5 Questions with Scott Scherr

Today on Days with the Undead we’re featuring something that’s near and dear to our hearts. Days with the Undead started as an online experience, something for readers to enjoy each day as it was released. What you can purchase online and in stores is an expanded version of the story, the stuff I couldn’t write while on the crazy schedule I was keeping. But enough about me… I have the pleasure of featuring an interview with Scott Scherr, author of Don’t Feed the Dark which is an online serial novel featuring zombies. The story started on February 10th, 2014 and new episodes are posted every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. So now that we have all that out of the way, let’s get to know Scott a little bit before we begin…

Scott Scherr twoScott Scherr is an aspiring fiction author and poet that currently lives in Northeast Ohio with his wife and five children. His ultimate dream job is to be a screenwriter for “The Lost Chronicles” which he hopes J.J. Abrams will green light one day so that Scott’s favorite television show will return to answer all our mind-boggling questions. But until then… Zombies!

Scott works full time at the Perry Nuclear Power Plant and served in the United States Navy for 5 years.

To date, Scott has written and published four books either under his given name or his alter-ego name, John Ecko.

Scott has written numerous flash fiction and short stories as well as a variety of poems from traditional to free verse. He also lets John Ecko loose on occasion, who dabbles in experimental concrete poetry that can be found at his website, Eckovision.

While Scott is enjoying his journey into the zombie apocalypse, he is also working on a collaborative work with author, Michael J. Raymond, titled, Inn Situ:  A collection of stories centered around a strange bar in the middle of mysterious Sedona, Arizona.

Scott has won a handful of online poetry contests and has been featured on several websites. He has also been published in several anthology collections.

Welcome Scott! Now let’s get these questions…

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

The characteristics of the undead in Don’t Feed The Dark manifest themselves in various ways.  At the start, the reader will be introduced to four major types:

There are the classic re-animated dead (a.k.a. slow zombies) that most readers familiar with the genre will immediately recognize.

Next, are the yellow-eyed “Haters” that initially are the result of what survivors later refer to as “The Change”.  At the onset of the mysterious outbreak, men, women and even children are struck at random, turning into blood-craving maniacs with no apparent rhyme or reason as to who “changes” and who is spared.  This is part of the ongoing mystery of DFTD.

Another manifestation of the outbreak appears in the form of animal-human hybrids that are believed to be caused by infected animals preying on humans.  Some distinguishing characteristics are their hideous physical mutations, reddish eyes, and their nocturnal nature.  They are sometimes referred to as “Nightwalkers”.

Lastly, there’s what is sometimes referred to as the “Half-Deads”.  These are survivors that become infected by “Haters” that slowly devolve into monsters over time, retaining parts of their humanity while slowly being eaten away within by their zombie sides that desire to take over.  Half-Deads are generally considered madmen with a hunger for human flesh and their eyes are a metallic grey.  They are despised and hunted by the dead and the living alike because of their dual nature.

I intend to explore this ever-evolving zombie process over the span of the entire book series where much more will be revealed about the outbreak, and its effect on both the dead and the living.

Now, as far as standing a chance if the dead were to rise up, I believe if the initially “panic” doesn’t get me killed and I could keep my wits about me, then yes, I could survive… for at least a few days.  I do know how to shoot a gun and have a working knowledge of the fundamentals required for taking effective “head shots”.  That’s got to count for something…lol.

What was your first experience with zombie media? Was that experience what drew into writing the genre?

My first experience with zombies was the classic “Night of the Living Dead” (still one of the greatest zombie films, in my opinion).   There was just something about each of those characters in that film that struck a chord with me as far as personality types and how different people would react together if forced to fight off the dead, trapped in a secluded farm house.  I always thought that it was their differences that killed them long before the undead got inside.  And of course, let’s not forget the insistent dead that could care less about all those differences as they attacked with more united purpose to take out the living, than the living could muster to stay alive.  I discovered that a lot of my fascination with zombies had more to do with the survivors than the dead.  It makes for compelling drama and great late night “what-if” conversations.  This inevitably drew me into writing a zombie novel of my own.

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?

Okay, if the item to my left is the only weapon I can have during the zombie apocalypse then my answer is:  Someone I can trust (You didn’t say I couldn’t grab a person).  Two heads are better than one and a good companion is the most reliable and sharpest weapon you could have, in my opinion.  All the weapons in the world won’t matter much if you’re outnumbered in a tight space that you can’t flee from.  And honestly, no one can survive alone.  Who’d really want to?   And that goes along with my answer to the second part of the question.  My survival longevity would ultimately depend upon the people I’m with.

List your five favourite pieces of Zombie media:

The Walking Dead (TV show)

Night of the Living Dead (original movie)

World War Z (novel by Max Brooks)

Quarantine (movie)

The Signal (movie)

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?

