5 Questions with Mike Kloran

Today I have the wonderful opportunity to interview author Mike Kloran. Let’s take a few moments and get to know him…

zombieMikeMy name is Mike Kloran and I’m an Educational Designer and teacher living in Japan. Most of my design work focusses on cute flashcards and worksheets for teaching English and helping people master languages. It’s a lot of work but also a lot of fun. Doing that sort of work is really satisfying but it’s important to have a little variety in my work and stay playful.

In this case I decided to take my love of zombies and turn it into this fun little comic and now this blog. Making the comic is a real experiment for me. I’ve made comics before and certainly drawn lots of zombies, but I wanted the look and feel of the comic to be a bit of a break from the other things I’ve made.

It’s also giving me a chance to play around with and learn Photoshop a bit. I’m not really a Photoshop fan and generally work in traditional media. So if you think my Photoshop skills are crap, you’re probably right, but lighten up. It’s a learning experience after all.

Welcome Mike, tell us about your zombies? If the dead were to rise, do you think you’d stand a chance against them?

My vision of zombies is one of ravenous hunger. They will eat anything, cats, dogs, rats, plants, bugs, food, and people and possibly each other. They are like a plague. Indiscriminate and unyielding. They simply move and eat. Freshly turned zombies are about as strong as the people they were in life and older ones start to break down. When I think about them in a realistic sense they terrify me. We like to think we could reason with an attacker and make them see that we aren’t so bad or they don’t want to kill us. But these things could never possibly be reasoned with. They would never be dissuaded or tempted or biased.

The trick is that my own vision of what they’re like is way too brutal for children’s literature. So when writing for kids, I make the zombies more of a bugaboo or a boogieman. It’s not that the zombie is actually in the room. It’s that the kids think the zombie is around the corner or hiding under the bed or outside in the bushes. Then their own reaction to their perception of the monster plays out sort of comedically. And since I write for kids, I think we end up with a bit of a surprise happy ending.

That’s an interesting dichotomy. What was your first experience with zombie media? Was that experience was drew into writing the genre?

I was terrified as a kid by a TV ad for the Return of the Living Dead. I remember it very vividly giving me nightmares. The one thing I always remembered was Tarman in the basement looking up the stairs saying “More brains!” It was that shambling, wet horror that stalked my nightmares for years.

It wasn’t until high school that I finally saw the movie and was thrilled with it. That always sort of stuck in the back of my mind and I’ve always had a love of horror comedies like Evil Dead and Dead Alive. That definitely had a big effect on my desire to actually tell zombie stories.

Pop Quiz: The item to your left is your only weapon during the Zombie Apocalypse. What is it and what do you think are your chances at survival?

My iPhone 5 with its solar charger. I’ve got it loaded up with survival books and other little tidbits on how to get by. I’d like to think that an AK-47 or a bat with a nail in it would get me through. But those things run out on you. One of the real threats in that situation would be trying to find drinkable water or food or keeping warm if it’s winter. You can have a great crossbow and loads of guns but if you can’t keep warm or get water you’ll be dead in a few days. What really gets people through is their brains.

List your five favourite pieces of Zombie media.

There’s SO much zombie media out there now it’s amazing. Fortunately it’s pretty easy to spot the good stuff. As far as movies, Evil Dead 2 is the king. Or rather, Bruce Campbell is the king (and hail to the king baby.) I could never get tired of that movie. It’s not strictly a zombie movie per se but it’s kind of perfect.

The original Biohazard (Resident Evil) game is one of my favorites. That’s partly because of the awesome experience I had playing it for the first time. It’s a bit of a relic compared to games today but at the time it was a real masterpiece and had a huge impact on the industry.

I think Frank Frazetta did some amazing black and white drawings of zombies over the years that still hold my attention. There’s so much wonderful volume and detail in his line drawings I could just look at them forever.

I’m a big fan of the zombie runs that seem to be getting so popular all over America. I love the whole obstacle course race idea anyway, like Tough Mudder. Add some zombies in there chasing people and holy hell! That looks fun!

If I had to pick one other thing I guess it would probably be the makeup effects on the Walking Dead. I think they’re the main reason I’m still watching the show.

Awesome choices! Now we all know that we sometimes have bad luck. Keeping that in mind, what song do you think would get stuck in your head, playing over and over again on an incessant loop?

The only thing worse than the undead walking the earth, that Spice Girls Song where they go, Tell me watch want whatcha really really want I wanna I wanna I wanna. Kill me now.

Thank you Mike for taking the time to answer my questions. If you’d like to connect with Mike, you can find him on a few different sites: www.kloran.com, www.myenglishimages.com and http://survivingthedead.wordpress.com

Now let’s take a look at Giler and Saru’s Zombies

ZombiesThis kids’ book is the story of Giler and Saru, a cat and monkey team and their unlikely run-in with some zombies.

One Halloween night while reading spooky stories, Giler and Saru hear a strange noise. Saru is sure it must be zombies, but Giler’s never even heard of them before. He quickly gets a crash course in what zombies are and how to be prepared in case they attack.

Best read in a funny voice this e-book is filled with loads of gross, stinky monsters and two good friends willing to do anything to make it to the dawn.

You can download Giler and Saru’s Zombies on iTunes.

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