Michael C. Dick was born in Buffalo, New York and raised on a steady diet of Comic Books, Abbott and Costello, SCTV, Monty Python, Airplane, Student Bodies and the lesser known Saturday the 14th and, of course, chicken wings – lots and lots of chicken wings.
A career as an Illustrator and designer led him out of the frozen north and into the unfamiliar, blistering heat of Northern Virginia were he currently resides with his wife, daughter and son. A short time after the move Michael made a carrier change and in his new occupation found ample time to start the outline of the first of many short stories. During this period, Michael submitted several pieces of art work to David Moody’s website, www.lastof theliving.net. The website was dedicated to the re-launch of David’s zombie book series, Autumn. Michael’s meeting with the famed English horror author spurred him on after he received advice, praise and, much more importantly, encouragement from David Moody himself.
Michael’s stories have been published in several anthologies by an assortment of publishers. His first full length book, When Good Holidays Go Bad: Rise of the Fiend is currently available for purchase and published by Knightwatch Press. If you wish to read more please visit him on his blog at michaelcdick.blogspot.com or on Facebook, search Michael C. Dick Author Illustrator or When Good Holidays Go Bad: Rise of the Fiend.
1. Michael tell us about the "private" side you your "Public Persona." Who is Michael Dick separate of the Author/Illustrator?
Who am I? That sounds like the opening line from a trip on the psychiatrist couch! It is a good question though. I often loose sight of who I truly am when I set out to start a project, art or writing. I become so focused on the job at hand that everything else takes a back seat until it’s concluded. Who am I really, bottom line, a husband and father who wants to give those that he loves everything he possibly could give them, to make them completely happy. Nothing more than that, I’m a simple man with simple beliefs and I embrace those beliefs whole heartily. The simple things in life make me happy.
2. Now tell us about your "Illustrator" side. What is your medium or preferred subject matter? Is illustrating your hobby or a separate component to what your offer? Can we contract your services for say a book cover? If so what would we need to do?
I started out as an illustrator, my whole life it was all I knew. I went to college in 1987 and graduated from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. I worked several years as a graphic designer and a lot more as a freelance artist. Most of my work as a freelancer was for tattoo designs but, I also did a lot of crafty stuff after I had been pestered to death to do them, I was always against that type of art for some reason. I don’t really have a particular medium I prefer. I use whatever I feel is best to get the feeling I want for whatever illustration I'm working on at the time. I use graphic pencils for a lot of my Zombie pictures, water colors for caricatures, oils for landscaping or book covers, colored pencils for tattoo designs and acrylic for things like tee-shirts, tool boxes and gas cans and other crafty projects. I still illustrate but not as much since taking up writing. It’s funny. I’ve always considered myself to be a pretty decent artist but, when it came time to designing the book cover for When Good Holidays Go Bad: Rise of the Fiend, I couldn’t do it, I guess I was just to close to the project. I did find a terrific artist out of England named Peter Fussy, he’s simply brilliant. I’ve already commissioned him for the second part of the story and, will undoubtedly be using him for many; many more…Brilliant artist, can’t say that enough. As for contacting me for art, by all means do so. I can be reached on Facebook, search Michael C. Dick Author Illustrator or, email me at
email@example.com drop the words ‘art project’ in the tag line.
3. I have seen Illustrations from your in several places on the web including David Moody's lastoftheliving.net. Where else can we view illustrations from you Michael?
You can see some of my art, as you said, on David Moody’s lastoftheliving website. I also have a couple goofy pictures on zombiesandtoys.com and a portfolio, as such, under my profile and my books page on Facebook. Most of my work is usually private commission stuff and, when the customer pays for it, they retain all the rights so I destroy all my copies after so I don’t accidentally reuse them 5, 10 or however many years down the line.
4. I have read a few of your shorts and was even privileged to be in two anthologies with you. What makes the writer inside Michael Dick tick? When you write about things others than zombies. What subject matter brings you the most joy?
