Chewing Braaiiinns with… Jack Wallen

As Coffin Hop draws to a close, the excitement of a week chock full of horror has made me draw a singular conclusion.  We should have Coffin Hop all the time! If you’ve not been around to all of the different sites participating, make sure to check them out here. But enough about that…

Joining me today is Jack Wallen, author extraordinaire. Before we delve into the meat and bones of this interview, let’s find out a little more about Jack.

Jack Wallen is the new name in horror. His works span genres and weave evil, conspiracy, and fear into nightmarish worlds.

Jack has been given the title “Zombie King” by his readers and fans. He didn’t garner that title by dining on the brains of helpless victims. It was only after writing until his fingers and mind were nothing but meat for the beasts that he became a master of the zombie genre. During that haunted hay ride Jack produced works of fiction enjoyable by not just zombie fans, but anyone daring to take a peek into what might possibly become of humanity.

So Jack, why Zombies? Is there anything specific that draws you to the genre?

Nom! In what other genre does a single, one-syllable word speak so much? I kid! I have been a fan of horror since I was a child. I knew, eventually, that I was going to wind up writing horror. I wasn’t sure which genre until I woke up one morning with a single question on my mind — “What would it be like to turn into a zombie?” The only way I could answer that question was by writing a book. And thus was born I Zombie I.

Zombies also serve as the perfect metaphor for mankind. The more we evolve, the more we devolve. Just walk through the average big business and you will see proof in the undead pudding. Zombies exist and they are everywhere.  Life was not meant to be lived with that glassy-eyed, undead look. Life was meant to be lived!

Besides that, zombies are one of the few horror hold-outs that haven’t been made sparkly or hunky.  Hopefully that will never happen. Until it does, zombies

Tell us about your latest project; published or otherwise.

Believe it or not, my current work in progress is not a zombie novel! I am currently at the mid-point of writing a one-off horror novel (I usually only do series) called Hell’s Muse.

The idea for this book was simple: A washed up horror writer begins a new book to revitalize his career. Unknown to the writer, everything he writes is paralleled in reality. My original idea was that this writer was a bitter, arrogant, angry misogynist who really only cares that his empty bank account is once again filled to overflowing as it once was.

That, in and of itself, was a problem. A book with a main character no one would like is destined to fail. In order to save this book, I had to toss down the gauntlet of challenge once again — this time for real. What developed has me incredibly excited. Dead Muse is a book within a book within a book — who’s foundation (or the book within the book within the book) is set in Hell. Pushed forward by a shadowy figure, Bronson Coulter begins to write his swan song about “The Nameless”, hell-bent on perching his ass on the molten throne of Hell. As his idea continues to get shot down by agents and publishers, the writing becomes ever-more painful and desperate. The counterpoint to that is Bob (the main character) who is writing the book starring Bronson Coulter that is beloved by his agent (who thinks the book will be his “Carrie”).

From there, things get ugly. People die, demons parish… you get the idea.

Sounds fascinating! I’ll keep my eyes peeled for it. What makes your Zombies different, if anything Jack?

The first thing that makes them different is that, from the very first book, you understand why zombies crave the brains of the living. I went out of my way to explain as much as I could.

By the time the fourth book rolls around, I have created four different types of zombies: Moaners, Screamers, Boners, and Subject 001 (You’ll have to read Lie Zombie Lie to find out more).

What are your 5 favourite Zombie books that you didn’t write?

Zombie Survival Guide – Max Brooks

Day By Day Armageddon – J. L. Bourne

Drop Dead Gorgeous – Wayne Simmons

The Oblivian Society – Marcus Alexander

Pontypool Changes Everything – Tony Burgess

Shut the front door! I have finally found another person and an author at that) who has read Burgess’ Pontypool Changes Everything – it’s a freaking awesome book and if you’ve yet to read it, do it now. Right now. Interesting side note, I live near and have been to Pontypool (yes it is a real place) many times. Now I’m getting excited – tell me, what are your top 3 favourite Zombie films?

Doomsday

Shaun of the Dead

Resident Evil

Dawn of the Dead

Dead Alive

Many people don’t consider Doomsday to be in the Zombie genre, but I always did. Is it a stretch, technically, but I think it still fits. Glad someone else considers it to be as well. 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?

I think the real interest started with the nationwide Zombie Walk. This and the various counter-cultures that have adopted the zombie as their calling card monster have really helped the genre dig its way out of the depths of the worm-riddled dirt.

Pop Quiz: 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?

Bare metal pole

Phillips-head screwdriver

Ball point pen

PC Battery backup (apocalyptic bola!)

Bad ass receptionist

Perhaps you shall survive Mr. Wallen… perhaps. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me today. If you wish to connect with Jack (why wouldn’t you?), you can find him on his Website, on Twitter, or on Facebook. Now for a sneak peek into Jack’s latest work, Screampark…

If you can scream, you’re still alive!

Screampark – one of the top haunts in the country, has a past that threatens to rip the fabric of the present apart. Turn of the century serial killer, Vinny “The Vicious” Manchetti, stripped innocent victims of their lives and souls for sport. Now he and some of his victims are back to wage a war on the grounds of Screampark.

A group of misfits and castaways, lead by nerd-turned hipster Chris Davis, step in to save the park and wind up battling for their own lives.

If you’re interested in picking up a copy, all you need to do is click on the cover and you’ll be whisked away to Amazon! Check out all of Jack’s works by visiting his Amazon Author Page.

Don’t forget to tune in next week when I’m joined by Suzanne Robb, fellow Canadian and Zombie Author!

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