Darlings of Decay: Chewing Braaiiinns with… Chantal Boudreau

Recently I joined 32 other women who wrote in the Zombie genre and we released a fantastic compendium of undead treats for lovers of the genre! It’s called Darlings of Decay and the best news is that it’s a FREE download on Amazon! What a great way to try samples of some of the greats writing in the genre! Click on the cover and it will take you straight to Amazon.

Today I welcome fellow Darling of Decay Chantal Boudreau and ask her a few Zombie related questions. But before we do, let’s get everyone a little more acquainted…

ChantalBoudreau_blogpic-headshotAside from being a long-time fan of the zombie genre via books, movies and now TV, Chantal Boudreau began her existence as a published author with a zombie short story named “Palliative” in an anthology called “Vampires, Zombies and Ghosts – Oh My!” published by Notreebooks. This was followed by the publication of several other zombie shorts: “Just Another Day,” “Waking the Dead,” “Escarg-0,” and “Life and Undeath on the Chain gang” in the May December Publications anthologies “First Time Dead, Volume 1”, “Hell Hath No Fury,” (all women writers) “Zero” and “Zombie Lockdown” as well as “What a Man’s Gotta Do” in the anthology “Undead Tales” from Rymfire Books. She also has a stand-alone zombie digital novella published: “Shear Terror.” She completed extensive research for her blog series “Chantelly’s Field Guide to Zombies” and published a non-fiction article on Zomedy – the dark humour in zombie fiction, in Zombie Writing from Rymfire Books. She hopes to find a publisher for Sleep Escapes Us, a zombie novel set in Ancient Thrace involving the myths surrounding the death god, Zalmoxis.

Chantal, an accountant/author/illustrator, lives in Nova Scotia, Canada.  A Horror Writers Association member, she writes horror and fantasy, with several non-zombie short stories published to date as well.  Fervor, her debut dystopian novel, was released March 2011 followed by sequels, Elevation, Transcendence and Providence, and two novels in her Masters & Renegades fantasy series.

Welcome Chantal. So tell me: why Zombies? Is there anything specific that draws you to the genre?

I’ve been a horror fan in general since my pre-teens and one of my first exposures to horror films…I think I was thirteen at the time… was the original Dawn of the Dead.  I loved it.  Zombies stuck with me after that as one my favourite parts of the genre.

Tell us about your latest project.

Dead North_CoverMy latest project has nothing to do with zombies, actually.  It’s Endeavor, the fifth book in my Fervor dystopian series.  The last zombie short I wrote, Dead Drift, is scheduled for release in October as part of a Canadian anthology, Dead North.  It is already available for pre-order online (see photo and link).

What makes your Zombies different, if anything?

Well, for one, I don’t have a standardized zombie type.  I play with elements of the genre and origin stories and I love to have science or legend to back these stories up.  I’ve written about runners, shamblers, modern infection and supernatural-sourced zombies that come from a range of initiators from parasite-infested snails to GMO coffee beans to divine curses.  I also like to include an element of humour, be it ever so slight.

Has there been a Zombie novel or short story that has inspired you to write in the genre? If so, tell us about it and why it inspired you. 

I know this may sound strange, but Pet Sematary by Stephen King was probably the first zombie novel I read and one of my favourites.  I think I liked it because it wasn’t your run-of-the mill zombie apocalypse tale, and had its basis in Native American legend

What is your all-time favourite Zombie book that you didn’t write?

I really like TW Brown’s Zomblog.  His Dead series is good too, but I particularly enjoyed the character development in Zomblog and some very unexpected twists in the book.

Do you feel that gender plays a part in getting noticed in the genre? If so, why do you think readers are more comfortable reading Zombie works written by men?

I try not to concentrate on the fact that gender plays a role, even if it does.  But the truth is, I’ve been in more than one zombie anthology dominated by male writers.  I think the zombie sub-genre tends to involve dehumanizing people and women are seen by society as nurturers.  The two concepts tend to conflict, so the idea of female zombie writers makes some people uncomfortable.

Have you ever thought about using a male pseudonym to sell more books?

Absolutely not.  I was raised to be proud of the fact that I’m a woman and I’m not about to let outside influences devalue that.  Besides, the only way we’re going to make headway in the genre and gain more acceptance is by promoting the fact we are female zombie writers.

Characters or gore – what do you spend more time writing?

Characters – definitely.  But I don’t skimp on the gore in scenes I feel I need it.  I have a “tide of gore” scene in my yet to be published cross-genre zombie alternative history novel set in ancient Thrace, Sleep Escapes Us, that is probably one of the goriest scenes I’ve ever written.

What are your top 3 favourite Zombie films? 

That one’s really tough.  There are probably at least 10 or 11 I’d rank as my favourites without having seen the latest ones out.  If I had to label them in three categories, I’d say my favourite classic Romero-style is Dawn of the Dead, I’d call a tie for infection/runner movies between 28 Days Later and I Am Legend and a tie for zomedies between Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead.  But there are many others I’d rank up there, like my favourite indie Canadian zombie flicks like Pontypool and Fido. They have a quirkiness and originality you won’t find in the typical genre movies.

One of my all-time favourite Zombie films is Pontypool so I’m glad to see it made another Canadian’s list! 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 it has moved the genre out of niche audiences and into mainstream ones, sure.  But there’s also a socio-psychological element to the current genre popularity.  Its popularity tends to rise with public discord and there’s a lot of turmoil and flux out there right now.  I think it goes with the heightened level of social anxiety.  People draw comfort in the idea of fighting for survival against all odds – and winning – if the world went to pot.

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?

LOL – Nothing in here is all that dangerous.  I’d have to resort to bashing it in the head with my coffee mug, DVD player, or laptop or stabbing it in the eye with the scissors or a piece of broken picture frame glass.

Well Chantal, they say the necessity is the mother of invention but I don’t think you stand a chance against the zombies in this case…

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions Chantal. If you would like to stalk Chantal on the internet, here are a few good places to start: her website, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, Scribd and Goodreads.