Privileged…thank you but, I always feel it is I who should feel privileged to be in any anthology, with all these writers who have struggled and slaved for far longer at this than I have. What makes me tick? My over all driving force is my family and my need to want to make them as happy as I can. They are also the inspiration behind my work. I don’t mean that I base my characters on them, what I mean is, with my son and daughter being so young, their experiences in the world are fresh. At night, when we’re sitting around, talking, watching TV they’ll often tell my wife and me what they did during the course of the day. I’ll sit and listen and then, somewhere in my mind, a rusty wheel will turn and, Wala, I’ll say ‘hey, if I tweaked this or I tweaked that it would make a great line or scene in a story’. Then you have my wife. She’s great, simple as that. Putting up with me for as long as she has, that says something right there…especially over these last 3.5 years that I’ve been out of work. There’s not too many people out there that I know of who would continue to be so supportive with all the ‘problems’ being out of work causes. As for writing about other things and the most joy I get out of it, can’t rightly say. I mean, there’s obvious the thrill of hearing or reading an interview or comment about your story but, I think the greatest feeling is, after you get the final edits back from the editor and have sent it off to the publisher, you sit back and wait, knowing that shortly your words will eventually be read by countless people, that’s a feeling I can’t seem to put into words.
5. Share with me some of your general opinions on the living dead. How do you flavor you zombies when writing?
My feelings of the Living Dead? When I write about zombies I tend to add a lot of subtle humor to them, things you might not pick up on right away. Why, because they are funny. If you’re able to look past the gore and their unending hunger and the need to eat us, they’re quite comical. I also tend to describe them more like the traditional zombie, slow moving, not sprinters. I think that, in the beginning, when they have first turned, their movements will be fast, not as fast as a speed walker but not painfully slow. As time progresses their bodies start to break down and, because of this, they start to move slower. I believe this would be a more accurate description, that is, if it ever really happened, zombies walking the earth I mean. Another thing I won’t or should I say, try not to do is have a zombie go for the brains like they did in so many 1980’s movies. It’s too unrealistic if you think about it. I mean, zombies are pretty far fetched to begin with so, as a writer you want to make them a bit more realistic. So, how realistic is it that a decaying corpse whose teeth are falling out, their dental plans suck, can actually manage to somehow bite through a skull. Come on, skulls are thick and hard, ask my wife – she’s constantly calling me a thick headed…that’s another matter. Getting back on track. How are we honestly to believe that teeth, rotten ones none the less, can tear open or bite through a skull? To unrealistic, that’s why I won’t touch that subject in a story.
6. You new book "When Good Holidays Go Bad Rise of The Fiend" seems to cover a broad scope from folklore to pop culture. Tell us about it from inspiration, to inception, to publication. Where can we get a copy and what can we expect from "Rise of The Fiend?"
The inspiration behind my book, When Good Holidays Go Bad: Rise of the Fiend actually came from all the characters I mention in the book. The book actually started out as two short stories. The first one written was titled the Death of Love. I wrote it basically to poke fun at greeting card companies and how they have created a card for nearly everything. My wife and I were discussing how much they cost and how ludicrous some of them sounded when we were supposed to be buying a package for my daughter to share with her class on Valentines Day, speaking of which, a question for you. Why and when did they change it from St. Valentines Day to just Valentines Day? Getting back to the question, we couldn’t understand spending so much money on something that was just going to get thrown out as soon as the kids got home from school so, I wrote the story to get ‘my feelings’ out there. The second short was called Easter Festivities. The family had just finished watching ‘Mad Monster Party’ and I thought we needed something like this but for Easter, as far as I knew there wasn’t a good Easter cartoon made yet so, I wrote Easter Festivities. The last part was called Jack the Fiend. This story I created when my publisher suggested tying the first two together to somehow make a complete story. I had just finished writing and having accepted a Halloween short story called ‘the Initiation’ and we just happened to becoming into the Halloween season at the time so I figured, I've already got Easter and Valentines Day, let tie it all together with another, less popular holiday and well, that’s basically how it all meshed together. From there it just kind of took off. I pulled inspiration from all those things I loved as a kid, and still do, and, took all my frustration out with being out of work and the way things were being run in the country and then next thing I knew, I had a very comical, horror story. As for where you can purchase the book, it’s available right now on Amazon, in the UK and America, as well as Created a space. I also post on the books Facebook page any events I might be attending, book signings and such, where copies will also be available to purchase.