People are Strange, by the Doors (Don’t ask me why… it just happens)

Thank you Scott! If you’d like to connect with Scott, you can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Don’t forget to check out Don’t Feed The Dark at: http://freezombienovel.wordpress.com/

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5 Questions with Stephen Kozeniewski

Today on Days with the Undead we have author Stephen Kozeniewski. For those of you who haven’t heard of Stephen, let’s take a moment to get to know him…

Kozeniewski photoStephen Kozeniewski lives with his wife and two cats in Pennsylvania, the birthplace of the modern zombie. He was born to the soothing strains of “Boogie With Stu” even though The Who are far superior to Zep, for reasons that he doesn’t even really want to get into right now.

During his time as a Field Artillery officer, he served for three years in Oklahoma and one in Iraq, where due to what he assumes was a clerical error, he was awarded the Bronze Star. The depiction of addiction in his fiction is strongly informed by the three years he spent working at a substance abuse clinic, an experience which also ensures that he employs strict moderation when enjoying the occasional highball of Old Crow.

He is also a classically trained linguist, which sounds much more impressive than saying his bachelor’s degree is in German.

Welcome Stephen! Now let’s get to the questions… Tell us about your zombies? If the dead were to rise, do you think you’d stand a chance against them?

Ah, good fortune for me!  The deadheads of BRAINEATER JONES are not only intelligent and generally on the wagon with their flesh-eating habits, but I would also have something they wanted: booze.  You see, Jones and his ilk need alcohol to keep their brains pickled and, thus, functioning.  Bonus luck for me: the dead are all consigned to the ghetto known as The Welcome Mat, so for the most part I wouldn’t even encounter them unless I went down there.  Wow, I may just have written the most human-friendly zombie novel ever!

What was your first experience with zombie media (movie, book, comic, etc)? Was that experience what drew you into writing the genre?

My first experience?  You know what that was?  ‘Round about ’97 or so my dad had Starz…or, no, I don’t think he did.  I think it was like a free Starz weekend or something.  Anyway, this batpoop movie came on and I was just, like, absorbed watching it.  Couldn’t look away.  And this being the ‘90s, before our TVs just told us what we were watching, the only way to find out the title would have been for me to switch over to the TV Guide channel and wait for the scroll, but I couldn’t without missing a big chunk of the movie because it was on a premium channel and there were no commercials.  Anyway, I stepped into this zombie movie about halfway through, so I missed the beginning, but I definitely caught the ending where the main character suddenly was revealed to be the actual mute, and his mute gravedigger friend was revealed to actually be the main character and I was like, “What?”  And that movie’s name was…”Cemetery Man.”  And now you know the rest of the story.

Now it’s time for the 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?

A jar of Vaseline?  (Sorry, the computer I’m writing this on also contains the internet.)  Hmm, well, maybe I could slick up the ground a little bit and maybe one or two of them would trip.  Overall chances of survival: .072%.

Yeah… I think you’re SoL! List your five favourite pieces of Zombie media:

All right, then, let’s go for the trifecta (or pentafecta in this case): “Dead Alive,” THE RISING, The Walking Dead, Season 1 only of The Walking Dead, and…All Flesh Must Be Eaten.  Splamf!  Nailed all five mediums.  (Sorry, I’ve never listened to a podcast.)

You technically didn’t need to list one in each category… But it’s good that you did! 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?

Oh, this just happened to me!  That cup-banging song by that girl from Up in the Air.

Thank you Stephen for taking the time to answer my questions!

If you’d like to connect with Stephen you can find him on Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, his website and his blog.

Now let’s take a quick look at Braineater Jones… Don’t forget to click on the cover to be taken to Amazon!

BRAINEATER JONES coverBraineater Jones wakes up face down in a swimming pool with no memory of his former life, how he died, or why he’s now a zombie. With a smart-aleck severed head as a partner, Jones descends into the undead ghetto to solve his own murder.

But Jones’s investigation is complicated by his crippling addiction to human flesh. Like all walking corpses, he discovers that only a stiff drink can soothe his cravings. Unfortunately, finding liquor during Prohibition is costly and dangerous. From his Mason jar, the cantankerous Old Man rules the only speakeasy in the city that caters to the postmortem crowd.

As the booze, blood, and clues coagulate, Jones gets closer to discovering the identity of his killer and the secrets behind the city’s stranglehold on liquid spirits. Death couldn’t stop him, but if the liquor dries up, the entire city will be plunged into an orgy of cannibalism.

Cracking this case is a tall order. Braineater Jones won’t get out alive, but if he plays his cards right, he might manage to salvage the last scraps of his humanity.

AtoZ2014: I Survived!

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2014]

The 2014 A to Z Challenge was an awesome success in my books! I wrote approximately 12,500 words on a single story line prompted by random words and I do think the plot makes sense! I had plans to feature the story as a whole once the challenge was over, but I think it’s too large for me to do it. So if you’re interested in reading, here are all of the links:

Ashes

Bus Stop

Conference

Day

End

Forest

Ginger

Harp

Ink

Junk

Kennel

Lift

Menu

Nun

Owl

Playground

Quarry

Razor

Square

Tunnel

Under

Vinegar

Wait

Xenophobia

Yellow

Zipper

So what’s going to happen with Carmen and Doug? Well with 12,500 words, I do believe I’m on my way to a novella or a novel 🙂 Stay tuned for more details!