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Chewing Braaiiinns with… Sharon Stevenson

Today I welcome Sharon Stevenson, author of the newly released Raised: Part One. Let’s take a moment to introduce Sharon to the gang here at Days with the Undead…

SharonStevensonSharon Stevenson is the twisted mind behind The Gallows Novels and the brand new After Death Series. If you want to know a bit about her, here it is: Sharon spends too much time indoors and probably watches too many horror films. Some of her favourite things are; Alone time, people who know when to shut up, having a drink, eating pizza (usually after having too much drink the night before), reading books, adult swim cartoons, bad horror and sci-fi movies, proper good TV shows like Dexter & The Walking Dead, and last but not least having a laugh with her hilarious other half – which would usually include some of the above

Welcome Sharon. So tell us: why Zombies? Is there anything specific that draws you to the genre?

I’ve always loved horror movies and some of my favourites include zombies but more recently I’ve been very impressed with the quality of zombie offerings in film and TV; The Walking Dead and Zombieland are particularly good examples and I believe they have contributed massively to the rise in popularity of these undead beings.  The influx of zombies into popular culture has been much more noticeable in recent years.  It started me thinking what kind of zombie book I would want to write.  As it turns out, I developed two ideas; one for a classic zombie horror mashed up with a serial killer story which I’m still working on right now, the other an urban fantasy series with a dark comedy element for which the first part is out now.

‘Raised: Part One’ is the first in an Urban Fantasy series about a magically animated dead guy and his efforts to escape his inevitable enslavement.

What makes your Zombies different, if anything?

Hmm, let me see: they are magically reanimated, and don’t decompose or eat brains!

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

  1. Zombie Attack! Rise of the Horde by Devan Sagliani
  2. The Rising Dead by Devan Sagliani (Yes, he’s that good and he’s got a third zombie book coming out next month I cannot wait to get my hands on)
  3. Pet Cemetery by Stephen King
  4. I, Zombie by Hugh Howey
  5. Dead Bastards by Jenny Thomson

What are your top 3 favourite Zombie films?

1. Planet Terror

2. Dead Heat

3. Zombieland

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?

There has always been a fan base but I believe it has expanded massively thanks to quality offerings like The Walking Dead being widely available for public consumption.  Zombies were very much B-movie monsters in the past and those movies only appealed to certain people, who are horror fans like me.  The Walking Dead has definitely helped increase the popularity of the zombie genre.  There are people I know who watch it religiously and these are the same people who would never sit through a B-movie.

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?

  1. Blow torch!  It’s just lucky the husband was on weed-killing duty earlier.
  2. Empty cider bottle.  Good for one smash!
  3. Heavy lamp.  Might be heavy enough to bash some zombie brains in.
  4. High heels.  Time to ruin a perfectly good pair of heels getting stabby!
  5. The TV?  I think I’d rather give up my brains…

You kill weeds with a blow torch?? That’s bad-ass and I now want you on my survival team!

Now let’s take a look at Raised: Part One

RAISED (1)In a world where magic crashed to earth in a rusty spaceship full of starving blood suckers, it’s not easy being a reanimated dead guy. Take Pete’s undead word for it…

Pete has been murdered by a mentally unhinged and suicidal one night stand. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he’s been reanimated for reasons unknown by… persons unknown. This makes him an Animate without an owner, the human equivalent of a stray dog.

Afraid of who his owner may be and what they have planned for his undead ass, Pete does the only thing he can; he goes on the run. The King’s Guard are Scotland’s primary recruiters for Animates so Pete knows he has to leave Edinburgh to escape a fate that terrifies him.

The portal to Las Vegas could be his only hope or his biggest mistake…

Can Pete escape enslavement when it’s what he’s been raised for?

Warning: This book contains strong and frequent adult language and sexual references.

Clicking on the cover will take you to Amazon!

Thank you Sharon for taking the time to answer my questions. If you would like to connect with Sharon, you can find her on her website or Twitter.

Chewing Braaiiinns with… Greg McCabe

Today I have the distinct pleasure of welcoming Greg McCabe. Greg is the author of the newly released The Undying Love and he’s currently touring the interwebs hocking his own brand of zombie-related charm. Let’s take a quick moment and get everyone acquainted…

GregMcCabeGreg McCabe is a proud Texan. He was born and raised in Midland, Texas, received a degree in Speech Communication from Texas A&M University, and currently resides in the Lone Star State. He enjoys spending time with his wife, Mandy, his daughter, Annabelle, and his dog, Walter, as well as traveling, sports, movies, reading, and writing. He enjoys all genres of fiction, but seems to gravitate towards horror and science fiction. The Undying Love is Greg’s first book.

Welcome Greg. So tell me: why Zombies? Is there anything specific that draws you to the genre?

As far as end-of-the-world scenarios go, I think flesh-eating cannibals is the most intriguing. I also like how zombies are one of the few villains that you absolutely cannot reason with. And the very idea of walking corpses is mind blowing enough, let alone all the moral and ethical questions associated with handling undead friends or family members. There’s also all the survivalist and post-apocalyptic scenarios involved with zombies. I also enjoy all the creative makeshift weapons used for zombie killing, such as modified crossbows, bats with nails in them, and even a weed whacker with knives instead of twine. But usually, when people ask me: Why zombies? My answer is: Because they’re awesome.

Tell us about your latest project.

I recently released The Undying Love with Sirens Call Publications. It’s about a young couple fighting for survival after their wedding is crashed by zombies.

What makes your Zombies different, if anything?

They are your typical viral-based undead zombie. My book features both fast and slow zombies in that right after they’re bitten they are able to move with similar gusto to before they were infected, then eventually turn slow as decomposition and what not starts to take place. That just seemed to make the most sense to me.

That’s an interest concept Greg, and one that has found its way into my own writing. What are your 3 favourite Zombie books you didn’t write?