Something’s Not Right With Halloween Night:
Halloween, that magical night that compels adults to act like children, children to gorge themselves and a host of creatures and ghouls, those nasty beasties that hide under your bed, in your closet or the deepest recesses of your mind, all come out to play, scaring and frightening their human victims; at least, that’s how it was in the old days.
Welcome to Halloween Hallow, a disturbing land where all the nefarious creatures that wander the world on Halloween night come to dwell during the off season. In this land of strange and weird creatures lives Jack, the only human ever allowed to live amongst them.
Over the last four years Jack has noticed a disturbing trend, the children of the real world no longer fear the hard working citizens of Halloween Hallow; Halloween is no longer scary!
When government funding is pulled and the threat of their holiday being shut down, Jack formulates a daring plan, a plan that doesn’t sit well with the ruling council.
A murderous plot is set in motion, a transformation from normal and mundane into the truly fantastic, yet somewhat psychotic, takes place and Jack sets out to have his revenge.
Behind the scenes lurks the tall, lumbering, dead figure of Frankenzombie with sinister, world dominating plans of his own. What is being past to Peter Rabbit, Cupid and Father Time during their late night rendezvous with Frankenzombie? What evil is the rouge council member planning and how does Santa Claus fit in? Find out in,
When Good Holiday’s Go Bad:
7. What audience are you aiming for with "Rise of The Fiend?" Is it something we can all share in, is it more Young Adult or should the kiddies just sit this one out?
As for the audience range, I like to think of this book as a great cross over story. Its written so a Young adult might like it, not to much swearing and gore but also, with the characters I use and the subject matter I deal with, helps make it acceptable for adults as well…a book for young and old as it were.
"Michael Dick has a winner here on his twisted ride into the imaginary world, where our favorite holiday characters are brought to life. His debut novella, WHEN GOOD HOLIDAY'S GO BAD: RISE OF THE FIEND, has all you want in a great, engaging story. Action, suspense, and yes, humor too. I enjoyed the character's he developed, including the way they interacted with each other. For the few who may know me, I love Halloween. So, of course my favorite character was Jack, the Pumpkin Fiend. Nonetheless, it's what happens to poor Jack in the first few pages that had me hooked to the very end. An amazing journey full of fantasy and horror, combined. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone who loves those holiday's where the characters are just as fun as the holiday itself. Two bony thumbs up from the evil little jester and myself.
--Charles Day, Author of THE LEGEND OF THE PUMPKIN THIEF
8. Without giving away to much about "Rise of The Fiend" can we expect to hear more from this story line maybe sequels? In that vain of questioning what does in on the way or in development for Michael Dick the Author and The illustrator?
Yes, you shall see more. I’ve nearly completed the second part to the story and have up to part 3 outlined and mostly filled in. The potential the story has to go the long term if great but, it’s a fine line, I don’t want to loose my reader’s interest by going to far either. As for the art work, I continue to do freelance work. Currently I’m working on several sketches I’m developing to pain on old metal gas cans and tool boxes. These are all aimed at the ‘old car enthusiast ‘who do the car shows. They’re pieces they can put on display with their cars.
9. Direct us to all the places where your fans dwell Michael. From Amazon to Facebook where can we get in touch with the Head Fiend?
The head Fiend, I like that. Currently there isn’t much but, in the near future I’m hoping to have a website developed for the story. Currently you can find me and the book on Amazon; I’ve an author’s page there that I post upcoming events and such. Also there is the Facebook page for both me and my book and lastly, I’ve a blog I’m re-starting, you can find that at HYPERLINK "http://www.michaelcdick.blogspot.com" www.michaelcdick.blogspot.com.
10. Now for the grand prize tell me your feelings and predictions on season 3 of The Walking Dead. Who goes who stays and who dies?
