This June I’m taking part in the Summer of Zombie Blog tour with eight other authors who also write in the genre. As a special treat for all of your Zombie lovers out there, I’ll be featuring all of the authors in a special edition of Chewing Braaiiinns! First up is Mark Tufo, so let’s take a moment to get you all acquainted…
Hi my name is Mark Tufo and this is my small bio slash zombie homage. First off trying to boil your life down to a few paragraphs is like trying to get out of the house with a newborn in under 5 minutes. Those of you with kids will understand the reference. Speaking of which I have three, thankfully they are mostly grown at this point which has allowed me to pursue a writing career. I grew up a blue collar man in a blue collar family, after a stint in the Marines and then the more dangerous Post Office, I decided to educate myself and get one of those cushy white collar jobs. Well I got a few, damned thing was though I couldn’t hold on to them. Kept getting laid off. It was during these down times that I began to write, it was a way to cope with the stress of having a family that was becoming more and more difficult to support.
My wife and I put out the first Zombie Fallout book in February of 09, there was huge fan-fare, ticker tape parades and maybe even some hyperventilating from the one fan that bought the book that month. Didn’t matter much that wasn’t why I had written it in the first place. I wrote a zombie book because I’ve always been fascinated with the genre. Ever since I was 7 years old and my cousin who was babysitting thought watching Night of the Living Dead would be a good way to while away the time. I’d never been so scared and enthralled at the same time in my entire life. I devoured all things zombies, movies, books, comics. Didn’t matter much. And then during one of my lay-off periods, my wife dared me to write one. (Mostly so I’d leave her alone) And I haven’t looked back.
The Zombie Fallout series is 6 novels and 1 novella long, with Zombie Fallout 7 due in October. I have the Timothy series which is written through the eyes of a zombie (not for the faint of heart – and don’t eat and read it – you’ve been warned). And there is also the continuing saga of The Book of Riley, a zombie tale told through the eyes of Riley an American Bulldog. I don’t always write about the quasi-dead, but they’re never far from my brain! (Horrible pun but fitting – Thank you for taking a few moments to learn a little about me)
Why Zombies? Is there anything specific that draws you to the genre?
Why zombies you ask, because I love the smelly bastards that’s why! Since the age of seven when I had a misguided babysitting cousin think that watching Night of the Living Dead was a good way to while away the time, I’ve been enthralled. Up to that point in my life I’d never been so friggen scared and I loved it. Sure I didn’t sleep for two weeks but other than the delirium I was right as rain.
Tell us about your latest project; published or otherwise.
My latest published project is Tim 2 a psychotic clown; it is the continuation of a zombie tale through the eyes of a zombie. Not for the faint of heart, put it this way I’d thought about selling a limited edition in its own barf bag! I have just sent The Book of Riley Part 3 off to my editor the esteemed TW Brown. It continues the saga of Riley, an American Bulldog during a zombie-apocalypse.
I love the idea of such a different point of view! What makes your Zombies different, if anything?
I don’t know if my zombies are all that much different than anyone else’s. I think it is my characters that folks can identify with. For the most part they are the every man and woman that make up the majority of our society. They have their quirks and are just as flawed as the rest of us. Even the characters that think they are Rambo rarely live up to the hype.
Is there a Zombie novel that has influenced you more than any other? If so, what is it and why?
I don’t want to mention the particular author (I promise it is no one on this tour). I had just finished reading the book and I thoroughly enjoyed it, it just kind of left me wanting more. So I half-joked with my wife that I thought I could do better. This was before I was writing and she said then ‘do it.’ Now I’m not saying I wrote a better book, I’m just saying I got to write my story the way I wanted to see it played out.
What are your top 3 favourite Zombie films?
Okay haters can hate now but I love Resident Evil. Obviously Night of the Living Dead and I think Shaun of the Dead is brilliant. Although narrowing it down to 3 is like saying what are your three favorite books. It’s just about an impossible task.
I loved Resident Evil! 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 there has always been a sub-genre culture of us zombie lovers, it ebbs and flows but if you love zombies now you’ll love zombies later that’s just the way it is. TWD had definitely brought us to the fore, folks that would normally turn their nose up to us are embracing all things zombies right now and we have the added benefit of not sparkling.
As we all know, music and slaying the Undead go hand in hand. Given these headings, what would be your Soundtrack to the Zombie Apocalpyse?
1. Overall theme for the Apocalypse: Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin
2. What plays when I kill my first zombie: Hells’ Bells – AC-DC
3. What plays when you’re chased by the horde: Take it on the Run – REO Speedwagon
4. When you have to kill a loved one: Angel – Sarah McLachlan
5. When you find a group of survivors: Paranoid – Black Sabbath
6. Meeting a new love interest: Life is Sweet – Natalie Merchant
7. Making a Final Stand: Fire it Up – Black Label Society
8. You’ve survived it all: Cheers – Rihanna
9. Then you discover a bite mark: Another One Bites the Dust – Queen
10. End Credits: Holocene – Bon Iver
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?
This works well for me, my safe is in my office. Let’s start with my AR-15, we’ll move next to my shotgun, which I’ll strap to my back, in my shoulder holster I’ll place my .357 magnum, in my hip holster I’ll put my 9mm. And if my pants will stay on, I’ll put my .22 pistol around my waistband. However as a foot note, I am fairly convinced that the z-poc will start while I’m in Target with nothing more than towels that are on sale to defend myself with.
Well Mark, you may be the most prepared person I have interviewed to date! And it’s true that we never know where we will be when it happens until it happens.
So let’s take a quick look at Mark’s newest release Tim 2…
Timothy lived a life only a psychopathic sociopath could enjoy and understand. When he was bitten on the first day of the zombie-apocalypse he turned the tides on a single-minded virus he affectionately called Hugh. Together they terrorized a city before seemingly meeting their untimely demise. Nobody could have foreseen his resurrection. Tim’s close call with death has done nothing to temper his missions in life, to live, to eat and to rule the world.
Tim is back and he’s an asshole.
If you want to keep up on all of the action during the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour, consider joining the Facebook event page here!