Monday, February 23, 2015

An Interview I’d Like to See with the Author of GRACE AMONG THE DEAD

In the spirit of “if you want something done right, do it yourself,” I came up with this. If Norman Mailer (remember him?) could write a book called Self Interviews, I can do a blog post in the same vein:

Do I have to wear pants for this?
I’ve yet to have anyone ask me to do an interview. I’m writing in a very popular genre, for a small, independent press out of Tasmania. My paperbacks are made to order; they don’t come out in “printings” or editions (although there are three decidedly different editions of Bleeding Kansas). 

On top of all that, I’m one writer among many. Even the fact that Bleeding Kansas was picked up for German translation only counts for so much with the kewl kids who write for the establishment blogs and papers. I have very little in common with such creatures, so it’s probably for the best.

Which brings us to today.

So why are we doing this?

Because while Bleeding Kansas has been chugging along for 19 months with steady, if unspectacular, sales, Grace Among the Dead is still sputtering after six months. It’s time the middle child got her due.

Middle child?

It’s the second book in the SAGA OF THE DEAD SILENCER series. I’m still writing the third and last book, The Wrong Kind of Dead.

There are a lot of zombie books out there. What makes Grace Among the Dead different? 

To begin with, my protagonist bruises and gets tired. Derek Grace is not former military, nor does he have an encyclopedic knowledge of firearms. What little he does know he gets from a book he took from his son’s room. Derek Grace was too absorbed in finding and keeping a job to concern himself with such things before civilization fell.

The Big Surprise for a lot of people reading Grace Among the Dead is my trashing of the popular cliché of the Evil Patriarchal Church and its Conniving Horndog Leadership. The post-zompocalypse settlement founded by the Abundant Life megachurch is essentially the Nice Pilgrim Frontier Settlement With Lots of Potential (once the railroad comes through) that’s been invaded by evil elements. Derek Grace, the titular Dead Silencer, is the reluctant outsider brought in to restore order.

So you traded a popular liberal trope for an old Hollywood Western trope?

A zombie apocalypse is essentially the Wild West with the living dead in place of the Comanches. By the time I bring the monster truck with the flame thrower into the picture Grace Among the Dead will already be one of the more twisted romantic comedies you’ve ever read.

Aw, hell, this isn’t another goddamned “Talking Dead” soap opera, is it?

If it is, it’s the first one to feature a flame-throwing monster truck. The characters do have relationships and misunderstandings to be resolved among one another, but at the end of the zombie-fighting day, Grace Among the Dead is a zombie novel. The novel starts with a zombie attack, and—spoiler alert!—ends with the promise of more to come.

It’s said a character should be in a completely different place by the end of a book. Believe me, Derek Grace is going to be in a seriously weird, never-saw-that-coming spot when I’m done. He should enjoy it while it lasts, because things really go to shit in Book 3, The Wrong Kind of Dead.

Available in Kindle and in paperback from Severed Press!