Welcome to the DEAD OF NIGHT Shambling Zombie Blog Tour! Over the next month in a half I will be dropping by some of my favorite sites to take part in interviews, contribute guest blog posts and just shoot the breeze. Below is the current official blog tour schedule, though several dates may be changed so keep updated by checking my website. Thanks to the good people/contributors who made this tour possible! Hold on to your braaains…this is going to get good!
February 1st- Zombie-Popcorn- http://zombie-popcorn.com/
February 2nd- Anything Horror- http://anythinghorror.com/
February 3rd- Walking Dead TV Podcast- http://thewalkingdeadpodcast.com/
February 4th- Dawn of the Lead- http://dawnofthelead.com/
February 5th- Bite My Books- http://www.bitemybooks.com/
February 6th- Open Book Society- http://openbooksociety.com/
February 7th- Moon Books Entertainment- http://moonbooks.net/
February 8th- Book Den- http://bookden.com/
February 10th- Movies and Books- http://booksandmovies.colvilleblogger.com/
February 11th- Buy Zombie- http://www.buyzombie.com/
February 12th- One Metal- http://www.onemetal.com/category/books_and_comics/
February 13th- Castle Macabre- http://castlemacabre.blogspot.com/
February 14th- Ginger Nuts of Horror- http://thegingernutcase.blogspot.com/
February 15th- Criminal Pages- http://criminalpages.blogspot.com/
February 16th- Fantasy and Sci-Fi Lovin’ News and Reviews- http://sqt-fantasy-sci-fi-girl.blogspot.com/
February 17th- On The Night Stand- http://booksonthenightstand.com/
February 18th- The Zombie Feed- http://thezombiefeed.biz/
February 19th- Horrorshow Radio- http://www.horrorshowradio.com/
February 20th- Hell Notes- http://hellnotes.com/
February 21st- Rex Robot Reviews- http://www.rexrobotreviews.com/
February 22nd- Horror World- http://www.horrorworld.org/
Febraury 23rd- We Zombie- http://wezombie.com/
February 24th- Drunken Severed Head- http://drunkenseveredhead.blogspot.com/
The Black Glove- http://the-black-glove.blogspot.com/
February 25th- FNORDincorporated- http://www.fnordinc.com/
February 26th- C.V. Huntâ€™s Website- http://www.authorcvhunt.com/
February 27th- My Bookish Ways- http://www.mybookishways.com/
February 28th- The Diary of a Bookworm- http://www.thediaryofabookworm.com/
February 29th- Killer Aphrodite- http://www.killeraphrodite.com/
March 1st – The Book Smugglers- http://thebooksmugglers.com/
March 2nd- The Word Zombie- http://thewordzombie.com/
March 3rd- Zombie and Toys- http://zombiesandtoys.blogspot.com/
March 4th- RA for All- http://raforall.blogspot.com/
March 5th- Monster Librarian- http://www.monsterlibrarian.com/
March 6th- Undead Backbrain- http://www.roberthood.net/blog/
March 7- Grasping for the Wind- http://www.graspingforthewind.com/
March 8th- Totally Jinxed- http://jinx-totallyjinxed.blogspot.com/
A special thanks to all those who involved in the tour who have already posted:
Books and Other Creative Adventures- http://coreenamcburnie.blogspot.com/
J.C. Hutchins: Thriller Novelist- http://jchutchins.net/
Zed Word- http://www.zedwordblog.com/
Confessions of a Bookholic- http://www.totalbookaholic.com/
Zombies are today’s hot monster. Okay they’re room temperature, but they are definitely the most popular monster shambling across the pop-culture landscape. Even people who used to think that they would never go within biting distance of zombies are now watching the movies, tuning into shows like The Walking Dead, reading novels, buying toys, and buying products in which zombies are used as tools of advertising. Crazy old world. I asked a bunch of my colleagues in the zombie biz some questions about this living dead phenomenon. Lots of folks stepped up to share their views. So, we’ll take the questions one at a time. First up:
JONATHAN MABERRY: Zombies continue to grow in popularity despite predictions that the genre is (ahem) dead. Why?
