I am a huge fan of the zombie sub-genre. In fact, zombies are my favorite. However, I have to admit that zombie stories have flooded the market in recent years, maybe more than any other sub-genre today. I've read a few books that have taken a different perspective on zombies, which makes them stand out from many of the others. What do you feel makes your book stand out from the rest?
Mark Tufo: Humor, I think does it for my series. Now that's not to say this is a spoof on the genre, not at all. There are plenty of gory, action scenes interlaced with huge doses of horror, but there is the human element in my zombie stories and the interaction between the characters lends itself well to some much needed balancing laughter.
Dave Jeffery: The zombies in Necropolis Rising are the backdrop to the story, not the central conceit. They are more an obstacle for the characters to overcome. I made a conscious effort not to write a post-apocalyptic story given that there were so many books of this ilk on the market when I was putting the project together. The event also takes place in Birmingham, the UK’s second city and, I am reliably informed, it is the first zombie novel ever to do so.
Ian Woodhead: I believe that my books stand out because I focus on the human tragedy of the whole situation. I believe that…Oh, who am I kidding? My stories don’t stand out at all. I’ve just followed in the countless footsteps of gore and splatter and of dead people eating those who are alive. Or have I?
Armand Rosamilia: I focus on the characters themselves, and try to make them as realistic as possible given the situation they find themselves in. There is plenty of profanity, sex, killing, drinking and gore, just like in real life.
Have you ever written a sex scene in one of your books? If so, was it uncomfortable or difficult to do? If you haven't done this, would you ever consider it?
Armand Rosamilia: I've written several sex scenes, especially in the Highway To Hell extreme zombie novella, all kinds of nasty sex…and it was quite fun, gotta be honest. Someday I might take shot at just dropping the façade of trying to be literary and write a good old fashioned f**k story. Can I say f**k?
Ian Woodhead: Christ on a bike! Oh yeah. The first ever sex scene I wrote just happened to be for the second story in my Zombie Armageddon series – Walking With Zombies. Yes, I did find it very uncomfortable to write. Saying that, I did find it very er…liberating.
Mark Tufo: I wrote one scene that more alluded to sex between a man and his captive female zombie, and yes it was difficult and uncomfortable. I felt dirty after writing it. The funny thing of it was that my brother suggested the scene and I kept telling him 'No way! I'm not touching that with a stick!' So of course the thought wormed itself into my psyche and it ended up in Zombie Fallout 1.
Todd Brown: It isn’t my thing. I have implied scenes of that nature. I just don’t feel the need. I have written one for my non-zombie novel (Dakota by Todd Brown…as opposed to the TW Brown moniker I use for my horror stuff.) In fact, it was a sex scene in a zombie book that I read where I simply shook my head and vowed that I wouldn’t be that guy.
If you haven't already, would you be open to co-writing a book with another author? If so, who would your ideal partner be?
Dave Jeffery: I am currently co-writing Crabs: Apocalypse! with UK writer Stuart Neild. The story is the official seventh novel in the Night of the Crabs franchise created by pulp horror icon Guy N Smith. It is a very strange process and requires significant collaborative approach in what is usually a solitary pursuit. But the challenge is very rewarding.
Mark Tufo: I am very much open to co-authoring a book with another author and actually have plans to do just that. I'll be honest though having never done it before I am not sure how one goes about it. My ideal partner would be someone I get along with and that is open to suggestion, preferably a former Marine but I guess Air Force is okay too. (That would be a slight dig to John O'Brien. We will be collaborating on a novella with a couple of our lead characters.)
John O'Brien: Funny you should mention this. Mark Tufo and I have recently conspired to write a novella with Michael Talbot and Jack Walker meeting. The details have yet to be worked out but it should be out towards the end of this year or close to it.
There is a lot of discussion on print versus e-books today. For example, I have always loved the feel of a physical book in my hand. I never thought I would buy an e-reader for this reason alone. However, ever since I bought a Kindle, I can't see myself going back to print books. Which do you prefer and why?
Todd Brown: This is like the old vinyl versus CD debate of the 80s all over again. (Yep, I’m that old.) I think they both have their uses. I love my name brand e-reader. It is a huge space saver for a person who already owns in excess of 5,000 books. As far as sales, I would say 98% of my numbers come from e-books. It is just the way of the world.
Dave Jeffery: I’m happy to publish in any medium. The real key for me is having your work on platforms that make them accessible to the majority of readers. As an author it doesn’t pay to be precious about how your work gets out there. What matters is reaching as many people as possible. I have a Kindle and I still read printed books, the important thing is reading, not the format.
John O'Brien: I was a diehard ‘have to have the paper in my hands’ kind of guy but since purchasing my Kindle, I’m a huge fan of it. It’s easy to carry, hold, and read anywhere. I can skip to other books without having to carry a multitude of them around. I’ll always have paper edition of my favorites though. For instance, I have been reading Robert Jordan’s ‘Wheel of Time’ series since 1990 and have to read each and every one of them in hard back. Go figure right?
Ian Woodhead: Oddly enough, I don’t have a preference. I love the Kindle for the convenience but I still enjoy the physical weight of a paperback in my hands.
What is the best book you have read outside of your typical writing/reading genre(s)? If this doesn't apply, shame on you! Ha-ha.
Todd Brown: It would be a toss up between Nathaniel Philbrick’s The Last Stand-Custer, Sitting Bull and the Battle of Little Bighorn or Post Birthday World by Lionel Shriver.
Dave Jeffery: I love Cannery Row by Steinbeck. He is my all time favorite author and this is my all time favorite book. No one characterizes like Steinbeck.
John O'Brien: My favorite series is the ‘Dark Tower’ series by Stephen King and ‘Wheel of Time’ by Robert Jordan. But I guess those are actually in my genre of reading. I read a lot of military books as well. “Red Storm Rising” by Tom Clancy was another great one. I actually read quite a few genres so I guess I don’t have a typical genre.
Armand Rosamilia: Origins by JA Konrath comes to mind and anything from Lee Goldberg and Blake Couch. Wish I could write thrillers like they do.
Name one author you'd be afraid to get in a fist-fight with?
Todd Brown: I’m a pretty big buy, but I would not want to tangle with Billie Sue Mosiman. While I would be standing there having the internal argument over the inappropriateness of being in a tussle with a female…she would probably gut me like a fish.
Ian Woodhead: Anybody! I’m a total wimp!
Dave Jeffery: Armand Rosamilia because his Facebook avatar looks hard!
Mark Tufo: I think John O'Brien could take care of himself quite well, and maybe Armand Rosamilia. Now that I think about it - just about any horror writer. They have some of the most twisted views on reality so who knows what they are capable of!
John O'Brien: Armand Rosamilia – I mean seriously, have you seen him?! JK Armand.
Armand Rosamilia: Come on, I'm seriously not a bully! I'd be afraid to fight any of these guys (although I could probably take Ian, let's be honest).
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All six of us - Todd Brown, Mark Tufo, Ian Woodhead, Armand Rosamilia, John O'Brien and Dave Jeffery - hope you'll keep following us on the Summer of Zombie blog tour, and comment as we go along.
And…one lucky commenter for each blog will receive a Free eBook or Print book from one of the authors! Simply leave a comment with your e-mail address and we'll pick a random winner each day! Simple as that!
- Armand Rosamilia (the ring leader)