In no particular order: World War Z by Max Brooks, Dead City by Joe McKinney, and Cell by Stephen King. However, I have a number of zombie books in my ‘to read’ pile that could shake up that list.

What are your top 5 favourite Zombie films?

In order, with comments:

Night of the Living Dead – George A. Romero’s ground breaking classic gave us the mold for the modern zombie that we all know and love today.

Pontypool – This low-budget, under-the-radar zombie flick was surprisingly good and featured one of the most creative ways I’ve ever seen of spreading the zombie plague.

Zombieland – A highly-effective, big-budget, blockbuster Zom Com with famous movie stars and one of the best cameos ever. What’s not to like?

World War Z – Without a doubt the biggest zombie movie ever made. Who would have thought that a zombie flick would be Brad Pitt’s highest grossing film to date?

Tie: 28 Days Later/Dawn of the Dead (2004) – I saw both of these movies around the same time and they’re the reason I got “really into” zombies. They were both well done and both featured fast zombies, which I thought were particularly terrifying.

Pontypool almost tops my list as well. It’s set in an actual town not far from where I live and the author truly kept the feel of the setting throughout the book (and movie to a degree). If you haven’t read the book, I suggest giving it a read. 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 genre’s popularity exploded around ten years ago and that The Walking Dead is just a part of the giant tidal wave of zombie entertainment that has come out over the last decade.

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?

I don’t think I could hold five things and be a productive zombie slayer. It would probably be a bludgeoning weapon like this candlestick next to our television:

candle

You may well survive Greg, but I don’t like your chances… You were a little too shady about what you’ve got in the room around you and that spells disaster for most!

Now let’s take a quick look into The Undying Love

Final Front worksFor Diane and Jackson, life is just about perfect. They’re healthy, happy, and madly in love with one another. Unknown to them, a virus is sweeping across the globe that instantly kills the infected and turns their corpses into mindless, murdering cannibals. In short: zombies have taken over the planet.

Diane and Jackson find out about the epidemic the hard way when their wedding is crashed by friends and family who have succumbed to the virus. Now, fighting for survival, they’re faced with unthinkable decisions.

Follow their story across Southeast Texas as they meet unforgettable characters and face challenges that will put their love, and lives to the ultimate test.

If you’d like to pick up a copy, you can find it online at any of these places!

Amazon: US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, Brazil, India, Mexico

CreateSpace & Smashwords

Chewing Braaiiinns with… Sean Munger

Today on Days with the Undead we feature an interview with Sean Munger, author of Zombies of Byzantium. For those of you unfamiliar with Sean, let’s take a moment to get everyone better acquainted…

newportrait1Sean Munger is a longtime Oregonian, oenophile and lover of history. A former attorney, he is now a teacher and student of U.S. history, working toward a Ph.D. He has also written extensively on heavy metal and the worldwide metal music scene and briefly wrote for a regionally-produced cable TV horror series.

Zombies of Byzantium is Sean’s first book for Samhain Horror and reflects his longtime interest in medieval history. He has previously written science fiction and historical fiction. Sean’s second book for Samhain Horror, The Zombie Rebellion, due out in 2014, brings him back to his professional specialty of Early American history.

Welcome Sean. So tell us: why Zombies? Is there anything specific that draws you to the genre?

With the exception of a short story, I had never actually written horror before I began writing Zombies of Byzantium. When I got the idea for it I was thinking more in terms of the historical setting—“How could I make an interesting, exciting book set in the Byzantine Empire?”—and the idea of zombies made sense for a number of reasons. First, it’s usually associated with modern horror. Until recently you haven’t seen a lot of “historical” zombie stories, so I thought Zombies of Byzantium would be something relatively new. Second, the nature of the horror in a zombie story has great possibilities to draw out interesting elements. The best zombie stories focus not on the conflict between humans and zombies, but the way humans deal with the threat. And finally, zombies are a lot of fun! It was really great trying to do something more “modern” but in a very old setting.

Tell us about your latest project.

I’ve got several irons in the fire. My second zombie novel, The Zombie Rebellion, will be released by Samhain Publishing in May 2014. That’s also a historical zombie book, set during the Whiskey Rebellion, which was a little-known uprising that occurred in the backwoods of Pennsylvania in 1794. Right now, totally unrelated to zombies or horror, I have a serial running on the website JukePop Serials. It’s called The Armored Satchel and it’s a spy thriller set during World War II. (Link: https://www.jukepopserials.com/home/read/501) Finally, I am working on a new horror novel, called Doppelgänger. It’s not about zombies, but instead a modern horror twist on the old Victorian haunted house story. It should be interesting.

What makes your Zombies different, if anything?

I purposely made the zombies in Zombies of Byzantium quite traditional. They’re “slow” zombies, mindless brutes, terrifying more in numbers and their inexorable nature than their individual abilities. What’s different, I think, is how the human characters react to them. If a zombie outbreak occurred in the modern world, we would give a lot of thought to understanding the cause—“Why is this happening, and how do we stop it?” In medieval Byzantium, in the 8th century A.D., they wouldn’t think that way. Byzantines were very mystical, religious people. Something like a zombie outbreak they would simply assume is a punishment from God, and they wouldn’t think much more about the cause. Therefore, the characters in Zombies of Byzantium are more focused on wiping out the threat and worrying about the cause—and the theological implications—later.

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

My favourite is the technical “Bible” I used while writing Zombies of Byzantium, which is Max Brooks’s The Zombie Survival Guide. It scarcely left my desk during the entire time I was writing the book. Of course I love Brooks’s World War Z as well (I haven’t seen the movie yet). I can’t say I read a lot of zombie novels, but I do like Mikhail Lerma’s Z Plan: Blood on the Sand. I’m also intrigued by Scott Kenemore’s Zombie, Ohio: A Tale of the Undead, and the historian in me can’t resist Josh Miller’s A Zombie History of the United States.

