Today, we've got ourselves a guest post from Mr Fischer, who wrote the upcoming YA novel, Zombies Don't Cry.
It’s funny but, when I sat down to write Zombies Don’t Cry (Medallion, 2011), somehow I never felt like I was writing a horror book, or a YA book, or a genre book… or even a book about zombies. I was just writing a book about a character who happened to be a young adult – and a zombie.
It was no different than writing about a guy who’s a football player or a kid who runs track. But there must be some reason, right? I mean, why not make my character just a regular human girl facing human problems in a human way? Why does she have to die and, in dying, come back as one of the living dead?
Which brings us to three questions I’m asked frequently these days:
I’ll try to answer them in that order:
I think zombies are the closest things to superheroes that a cynical guy like me can really imagine happening in real life. I know they can’t fly, or leap tall buildings in a single bound, or see through bank safes and they’re not bulletproof and they don’t wear capes but, just think about it: you don’t have to sleep, nothing hurts you, you can walk for miles without a sip of Gatorade, you can hold your breath forever – the possibilities are endless.
Okay, sure, you have to eat brains every now and again but… Popeye needed his spinach, right? Swamp Thing needed the sun? Even Thor needs his hammer to be on his A-game, so… what’s the big difference?
Seriously, though, to me zombies are the epitome of cool. Where vampires are a little too regal for me and werewolves too jockish and faeries and demons and ghouls a little too complicated, zombies are just… simple, no nonsense, no muss, no fuss. They’re just cool. They’re like the silent, mysterious, thuggish types who don’t have to say much to get their point across; they’re just that cool.
For me, zombies and YA just… go together. I’m not as interested in adult zombies as I might be a teen zombie, and I think for me that’s because zombies – at least, the ones I write about – are still kind of locked in their own generational time zone.
If I were to turn into a zombie, I’m not sure I’d want to spend the rest of my life as a 20-, or 30- or even 40-something zombie, but it would be more fun, I think, to be a teenage zombie and live forever.
I think that’s important for kids, too. I think the idea of being immortal appeals to kids, maybe more so than adults, because there is so much left to do and reason to be excited about everything.
Writing YA as an adult is a great way to go back in time and do it all over again; be cooler, smarter, funnier, more popular, etc. And to imagine doing it all as a zombie, and doing it forever, that’s the ultimate “do over.”
Zombieland. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. The Walking Dead. Zombies, suddenly they’re all over the place. I know not everybody is into them, and I never realized until just now that writing about zombies could actively turn readers off (sorry about that), but whatever you think – or don’t think – of zombies, there’s no denying they’re here to stay.
People often ask me why now? Why all of a sudden are zombies making a resurgence but, for me, zombies have always been around. I’m a huge Night of the Living Dead fan, and have spent the last few years watching a steady diet of zombie-type movies. I think what’s happening now to make people sit up and notice is you not only have zombie movies now, but zombie comics and zombie books and zombie TV shows.
I think the timing is as much about finance as it is wish fulfillment. One zombie book or comic or movie or TV show makes money, people rush to cash in on that. It’s no different with comic books or superheroes or whatever. But, also, when times are bad I think people start thinking, “What if…?”
“What if I could feel no pain?”
“What if I didn’t have to pay my bills anymore?”
“What if I didn’t care if I was popular or cool or where my locker was?”
So I think part of the thing with zombies popping up all over the place is that temptation we all have to give it all up, throw in the towel and just run away. Zombies let us do that without having to actually, you know… do it.
So, those are my answers to the three questions I’m most frequently asked. They’re not very scientific, and maybe they won’t be all that popular, but I’ve been thinking about them a lot lately and I appreciate the chance to get them off my chest!
About the author: Rusty Fischer is the author of Zombies Don’t Cry: A Living Dead Love Story, due out from Medallion Press in April 2011. Visit his blog, www.zombiesdontblog.blogspot.com, for news, reviews, cover leaks, writing and publishing advice, book excerpts and more! And look for his next book, Vamplayers, due out from Medallion next year!
Um, if you haven't seen Zombieland yet, CHANGE THAT. I love that movie. And I love this guest post! Thanks again, Rusty.