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What inspired you to write Of Loss & Zombies?

  1. I’ve had a love for the zombie genre since I was a young kid.  I saw my first zombie movie around age 8 on HBO (though I was not supposed to be watching it.)  It was the remake of George Romero’s classic Night of the Living Dead.  I’ve been hooked on the genre ever since.  I took a short story writing course taught by Chitra Divakaruni at the University of Houston, and this story was one of the assignments for the course.  I ended up loving the concept and working on it outside of class.  Eventually I worked up the nerve to submit the story to HWP, and I’m glad I did! 


Tell us about your plans for Of Loss & Zombies. We understand there is a film in the works. 

  1. Yes, I am working on a short promo film based on the story that appeared in Haunted Waters Press in the Fall 2012 issue.  I have written a screenplay for both short and feature length versions of the film, so I’m hoping that the short can serve as a promotional film to help get funding for the feature.  The short will be done on a limited budget, but I think some of the best films out there are low budget.  Often, filmmakers have a vision, and they are willing to do whatever it takes to make that vision tangible.  I am no exception. 


You write under the name Fletcher Young. Can you tell us about your decision to write under a pen name?

  1. I choose to write under a pen name because I want to keep my identities separate.  I write poetry as well as fiction, and I prefer not to have people trying to make connections between the two because both types of work also have their own separate identity.  Most of my poetry is published under my real name, but the darker poems are under Fletcher Young.  I also like to keep my real life personality separate from the personality of my characters and my speakers.  They are their own entities; I am just the outlet through which they flow. The name Fletcher Young is a combination of my middle name and my Grandfather’s middle name. 


Where do you find your ideas and inspiration? 

  1. Most often my ideas come from real life.  Not necessarily my own life, but observing my surroundings and reflecting on them.  For example, Cheryl and Max in “Of Loss and Zombies” are based off of a brother and sister I saw in a grocery store with their mother.  The two kids were bantering and the mother seemed most concerned with which type of bread to buy.  I built the world they live in around the brief glimpse I got of their personalities.  I have to admit that I have conjured up some of my best lines for poems in dreams.  Take it wherever you can get it! 


Are there any authors/poets who have influenced your writing? 

  1. Certainly!  As T.S. Eliot said in his essay “Tradition and the Individual Talent,” “Some one said: ”The dead writers are remote from us because we know so much more than they did.” Precisely, and they are that which we know.”  I believe in order to become a better writer, you must read, and read a lot.  Eliot is absolutely correct, without the writers of the past we would know nothing about how to craft a quality piece of writing.  Among my influences (living and dead, and in no particular order) are H.P. Lovecraft, Marie Howe (particularly her collection titled What the Living Do), Martha Serpas, Tony Hoagland, Orson Scott Card, George Saunders, Mary Shelley, Shakespeare, and Walt Whitman (and secretly I’ll throw J.K. Rowling in, but don’t tell anyone.) 


What are you reading right now?

  1. I am currently reading Dune by Frank Herbert and Ange Mlinko’s latest poetry collection titled Marvelous Things Overheard. 


How long have you been writing?

  1. Well, I have been writing since I was young, but I would hardly call what I produced back then serious writing.  I suppose I have been writing seriously for about four or five years now. 


What is your writing day like?

  1. I can’t say that any two days are very similar.  When an idea strikes, I could be anywhere doing anything.  Sometimes I have to jot things down on my smart phone or in a notebook if I have one with me.  Other times I sit down with the intention to write a poem or a story, and nothing happens at all.  I truly believe that writing should not be forced, and that the best writing comes from the gut and is edited after the initial idea has been put down.  That said, my typical writing day is any day where I have an “aha!” moment and I’m lucky enough to get it down. 


What words do you live by? Do you have a personal motto? 

  1. I guess I’ve never really put much thought into it, but if I had to summarize my life philosophy it would be something like “No matter your religious or philosophical beliefs, I think we can all agree that humans were put here to create things that enhance the lives of other humans.  Do that at every opportunity, and don’t be afraid to take risks.  There are usually only two outcomes, success and failure.  Both have rewards.” 


Where can we find other works from Fletcher Young?

  1. I have not submitted fiction to any other journals yet.  I have poetry published with the following online journals:  Gadfly Online, Identity Theory, Circus of the Damned, and Uptown Mosaic.  I also have a couple of poems in print with Jack of No Trades Productions. 


What’s next? Do you have any writing projects on the horizon?

  1. I’m always writing something, but the film project is taking up much of my time.  I did write both screenplays, and I had a lot of fun with it.  I think I will be exploring the screenplay outlet a bit more in the future. 


If you could share any advice for aspiring writers, what would it be?

  1. The best advice I can offer is to never take rejection personally, and to expect it.  Lots of it.  Don’t let rejection letters from publishers discourage you from writing.  Most often it was not your writing that they didn’t like, but something entirely different.  Sometimes it just doesn’t match a theme they are going for that particular month, or they had thousands of submissions, or a plethora of other reasons that aren’t the quality of your writing.  Use the letters as motivation to find the right journal for your piece, and keep trying until you succeed. 

Thomas, we are very excited about your upcoming project and wish you luck in the filming of Of Loss & Zombies. See you on the silver screen!




Thomas grew up in Paw Paw, MI and moved to Houston, TX in 2010.  He currently resides in Houston's museum district with his fiance and their two dogs, Lucy and Eloise.  

Photo by Garron Ballard www.garronballard.com