What are your top 3 favourite Zombie films?

Hands-down my favourite is Jacques Tourneur’s 1943 masterpiece I Walked With a Zombie. It’s so atmospheric and dark, like a film noir with zombies, and there are very few movies ever made that are quite like it. Of course there are the classics, Romero’s original Night of the Living Dead from 1968, and Victor Halperin’s White Zombie with Bela Lugosi from 1932. I love to laugh at Return of the Living Dead, which is a really clever send-up of the whole zombie genre, and I think showcases the wonderful talent that Dan O’Bannon had—it’s a shame he didn’t direct more films. (Okay, that’s four—sorry!)

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 interest has always been there, or if not always, for a very long time. If you look at sort of the “bestiary” of traditional horror creatures—vampires, werewolves, and zombies—while it’s true that zombies are probably the one that got into the culture most recently, the concept has been around for many decades. The word “zombie” entered our language in 1891. Vampires and werewolves date back to the Middle Ages. The wonderful thing about traditional stories is how you can reinvent them for a new generation and make them seem completely original. The Walking Dead is just another reinvention, as was Night of the Living Dead. The cycle will continue for as long as people find something visceral and compelling about stories that frighten and horrify them. Horror is as old as humanity. I’d like to think that storytellers will continue to reinvent tales of mythological creatures, like vampires or zombies, to entertain and terrify each other, as they have done for centuries.

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?

(1) My laptop. Until the power goes down, I can use it not only to keep track of the situation as it develops, but also to Google things like, how do you build a Molotov cocktail?

(2) The sword leaning up against the wall of my living room. I write medieval fiction, and I collect medieval weapons!

(3) Ditto for the battle axe, though the blade is rather dull.

(4) Although it’s out on the patio—does that count?—I would grab the propane tank from my barbecue. In a worst-case scenario it could be fashioned into a bomb or flamethrower.

(5) Books, which my house is full of. Not only would they make great insulation and “stuffing” for barricades, but if fires need to be lit in strategic places, the paper will make good fuel.

Well Sean if what you’ve got are books and a dull battle axe, I’m not sure you’re going to make it… Let’s hope that Google comes in handy for you!

Now let’s take a look at Zombies of Byzantium…

Taking place in Byzantium (the Eastern Roman Empire) in 717 A.D., Zombies of Byzantium is the story of Stephen Diabetenos, a young monk who specializes in painting icons. Sent to a neighboring monastery to replace a dead painter, Stephen and his friend Theophilus happen upon a small country village that has been hideously ravaged by the undead. After a pitched battle with the ghouls at a local inn, Stephen and Theophilus decide they must hurry to Constantinople, the capital, to warn Emperor Leo III about the outbreak of undead flesh-eaters and appeal to him to send a Byzantine legion to destroy them. Unfortunately Leo has other things on his mind–such as the impending siege of Constantinople by the Saracens, the Byzantines’ mortal enemies. When Leo decides he can kill two birds with one stone by using the ghouls as a weapon against the Saracens, all hell breaks loose–with very bloody results!

Clicking on the cover will take you to Amazon!

Thank you Sean for taking the time to answer my questions. If you would like to connect with Sean, you can find him on Twitter, Facebook, and his website.

Darlings of Decay: Chewing Braaiiinns with… Michelle Kilmer

Recently I joined 32 other women who wrote in the Zombie genre and we released a fantastic compendium of undead treats for lovers of the genre! It’s called Darlings of Decay and the best news is that it’s a FREE download on Amazon! What a great way to try samples of some of the greats writing in the genre! Click on the cover and it will take you straight to Amazon.

Today I have the pleasure of featuring an interview with Michelle Kilmer, author of When the Dead and other books. For those of you unacquainted with Michelle, let’s take a moment and get to know her…

MichelleKilmerMichelle Kilmer is a lover of the macabre, especially zombies. She is a frequent zombie walker and can be found, with her twin sister, in “full gore” at many horror-related events. Having grown impatient for the zombie apocalypse she decided to bring one to her doorstep in When the Dead . . . her first novel, published in 2012. The Spread, co-written with her twin sister and released in 2013, is a short story collection that follows the plague from chapter to chapter and person to person.

When Michelle isn’t covering herself in wounds and eerily realistic blood or writing about zombies, she is the owner of a web design company, a gamer, a musician and a crafter.

She lives with her husband in a secured-access apartment with two baseball bats, a machete, a growing canned food collection and a fear of the dark.

Welcome Michelle. So tell me: why Zombies? Is there anything specific that draws you to the genre?

As a society, zombies offer us a unique escape from all the constraints of our day-to-day lives. Rules and order disappear and chaos reigns. I personally am drawn to them because they force us to re-examine ourselves and remind us to value life.

Tell us about your latest project.

I am currently working on a lot! A follow-up to my novel When the Dead, a short story collection featuring fans as main characters, a young adult zombie novel, a sci-fi short story collection, I could go on…

What makes your Zombies different, if anything?

Mine don’t run, they don’t have superhuman strength, and they don’t rise from the grave. If you were dead already, you don’t come back.

Has there been a Zombie novel or short story that has inspired you to write in the genre? If so, tell us about it and why it inspired you.

Day by Day Armageddon by J.L. Bourne. I love the journal style and the different locations the character travels to. Also The Rising, City of the Dead and Dead Sea by Brian Keene. His characters are always interesting.

What is your all-time favourite Zombie book that you didn’t write?

That is very difficult for me to choose, but I think I’m going to pick Dead Sea. I loved the idea of surviving (or trying to) on a ship.

I will have to be sure to check that one out – thank you! Do you feel that gender plays a part in getting noticed in the genre? If so, why do you think readers are more comfortable reading Zombie works written by men?

Yes, I do. But I’m hoping that being a female author in the genre will help me stand out. Men, generally, are more brutish and perhaps this gives readers the idea that they would write darker, bloodier, more twisted stuff. I’m not really sure the psychology behind it, but one should never group or divide individuals based on sex or anything else. Everyone has unique ideas.