MAX BROOKS: The genre’s dead? Wow. Good to know. I think zombies are continuing in popularity for two reasons. The first is that they are a ‘safe’ way of exploring our apocalyptic anxieties. We’re living in VERY uncertain times right now. The problems we face now, we face as a nation, as a world. Global terrorism, global warming, global pandemics, global economic calamities. Those problems are too big, too real, and the prospect of following those problems to their ultimate end is just too scary to think about. There is an anxiety, certainly in this country, that the system is breaking down, and it’s an anxiety that we haven’t faced since the 1970s. That was the last time zombies were popular, and, coincidently? here they are again. A zombie story allows us to look at the end of the world, total collapse, with all its horrific consequences, and yet, still be able to sleep that night because we know that the catalyst of those consequences (zombies) aren’t real. The second reason for our fascination with zombies is that, unlike all the other problems we keep facing every day, they are at least stoppable! Every other meta crisis our planet is going through continue to re enforce our deepest feelings of inadequacy. As individuals, we are largely powerless against terrorists or melting polar ice, or the toxic evil of a credit default swap. We can all contribute in our little way, as we should, but they are just little parts of a much bigger picture. In a zombie plague, every man has a chance to be a hero. With the right tools and talent, every man (or woman) can survive a zombie plague. That simply isn’t true against a credit default swap. That’s why I think zombies are popular. But what do I know?
ROGER MA: I always find it amusing when people declare the zombie genre passé. As a fan who’s followed the genre for more than three decades, I know that there will always be a desire for the living dead. First, because the zombie is such a malleable creature; it can provide a subtext for an infinite number of subjects, which makes it very attractive for very different creative types and genres. Second, as long as there is a segment of the population that feels frustrated, disenfranchised, or just plain fed up, zombies will be popular. A zombie apocalypse is the ultimate reset button, and unlike other types of disasters, there’s a feeling that as long as you’re smart and prepared, you can not only survive, but thrive in an undead world. That’s another reason why I think zombies will always be popular; it’s a creature that enables people to easily imagine themselves in a heroic role.
DON ROFF: Every genre in the history of genres has climbed peaks and descended into valleys. Yet something keeps bringing each respective genre back, pulling them out of the lowlands and ascending them to the top again. Our current zeitgeist is infectious diseases, overpopulation, terrorism, the downward spiral of the economy, and overpopulation. It’s no surprise that the zombie genre has escalated in popularity. People are afraid. What better way to experience fear than to sit home at watch other people live out their fears with a zillion popular zombie video games, a zillion zombie movies, and hopefully, a zillion zombie books, too? In addition, there’s a certain survivalist mentality/disaster preparedness that seems synonymous with the zombies, more so than with any other horror sub genre. Since those aforementioned fears aren’t going away, I doubt zombies will return to the grave anytime soon.
ALAN GOLDSHER: Last year, I sat on a Comic Con panel with Seanan McGuire, who claimed that zombies will always be compelling because they tap into an area of our id that we’re otherwise afraid to tap into ourselves. (I’m paraphrasing, but that was her general conceit.) Makes good sense to me, but I also think since zombies are a blank slate, they’re a perfect vehicle to tell a horror story…or a comedy…or a romance…or any damn thing. Since there’s no set mythology, zombies are the Bill Clinton of paranormals: All things to all people.
ABI POST: I can only speak from my own experience, but I have often been asked, “Why Zombies?” It’s a good question, one I think has been asked recently over and over about the public’s interest in zombies. Like all good questions, it makes you think even if the answer isn’t neat.
A fascination with zombies happens on a very personal level. My own attraction which is mainly about survival. My zombie fantasies stem from an overwhelming urge to save myself from whatever perceived or real dangers arise from being alive right now.
ANDRE ABRAMOWITZ: We live in an age of tremendous uncertainty. Fears of economic collapse, political turmoil, natural disasters and terrorism have dominated headlines over the last 10+ years and the zombie is the perfect embodiment of these faceless, unseen threats. No longer are our enemies lining up on a battlefield, wearing a foreign uniform. Now the enemy can be your friends, neighbors or anyone – just like the modern zombie. Couple that with the sort of societal breakdown that we see in many zombie apocalypse stories and it’s not so hard to see why the popularity of the zombie genre continues to grow. It’s a safe and fun way to explore some very very bad scenarios that seem all too capable of happening.
