Clay Mcleod Chapman
Associate Professor Playwriting, NYC
What is the central theme of your book?
Stories and storytelling -- particularly ghost stories -- are the bedrock of this book. The Remaking is about how a ghost story can evolve along with technology, leaping from a campfire tale to film to its remake to podcast. It asks the question of who has the right to tell these stories. If a ghost is at the root of an urban legend, do we have the right to tell their tale? Is it ours to tell?
What inspired you to write this book?
I found a massive amount of inspiration in films like Ringu -- and its remake. Not to mention obscure cult classics like Let's Scare Jessica to Death. Film is the foundation for a lot of the ideas in the book, along with The Fog, Dark Water, Scream. So many. Too many!
What attracts you to the horror genre?
I have distinct memories as a child being exposed to horror. Snippets of films on TV glimpsed from behind my fingers. These films left an indelible impression on me -- so much so, that as I grew older, I returned to them. By 7th grade, I found Stephen King, who served as a gateway to Poe and Lovecraft and beyond, and the potential of telling these types of stories myself. Horror has the uncanny knack of making you feel alive and fearing for your life at the same time.
Tell me about a particularly special moment in writing this book.
I'll admit the first section of the book is a very special one for me... It harkens to my fondness for the oral tradition, reminding me of my first time sitting around the campfire and hearing a ghost story as a child. I wanted to replicate that experience for the reader as much as humanly possible. I wanted to bring them around the campfire and feel the pine trees bristling at their back.
What is the one thing you hope readers take away from your book?
Well... It was written with love. It's an odd thing to admit, but I had fun writing it, and that I hope that sense is communicable. That's may sound odd for a horror book, but it's true. The Remaking is a thrill, a lark, but the writing of it came from such an earnest place, a place of joy, that I feel pretty lucky to be able to share it.
Is there anything else you would like to share about your book?
Read it out loud! Read it with friends! Read it around the campfire!
What other books have you had published?
The Remaking is my seventh book. Let's see, there's... Rest Area (short stories, 2002), Miss Corpus (novel, 2003), Commencement (novella, 2011), The Tribe: Homeroom Headhunters (middlegrade novel, 2013), The Tribe: Camp Cannibal (middlegrade novel, 2014), The Tribe: Academic Assassins (middlegrade novel, 2015), Nothing Untoward (short stories, 2017) and now... The Remaking! I've also been fortunate enough to work in the world of comics, with some creator-owned properties like Self Storage (2015) and Lazaretto (2017), as well as writing for Marvel and beyond.
The Remaking is about how a ghost story can evolve along with technology, leaping from a campfire tale to film to its remake to podcast.
When did you join Dyson College?
What motivates you as a teacher?
Remembering those teachers who left their mark on me.
What do you do in your spare time; to relax/unwind?
Read books, habitually imbibe films, and defend myself against the attacks of my two sons.
What are you reading right now?
I just finished Growing Things by Paul Tremblay -- and I'm just about to embark upon Rachel Harrison's The Return!