to Hollywood, what would the title be? Who would star in it? What would the rating be? What would the genre be? Would it be a BOXOFFICE bust or BOXOFFICE hit?
John Edward Lawson, editor The Dream People: Well, I’ve got a work in progress that has no title but I think it would go over well. R-rating, with an unedited version exclusively for DVD. Box office hit. Starring: Bill Pullman, Ian Somerhalder, Patricia Arquette, Cloe Sevigny, Laura Elena Harring, Clea DuVall, Edward Norton, and Joaquin Phoenix. It would be great to have Klaus Kinski too, but he’s beyond our reach now. Crispin Glover and Philip Seymour Hoffman would have to be in there somewhere as well. Kind of a strange lineup, but if you could read this novel you’d see what I’m after. For now it remains a secret!
Brutal Dreamer: If you could pick any woman in the world to star as your leading lady –who would she be? Leading man –who would he be? Leading monster –who would it be? WHY?
John Edward Lawson, editor The Dream People: Tough, tough. Would have to be Naomi Watts and Nic Cage, with Cthulhu casting his shadow over the world. I’m a lifelong Godzilla fanatic but I think he’s been done to death, so Big C it is.
Brutal Dreamer: If we were to ever plan to publish a novel or short-story together what would it be about?
John Edward Lawson, editor The Dream People: I think it would be about a truly mind-altering experience where the reader is continually switching between being revolted and questioning their own perceptions. Maybe something along the lines of Twin Peaks meets Cannibal Holocaust. How does it sound to you?
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