Gary Lee Vincent, noted horror author, noticed a dilemma facing independent writers about ten years ago. Unknown literary storytellers without representation were forced to pay for printed copies of their own books with no means of distribution. Being a passionate writer, Gary addressed this issue by creating his own publishing company called Burning Bulb Publishing. Offering a home for creators searching for a place to be published, Burning Bulb offers over 200 different titles and the catalogue continues to grow. Gary has since expanded into film working with legendary Night of the Living Dead screenwriter John A. Russo. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with the horror author, publisher and filmmaker at Days of the Dead Indianapolis regarding Burning Bulb Publishing, his work with Russo and his latest film Midnight!
Scifi.Radio: Hi Gary! Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. What made you want to get into film?
Gary Lee Vincent: That’s an interesting story. We’ll have to rewind a few years. Around 2009, I formed a company called Burning Bulb Publishing and my intention was to allow creative writers a way to be published. Historically, if you wanted to get a book deal, you had to go one of two directions: a New York City publisher, which required you to be known and represented by an agent, or a vanity press, which is basically an over glorified printer. And the latter option required you to pay a printing company to print your book regardless if it was good or not. There’s obviously stigma to the second option. But there’s also difficulty to the first. So, my hope was to find independent people who were very good writers, but weren’t big enough to be known.
Scifi.Radio: That’s definitely something needed in the horror community! I’m aware that you have worked with Night of the Living Dead screenwriter John A. Russo. How did you begin working with this legend?
GLV: When I first started the company, we tried different kinds of literature including anthologies. At our infancy stage, I was working on an anthology titled The Big Book of Bizarro. I attended a film festival around this time and that’s where I met John Russo! After I asked if he would like to collaborate, John submitted a short story for the anthology titled Channel 666. Of course, John is known for co-authoring the script for Night of the Living Dead with George A. Romero, and he has since written several great novels. A few years following our anthology collaboration, I ran into Mr. Russo again at a convention. He asked if I was still in the publishing business. At the time, I had a manuscript for a book called Dealey Plaza, which I published. By this time, I was touring on my own circuit of conventions and book festivals. So, I began planning my event schedule to correspond with Russo’s public appearances to allow collaboration and co-promotions.
Scifi.Radio: I understand that you’re first collaborative film with Russo was My Uncle John is a Zombie. How did this come about?
GLV: At one convention appearance, copies of my latest book weren’t selling and there were few sales of John’s new novel. So, I made a sarcastic comment to John saying that I should probably pack up and go home because no one reads anymore. They only want an autographed Night of the Living Dead poster. That’s when John told me that I needed to be an actor! (laughs) I don’t have any film school experience. But I challenged him with the idea of writing a screenplay and I’d produce the film. A couple weeks later, I receive an email that read “My Uncle John is a Zombie: a screenplay by John A. Russo.” And he tells me over the phone “I’m Uncle John and you’re his dimwitted nephew Oscar. We have a movie to make.” He called my bluff, and I wasn’t about to let him down. (laughs) I was going to produce this movie, I was going to be that nephew and we’re gonna make a movie.
Scifi.Radio: That sounds like quite the transition into film! Do you see very many people picking up books and reading these days?
GLV: I like to say that, as a rule, books are trending down. However, book publishers are diversifying into other genres and finding new ways to attract readers. Such as audiobooks, Kindles and Amazon just released a “buy chapter by chapter” option. As I thought about Amazon’s subscription based reading, it really hit home to me that people’s attention spans and time commitment aren’t quite what it use to be due to so much available content in the world today. I do believe there are readers out there. But I don’t think the population as a whole is reading books traditionally like they use to. But we are still publishing at Burning Bulb. We have over 200 titles in our catalogue, which continues to grow. If a story is interesting and we feel that we can give the writer a chance to get into the market, we will definitely try to help that writer get to where they want to go!
Scifi.Radio: That is great to hear! What can you tell me about your latest film Midnight?
GLV: Midnight is based on the 1980 best-selling novel by John A. Russo. The original edition sold thousands of copies all over the world and it was popular enough for John to make a motion picture adaptation in 1982. It has subject matters that aren’t for everyone. It deals with the paradox between faiths such as Christianity and Satanism, the inherent fears of an upset homelife, fears of being pursued and fears of the unknown all in one story. When the original film released, it was banned in nine countries and was re-released in the UK as The Backwoods Massacre. Part of me thought the world was ready for an intense remake of Midnight. So, I tried to do the original justice. (laughs) And I did receive a ban on Amazon for violating community guidelines. So, I’m living up to the legacy. (laughs) I would say we did our job.
Scifi.Radio: In horror, that can most certainly be a badge of honor! Taboo content does tend to pique interest among genre fans (laughs). Thank you, Gary, for taking the time to speak with me.
Click here to check out Burning Bulb Publishing’s endless catalogue of novels, comics, graphic novels and authors. For a sneak peak at Gary Lee Vincent’s latest film Midnight as well as information and purchases, check out www.MIDNIGHT.rocks.