Have you ever thought about using a male pseudonym to sell more books?

Nope. Never. My work is mine and whether it sells less because my name and gender are attached to it doesn’t matter to me. Besides, we won’t change the system by playing its game.

Characters or gore – what do you spend more time writing?

Definitely characters but with a bit of gore on top. I’m not writing to gross people out. I’m writing to get people to think. Character dynamics, the way people react (or don’t), what regular people do in irregular situations, these are the things that intrigue me.

What are your top 3 favourite Zombie films?

If I had to choose, they would be:

Dawn of the Dead (remake)

Shaun of the Dead

Return of the Living Dead III

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?

There has always been an interest, but TWD has made the genre more accessible to folks who hadn’t considered it as something they’d enjoy. But, many ONLY watch TWD. They don’t always go on to read zombie novels or even the TWD comic. When the Dead has been likened to TWD with its character driven story. So maybe I’ll get some of those fans!

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?

1. The central metal pole of a tall lamp

2. Metal leg of an Ikea desk

3. metal shelving rail, detached from wall

4. heavy coffee table books as brain bashers

5. hanging slider blinds, taped together and then shaped to a blade point

Too bad I’m not in my bedroom where the machete is!

You may be one of the first people with a fighting chance Michelle. You’ll have to work for it, but the odds seem good.

Now let’s take a quick look at Michelle’s When the Dead

Adobe Photoshop PDFHave you ever wondered what might happen if a group of survivors decided to stay put? To never leave the safety of home to search for salvation? When the Dead . . . provides one scenario to answer the question. In a world where neighbors are strangers and we live behind locked doors, the living dead can really bring issues to a head. There is no way out for the residents of Willow Brook Apartments. Outside a plague is spreading while behind the walls, neighbors are forced to become friends . . . or enemies. When the Dead . . . will introduce you to a doomed family, a dying child, an egomaniac, a murderer, and other undesirables (including the undead!!) in three floors of secured-access chaos.

Thank you Michelle for taking the time to answer my questions. If you’re looking to connect with Michelle, you can find her on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and her website.

Also, if you’d like to meet Michelle and purchase one of her books, she will be at Quarantine Zone Sept. 27th – 29th (http://tacomazombpocalypse.com/).

Darlings of Decay: Chewing Braaiiinns with… Ally Thomas

Recently I joined 32 other women who wrote in the Zombie genre and we released a fantastic compendium of undead treats for lovers of the genre! It’s called Darlings of Decay and the best news is that it’s a FREE download on Amazon! What a great way to try samples of some of the greats writing in the genre! Click on the cover and it will take you straight to Amazon.

Today I have the pleasure of featuring an interview with Ally Thomas, author of a few different series and contributor to the recent compilation Darlings of Decay. So for those of you that aren’t familiar with Ally, let’s take a moment to learn a little more about her…

Ally Thomas loves writing paranormal books that showcase vampires, werewolves, zombies, witches, and any furry monsters who go bump in the night. She enjoys imagining new origins for these traditional creatures and seeing where it’ll take her.

Ally lives in the south with her husband and unproductive furry co-workers including two cats and a dog. She is currently working on the next installment of the paranormal series, the Vampire from Hell and the upcoming paranormal romance series, Fanged Love. Learn more at www.allythomas.com.

Welcome Ally! So tell me: why Zombies? Is there anything specific that draws you to the genre?

Primarily I write about vampires.  However, zombies are an interest to me.  I’ve wanted to start a zombie series for a long time.  That’s why I was excited to be invited to be a part of the Darlings of Decay zombie anthology. I wrote a story called Zombie Wolf that is included.

What makes your Zombies different, if anything?

Zombies, being undead, are sort of like vampires to me.  They’ve just stepped over to that next level of going clearly insane with wanting to eat people’s brains.

Has there been a Zombie novel or short story that has inspired you to write in the genre? If so, tell us about it and why it inspired you.

I’d say probably zombie movies have inspired me.  My favorite zombie movies are Shaun of the Dead and 28 Days Later.

What is your all-time favorite Zombie book that you didn’t write?

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

Do you feel that gender plays a part in getting noticed in the genre? If so, why do you think readers are more comfortable reading Zombie works written by men?

I don’t really let that bother me.  Women have being writing horror since Mary Shelley with Frankenstein, so I don’t think it really matters as long as it’s a great story that grabs the readers.

Have you ever thought about using a male pseudonym to sell more books?

Nope.

Characters or gore – what do you spend more time writing?

Probably characters, but I love to throw in the violence and gore too when I can.

What are your top 3 favourite Zombie films?

Shaun of the Dead

28 Days Later

Night of the Living Dead

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 it has helped increase interest, but I also think zombies are the next big thing.  And that shift has been on the horizon for several years I think.

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?

Scissors, electric guitar, my laptop or my dog, and possibly my bookcase if I could get the zombie to stand in front of it.

I’m sorry Ally, but Zombies are generally not very co-operative… It’s not looking good for you…

Now let’s take a look at Ally’s Zombie Wolf (The Net Generation #1)

ZombieWolfAt twenty-four Zachary has been through many zombie outbreaks and knows how to stay alive. He’s been so good at killing zombies for so many years that he makes a living at it. He claims it’s the reason he has the nickname the ‘Zombie Wolf,’ even though he knows that’s not the case.

With time and space travel being as common as the Internet and cell phones, Zachary and his team travel often to kill zombies and rid the solar system of total infestation. Now in the year 3015 A.D., more sightings of zombies are being reported on Planet Earth, but no one knows how to kill these snake-like creatures. Zachary’s destiny unfolds when he comes face to face with the next generation of zombie and an innocent bystander gets bitten. He considers killing the attractive girl because she’s as good as dead anyways. But when he sees she has a werewolf mark, same as what he has, he knows he must save her.

