Today I’m featuring another segment of my series ‘Chewing Braaiiinns with…’ and interviewing author Ray Wallace. Haven’t heard of Ray yet? Well, let’s get you all acquainted…
Ray Wallace hails from the Tampa, FL area and is the author of THE NAMELESS, THE HELL SEASON, the short story collection LETTING THE DEMONS OUT, and the One Way Out novels ESCAPE FROM ZOMBIE CITY and ESCAPE FROM ZOMBIE ISLAND. He also writes reviews for chizine.com.
Welcome Ray. So why Zombies? Is there anything specific that draws you to the genre?
Zombie fiction has it all. Monsters. Pandemic. The collapse of civilization. Questions of morality. Fight for survival. Pretty much every horror trope imaginable can be found within the confines of a zombie story. And that’s why it’s such an enduring scenario for dark fiction writers everywhere. For the sheer fun of it, I don’t know if anything beats writing a zombie story. And, judging by the volume of zombie tales out there, it would seem I’m far from alone in feeling this way.
Tell us about your latest project; published or otherwise.
Escape from Zombie Island just came out. It’s a follow-up to Escape from Zombie City which did well enough with Apex Publications that another One Way Out book seemed in order. It’s not a sequel though. Both books can be read independently of one another.
What makes your Zombies different, if anything?
Back when I was in grade school, we had a book club through which I purchased a number of Choose Your Own Adventure books. (I managed to hold onto them all these years later.) Fairly recently I had this idea: How much fun would it be to create a CYOA style book in which the reader finds him/herself in the middle of a zombie outbreak? And what if only one of all the possible endings resulted in the reader’s survival? Thus the One Way Out concept was born. I decided to put both the standard, slow-moving zombies along with the fast, 28 Days Later style infected maniacs in the books. So I think it’s more of the experience of the books I’ve written rather than the zombies themselves that helps set them apart from the hordes of other undead novels out there.
That’s a very interesting premise! What are your 5 favourite Zombie books that you didn’t write?
I am Legend by Richard Matheson. (Yeah, I know the creatures are more vampiric in nature but this is the prototypical zombie apocalypse book.) Both of the John Skipp and Craig Spector Books of the Dead. World War Z, of course. And a book that came out a while back which I believe does not get the attention it deserves in light of the recent explosion in zombie popularity: Philip Nutman’s Wet Work. Any zombie fans out there who haven’t read it really should.
I haven’t read Wet Work yet, but I did snag a copy of it a few months ago in a second-hand book store. Now I want to read! What are your top 3 favourite Zombie films?
I don’t want to just make a list of Romero films so I’ll pick one: Night of the Living Dead. I also love the semi-humorous Return of the Living Dead. And then I’ll have to go with Re-Animator. It’s got reanimated corpses in it so I think it counts as a zombie film. And it’s one of my all time favorite horror movies period.
Great choices! 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 in zombies has been there for quite some time now but there’s no doubt The Walking Dead has taken it to another level. I know people who’ve never read a zombie book in their lives—or cared all that much about watching zombie movies—who love the show. Somehow, TWD has managed to touch a nerve with the viewing public which is great. The more zombie fans, the better, I say.
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?
A chair. A lamp. A computer tower. A book. (Actually, all kinds of books.) And an electric guitar. I think the electric guitar would work best as a weapon. Hold it by the neck and give it a good swing and you could really do some damage with it.
I’m sorry to have to say this Ray, but I think you may be doomed…
On a brighter note, let’s take a sneak peek into Escape from Zombie Island…
While vacationing at an island resort, you watch as a small airplane crashes on the beach then bursts into flames. Trapped inside, the pilot tosses a metal canister leaking a black gas free of the plane. Those who breathe in the gas undergo a strange and terrifying transformation. A short while later, they die. Unfortunately, they don’t stay dead.
As night falls and a storm rolls in off the ocean, the living dead spread across the island like a plague. Before long nowhere is safe, including the hotel where you’ve been staying. All that matters now is finding a way off the island before you fall prey to the hungry dead. Or become one of them yourself.
Whether or not you live through the night depends solely on the choices you make. One bad decision could get you killed.
With any luck, you just might find the One Way Out and…
Escape from Zombie Island.
Now it’s time for you to choose your own adventure – you can choose to click on the cover and be taken away to purchase this book from Amazon, or you can decide to not add what sounds like a highly entertaining read to your life. The choice is yours…
I’d like to thank Ray for taking the time to answer my probing questions. If you’d like to keep tabs on Ray (and who wouldn’t want to), you can find him on Facebook or his website!