CALVIN MILLER: I think it’s the type of fear they represent. Zombies don’t simply stab you, attack you with an axe, or suck your blood. They eat you. And they might be your parents. Or you. That feeling that everyone around you is turning into a monster is horrifying. When you say “Zombies” most people say “Brainzzzz!”. They are more familiar with the parodies like “Return of the Living Dead”. Many are just now getting into the true horror of the genre, and I think “The Walking Dead” TV show is creating a lot of Zombie fans. A Zombie Plague makes Freddy and Jason look like punks.
CRAIG DiLOUIE: For years, the horror shelves in my local bookstore were dominated by a choice of sexy or funny vampires, or Stephen King. Vampires have been popular in fiction for decades, and still are. Zombies have been popular for what, a few years at most? And I’m supposed to believe it’s over already? Hell, no!
I once read a review of a zombie book that started, “Do we really need another zombie book?” The first thing I thought was, “Do we really need another reviewer saying, ‘Do we really need another zombie book?’”
To all jaded reviewers who don’t like zombie books and therefore pronounce the genre dead for everyone else, here’s an idea: Let’s let the market decide what it wants. As long as people keep buying and reading zombie books, then the genre is very much alive. In fact, the big publishers have only recently started publishing zombie books in any real way. Some of them are duds thrown out there purely to exploit the zombie craze, but some are very good and selling well. The commercial success of your own work, Jonathan, is obviously a testament to mainstream demand for good zombie fiction. The number of zombie-themed books, films and so on will likely peak at some point, but zombies are here to stay. And that’s great news for the many readers who only recently have begun to enjoy a broad choice of quality zombie fiction.
DAVID DUNWOODY: People nowadays are too impatient, too quick to denounce something and discover its successor. Zombies simply will not go gentle into that good night. Their relevance hasn’t waned a bit and, frankly, I don’t see that happening anytime soon. They’re just too perfect as metaphors for countless aspects of the human condition. Beautiful in their simplicity, universal in their scariness and with boundless potential for further exploration, zombies have plenty of room to expand, evolve and infect before they become played out.
IAIN MCKINNON: Tough question, the short answer is I don’t know. I’m happy the wave hasn’t broken because I am primarily a zombie fan, that’s why I started writing zombie novels. I’d consumed everything zombie I could find and left with nothing to devour I started making my own.
The popularity of Zombies may have something to do with the reaction in horror against torture porn or shiny vampires. It may be because it holds a mirror up to our world the few battling the overwhelming many, the escapism of a world where there are no constraints, no mortgage or credit cards or managers or cops or all the other things that prevent us living the life we want to.
But I think it’s biggest appeal is what would you do? The heros aren’t superhuman or magical or anything like that. The heros in most zombie novels and films are just regular people thrown into the nightmare. You read them thinking “what would I do?”.
JASON KRISTOPHER: I believe that people are scared right now. We hear so many stories of how the global economy is failing, there’s all the change for good, in my opinion in the Middle East, new unforeseen diseases, the world is becoming a big scary place, and yet with the growth of what I refer to as indie media, the people are more informed and knowledgeable than ever before. This leads to we humans falling back on one of our most well-developed of traits: the need for escapism. I think zombie stories in particular are good for this, because it allows people to say Well, as bad as stuff is right now in the real world, at least it’s not this bad. Everyone needs a break from the real world from time to time, and I think zombies allow for that a bit easier than most other genres. On a lighter, less analytic note, they’re also more believable, in many ways. Plus, they’re cool!
JEFF WEIGEL: I think there’s appeal in the mindlessness of the threat zombies pose. What’s scarier than an unrelenting creature that can’t be reasoned with in any way. A zombie has one thing on it’s mind (what there is of it, anyway) your brain. Plus, the zombie virus concept makes monsters out of the people you encounter in every day life. The zombies’ appeal is in the threat of the ordinary becoming your worst nightmare.
JOE McKINNEY: I think it has something to do with what I call the democratic nature of zombies. Almost from the very beginning, zombies (as first expressed in the vision of Richard Matheson and George Romero) came at us from a variety of sources. You’ve got movies, TV, novels, short stories, blogs, radio shows…but that’s not all. You’ve got zombie walks. You’ve got conventions dedicated to them. You’ve got non-fiction. Zombie fans are willing to take their drug of choice in just about any permutation. But that’s still not all, because now, you’ve even got a variety of other professions jumping on the concept of the zombie to express issues in their field. You’ve got economists, computer programmers, biologists, and dozens of others using the idea of the zombie to express rogue elements in their field. The zombie, more so than anything else before it, has proven to be a perfect hook upon which to hang an idea. So many have flocked to the idea of the zombie because it can support so many concepts.