Thank you Ally for taking the time to answer my questions. If you’d like to find out more about Ally and her work, you can visit her website!

Darlings of Decay: Chewing Braaiiinns with… Rebecca Hansen

Recently I joined 32 other women who wrote in the Zombie genre and we released a fantastic compendium of undead treats for lovers of the genre! It’s called Darlings of Decay and the best news is that it’s a FREE download on Amazon! What a great way to try samples of some of the greats writing in the genre! Click on the cover and it will take you straight to Amazon.

Today I have the pleasure of presenting an interview with Becky Hansen, author of zombie fiction. For those of you that haven’t heard of Rebecca yet, let’s take a moment and introduce her…

Rebecca is a twin and lover of everything zombie.  When she isn’t plotting gruesome fictional deaths she fancies hiking, painting and watching low-budget and foreign horror movies. A seasoned special effects make-up artist, she turns willing subjects into the walking dead on the weekends. She lives just north of Seattle with her boyfriend, three attack cats, a gun, axe, machete and small collection of knives

Welcome Rebecca. So tell us: why Zombies? Is there anything specific that draws you to the genre?

I have loved the horror genre since I was little, my twin sister and I used to host our own horror movie marathons and the zombie thing kind of developed from there. We started dressing up as them on Halloween, then got into special effects makeup and started writing about them more recent years.

Tell us about your latest project.

I am currently working on some short stories with my sister that stemmed from a contest we ran when we tabled at Crypticon. I have been writing movie reviews with a friend of mine from watchplayread.com and finishing up a photo comic with my sister we are submitting as part of an artist collaboration.

What makes your Zombies different, if anything?

I wouldn’t say my zombies are necessarily that different from the main stream zombie (if there is one); I guess my writing often has a dark comedic side to it. So it isn’t necessarily completely scary, there is a lot to laugh out loud about.

Has there been a Zombie novel or short story that has inspired you to write in the genre? If so, tell us about it and why it inspired you.

When The Dead by Michelle Kilmer. Granted, she is my sister but I was truly inspired by her real life scenarios and cast of characters. I could relate to some of the things they dealt with (other than zombiesJ) in the story. I was driven to get some of my ideas out on paper, I have my sister to thank for that.

What is your all-time favourite Zombie book that you didn’t write?

Monster Island by David Wellington. I don’t know if it is my all time favourite but it is definitely a good read

I love Monster Island as well! Do you feel that gender plays a part in getting noticed in the genre? If so, why do you think readers are more comfortable reading Zombie works written by men?

I definitely think that it does. I am not exactly sure why though. Maybe people think the mind of a man can be far more dark and sinister than that of a woman? It isn’t the first thing that men have led (but the women are close behind). I don’t see why this, like many other things, can be conquered by females!

Have you ever thought about using a male pseudonym to sell more books?

No, I write as me. I make up enough in my stories; I wouldn’t want to sell under some sort of facade just for a better profit.

Characters or gore – what do you spend more time writing?

With previous work, probably characters. I would like to bring a little bit more gore into play though. It is something I personally prefer in the genre. There can never be enough gore!

What are your top 3 favourite Zombie films?

Dawn of the Dead (The remake)

Return of the Living Dead 3

Mutants

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?

Absolutely! I know so many people including family members that have little to no interest in Zombies fall completely for The Walking Dead. It seems now like people are more open to the idea. I know many conversations I have had with people about zombies are started over The Walking Dead. It’s almost like a zombie icebreaker.

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?

Shoot. I am at my desk at work. Working hard! I think I’d have better luck building a barricade then finding anything worthy of weapon status. Basically, I’m screwed;

  1. Pair of scissors
  2. Small metal desk fan
  3. Stapler
  4. Computer tower CPU
  5. Ikea VÄTE Table Lamp

Well Rebecca, you may well survive, but just by the skin of your teeth!

Let’s take a look at Rebecca’s collection with her sister Michelle – The Spread: A Zombie Short Story Collection…

You don’t know when it will change your life, or how, but the zombie plague is spreading quickly and in ways that no one could have imagined. In Part I, an independently-hired researcher watches a mysterious plague decimate an island and takes notes with a gun-toting guard at his side. but the brisk waters of the Puget Sound can’t keep it from spreading to the mainland. In Part II, follow the infection from chapter to chapter and person to person. A frightened neighborhood cat, a harmless fishing trip, a room full of infected preschoolers. perhaps someone will deliver it right to your front door. How kind. Featuring short stories that showcase the many ways in which a disease can overwhelm a city, The Spread will get you thinking of how mundane acts can become deadly. No matter your precautions, the spread will reach you. Of that you can be sure.

Looks good huh? You can find it on Amazon by clicking on the cover!

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

Darlings of Decay: Chewing Braaiiinns with… Laura Bretz

Recently I joined 32 other women who wrote in the Zombie genre and we released a fantastic compendium of undead treats for lovers of the genre! It’s called Darlings of Decay and the best news is that it’s a FREE download on Amazon! What a great way to try samples of some of the greats writing in the genre! Click on the cover and it will take you straight to Amazon.

Today I have the pleasure of presenting an interview with Laura Bretz, co-author of the What Zombies Fear series. For those of you that aren’t familiar with Laura, here’s a little information about her…

Laura_Bretz (1)Laura Bretz has been immersing herself in fantasy lands, apocalyptic settings and all things impossible since she was a child. Pretending to survive in a post-apocalypse world set fire to her imagination and teaming up with Kirk Allmond and “What Zombies Fear” finally gave her an outlet to express and bring her characters to life. Graduating with a focus in interior design has given her an excellent eye for detail. Combining her love of painting and attention to detail is what allows Laura to create vivid pictures with words. When she is not obsessing over tenses and punctuation, Laura is usually spending time with her dogs Marty and Teddy, painting, or singing with her local Sweet Adeline’s International chorus in south-central Pennsylvania.

