Michael McCarty wrote his latest collaboration with his co-author on speed dial for technical advice.
“Michael would call and say, ‘What’s a wrap party like?’” laughed Linnea Quigley, the Davenport-born and raised actress who became known as one of the big “scream queens” in B-movies.
“I’m here in Iowa, I don’t know what’s going on. She’d had a lot of experiences like that,” McCarty said in a dual phone interview. “I would kind of take that and throw it into the book. It was really a lot of fun.”
The result is the book “Night of the Scream Queen,” where his writing and her expertise combine for the story of Desiree Starr, who gets more and more work wearing fewer and fewer costumes. Her life intersects with an Iowa soldier recruited to become a “soldier of the future,” Dr. Morrie Madden, a military mad scientist, and aging British actor Blake Smith. “All hell breaks loose,” promotional material reads, “in the Devil Bayou swamplands.”
It’s available at several electronic retailers. McCarty will also have copies at book signings next weekend.
Their collaboration began five years ago on a short story called “Wizard of Ooze.”
“We both had a lot of fun writing that, and that story kind of spiraled into this novel,” McCarty said. “We’ve been calling back and forth, back and forth.”
The book, McCarty said, also serves as a tribute to filmmaking of the past.
“It’s back to when they were making monster movies the old-fashioned way, not with CGI,” he said. “It’s kind of a tribute to that. Linnea’s been in quite a few of those.”
“Oh, my gosh, yes,” Quigley replied. “Wrestling with fake hands and arms and you have to make the move on them. You have to pretend like they’re fighting you and you have to throw them off you while they’re attacking.”
Quigley has more than 100 movies to her credit over the past 35 years. The most recognized is her 1985 movie “Return of the Living Dead,” which made it into mainstream movie houses.
A publisher took McCarty up on his offer to write a book with Quigley over his last holiday break at Augustana College, Rock Island, where he works in the college store.
“It was like an avalanche, it just happened like that. We were communicating back and forth, email, phone,” McCarty said.
“Michael is just prolific at writing,” Quigley added. “Once he gets hold of something, he shakes it until something comes out if he likes the idea.”
Quigley has written two memoirs, as well as a spoof of Madonna’s “Sex” book, called “Skin.”
But writing fiction was new to her, and something she enjoyed.
“It’s really getting into your imagination, thinking in a different way from what actually happened,” she said. “It’s what you’d like to see. You don’t go into as many redundant details; it’s just more of the fun stuff.”
Quigley is also at work getting the memoirs of her father, William, a former dean of education and executive vice president of Palmer School of Chiropractic in Davenport, into print.
She and McCarty are already discussing a sequel to “Night of the Scream Queen.”
” It was pretty smooth,” McCarty said of working with Quigley. “I’ve worked with a lot of different collaborators over the years, and Linnea was really easy to get along with.