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Author Interview: Lucas Mangum

Sadie Hartmann: Greetings!

Lucas Mangum: Hi there!

SH: Let's get started: Lucas, thank you so much for joining me today for the Night Worms, crowd--what was your day like today?

LM: So far, pretty good. It's my partner's birthday, so we've been trying to celebrate as best we can given COVID and such. I was thankfully able to get off work so I can be around. 'end

SH: Covid birthdays and other "party days" have been so tricky this year!

LM: Yes, definitely. Like, I already am pretty much of a homebody, but this is a lot even for me. I had to start driving again a month or so ago, and had to reacclimate myself.

SH: Yeah, I live comfortably as an introvert as well so for the most part, quarantine life isn't a huge departure but I work from home anyways--have you found it easier to find time to write or more challenging this year?

LM: It's certainly forced me to be better at time management. I already worked from home as well, but having my 4-year-old home with me has been a huge challenge. I used to be more one of those "get it in while I can" people, when it came to writing, but now I have to be more deliberate. Usually, early morning and late at night are when I do most of it.

I fought this sort of regimentation for years, but it's weirdly been what I maybe needed all along. I guess I've always been prolific, but I feel a lot more focused on these last few projects.

SH: That makes sense. We've had to make adjustments and make our own schedules and such since the old routines were flipped upside down! 

What are you currently writing these days? 

LM: I think that's definitely been the case all around!

Right now, I'm working on a collaboration with Shane McKenzie. It's the first book in an adult Goosebumps-type series we're launching. We're about two-thirds of the way through. The idea is to create a series of high-concept, hard-hitting novellas that are very visual and fun to read, but also, not really connected beyond the brand. So, you can pick up book #4 or something and won't feel like you have to play catch up.

SH: You had me at adult Goosebumps!

OMG, I'm loving this concept

Photo Cred: Alex @findingmontauk1

LM: That's great to hear! And for a while, we had to brainstorm what that means. Because, to the untrained reader, that just says, "Okay, so, aren't those just horror books," but Goosebumps has a very specific vibe, something immediately recognizable and collectible. I think people who grew up with Goosebumps and other things released around that time like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Fear Street, etc. are familiar with that vibe and will be very excited.

SH: So, here's the thing: I'm 44 years old and Goosebumps came out after my season of reading age appropriate horror or spooky books was past--I was on to reading Stephen King by the time I was 13. SO! The concept has always appealed to me, this is very exciting to me because I missed out

How many books do you think there will be?

LM: I totally get that. I jumped from Goosebumps to Stephen King, skipping over Fear Street until later out of curiosity. We're not sure how many books there will ultimately be, but we have the first 6 planned, so we'll probably reevaluate there. 

The thing about working with Shane is he's an idea factory, like Bradbury or Carlton Mellick. Like, his brain does not stop coming up with wild concepts, and kind of just riffing with him while our kids play is just ... wow, we can do this forever, I think. It does depend on the publisher though and how many people are really paying attention.

SH: Well I know I'm not alone when I say that I'm a fan of a lucrative series. I've been enjoying the Death's Head Press Splatter Western Series, so if the concept is good and you're able to hook in a fanbase with book 1, the sky is the limit!

SH: I've also been snooping on you

Lurking your social media

I have questions! 

LM: Awesome! Let's hear em!  


SH: OK! So I saw you have Horrorama coming this month? You have a story in that collection?

Photo cred: Lucas Mangum

LM: That released October 1st From Grindhouse Press, who I've worked with before.

My story is called "Primitive" and it's about four old friends who go on a camping trip and cross paths with a woman in the woods who's hunting her son. Her son may or may not be a werewolf.

It's set in a place called Moon Mountain, which is outside Paradise, Washington. Both real places. How perfect is that?

SH: Camping/Werewolf tropes are the best! I live in WA! I wonder where that place is in relation to Tacoma? I'll have to look

LM: I'm not totally sure as Geography isn't one of my strengths, and I wrote the story a little bit ago now. I think it's further inland than Tacoma, but I could be completely wrong.

SH: Oh! It's the back slope area of Mt. Rainier! Cool, I've been there--I live like 2 hours away

LM: There will always be unexplored terrain.

SH: Absolutely.

I also saw on  Instagram the  amazing TOC for an anthology from Alien Agenda, can you talk about that?

LM: Oh, yes! That's for a book called SURVIVE WITH ME. It's a charity anthology featuring a ridiculously stacked roster of excellent authors. All proceeds go to the American Indian College Fund. Glenn Rolfe approached me about it and I said 'yes' immediately. 

SH: WOW! What a great cause

LM: Yes, absolutely! I'm proud to be part of it.

SH: Yeah, I scrolled past a graphic on Glenn's feed and was blown away by the last names! Very exciting, Night Worms fans need to keep an eye on that.

Any other books or projects we should talk about Lucas? 

LM: Yes, October 15, my dinosaur apocalypse book EXTINCTION PEAK came out from Madness Heart Press

SH: Great cover!

Lucas, where is the best place for fans to stay up to date on everything to do with your writing? Where are you the most active?

LM: I tweet @RealLucasMangum, but I'm most active on Instagram. I've been doing readings on Instagram's IGTV, along with commentary about the piece I read. So far, I've just been doing public domain classics, my own stuff, or pieces requested by colleagues.

Oh, and that handle on Instagram is @RealAFLucasMangum. Apparently RealLucasMangum was taken on that platform. Haha

SH: Ha! There must be more than one Real Lucas Mangums out there. I better chat with that guy too.

Thanks so much for hanging out  with me today, I really appreciate you taking time for my questions

LM: I really appreciate you having me. I can talk about books all day! Thanks for all you do!

SH: Absolutely!! My pleasure. I can't wait to get my hands on that series!

LM: I will definitely keep you posted on that. Take care!

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