Though you may have only heard of my novel DREG in the recent weeks, it has been around for a long time. The creation of DREG began in the 80s, a comic based on the character was released in the 90s, the novel was published in its first form in 2003 and their have been two film options of my book.
Here are some facts that not many people know about DREG:
When I was 20 years old (around 1985), I wrote a short story called KEEPSAKE. The tale dealt with a serial killer who was slowly growing enamored with a woman he had kidnapped at a rest area. I would incorporate many elements of this story into Dreg. I even had the press in DREG refer to the antagonist as the “Keepsake Killer”.
- THE ROMERO CONNECTION
Around 1992, I had completed a rough first draft of DREG. An independent producer who had worked in the 80s with Laurel Productions (the company responsible for many of George Romero’s films), optioned DREG. The option lasted until 1997. DREG remained unpublished during this period as part of the option agreement.
- THE COMIC SERIES
In 1997, the rights to DREG landed back in my lap. I was busy working in the comics industry at the time. Talented artist, Glenn Chadbourne, (who had worked on my independent horror comic, BLOOD FOR THE MUSE) took a liking to DREG and he adapted the prologue and a portion of the first chapter into comic format. We toyed with the idea of turning the entire novel into a limited edition graphic series, but the industry was in a bit of turmoil at that point, and it was too time intensive for Glenn to devote himself to the project. Glenn would go on to become a highly respected illustrator for many horror authors, Stephen King among them.
- THE NOVEL
DREG saw print in 2003. A company that turned out to be little more than a vanity press contacted me and I fell for their line of bullshit. DREG became a POD paperback and it garnered some nice press (including a great write-up in Rue Morgue) despite the fact that the “publisher” had not edited one word and didn’t use the proofs I sent back to them with mark-ups for corrections. The “publisher” never made a royalty payment to me, although I could see on numerous book-selling sites that it was being purchased. After many threats and cease and desists, the “publisher” removed DREG from their library around 2005. For the re-release, 14,000 words have been added and the time period has been shifted to 1999 (the original took place in the 80s).
- I HAVE A FEVER DREAM
Around 2006, Fever Dreams (the company responsible for my film, Flesh for the Beast) contacted me about the film option to DREG. We signed an agreement, and I adapted the novel to a screenplay. It was during this adaptation period that I saw things that I wanted to fix and expand upon in the book itself. The novel, once again, sat dormant during this time as I was going to be allowed to use elements of the film version to produce a movie tie-in to the film. But, as often occurs in the movie business, DREG never happened for Fever Dreams and they relinquished their option in 2014.
- THE HILLS HAVE BERRYMAN
During the option period with Fever Dreams, I mentioned to the producers quite often that actor Michael Berryman would be a perfect fit for the role of Dreg. And though other actors that I had envisioned in other roles have grown a little old for the characters I once had them in mind for, Michael is just now age appropriate to play Dreg (food for thought).
- UNCLE CREEPY
Dreg’s physical appearance was heavily influenced by Uncle Creepy, from the old Warren horror magazine. One of the characters in my novel even compares Dreg to Uncle Creepy.
- A WEREWOLF STORY WITHOUT A WEREWOLF
It was pointed out by a few reviewers that DREG was, in essence, a werewolf novel. Yet, the monster of the story never physically transformed into a animal. My intent was to create a realistic werewolf tale, utilizing all of the actual myths of the condition, and to portray the transformation as one of a psychological process. Lycanthropy was heavily researched for DREG. I had been impressed by George Romero’s vampire film, Martin. In that film, Romero put a rather realistic spin on vampirism. And though my story is nothing like Mr. Romero’s, Martin was still a big influence on DREG.
- BRIGHT SEGMENT
Bright Segment is a brilliant horror/suspense novelette written by Theodore Sturgeon. The story concerns a hideously ugly, lonely old man who nurses a near-dead prostitute back to health and then has a hard time letting her leave. Bright Segment was another influence on DREG.
DREG, the revised and expanded edition, is currently available!