Welcome Laura! So tell us: why Zombies? Is there anything specific that draws you to the genre?

For me, it’s much more about the characters in the zombie setting than the zombies themselves.  It’s amazing how you can really identify with the characters in a story when they’re stretched to their absolute limit.

Tell us about your latest project.

Currently, I’m continuing working on The Book of Kris (http://www.thebookofkris.com) which is set in the same world as my short story in Darlings of Decay.  I’m also working with Kirk Allmond on the next book in the What Zombies Fear series which is coming along really well.  We’re also working on a serial story called “Will of the Dead” under the pseudonym Laura Kirk.  All of our stories are available on Amazon and Smashwords.

What makes your Zombies different, if anything?

In my universe, the zombies are caused by a brain parasite. The more parasites the host is infected with, the more areas of the brain the zombie can control. In a strong infection, the zombie can regulate cellular regeneration (they don’t rot) and even speech. In the most severe infections, the parasite can control areas of the brain that humans don’t use. (Because we only use 10% of our brain.) In those “super zombies,” they can run at extreme speed, regenerate in seconds, and sometimes it’s even worse.

Has there been a Zombie novel or short story that has inspired you to write in the genre? If so, tell us about it and why it inspired you.

Yes and it’s also what really got me interested in the genre in the first place.  Kirk had already written the first What Zombies Fear novel and was about a quarter through the second when I read the story.  I ended up loving it so much that I began writing a new character with her own “back story” in the same universe.  That’s where The Book of Kris came from.  I gave the few chapters I had at the time to Kirk and he loved it so much that he asked if I would write with him.  Of course I said yes.  And the rest is history!

What is your all-time favourite Zombie book that you didn’t write?

Oh heavens, I have to pick just one?  Well, I’d have to say The Zombie Chronicles by Mark Tufo.

Do you feel that gender plays a part in getting noticed in the genre? If so, why do you think readers are more comfortable reading Zombie works written by men?

I absolutely do.  I think that any story that has a lot of gore or violence people will automatically assume that it’s written by a man.  There’s an entire stereotype about being female (as we all know) that women are just “not meant” to write about gore, violence or things that go bump in the night.  We’re “supposed to” write sweet, lovey stories not stories about zombies eating your brains out.  On average, the zombie genre attracts males ages 18-35 and typically, books that attract men are often written by men as well.  We’re at a huge disadvantage in this field which is why Darlings of Decay is so exciting.  All of us in one place is such a rare thing and it’s awesome to be able to strut our stuff.

Have you ever thought about using a male pseudonym to sell more books?

Hasn’t everyone? J But honestly, I only think I would if I had suddenly become a massive success over night.  I’d probably try to write something completely different and pull a J.K. Rowling.  (http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/07/18/203434193/london-law-firm-indirectly-leaked-j-k-rowlings-pseudonym if you’re wondering what I’m talking about)

Characters or gore – what do you spend more time writing?

Characters without a doubt.  In my opinion, you can only describe a shambling corpse so many ways before the reader gets bored.  I love delving deeply into a character and figuring out what makes them tick.  It’s insanely gratifying when I can feel a character go through every single emotional rollercoaster, fall to their knees in defeat and then find courage they never knew they had as they smash in the head of a zombie that’s going to consume them.

What are your top 3 favourite Zombie films?

28 Days LaterDawn of the Dead (both of them).  Zombieland.

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?

There’s no doubt that it’s increased its popularity but zombies have always been popular in their own way.  The Walking Dead has just widened the market and made zombies cool instead of quirky or bizarre.  People that would never even consider watching something zombie related are suddenly tuning into AMC which is great news for us zombie authors.

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?

Two TV trays.  Floating Shelf.  A big lamp stand and Kirk Allmond.  We got this.

TBOK2I’m sorry Laura, but I’m not sure Kirk would be all that helpful… The lamp stand might give you a little advantage however – you may well make it.

Thank you Laura for taking the time to answer my questions. If you’re looking for some additional information regarding The Book of Kris, you can find it online. You can also find Laura online on her Amazon Author Page and her Facebook Fan Page.

 

Darlings of Decay: Chewing Braaiiinns with… Kristen Middleton

Recently I joined 32 other women who wrote in the Zombie genre and we released a fantastic compendium of undead treats for lovers of the genre! It’s called Darlings of Decay and the best news is that it’s a FREE download on Amazon! What a great way to try samples of some of the greats writing in the genre! Click on the cover and it will take you straight to Amazon.

Today I have the pleasure of featuring an interview with Kristen Middleton, author of the Zombie Games series. For those of you who have yet to come across Kristen, let’s get you all better acquainted…

KristinMiddleton_PicKristen Middleton lives in Minnesota with her husband, Dave, and two daughters, Cassie and Allie. She spends her days chasing kids, drinking iced-coffee, and obsessing over completing her current book or starting the next one. Besides spending time with her family, she enjoys reading, movies, traveling, cooking, and watching The Walking Dead and Shameless on Sunday Nights. She also LOVES getting emails from her readers, so (unless you’re craving brains or blood) don’t be afraid to send her a message at: kristenmiddletonauthor@yahoo.com.

Welcome Kristen, so tell us: why Zombies? Is there anything specific that draws you to the genre?

I think the idea of zombies and an apocalypse is terrifying and fascinating at the same time.  I think that they remind us of how little we take for granted of the things in our lives right now and how easily it could all just slip away if something catastrophic like that ever really happened. Plus, they multiply quickly, they are relentless, and will do anything to eat our brains.

Share your latest project with us.

I just finished book three of Vengeance (Night Roamers), which is part of my vampire series. October 1st, I hope to have Zombie Games (Book Five) available.

What makes your Zombies different, if anything?

Mine are a little more slow-moving but other than that, pretty typical zombies.

Has there been a Zombie novel or short story that has inspired you to write in the genre? If so, tell us about it and why it inspired you.