JOHN MACLEOD: I thank Twilight. It poisoned the vampire well for a lot of fans, even with the popularity of shows like True Blood. So, what else could horror enthusiasts turn to? Zombies. All the undead, none of the glitter, and ten times the amount of disemboweling. Add the mass appeal of The Walking Dead on TV, and we may have entered a golden age for our hordes. (Yet, as much as I’m thankful to Twilight for driving people our way, I’d love to see Daryl from TWD dust Edward’s sparkly ass with his crossbow.)
JOHN RUSSO: As I’ve said many times before, zombies weren’t heavyweight fright material like vampires or werewolves, till we made them into flesheaters. That struck a raw cord with people. to make a zombie movie, you don’t need expensive makeups of SFX, so many, many filmmakers seize upon them to make their mark in the biz. And some of the stuff with a new slant or fresh ideas makes it big.
JOSHUA COOK: So many reasons, so little space. Of the number of things that are helping the genre grow, I think it is the sheer fanaticism of the zombie community that is playing the largest role. Over the years there has always been a hardcore fandom, but it has had to be contained underground. Once zombies rose out of the grave and began to infect the mainstream pop culture, we saw the explosion of things like zombie walks and zombie specific conventions. This will continue to work just like a zombie infection and spread through the pop culture psyche until it infects the entire world.
ROBERT ELROD: Zombie culture will be around for a long time to come. The reasons that I see for this are that people are always going to find reasons to be dissatisfied with the world. People dislike their jobs, their government, the weather, their neighbors, their lives. Zombie culture provides a safe venue for people to live through the fantasy of all of those they dislike being taken away and, in place of things, they’re given something that they can destroy without suffering the consequences of modern civilization.
RYAN BROWN: I think zombies continue to grow in popularity because, as literary device, there seems to be no end to how they can be utilized. Metaphorically, zombies can reflect so much about society during any time period throughout history. Sure, we’ve had an explosion of zombie material over the past few years, but with that has also come an explosion of creative uses for the genre. If writers continue to focus on pushing the possibilities the genre – and not on repeating what is already out there – I see no end to the wave of popularity.
SCOTT KENEMORE: I think what people percieve as a zombie “trend” is really just zombies finding their appropriate place in the culture. People have a way for forgetting that Dracula–the seminal work that solidified our idea of the modern vampire–was written in 1890. It’s had over 100 years to sink-in. The modern flesh-eating zombie of George Romero has only been around since 1968. So zombies have some catching up to do, and I think that’s what we’re seeing now.
ZAPH: Everyone likes a good horror story. Whether people watch movies, read novels or read the paper, there is an at least it isn’t me appeal to someone else’s mishaps and adventures. Zombie science fiction is a great fantasy realm where the what if can be explored with gore, guts, mayhem, societal break down and a whole lot of human nature story telling. The thought of unrestricted violence appeals to the long buried predator in us, and luckily you can kill zombies without remorse. It gives people who live comfortably, the chance to imagine a different life for them selves, prepare for some fictional crisis, to live outside of their normal lives for a while. All the while knowing they are safe and it wont really happen, at least not just yet. After all, HG Wells wrote about submarines and Arthur C. Clarke wrote about space travel.
EVILBOB: Zombies don’t sparkle.
ROGER MA is the author of The Zombie Combat Manual: A Guide to Fighting the Living Dead, published by Berkley Books. He is also the founder of The Zombie Combat Club, an organization dedicated to distributing information on battling the living dead without a firearm. He is also a martial artist and a former Team Chief for one of New York City’s Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), a civilian volunteer group managed by the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) that assists first responders in the event of a city emergency (including zombie attack.) Find him on Twitter at @zombiecombat and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/zombiecombatmanual
DON ROFF grew up in Milton-Freewater, a small Oregon town, writing stories and making Super 8 and VHS movies with his friends. Later, he served with the 75th Ranger Regiment during Operation Just Cause in December 1989. Roff’s first book was Scary Stories (with creepy hand lock), published by Scholastic in October 2006. Zombies: A Record of the Year of Infection, published by Chronicle Books/Simon & Schuster UK followed in 2009. The 144-page book is the found journal of Dr. Robert Twombly as he documents the 2012 zombie apocalypse with thought-provoking handwritten passages and captivating imagery (drawn by Chris Lane). Roff’s latest book, Zombie Tales, was published in October 2011 by Scholastic. He can be found at his website, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on his blog, The Key Dancer Chronicles. Fans of Zombies: A Record of the Year of Infection can Like the page here.
