Zombie Movie Night: August ’11

Since I’m going on vacation for a week and a half, we had to sneak in ZMN a tad early.  First up was Death Valley: The Revenge of Bloody Bill.  I was all set to rip this movie apart for being stupid, but my google search revealed that Bloody Bill was a real person…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_T._Anderson

…and therefore no matter how dumb the movie is, I can’t fault it since they were clearly working off of 100% TRUE FACTS, BABY.   So it’s really not the makers’ fault that this was the worst script we’ve encountered in the entire history of ZMN, and yes, that INCLUDES Motocross Zombies From Hell!  It’s pretty standard, really.  Bloody Bill was killed by mob justice for being an evil bastard, swore revenge, his sister left town and when it was discovered she was related, she was hung, and Bill got there too late to save her, I suppose because he was dead.  Seemed superfluous to have TWO reasons for Bill to seek revenge, but that sister stuff was thrown in there just so the ending could completely rip off Friday the 13th Part 2.

Present day, a debate team is taken hostage by a thug looking for his partner, all of whom had the misfortune of stumbling into the ghost town where Bill has the power to stop time, alter reality and control an army of zombies.  He also meticulously keeps track of the town’s (zombie) population sign.

The biggest problem is that, yes, the acting is your standard bad stuff, but truly it’s the dialogue that ruins everything.  It has to be seen to be believed how bad some of it is.  One girl had to have asked the bitten guy fifty times what was wrong with him.  You watched him get attacked by a zombie and he has a big bite hole in his arm, that’s what’s wrong, beyotch.  But my favorite was when they were speculating if their friend who ran off was dead.  “There’s possible and there’s probable, and right now, your friend is neither.”

Yep.  Death Valley’s grade is both possibly and probably a big, fat D.

He's so evil, only 25 people like him on facebook.

Next up was Zombie Farm. A Mexican American documentarian and a wiseass TV medicine man/fraud get caught up in a domestic dispute between a Mexican immigrant and her abusive husband. Things become even more complicated when an evil priestess turns the husband into a zombie. As the investigation gets deeper, the trio discovers a farm…a zombie farm!

This was an entertaining movie. In fact, it landed at or close to the top 20. However, I feel strongly that it could have been a lot better. First and foremost is how long it takes to get to the damn zombies. The documentary lady is trying to find success, she meets the shaman guy, has to convince him to do a film, he turns down helping the abused lady, docu-girl sees his softer side when he helps an old lady, abused woman goes to evil priestess, Docu-girl & shaman have lengthy conversation about the history of Mexicans in America. And still no zombies. But you know what? All that stuff is good. If it had just been a look at the plight of the immigrant-type movie, I might have been okay with that. It almost seems weird and out of place when the zombie husband finally arrives on the scene.

Also, I feel like if you’re going to have a documentarian character, do a fake documentary as the movie. I kept thinking of how good The Last Exorcism was and Zombie Farm could have been a lot like that. Just instead of a possessed girl, have the crew and the fake shaman slowly uncover the secrets of the zombie farm. There’s a scene where they’re actually watching the action from afar through the lens of the camera. Why show them doing that when you could just show what the camera sees? But like I said, good flick with a new and interesting take on zombies. Kind of a blend of the traditional voodoo stuff and the walking corpses that eat flesh. And an honest to God zombie fight. Zombies with conflicting motivations? Pretty neat to consider. Grade: B

I'd totally buy vegetables on the side of the road from this guy

My Conversation with Stacey Jay

A couple of years ago, when books were still on paper and sold in stores, I picked up a copy of “You Are So Undead To Me.”  Yeah, it was a kid’s book, a young adult book, a YA, I knew that.  But, zombies!  How could I resist zombies?  Of course, I loved it.  I was also fairly new to Twitter at the time, so I found it pretty damn amazing when I wrote to the book’s author, Stacey Jay, and she wrote back! 

I’m a manly man/guy/dude and this woman has gotten me to read both a YA book and an adult fantasy novel about fairies.  That second one’s called “Dead on the Delta.”  It’s about fairies that have mutated and feast on human blood.  And if that sounds awesome, it is.  So if you’re keeping track of reasons why I adore Stacey Jay: 1) She is a supremely talented writer. 2) She was how I found out just how awesome Twitter can be.  3) She allowed me to interview her for my blog.  For free!   So we’ve been exchanging emails for a few weeks.  Here’s how it went down:

KJB: I remember reading ‘You Are So Undead to Me’ and being freaked out right off the bat when Megan is bitten.  My first question is how did you get into zombies?  And my second is, what kind of thought process went into creating this whole new world where a zombie bite hurts but not does bring a new plague upon mankind?  It’s very different than any other zombie lit I’ve read.

SJ:  The first zombies I ever saw were in Michael Jackson’s Thriller video.  I was five and immediately entranced.  They were so terrifying, yet strangely funny at the same time.  When I started YOU ARE SO UNDEAD TO ME I really wanted a funny/scary vibe, and zombies are my go-to creature for that.

Never heard of it. Thanks, Google.

As far as the zombie bites are concerned, my zombies are based more on the voodoo tradition than the infectious plague tradition.  In the voodoo culture, zombies don’t usually turn other people with their bite.

KJB: Voodoo. Of course.  I think it’s easy to forget that George Romero didn’t invent zombies. 😉
  
 So, I just read  ‘Dead on the Delta’.  This is your first book for grown-ups, correct?  I imagine it must be more difficult to write YA because you have to judge what the reader can or can’t be exposed to.  (I can’t even comprehend not being able to swear!) Admittedly, I don’t read a ton of YA, but I have to think in YASUTM, you were skirting some lines with lesbians and shower scenes (though not combined, so maybe there’s the line…).  Anyway, talk a little about YA vs. uhh, just A.
 