A movie inspired me, actually. About two years ago my husband talked me into watching Zombieland and I was totally fascinated with it. Just like that movie, I’ve tried adding a little humor and fun to my zombie series.  .

What is your all-time favourite Zombie book that you didn’t write?

I really enjoyed Shannon Mayer’s Nevermore series and Jacqueline Druga’s Sleepers. I had tears reading those two books and they stand out to me the most. They really capture the pain and loss of the world ending as we know it. Losing family and trying to survive in a horrific zombie wasteland.

Do you feel that gender plays a part in getting noticed in the genre? If so, why do you think readers are more comfortable reading Zombie works written by men?

I think that readers looking for more military zombie books might be more apt to read a male author’s zombie book. Most of my readers are female and have commented that they enjoy the humor and romance I’ve managed to slip in.

That’s an excellent point Kristen. Have you ever thought about using a male psuedonym to sell more books?

I’m actually doing pretty well building a name for myself in the zombie genre. The past few months I’ve been up there with Mark Tufo and Shawn Chesser in author rankings on Amazon, and I’m pretty satisfied with my sales. It’s a very interesting idea, however. If I ever decide to write a book filled with more gore, violence, and sex, I might have to experiment with that.

Characters or gore – what do you spend more time writing?

Characters.

What are your top 3 favourite Zombie films?

Zombieland

Night of The Living Dead

28 Days Later

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?

Definitely has increased the popularity.

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 frying pan

A rolling pin

A broom handle

Only three? Kristen, I’ve gotta say I don’t like your chances…

Not let’s take a sneak peek into Kristen’s Zombie Games (Origins)…

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00063]Seventeen-year-old Cassandra Wild thought that living in the chaos of her mother’s home daycare and dealing with new feelings for Bryce, her martial arts instructor, was a struggle until her world turned upside down. When an untested vaccine kills more than just a rampant flu virus, Cassie learns how to survive in a world where the dead walk and the living… run!

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions Kristen. If you’d like to connect with Kristen, you can find her on Amazon, Facebook, or her Website.

Chewing Braaiiinns with… Julie Cooper Brown

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Julie Cooper Brown, author of the The Last Days Series. For those of you unacquainted with Julie, let’s take a moment to change that…

julie anderson aneJulie A. Brown, also writing as Julie Cooper Brown. Julie has always loved to write poetry and the like in her younger years. She has written The Last Day in the Life of Jillian as her first attempt at writing fiction and hopes to break through with this new novella. Julie enjoys playing guitar, piano and violin though she is unable to read music. And although she has no degrees to brag of and only an eighth grade education, she is confident in her writing and only hopes to improve her technique in the future.
Julie has three children from a previous relationship and three step-children with her husband of six years, Jeremy Brown. They currently reside in North Fort Myers, Florida.
Julie has several siblings and credits her vivid imagination to all the pretending they had done as children. Julie has also been a short order cook for 25 years and hopes to be able to let that go if her books are successful.

Welcome Julie! So tell us: why Zombies? Is there anything specific that draws you to the genre?

The thought of the dead rising to walk the earth has always frightened me, so I became addicted to my fear. I love to be afraid of the zombies! They are not real! Yet, they scare me worse than any Friday the 13th (or similar –  really could happen movies) ever did. So, needless to say I love Resident Evil and any game that involves killing zombies or solving mind bending puzzles to find the cure or the way out. So, when I became bored while unemployed, I wrote a story that would reflect how I may deal with a zombie apocalypse if one were to occur.

Tell us about your latest project.

My latest project is Book IV of The Last Days Series. Titled The Dead Live On.

In book III, chemical bombs were set off throughout the United States… Book IV will reveal just how effective the solution really was. That’s all I must say. J I do have recurring characters.

What makes your Zombies different, if anything?

My zombies are different because they actually have a fully functioning conscience. They know who they are, and they know what has happened to them. Though they have no control over their actions, their bodies occasionally respond to the emotions of what they are thinking. Also, some of my zombies go through a half stage… Where they are still fully functional but are over whelmed and controlled by the hunger for flesh; so you can see and feel the anguish they suffer over the acts that they are committing.

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

Honestly, I have never read a zombie book. I do love the horror genre, I read King, Saul, Koontz, Rice and Keene mostly.  So, I was unsure of how my zombie fiction would turn out.

What are your top 3 favourite Zombie films?

Oh, that’s easy because I have watched plenty of those.

Night of the Living Dead

The Return of the Living Dead (It was hilarious as well as frightening… I was all of 10 years old)

Dawn of the Dead (original, though the newer version was great as well)

I would like to mention the worst also!

Zombie Nation… Geez… (just cross your eyes and shake, you’ll do fine), though I have a favourite dialogue from that movie as well…

“You don’t eat people!” says the Voodoo Priestess

“Well, what do zombies eat then?” Asks the terrified poorly made up teen zombie…

And the Voodoo Priestess answers…“CHEESEBURGERS, GIRL! DAMN!”  lol

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 do. The Walking Dead is a fantastic show, great story line, awesome scary zombies and a great cast. There are a lot of people I know personally who didn’t care much for zombie pictures until they watched The Walking Dead. Now, they are hooked and will be hard pressed to find something as entertaining to watch.

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 lamp, a machete, (my husband brought home to sharpen up for his step-father just yesterday lol), nunchucks (also my husband’s), baseball bat, and an extension cord??? Lol Everything else in here is too heavy to use as a weapon.

You may well survive Julie, but only just barely!

Now let’s take a sneak peek into the book that started the series, keeping in mind that the 4th book is set to be published on August 21st!! And now for a little The Last Day in the Life of Jillian…

Jillian and Evan are trapped and Evan is ill. Jillian recalls the events that have led to their demise, as well as documenting the stages of Evan’s infection as he changes into a being she used to love to be afraid of.

Thank you Julie for taking the time to answer my questions. If you’d like to find out more about Julie’s work, check out her website!