What do you get when you cross a scientific expedition to the Arctic, a mysterious creature trapped in the ice of an ancient glacier, the Coast Guard, and a few assorted boatloads of drunken fishermen and Frenchmen? According to Bryan Dunn, Santa Barbara native and author of Thaw, the answer is horror, drama, and hijinks on the ice. I caught up with Dunn recently for a chat about his first novel.
What inspired you to write this book? Is this a story you’ve had in mind for a while? Thaw is a “what if” and “suppose” story. I thought, “What if a creature that had been buried for thousands of years in an iceberg was discovered as it drifted into the shipping lanes? And suppose it came back to life!” The story started as a screenplay that I then reverse-engineered into a novel. It’s very plot-driven. And it has all the elements of a good script-a monster, a little romance, a lot of action. It’d be a very fun film.
The end of the story seemed to leave room for a sequel, too. Do you have any plans to turn it into a film? I’d love to see Thaw become a movie, although that would be ironic; I wrote the novel because, although the screenplay was optioned briefly, it became a very expensive proposition due to the large special-effects budget. And yes, there’s definitely room for sequels, which works in both media. I wanted to leave my readers wanting more of the story!
Thaw reminded me of early-’60s sci-fi thrillers, the kind with bug-eyed monsters and blondes clad in silver bikinis on the covers. If I were making the film, I’d want to cast William Shatner as hero, to really chew all that Arctic scenery. Exactly! Thaw makes no pretensions about being high literature. Faulkner it ain’t. It’s pure entertainment, the perfect summer read. Everyone can understand the concept, “Don’t get eaten!” That’s the core of the story-the characters have to fight to survive.
You self-published Thaw on Xlibris.com. How was that process? Well, I’m a control freak, so it was nice to have it in my hands. It’s like making an indie film: You can get your story out as you want it to be told, which is pretty cool. As a writer, you have to have your fun-that’s what makes it worth it. I had a lot of fun with this project.
Bryan Dunn will hold a book-signing at Derf’s Cafe on Thursday, June 28, from 5-8 p.m. Thaw is available at Chaucer’s Books, Tecolote Books, The Front Page, the S.B. Airport gift shop, and online at Amazon.com and other major Internet booksellers.