Today we have Rusty Fisher, author of books such as Zombies Don't Cry & Ushers, Inc., to tell us about what led to him writing the stories he writes today!
My Dad’s restaurant opened on a distant Halloween over 50 years ago. So, throw that and free candy together and, yeah, I guess you could say Halloween was always a pretty big deal in our house growing up.
Every year on Halloween my parents would dress up and, after taking us kids trick or treating just after sunset, they would both head off to Dad’s restaurant to celebrate the big anniversary bash with a costume party and non-stop carousing.
My little brother Rhett and I would stay home with my grandmother, “Nonny.”
Nonny was an awesome babysitter because she liked to spoil us, so Rhett and I could watch scary movies like Amityville Horror and, of course, Halloween nonstop on HBO while she knitted in the living room and, as long as we didn’t scream too loud, she never said, “Boo.” (See what I did there?)
The only department where Nonny wasn’t so great was when it came to the Halloween candy. Yes, Nonny was one of those “only one piece and only after dinner” grandmothers-slash-babysitters.
Nonny had been a dental hygienist, you see, and hadn’t had a piece of candy, a chocolate bar or so much as a glass of orange juice since roughly 1953. Still, that was easy to get around.
While my brother or I ran “interference,” usually asking for something wholesome and non-cavity producing like a glass of milk or maybe making the ultimate sacrifice and asking what Nonny’s “childhood was like,” the other would disappear into our parents’ bedroom where the trick or treat bags were stashed.
Once there, he would load up his Planet of the Apes pajama bottoms with individual sized boxes of Milk Duds or hands full of candy corn and Tootsie rolls and sneak back in front of the TV. Mission accomplished.
So, there we were, circa 1979-ish or so, deep into scary movie marathon territory when, all of a sudden, a booming knock could be heard at the front door.
I’m talking sonic boom knocking. I’m pretty sure my brother and I lost our – well, we screamed, I know that much! And Nonny? She wasn’t much better. In case the Planet of the Apes pajama bottoms haven’t dated me enough, those were back in the days when phones had chords, and ours was too far away to hold the receiver and look out the door at the same time.
So while the booming – and the screaming – continued, while Rhett and I huddled in front of the HBO box (yes, it had an actual box back then) Nonny yelled out to the intruder, “You go away now, trick or treat time is over!”
And it was! Back then no self-respecting trick or treater would be caught dead after 9 p.m. and by now it was nearly… 10. Maybe even… the horror… 11!
Soon enough the knocking stopped, and after a few minutes Nonny placated us by letting us watch another scary movie (!!) before bed. She even promised to watch with us in the living room in case we wanted her to. (Uhhh, yes please Nonny!)
So there we were, five minutes later, cuddled up on the family room couch watching God knows what horror movie when a giant, yellow figure began stomping toward the French doors five feet away.
Now we all leapt off the couch and huddled in the middle of the room, watching petrified as a giant monster with rubber yellow skin and a helmet for a head walked, zombie style, toward the doors.
It walked, and stumbled, and walked and then pounded, bang, bang, bang, until the glass panes in the French door rattled. To Nonny’s credit, she protected us as well as any 90-pound grandmother could, but I’m not sure why none of us had the forethought to, you know, actually RUN AWAY!!!
With Rhett screaming, me screaming louder and Nonny rolling up her housecoat sleeves to fight off the Yellow Submarine Monster of Doom, the scene escalated until the monster finally reached for its head and… took it off!!!
Only to reveal… a human head inside. A very familiar human head: Mr. Oliver, one of my parents’ best friends. He was very apologetic, of course, and sweating bullets once Nonny opened the French doors and gave him what for.
But still, she went pretty easy on him once we all realized we weren’t going to be Gamma ray’d up to Mars or zapped into space dust! In fact, as I recall, she fixed him a drink (!) and let him use the phone to track down the rest of the costume party.
Long after Mr. Oliver left and my parents brought Nonny back home and Rhett was asleep I lay there in bed, heart still hammering, thinking of the thrill I felt while absolutely flippin’ scared out of my MIND!
More so than the rubber monsters on TV or the wooden acting, this was a real-life thrill – my first! Because there was a moment there, just before Mr. Oliver took off his space helmet head (I never did think to ask what, exactly, he was going as that year) Nonny, Rhett and I really could have been zapped into outer space or laser-beamed into rock dust.
And, trembling and wanting to puke and the whole screaming thing aside, it was pretty… cool!
I think that was the day I started enjoying the thrill of being scared, and began thinking about what it might be like to scare other people for a living. Not in any real conscious, “Hmmm, let me start saving up for my MFA in Creative Writing Degree” way, but just in a generally vague, “Yeah, I could do that!” way.
And now, well, all I can say is, “Thanks, Mr. Oliver! For scaring the crap out of me!!!”
Yours in YA,
About the author: Rusty Fischer is the author of several YA supernatural novels, including Zombies Don’t Cry, Ushers, Inc., Vamplayers, I Heart Zombie and Panty Raid @ Zombie High.
Visit his blog, www.zombiesdontblog.blogspot.com, for news, reviews, cover leaks, writing and publishing advice, book excerpts and more!
And since Rusty is all for the Trick-or-Treating he has a ebook copy of...
By Rusty Fisher
Synopsis borrowed from Goodreads:
When the streets are full of bloodsuckers, werewolves, zombies and ghouls, where will you turn? The cops don't know how to stop them, the Army's pretty much given up and even the Marines are stumped when their bullets and grenades fail to stop the onslaught.
Have no fear, Ushers, Inc. is here! Four high school movie ushers, who collectively have seen over 42,000 hours of B- and C-horror movies know just what to do.
Did you know copper pennies can stop a zombie in its tracks? Abby Cooper, Head Usher, does.
Did you know garlic paste is twice as effective on vampires as garlic cloves? Abby Cooper does.
Did you know werewolves are absolutely petrified of seeing a Hershey's kiss? Abby Cooper does.
The girls at Cypress Cove High school-especially Rich Witch Mia Hopwood-call Abby an uber-geek; the victims she rescues from zombies, werewolves and vampires just call her one thing: Hero!
But Abby and her fearless crew of movie ushers-slash-superheroes face more than just bloodsuckers and brain-biters. There's Wyatt Winters, for one; he's the hot new PR guru Ushers, Inc. has had to hire to handle all their press - and with his smoldering good looks and air of confidence, he's causing more than just tension between Abby and her old boy-crush-and fellow usher-Zach Nash.
And let's not forget the monsters, who aren't too happy about four geeky ushers beating their butts all over creation. Now the League of Associated Undead (LAD) is converging on Cypress Cove, determined to stop Ushers, Inc. once and for all.
When it's the monsters versus the monster hunters, who you gonna call?
Ushers, Inc., that's who!
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