My victim today is Stant Litore, talented author of The Zombie Bible series. If you haven’t picked up one of his books, you should… Given that some of you may not be well acquainted with Stant, let’s delve a little into what he has to say about himself.
Avid reader. Farmer’s son. Wife and two daughters as beautiful as the dawn is soft. I write about zombies. And the Bible. Well, actually I write about zombies IN the Bible. If you’ve ever wanted to see an Old Testament prophet in a life-or-death struggle with the undead at the bottom of a well, or a second-century saint pitched against an infested city, …now you can. Horror, exegesis, heroism, and tears.
Stant is the author of The Zombie Bible, which has been devouring the bestseller charts for the horror and fantasy genres on the Amazon Kindle. A dark retelling of biblical tales as narratives of humanity’s long struggle against hunger and the hungry dead.
Now that we know a little more about Stant, let’s starting chewing on his brain… Why Zombies? Is there anything specific that draws you to the genre?
I’ve always found zombies chilling. It’s the irrevocability of their hunger. And it’s the eyes – that these are bodies that look at you and do not see you; they see only food. That’s a terrifying thing. It’s terrifying to the gut, and it’s terrifying in a metaphysical sense.
I couldn’t agree more. Tell us a little bit about your current project.
You must mean The Zombie Bible, a series of novels retelling the Bible as a record of humanity’s long struggle with hunger and with the hungry dead. You need to read this – it’s reverent, it’s intelligent, it’s gruesome, and I’ve been told that the “human drama” is so gripping that people find the last pages of each book haunting them for the rest of the week.
Is there anything that makes your Zombies different?
It’s not the zombies that are different, it is humanity’s reaction to them. I write about episodes in the distant past, episodes out of the Bible or early church history. How ancient cultures struggled to cope with the rising of their dead, shattering everything they believed in, everything in which they hoped. I write about whether people tried to burn the dead, or save them, or flee them. I write about who chose to stand against them and who didn’t.
My zombies are an ultimate expression of the hungers human beings face while they live, the hungers they never resolve, the hungers that pursue them, moaning, even after their deaths.
If you had to choose, what are your 5 favourite Zombie books that you didn’t write?
Max Brooks, World War Z
Kim Paffenroth, Valley of the Dead: The Truth Behind Dante’s Inferno
Jonathan Maberry, Rot & Ruin
Rhiannon Frater, Fighting to Survive
Garth Nix, Sabriel
Each of these pushes the edge of what can be done with zombies, each in its own way. You can read more of what I had to say about them in my post ‘Are You Hungry? My Top 5 Zombie Novels‘.
I haven’t read Nix’ Sabriel yet but it’s making its way higher up my list. Considering the cinema, what are your top 3 favourites in the Zombie genre?
Night of the Living Dead – the original – still enchants me and chills me to the bone. I’m not sure about the other two; it may depend on the week. 28 Days Later has a special place in my gut because I saw it while living in London. I could vividly imagine (or walk to) many of the locations in the first half of the movie. The scene in which one character describes the infected sweeping though Paddington Station? I went to that station every day. I could not sleep for a week.
This is going to get me in trouble but I’ll take I Am Legend with Will Smith for the third. That film is profoundly flawed. But there were several specific scenes that I thought were brilliant. I am thinking of those scenes, not of the film as a whole.
If you ask me next week, I will have changed my mind about two of the top three. Night of the Living Dead is going to stay put, though.
My opinion on I Am Legend is much the same as yours Stant, I found it flawed but full of cinematic value. Tell us, do you think the popularity of The Walking Dead and its appearance in mainstream media has helped to increase the popularity of the genre, or has there always been such an interest?
The interest has come in waves since Romero’s Night of the Living Dead in the 60s. Max Brooks sparked the current wave with World War Z, and AMC’s tv series adapting The Walking Dead has upped the ante. We’re high on the wave now. Readers are hungry, though; in fact, they’re starving. Too much of what’s out there merely imitates The Walking Dead. You can tell the post-apocalyptic plague narrative to death and then on to undeath, but readers want something new that still captures the best thrills of the genre. The vampire genre has been reinvented intelligently about once per decade since Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire came out; we’re looking for the next reinvention of the zombie genre. Jonathan Maberry and the others I mentioned above are all indicative at what more could be done with this fledgling but growing genre.
If the Zombie Apocalypse were to occur right now, 5 things found in the room you are currently sitting will be your weapons – what are they?
Who needs five weapons? That’s a lot to carry, unless they’re all knives. I’d be grabbing up the longsword there by the bed and the lid of the laundry hamper, which is a gigantic woven-basket thing, and the lid is heavy and it is more than two feet across; it would make a shield and buy me a crucial few seconds. Forget the rest.
Very interesting choice Stant – I’m not sure I wouldn’t make do with all of the weapons I could get my hands on!
If you’re interested in reading more of Stant’s The Zombie Bible series, here is what to look for (click on the covers in order to be taken to Amazon):
Yerusalem City is dying as the king, blind to the starvation and plague ravaging his people, obsessively plans for a Babylonian invasion. Only Yirmiyahu the prophet knows the truth; only he can hear God weeping behind her veil in the Temple. Yirmiyahu knows the barricaded city gates will keep no one out—they will serve only to keep the zombies in. For among the unburied and neglected dead are restless souls who continue to roam the earth, feasting on the living trapped within the city walls.
Yirmiyahu’s pleas on behalf of the people only earn him the scorn of the king, who orders him tossed into a dry well. There he is trapped with his memories of the horrors he witnessed aboveground—and with the ravenous dead thrown into the well after him. Fearful that God has abandoned her city, Yirmiyahu wrestles with the hunger of the living and the hunger of the dead as he struggles to hold onto his last vestige of hope.
By turns harrowing and inspiring, the first book in Stant Litore’s gripping Zombie Bible series initiates a dark retelling of traditional biblical tales that will haunt readers long after the last page has been turned.
At his touch, each hungering corpse lies still at last. But to do this, Polycarp must first look into each one’s blind eyes and find the remnant of the soul caught within the shambling corpse. He must witness its secrets, its suffering — all that it loved and feared and regretted in its brief life. Only then can he absolve that soul and set it free. Only then will it cease to walk and feed.
But Polycarp has more than the dead to worry about: second-century Rome is bitterly divided. The patricians hope to appease their ancestors by lavishing food upon the tombs of the dead, even as the city’s poor starve in the streets. Blaming the rising of the dead on Polycarp and his followers, they seek his death, certain his rejection of the old ways has left the ancestors restless and starving for flesh.
To save the Eternal City, Polycarp will have to stand against the might and corruption of Roman justice and the terrible moaning of the ravenous dead in this captivating installment in Stant Litore’s Zombie Bible series.
Tune in next week as I interview Adam Millard, talented author along with Owner/Editor at Crowded Quarantine Publications…