Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing: #ApocalypseNation

Thanks to Andrea Jarrell for asking me to participate in this little creative project. Someone passed along the questions to her and she passed them to me and I’ve passed them along to others still. Each author will attempt to answer the questions about their current project. You can click on each of these four wonderful writers’ names to be taken to their blogs/websites and to see how they respond: Andrea Jarrell, Jordan Rosenfeld, Vincent Carrella, and Tim Horvath. Here are the questions which I answered about my latest project:

What is the working title of your book?

Apocalypse Nation

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The idea came from wanting to write a book that people might want to read (as opposed to the several manuscripts I’ve written that no one wanted to read). My wife and I were watching the Walking Dead and the plot holes, specifically how the characters chased after one bag of guns when all around them were dead soldiers and policemen that no longer needed their guns, were very distracting. I decided that I could write a zombie story that had fewer plot holes. It was supposed to be a quick, easy book. It has not been. I’ve also discovered that I might have been unduly harsh about the plot holes. I hope there are few glaring ones in my text.

What genre does your book fall under?

Literary zombie thriller, I hope.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Kevin Spacey might be good for one of my characters. For the teen market, I’m thinking Taylor Swift as one of my young female characters. Maybe Josh Brolin for another character. I’d love to see Hailee Stanfield from True Grit as my main character’s sister, but she might still be too young. I haven’t settled on an actor that I envision as playing my lead character, Jack Brinn. He’s mid-twenties and the character moves from a sort of dumb innocence to a pretty tough dude. The book is mostly about his transformation.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Man goes on the great American road trip to find his sister and a daughter he didn’t know he had. Plus zombies. They aren’t called zombies in my book. That’s two and a half sentences. Sorry.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Well over a year. I think I’m entering the third year and I’m almost finished with a heavily revised draft. But I’ve had a lot of life on my plate at the same time. Stupid life always gets in my way. I get in my way, too, but mostly it’s life.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

No idea. I’ve never sought out zombie books or movies. I really liked the first episode of Walking Dead but haven’t watched anything after the first season, mainly because I don’t want that show influencing my writing. Plus, the plot holes! I have heard good things about Justin Cronin’s literary vampire/virals books The Passage and The Twelve. But I’ve avoided reading those, too, because I don’t want to feel influenced by his prose. I’m hoping that people will look past genre and simply read the book because its fun, exciting, and moving. The good, cathartic, escapist sort of read.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

No man but a blockhead ever wrote but for money—Samuel Johnson

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

What’s not to like? A hero’s quest. Guns. The undead. Search for missing family. Plus feuding families, faith&science&politics&guns. Did I mention guns? And big-ass-zombie-crunching trucks? And chase scenes? And new ways for the zombie illness to be spread that’ll scare the pants off you. And a fortified town? And snappy dialogue? And not one, but two bad guys? Maybe three? I thought the undead would be the main “bad” element, but I was wrong. Humans are still humans. People are still trying to get rich in Apocalypse Nation. The trains are still running and the greedy are still greedy. Though the US doesn’t look anything like it does now, it’s still a country. I think people will see real people and real character development along with the blood splatter. The book has it all. Although I’m often wrong when pondering my own writing, I think I’ve written a rip-roaring page turner. When you see it, pick it up. You won’t be sorry.

More #RightWing Nonsense. This time about #Sandy:

So now the right wing political action squad/Fox News/Lie-Machine is trying to make Hurricane Sandy a political liability for President Obama. They say that he was “on the ball” for the first couple days but now he’s back to being campaigner in chief, not dealing with the bad situation in Jersey or the destruction in general. I can think of no worse people than Sean Hannity and Rudy Giuliani. They make me sick. Their logic is circuitous. There is nothing that the president could have done that would be “right” in their minds:

Problem A: He’s not “there” dealing with the situation. They are complaining that he went back onto the campaign trail. What did they expect him to do? Grab a squeegee and start mopping streets? Do they think that he is doing nothing? Kicking back and drinking beers with his campaign staff in Las Vegas? Do they not know that he flies in a plane called “Air-Force One,” which is designed to be a mobil White House? Do they think he’s stopped paying attention? Do they think he’d drive gas trucks to New Jersey himself? Are they incapable of grasping that the man has many different communication tools at his disposal? Should he stop campaigning completely to allow their candidate to continue spreading lies about our President unimpeded?

Problem B: He is actually “there.” If our President did stop his campaign and set up shop in NJ or NYC, do you think that would make Hannity and Giuliani happy? No, of course not. They’d complain that he was in the way, that the security for the President of the USA was “in the way,” that he should just get out of the way and let the emergency responders get on with their work. They would say that his ego was out of control and he’d take any opportunity to get attention for himself.

Those two men in particular are broken. I was going to call them myopic, but that word isn’t exactly right. They aren’t just short-sighted. They are broken beyond repair. They are what is wrong with our country.