ALAN GOLDSHER is the author of 11 books, including the acclaimed Beatles/horror/comedy remix novel Paul Is Undead: The British Zombie Invasion. Give Death a Chance: The British Zombie Invasion 2 will be published as an ebook on March 27, 2012, and his Sound of Music/vampire remix novel My Favorite Fangs will be available on August 7, 2012. As a ghostwriter, Alan has worked with dozens of celebrities and public figures, and next November will see the publication of How I Slept My Way to the Middle, his collaboration with actor/comedian Kevin Pollak. Alan lives and writes in Chicago. Visit him at http://www.AlanGoldsher.com, @AlanGoldsher on Twitter, or http://www.Facebook.com/alan.goldsher.
ABI POST is the author and illustrator of Fairweather, a tale of interdimensional evil and survival transmitted via www.fairweatheronline.com. After five years in the fashion industry, Abi launched her zombielife by exhibiting paintings of the undead in Seattle’s Pioneer Square. She hales from the natural state, and holds a BFA from a university in the deep south. Facebook @fairweatherabi www.fairweatheronline.com
ANDRE ABRAMOWITZ is a writer and executive producer on Zombies: A Living History, a TV show that premiered in October for History Channel. While this was my first foray into television writing, I’ve had various pieces published in other venues. When I’m not scouring the darkest corners of history in search of the roots of undead myths and folklore, I can often be found hunting the seas in search of big fish and Cthonian monstrosities. Hopefully I can make a show about that too one day. Other ideas that I’m currently exploring include a couple of undead-related screenplays and comic books, and an anthropological look at dance and coming of age rituals throughout world cultures.
Andre can be found on:
Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/andreabramowitz
The Facebook page for Zombies: A Living History – http://www.facebook.com/ZombiesALivingHistory
The DVD could ostensibly be found (at this time, for some reason unknown to me it’s not listed typical History Channel incompetance) at http://www.shop.history.com
CALVIN A.L. MILLER II is a horror author/publisher/cartoonist who likes to write from different angles. His first book, “Het Madden, A Zombie Perspective”, is written entirely from the perspective of a man who dies, reanimates, and retains his intelligence in a post-apocalyptic society. His second effort, “The Zombie’s Survival Guide, Thrive In The Zombie Apocalypse AFTER Your Turn”, is written to guide the reader through the Zompocalypse AFTER he or she becomes a zombie. It contains illustrations by artist Alan Gandy and provides everything you’ll need to know to ensure you’ll be the best zombie you can be. Cal started Zilyon Publishing in November 2009 with his buddy Greg Bogle and today they’ve published 12 books, including novels, charity anthologies, graphic novels, and comics. He also does a web comic, “Ted Dead, Just Your Everyday Zombie”, at TedDead.com. Check him out at www.CalvinALMillerII.com, http://www.facebook.com/cal.miller2, Twitter/@cal_in_space, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CRAIG DiLOUIE is author of the popular zombie novels THE INFECTION (www.infectednation.com) and TOOTH AND NAIL (www.infectedwar.com). In early 2012, Permuted Press will publish THE KILLING FLOOR, his sequel to THE INFECTION. Learn more about Craig’s work–including reviews of all things apocalyptic horror, plus links to his Twitter and Facebook pages–at www.craigdilouie.com.
DAVID DUNWOODY is the author of the Empire series of zombie novels and short stories. Infected with the writing bug at an early age, he has been published in a number of anthologies and has two horror collections, Dark Entities and Unbound & Other Tales. Dave lives in Utah and can be visited on the web at daviddunwoody.com and empirenovel.com. Facebook: facebook.com/ddunwoody; Twitter: @daviddunwoody
IAIN MCKINNON was born in Scotland in the early seventies and lived a happy well balanced childhood, with the exception of being forced to wear flares and the 1978 World Cup. Aged 18 he saw George A Romero’s Day Of The Dead and from then on zombies crowned his list of irrational fears. In 2005 he wrote the screen play for the 10 minute zombie film The Dead Walk in an attempt to confront his fear. He has since written two zombie novels Domain of the Dead and Remains of the Dead both published by Permuted Press.
