Chewing Braaiiinns with… AJ Brown

Today I’m joined by AJ Brown, author of horror and a Zombie serial that you can find on Tales of the Zombie War. If you aren’t acquainted with AJ, it’s high time we changed that!

AJ Brown is a storyteller who pens emotionally charged/character driven stories that often include a touch of dark paranormal. His work has received such honors as a Pushcart nomination, and editor’s choice for Issue #12 of Necrotic Tissue. Bards and Sages Quarterly, Liquid Imagination, and Midnight Echo are a few of the literary zines where his stories can be found.

Above all else, AJ is a husband and father of two beautiful children who not only support his creative endeavors, but also provide inspiration (sometimes in rather unexpected ways).

If you’d like to learn more about AJ Brown’s life and work, visit his blog: Type AJ Negative. However, beware, AJ is a unique mixture of strawberry Kool-aid drinking redneck and traditional values Southern gentleman.  The only things he takes seriously are serious things and he isn’t one of them.

Welcome AJ! Let’s get right into the interview – why Zombies? Is there anything specific that draws you to the genre?

Honestly, I think zombies are almost the perfect monsters.  They have no remorse, feelings, and no fear at all.  They multiply with each person they infect.  They can get you one on one or as a group.  They are relentless—kind of like Jason or Michael Meyers in the slasher movies.  No matter how long or far you run, they are always going to give chase without tiring out.

There is also a palpable fear when it comes to watching a zombie movie—unlike any other horror flicks out there.  It is a hopeless feeling that one or ten people may be against a million zombies.  Think about this:  almost 7 billion people in the world and if 99% of them become infected with the zombie virus, that leaves about 70 million people worldwide to try and wipe out 6.3 billion.  The odds are almost insurmountable, making it that much more scarier.

Then there’s the whole mindset of this is my wife or child or husband or parent and I love them and now they are a zombie, but I just can’t kill them.  How many of those 70 million people are going to die because they still look at their zombie loved ones as people?

There is no escape.  No hiding.  Just running for the rest of your life.  That is terrifying.

I agree, that is absolutely terrifying! Tell us about your latest project.

Dredging Up Memories is a zombie series that I have been working on for the last couple of years.  It appears at the Tales of the Zombie War website and the first 10 or so installments currently reside there.  I’m also looking to turn the series into several novels by the time all is said and done.  The novels will have extra bits and pieces about characters and certain zombies as well.

I know all about publishing a saga online and then adding bits and bobs for traditional publishing. It’s a fun process. What makes your Zombies different, if anything?

I’m not so certain my zombies are so much different from others, but they can’t climb fences or tanks or drop down on their bellies and hop right back up, that’s for certain.  My zombies shamble, stumble, fall—all the things that I think a dead body would be capable of doing.  Nothing drives me crazy more than seeing zombies being able to navigate hilly ground without falling down, but then the living person falling down every few feet.

I think the one thing that sets Dredging Up Memories apart is the main character, Hank Walker, and his sidekick, Humphrey.  Hank has lost everything, so this little teddy bear (Humphrey) becomes his lone source of companionship and is the only thing that keeps him from going bat crap crazy.  There is a constant internal struggle that Hank has to deal with.  Are the dead really dead or are they trapped inside those rotting husks?  This plays on Hank and Humphrey is his outlet.

Tell us about your 5 favourite Zombie books that you didn’t write?

The Autumn series by David Moody is awesome.

World War Z by Max Brooks

Cure by Belinda Frisch

The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks

The Undead:  Zombie Anthology by David Moody

(Yeah, I have my favourites in the genre)

Don’t we all? That’s what makes the genre so great! What are your top 3 favourite Zombie films?

Shaun of the Dead

The original Night of the Living Dead

Zombieland

All good choices as well! 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 strength of The Walking Dead has helped it, and by that I mean the character development, and story lines have brought people in that would have never watched a zombie movie or series such as this.  I think it has strengthened an already strong sub-genre of horror.

On the same token, it may have influenced people so much to the point of the market becoming saturated with zombie tales, movies and shows.  It could make those who love good horror tired of the sub-genre quicker, though I honestly think zombies will reign for a very long time as one of the most noteworthy monsters ever created.

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?

Ha!  I’m in luck.  My top desk drawer has fifteen very sharp knives in it!

There are two baseball bats in my closet—aluminum ones, so no need to worry about them breaking on me. . .

My tool box is in the closet.  Can I choose the whole toolbox with its various screwdrivers and hammers in it?

You may just survive the Zombie Apocalypse AJ… Maybe.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions AJ! It’s been a blast! For those of you that would like to connect with AJ, you can find him on his blog Type AJ Negative and on Facebook. His Zombie Serial – Dredging Up Memories – can be found on Tales of the Zombie War, and his books Along the Splintered Path and Southern Bones can be found on Amazon. Just to whet your appetite, let’s take a look at AJ’s Southern Bones:

Welcome to the South. Recognized for its traditions, beliefs and hospitality. The people are genuine and a helping hand and a home cooked meal are never too far away.

Welcome to the South. Where some traditions are better off forgotten. Where some beliefs are based, not on the Bible, but on what men want you to believe. Where behind the hospitable smiles are angry snarls trailed by the feral snaps of rabid people.

Welcome to the South. Where a house stands lonely on a hill, its owner a man deformed by life. Where children aren’t quite as naïve as they appear. Where the darkest secrets are found within its families, and where dying sometimes isn’t the end.

Welcome to Southern Bones, a collection of eleven short stories from the mind of A.J. Brown.

Exciting stuff, huh??

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Join me next week when I interview John Britton!

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