Once again, thanks to Eric S. Brown for this chat with Dr. Pus of the Library of the Living Dead Press and The Library of Horror, publisher of some my personal favorite authors like Rhiannon Frater, David Dunwoody, Scott A. Johnson and of course, Eric.
Though most folks know him as Dr. Pus, Dr. Michael Carl West is a Dentist practicing in the small town of New Cumberland, WV. He has been married to his lovely wife Tam for almost 25 years. He has two wonderful and gorgeous daughters who are in College. The Doc lives on forty acres of wooded mountain top (referred to as Pus Mountain) with his wife, daughters, two dogs, seventeed cats and 2 pygmie goats. He loves his life and is ready for the zombie apocalypse. He runs Library of the Living Dead Press and all its various imprints.
ESB: Where did your love of zombies come from?
Dr. Pus: My love of zombies came about by watching a vampire movie. I know, I know, vampires aren't zombies. But after watching Vincent Price in Last Man On Earth (when I was in the sixth grade) it scared me so bad that when nightfall came I would run home just waiting for one of those shamblin' vampires to come out from between the houses and grab me. Then I was introduced to George Romero's Night of the Living Dead (Romero got his idea for shamblin' zombies from Last Man On Earth) and it petrified me. THAT is the feeling I get when watching zombie movies and reading zombie literature. And as they say .... the rest is history.
ESB: How did you get into publishing?
Dr. Pus: Publishing came about as a direct result of the Library of the Living Dead Podcast. I was, for the first and only time, reading a non-zombie book on the podcast entitled Beneath The Mask by Stephen A. North. We became fast friends and Steve mentioned he didn't want to self-publish his new zombie book Dead Tide. I jumped at the chance to help him publish it. Started a publishing company called "Library of the Living Dead Press," learned a lot of hard lessons and was finally able to present the book in Pittsburgh at the second ZombieFest. Once I announced this on my forum and podcast the authors came a knockin'. Currently we have over 50 books in print.
ESB: What are some of the favorite books you have published so far?
Dr. Pus: I can't pick just a few of the books I've done. They're all like my babies. I do have a special place in my heart for Dead Tide as it was the first book published and it also remains our best seller.
ESB: Where can we find out more about your company on the web?
Dr. Pus: Folks can find out everything about The Library on our forum www.libraryofthelivingdead.lefora.com, on our website www.thelibraryofthelivingdead.com and on the podcast www.dr-pus.podomatic.com. The forum is very, very active with over 850 members. The members are affectionately called Good Librarians.
ESB: How do you decide which books to publish?
Dr. Pus: The book has to speak to me. Since we've expanded into the entire horror genre I've been exposed to tons and tons of excellent stories. Those are the ones that will see print. I've also been exposed to some of the most incredibly bad writing in the Universe. Those see the circular file ASAP. I'm not mean when I reject a book or story. I always try to give the budding author some type of positive comment, but in some cases it's almost impossible. I accept submissions through my Executive Librarians, who are named in the forum, for all books and short stories except for zombie novels and stories. Those are mine to peruse and then accept or reject. Zombie submissions are sent to my e-mail email@example.com.
ESB: You recently shot a TV spot for your company. What can you tell us about that?
Dr. Pus: The link to the commercial is: http://libraryofthelivingdead.lefora.com/2010/10/21/and-so-it-begins/page5/#post94. This was all David Dunwoody's idea and we had a wonderful time doing it. Everyone was in make-up and in character. I even got my hand bitten during the rampage scene. It didn't draw blood, but it did leave teeth imprints on my hand. The commercial was probably the coolest thing we did at Horror Realm. Zombie Zak recorded and edited it, Dan Galli provided the lighting and Dave Dunwoody was the screenplay writer/director. It was a blast!!
ESB: What are your favorite zombie films?
Dr. Pus: I have a really hard time putting in order my five favorite zombie movies. #1 is the only one that is in order.
1. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
2. Cemetary Man
3. Shatter Dead
4. Video Dead
5. Dead Meat
6. Braindead (Dead/Alive)
7. Shawn of the Dead
8. Dawn of the Dead (Original)
9. Day of the Dead
10. Night of the Creeps
It's a pretty esoteric list. I love independent zombie flicks.
ESB: What lays ahead for Library of the Living Dead Press and what are you working on now?
Dr. Pus: Everything I'm working on now is exciting. The publishing company has taken off and become huge. I'm working with Borders/Waldenbooks to get our books in their stores. Barnes and Nobles will be next.
ESB: Where do you see your company in the years to come?
Dr. Pus: The future of Library of the Living Dead Press, within 3 years, will be my full time job. I plan on retiring from Dentistry in 3 years and go full bore into the publishing realm. That's always been my dream and it looks like my dream will come true.
Thanks again to Eric, and to Dr. Pus, who is an incredibly interesting guy! And be sure to check out The Library of Horror and Library of the Living Dead for some excellent reading!