Season 3 of the Walking Dead…Well, I’m not sure who stays or goes but let me say this right quickly, they better not dwell so much on Carl again. I’m also quite happy Dale and Shane are gone, took much too long for Shane to die. Season 3 needs to see T-Dog, what the heck kind of name if that? And Carol gone. Both characters do nothing, as of yet, to add to the depth of the show, they’re filler that needs to be replaced with a character or 2 that does something for the program and as a character for the group.
As an extra added bonus we have the "Foreword" to "When good Holidays Go Bad Rise of the Fiend" By none other than Bowie Ibarra the Zombie Blood Fighter himslef.
I blame Freddy Krueger.
And it’s not because I’m a Jason Vorhees fan, either.
I blame Freddy Krueger for making jokes out of horrifying deaths. And I blame Freddy Krueger for taking the ‘scary’ out of Halloween.
Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch.
There was a time when Bill Cosby would make jokes in his early comedy routines about staying too late at the monster movies and having to walk home in the dark. One night he knew he was out too long because it was 8pm. That’s when the monsters came out. Having spent the day watching the classic werewolf, vampire, and mummy movies, his imagination had been charged with monster mania.
The slashers came and went in the 80s, giving way to the comedic catharsis of Freddy Krueger, cracking a joke while eviscerating one of his victims in his dream deathland.
What happened? Why the need for humor during a horror movie?
Let’s face it, laughing is good for the soul. And as far as we can tell, we’re the only species on the planet that can laugh or understand humor the way we do. The only other animal is the monkey that has been known to play jokes or rough up its friends in a silly manner. And let’s not forget the YouTube video of the chimp that decided sticking its finger in its butt and smelling it was a good idea before throwing its hands up in the air in melodramatic shock and falling off its tree limb.
It’s great to have such high-functioning brains.
And yet we humans take the joke a bit further. Our high-functioning brains can take a ‘smell my finger’ joke just that much further. I was once in a summer stock theatre show in Palo Duro Canyon many years ago, and there was this guy I’ll just call “Corey’. Corey enjoyed goosing his friends by sliding his index finger up the pants portion of people’s butt-crack. And while the people are in the middle of making that silly grunt of a surprise goose, he would stick that same finger under the victim’s nose and say, ‘smell that’.
Ah, yes. Jokes and the high-functioning brain.
With the evolution of horror movies comes the evolution of humor, too. We’ve always laughed at things that crack us up, and every individual finds humor in different things. Mel Brook’s ‘History of the World’ makes light of laughter during the caveman days, where a caveman tries to act silly to no response from the tough crowd. But when a dinosaur (!) appears and eats the caveman in the middle of his act, the crowd laughs out loud.
The mixing of humor with drama or tragedy is also nothing new. Shakespeare used to inject humor in the middle of his darkest tragedies like ‘Macbeth’ or ‘Hamlet’. It added to the peaks and valleys of the story, and was a great way to ease tension before ratcheting it up again. I used that same convention in my zombie horror story, “Down the Road: On the Last Day” and “Down the Road: The Fall of Austin”, with a duo of characters (two friends in ‘On the Last Day’, and two clownish gang members in ‘The Fall of Austin’) to bring a little levity to the zombie apocalypse.
So just like in horror movies, the old comedies of yesteryear (Keystone Kops, Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello) would elicit barely a chuckle with kids, or adults for that matter, like the shows probably did back in the day. Humor, like horror, has also evolved and changed over the years.
And that’s where this lovely humorous tale comes in. Set in the world of Halloween Hallows, ‘When Good Holidays Go Bad: Rise of the Fiend” is like Goosebumps after an all-night bender. It’s a good-natured parody of scary monsters of yesteryear with the humorous sensibility of an ‘Airplane’ movie. It’s like Monty Python ate R.L. Stine and then wrote a book.
You will enjoy the laughs and you will enjoy the characters. But most of all, you will enjoy the story.
And you won’t have Freddy Krueger cracking a bad joke after dismembering someone.
So grab your favorite beverage and get ready for a fun read and plenty of chuckles.
Bowie V. Ibarra
Author of the ‘Down the Road’ zombie horror series
From Knightwatch Press
Tel: +353 86 3951402