My guest today is Jack Wallen, who is all about zombies in exactly the way I am not. So I asked him:
1. In God’s name, why zombies? Where did this eating brains thing come from?
This is a great question, because it brings up a LOT of nomming good insight. Let’s start from the beginning. For me, it evolved simply from a passion for horror. I’ve loved horror of all sorts since I was a young child. The Universal Monsters were just magic to me. Where most boys wanted to play sports or with dinosaurs, I was busy creating worlds of fright and horror. I used to concoct very complicated ways of scaring my sister and they always worked like magic. I built Halloween costumes from scratch and built models of monsters. Yeah… I was one of ‘those’ kids.
But then, when it came to writing? Well, at first I started out with thrillers. A Blade Away was my first book. I thought for sure I was going to just continue own the thriller path… but eventually my love for horror had its way with my brain and I had no choice. I woke up one morning wondering “What would it be like to turn into a zombie?” That question drove me to write I Zombie I. Since then I’ve been hooked.
Writing about zombies is very satisfying because it’s one of the horror monsters that hasn’t been confiscated by the other genres. Paranormal Romance can’t get its hands on zombies because there’s nothing smexy about them.
I hate to tell you this, Jack, but…. No, I won’t burden you with that knowledge. And you didn’t answer that brain-eating question. But let us proceed.
2. Why do you enjoy writing/reading/watching horror?
For me it’s very cathartic. From my perspective, no other genre is nearly as evocative as horror. We all love a bad guy (or girl) that can tempt us from the good side. Hannibal Lechter was so popular because his flavor of evil was so tempting.
But even beyond that — I find horror sexy. Why? Maybe it was some traumatic incident as a child, but the dark side is a very sensuous playground in which to draw out your hopscotch board.
Not. –Oh, did I say that out loud? Next question:Shero
(DOES fight zombies)
3. I like Shero. Where did she come from? Does she kill zombies?
I make no bones about this — there’s a big part of me in Shero. I was in a relationship with a very tragic woman who helped me to come to grips with a side of me I wasn’t so sure of. From that, Shero was born. The first Shero novel was dedicated to that girl, as she passed away a few years ago.
Shero is very important to me — that character represents acceptance, love, and passion for who and what we are. Everyone that has read the Shero series loves that they can come away with that rethinking their stance on accepting those who are different, or who just get to have a good laugh and recognize something inside of themselves that they may have previously rejected.
And although there is a lot of me in those books, I don’t fight crime in a little black dress. You might, however, see me kickin’ ass in a kilt though!
I would very much like to see that, Jack. What’s the next convention you’ll be attending? Um, and you never answered the question about Shero killing zombies. I rummaged around in your Monkeypantz…. Let me rephrase that. I visited your Monkeypantz website, and I see that Shero IS righteous, loving shoes and fighting zombies. I knew I liked her.
4. Do your characters ever try to take over from you? What happens if they do try?
When I write Shero books, I find that I become really saucy. That’s the narrator talking. One of the reasons why I love writing Shero is because of that mouthy narrator. I find something so enjoyable about breaking one major writing rule and breaking it BIG TIME!
I also write without a net — that is I do not use an outline. So my books tend to write themselves and I never fight what wants to happen naturally. But writing this way, my characters and story lines really take on a life of their own.
I envy you. If I let what happens naturally happen, either my story lines fall apart or my characters paint themselves into corners. I think I must have dumb characters.
5. What’s your latest/next/WIP project?
I usually have two or three WIPs, but what I am focusing on currently is a one-off horror project that was inspired by an acting workshop I did for The Screampark in Lexington, KY (one of the top-rated haunted attractions in the country). With the blessing of the owners of the haunt I am writing a horror novel based on their haunt. I am thrilled to be writing this book and hope to have it ready for public consumption this September.
Before that is released, the fourth entry in my I Zombie series will be published. Lie Zombie Lie will hit the shelves at the end of July! I’m really excited about this book (probably more so than any book I’ve published to date) because I worked with the Zombie Response Team (http://www.zombieresponseteam.net) who became a major part of the novel.
Check out my website, Get Jack’d (http://www.getjackd.net) for news about the release.
Get Jack’d: http://www.getjackd.net
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Jack-Wallen/e/B004MZWR3W
Adorkable Designs: http://www.adorkabledesigns.net
Thank you Marian!
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Thank you, Jack! I am certainly all about Zombie annihilation, so I’m glad to have that Zombie Response Team URL.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: What would your main character do if zombies attacked him or her?