Iain currently lives and writes from his home just outside Edinburgh. At the moment he only has just one irrational fear but he does still keep a survival kit and crowbar close at hand just in case.
JASON KRISTOPHER was born in Waco, TX, spent nearly two decades in northern Colorado soaking up the creative energy and beauty of that area, then moved to Houston for real work. Throughout this long journey, Jason continued to write all kinds of fiction, including fantasy, sci-fi, horror, children’s tales and even a poem or two. Jason currently lives in Houston and enjoys reading, writing, movies, music (live and not), the Houston Astros (winning and not), singing karaoke and the Texas hill country, especially the vineyards. You can find him on Twitter (@JasonKristopher), Facebook (Author.JasonKristopher) and his website (www.greygeckopress.com). His first book is a zombie apocalypse novel that has been called the best zombie book since World War Z. The Dying of the Light: End is available in print for $15 and ebook format for $4 on Amazon, BN.com, iBooks, Kobo and GoodReads.
JEFF WEIGEL is an illustrator and author of comics and children’s books, along with being the artist for Michael P. Spradlin’s popular series of zombie songbooks. Jeff has done work for Image Comics retro anthology, Big Bang Comics. He’s written and illustrated the two Atomic Ace picture books for Albert Whitman and Company, and the graphic adventure novel, Thunder From The Sea: Adventure on Board The HMS Defender. His next collaboration with Michael Spradlin, The Monster Alphabet, is due out next year from Grosset & Dunlap. Learn more about Jeff’s work at www.jeffweigel.com.
JOE McKINNEY is the San Antonio-based author of several horror, crime and science fiction novels. His longer works include the four part Dead World series, made up of Dead City, Apocalypse of the Dead, Flesh Eaters and The Zombie King; the science fiction disaster tale, Quarantined, which was nominated for the Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stoker Award for superior achievement in a novel, 2009; and the crime novel, Dodging Bullets. His upcoming releases include the horror novels Lost Girl of the Lake, The Red Empire, The Charge and St. Rage. Joe has also worked as an editor, along with Michelle McCrary, on the zombie-themed anthology Dead Set, and with Mark Onspaugh on the abandoned building-themed anthology The Forsaken. His short stories and novellas have been published in more than thirty publications and anthologies. In his day job, Joe McKinney is a patrol commander for the San Antonio Police Department. Before promoting to sergeant, Joe worked as a homicide detective and as a disaster mitigation specialist. Many of his stories, regardless of genre, feature a strong police procedural element based on his fifteen years of law enforcement experience. A regular guest at regional writing conventions, Joe currently lives and works in a small town north of San Antonio with his wife and children. You can find out more about upcoming projects and appearances at http://joemckinney.wordpress.com, follow him on Twitter at @JoeMcKinney and friend him on Facebook.
JOHN MACLEOD (aka Surfin Dead) hails from western Massachusetts, and has an undying love of zombies, music and geek culture. He is a Staff Writer/Editor for the web site Zombie Zone News (http://www.zombiezonenews.com), and creator of the devilish dolts Doctor Curdle and Squee. Together with those freaks, John spotlights the finest new horror comics every week in his Zombie Pull Box column. You can find his new Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Surfin-Dead/310086379002613#!/pages/Surfin-Dead/310086379002613 or check out @Surfin_Dead on Twitter.
JOHN RUSSO: is an American screenwriter and film director most commonly associated with the 1968 horror classic Night of the Living Dead. As a screenwriter, his credits include Night of the Living Dead, The Majorettes, Midnight, and Santa Claws. The latter two, he also directed. He has performed small roles as an actor, most notably the first zombie who is stabbed in the head in Night of the Living Dead, as well as cameos in There’s Always Vanilla and House of Frankenstein 1997. John Russo is also the founder and one of the co-mentors along with Russell Streiner of the John Russo Movie Making Program at DuBois Business College in DuBois, Pennsylvania. John A. Russo has completed several interviews over the years discussing his film making career, with a recent interview with BioGamer Girl Magazine, in which he appeared on the magazine’s radio show Undead Noise.
JOSHUA COOK is a freelance writer currently residing in Seattle, Washington. Josh lives with his best friend, Sam Dogg, a lab and cocker spaniel mix. A self proclaimed pop culture whore, he drinks in anything that falls in the realm of pop. Over the years he has written for a number of clients and websites, but his most recent project is a short story series entitled ‘Zombie A.C.R.E.S.’. This work has led to a number of other new projects, including a comic in the spring with Ratatat Graphics, various books, and even some short film work. Through all this, Joshua continues to do freelance writing work and takes on new clients everyday. Feel free to contact him at email@example.com for more info. All the stories, art, contests, ebooks, and more from the Zombie A.C.R.E.S. universe can be found at http://zombieacres.com, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/zombieacres, and on Twitter @ZombieACRES. Joshua Cook can be found on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/joshuacookwrites and on Twitter @JoshCookWrites.
MAX BROOKS: Max Brooks is the author of the two bestsellers “The Zombie Survival Guide” and “World War Z”. He has also written for “Saturday Night Live”, for which he won an Emmy.
ROBERT ELROD is a self-taught artist / interactive designer who works with a variety of mediums including pencil, color pencil, ink, watercolor, acrylic and digital. Tickling A Dead Man: Stories About George is his self-published comic book in which he relentlessly tortures his misanthropic title character by forcing him to face his deepest fears and anxieties. His comics also appear within the pages of the Best New Zombie Tales series from Books of the Dead Press. He’s contributed pinup art to publications by Bluewater Comics, Creator’s Edge Press, Angry Dog Press and the British Fantasy Society. Robert’s artwork has appeared on the covers of several novels and anthologies from small-press horror publishers. You can see more of his work at www.robertelrodllc.com and connect with on Facebook at www.facebook.com/robertelrod and on Twitter at @robertelrod.
As an actor RYAN BROWN has held contract roles on The Young and the Restless and Guiding Light. He has also appeared on Law and Order: SVU, and starred in two feature films for Lifetime Television. He is the author of PLAY DEAD, a comic zombie thriller set in the world of Texas high school football, and THAWED OUT AND FED UP, a neo-western thriller in which a re-animated John Wayne thrusts the Old West into the twenty-first century. Raised in Texas, Ryan now lives with his wife and son in New York City. Find him at: ryanbrownauthor.com. Follow him on Twitter @RyanBrownAuthor and on FACEBOOK at Ryan Brown Author.
SCOTT KENEMORE is the author of the Zen of Zombie series of humor/horror books, and the novel Zombie, Ohio. He blogs about zombies at http://scottkenemore.wordpress.com/.
ZAPH (Elizabeth McCubbin) and EVILBOB (Adrienne Keith) are the creators behind Optimystical Studios embracing geek culture in jewelry with recycled pendants, steampunk and renaissance accessories. With the motto, “We are Wonder Woman!” they have built a business on the foundation of fun and cranking their art ‘up to 11!’. In February 2011 they launched ZombAlert, a pendant to let your loved ones know your final wishes in the event of a zombie bite. Each piece is hand cast and enameled, then stamped with your final wish on the reverse side. You can find Optimystical Studios online at OptimysticalStudios.com or go directly to more information on ZombAlert at ZombAlert.com. Optimystical Studios journeys to many science fiction, horror and gaming conventions throughout the year. You can catch them at a con and follow Zaph & EvilBob’s adventures on Twitter, Facebook, and Google. (Here are the links if you need them; @Optimysticals – http://facebook.com/OptimysticalStudios – https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/115663618942907846599/).
My new zombie thriller, DEAD OF NIGHT, is now available in print, e-book and audio from St. Martin’s Griffin. I took a few minutes to speak with William Dufris, the narrator of the audio book. Bill is a fascinating guy and his narration chilled even me (and I wrote the thing!).
DEAD OF NIGHT by Jonathan Maberry
St. Martin’s Griffin; Trade paperback $14.99; $9.99 for e-book
(Also available from Macmillan Audio read by William Dufris)
Once you’re done reading the interview, check out the special audio sample of DEAD OF NIGHT.
JONATHAN MABERRY: What’s your process for preparing to read an audiobook?
BILL DUFRIS: It’s kind of a triple process:
1.I like to simply read the book to myself, just to gauge my reactions to the material as a whole. I’ve always been an avid reader, and reading’s always been an enjoyable past-time, and so this the effortless part of my process. While reading, I’m also filing away character voices, which I tend to hear in my mind’s ear. Also, an overall feel for the material is taking place, a very organic aspect, difficult to explain.
2.I then conduct a second pass through the book, marking passages and dialogue, noting which character is speaking with an initial for their name, indicating vocal level with up or down arrow for volume, ensuring that pages begin and/or end with a clause, allowing a page turn to take place during a natural break – the noise of which is later edited out. Prior to recording, the manuscript is filled with additional notations in my own special shorthand.
3.Finally, a third pass, or reading, is made of the pages I anticipate recording the following day.
JONATHAN: Walk us through the steps of recording a book?
BILL:I have my own home studio, so I engineer and read, while recording the material. A level is set, ensuring a listenable volume is established. A sip of apple juice is had, to lubricate the mouth. Chapstick is applied, so as to limit lip smacks. And recording starts. Each time there’s a slip-up in the reading, either a fluffed word or misread, or a noise from outside (passing planes, gaseous eruptions, etc), then I stop the recording, which creates an edit point. I retain original take, and resume recording, with the edit point clearly marked and waiting to be cleared by my editor later that day. After recording and editing is completed, the sound files and manuscript are delivered to my audiobook proofer, who then listens to the recording, while reading the manuscript, ensuring that every word as written is read correctly, and that there are no nasty noises. I am provided with a corrections sheet, detailing any such mistakes, and I go through sound files and re-record, fixing errors. Then the sound files are broken up into chapters, and uploaded to either Dropbox or publisher’s ftp site.
JONATHAN MABERRY: How do you pick the voices for each character? What goes into that process?
BILL: I tend to see and hear characters, as I read them. For example, Dez felt very much like Starbuck in Battlestar Galactica to me. So I gave her more of that attitude in my reading. Other characters in the book, if they’re described well enough (as yours most certainly are), are given attributes, to a greater or lesser degree, of minor and major tv/film actors. Also, what a character says, and their emotional level while speaking, determines how I’ll deliver a line. How a character is described physically will also dictate to me a particular way of giving them a voice (Gibbon was especially fun!). My face and body will also mimic the character, as I see and hear them, so I’m essentially acting out each part as I say their lines. My background is stage and radio theatre, so playing characters is what I enjoy most.
JONATHAN MABERRY: Most people don’t really understand the difference between an actor narrating a book and someone simply reading it aloud. Can you give us some insight into those qualities an actor brings to the art of narration?
BILL: It’s being able to make discoveries along the way. The narrator is guiding the listener through the story, but it’s a story that the narrator is also seeing for the first time, albeit a few steps ahead of the listener. It goes so far beyond a simple recitation of words. Again, it’s somewhat difficult to give words to what is an intuitive and organic process. But the end result is why computerized voices will NEVER match what the human voice can deliver, opening up an entire world for a listener, that is divorced completely from their immediate. This is also why computers can’t write a story, either!
JONATHAN MABERRY: DEAD OF NIGHT deals with some dark themes. Are you a fan of horror fiction?
BILL: I LOVE Horror Fiction!!! (Are you reading this, O Mighty Audiobook Publishers?!?) And Sci-Fi. I actually have a series of audio theatre pieces, entitled HorrorScopes, consisting of original and classic pieces adapted for this medium. My short-lived foray into writing (back in the 5th grade) was a horror piece. I love horror flicks. I prefer horror that has a fantastical element to it, something that kinda says that, don’t worry, this could NEVER really happen, as opposed to something on the line of a slasher film, or like the barely tolerable (to me) Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
JONATHAN MABERRY: DEAD OF NIGHT is a zombie novel. How do you feel about that genre?
BILL: Love it! As do my teenage kids. We spent quite a few enjoyable nights together, watching Walking Dead, The Crazies, and others of that ilk. We also watch Shakespeare productions, Charlie Chaplin/Buster Keaton movies, and zany comedies as well. (That’s for their mom to read!)
JONATHAN MABERRY: Do you have a favorite character from the books?
BILL: Dez! Absolutely. She rocks “hard-assed chick, built like a brick outhouse, with an attitude to boot. Plus a soft side. Yum!
JONATHAN MABERRY: After reading so many audiobooks, do you still have the energy to read for pleasure?
BILL: I do. But more often than not, I’ve got my headphones on, listening to an audiobook. I’m a subscriber of Audible, and I have my iPod packed with books, and am listening to one on my walks, drives, while vacuuming! Love em!
Click here to check out the special audio sample of DEAD OF NIGHT!Â DEAD OF NIGHT – A ZOMBIE NOVEL