SJ: Well, I hope you enjoyed DEAD ON THE DELTA, it’s certainly a departure from my Megan Berry books, and much more adult.  As far as which is more difficult to write–adult or young adult–I can’t give an answer one way or the other.  I think it depends on the book and the subject matter, regardless of what age group the book is for. For example–YOU ARE SO UNDEAD TO ME and JULIET IMMORTAL (my August 2011 release) are both for young adults, but Juliet was a much more troubled character than Megan.  Being in her head space was more grueling than other heroines I’ve written.  And Annabelle from DEAD ON THE DELTA…well, she’s just a mess. But I’ve got a lot of love and hope for her. She was very interesting to write and I hope to get the chance to spend many more books with her.
 
KJB:  So would it be safe to say you create the characters, the world, the story first, and worry about who the target audience is afterward?
 
 SJ: Hm. Well, sometimes the character comes first. In JULIET IMMORTAL, that was certainly the case. I started thinking of an alternative Juliet–as a warrior type of character–and the rest of the story grew from there. With DEAD ON THE DELTA, the world came first and the age of the character shifted as I imagined what living in this type of environment would do to people, and where I wanted to focus the story.
 
KJB: What is your writing routine like?  I know you tweet a lot about writing in public…do you ever get recognized?  What’s the weirdest or best or worst fan encounter you’ve ever had?
 
…Besides maybe having a crazy zombie hunter named after you, of course 😉
 
SJ: My writing routine is…grueling. I write about 1500-3000 words per day, six days a week, and fit in editing and proofing and publicity and email and everything else whenever I can (nights, weekends, etc) amidst raising two small boys and taking part time care of my two stepdaughters. I’ve been working this way for about four years and I REALLY need a break. I think I’m going to get one in October, so I’m pretty jazzed for that. It will be a great chance to refill the creative well. And I do often write in public, just because strangers are easier to ignore than my loud-mouthed children at home.  (My two year old is especially vocal and refuses to respect the fact that “mama’s working.”  He will bang on the bedroom door until I want to shoot myself in the head, so… Coffee shop it is.) And no one has EVER recognized me as anything but my childrens’ mom/stepmom. I am not famous. I am not even infamous.  (Though I’m considering an act of infamy in my old age.  Just for kicks.)  As far as weirdness/goodness from fans…I think having a zombie hunter named after me TOPS the list of awesome sauce fan action.  I’ve never really had much weirdness.  My readers are amazing and I appreciate them so much. I do get a lot of emails thanking me for responding to their email personally, however.  I guess there are a lot of authors who don’t have the time. Maybe I won’t someday, but for now I really try to make the time to show my readers how grateful I am for their support.
 
KJB: I’m thinking of changing careers. Should I become a zombie settler or a fairy crap sample collector?

Everybody poops

 
SJ: Hm, well either one probably has better job security than a writer, so…

Hah.  I kid.  Mostly…

Thanks for the interview, Kevin!

 

   
 

 

 

My Conversation With Jessica Meigs

A few months ago, I made Twitter friends with a young lady named Jessica Meigs.  It quickly became apparent that we were leading creepily parallel lives.  Our novels starring zombies were both picked up by Permuted Press.  We signed our contracts on the same day.  (Pretty sure it was literally the same day.)  We both pay the bills by working mind-numbing  jobs at the world’s largest retailer.  (We’re not cashiers!  …not that there’s anything wrong with that.) And it turns out we both feel really strongly about the importance of good grammar and editing when self-publishing. (Typos make you look like an amateur!  You would think more indie writers would feel that way.)  Naturally, we became friends and colleagues, but oddly enough, we each have not actually read the other’s work.  If my book coming out is the most highly anticipated book release in my life, then The Becoming by Jessica Meigs is second.  Here now is a conversation we had over the last few days via email:
 
KJB: Secret revealing time: I almost bought your book a few months ago.
 
After I got my Kindle, I was browsing for all things zombie and I saw The Becoming on the digital shelf. I thought, hmm, written on a cell phone, that’s weird but kind of cool. In the end, I passed because I didn’t want to do novellas or get into a whole series I would have to wait for the conclusion of. (oh, males and their commitment issues!) I have since come to realize that I probably made a huge mistake. You signed with Permuted Press, which means The Becoming has to be good. You sought me out and we became friends which shows remarkable good taste in choice of company. But now every day I have to live with the fact that I initially passed on you.
 

Pictured: The only thing Jessica Meigs uses to write a book with.

 
I pre-ordered your soon-to-be released Permuted edition and it is easily the most excited I have ever been about pre-ordering a book. So now, I give you free rein to give me shit for not being on board from the beginning and tell me why The Becoming will blow my mind, as I anticipate it will. (I’ve built it up in my mind as the zombie book to end all zombie books…no pressure.)
 
JM:  Secret revealing time on my part: I saw your book at some point on Amazon and almost went digging for it for the nook but never got the chance to. Then I forgot about it, and when I found out you’d been signed to Permuted, I was like, “Why does this guy’s name sound so familiar?!” and then found out that, oh hey, he’s the one who wrote that mailman one you were going to buy but never did! *sigh*

Why The Becoming will blow your mind. Let’s see….hm….
Well, it has zombies! But they’re not zombies. They’re just infected people who want to eat your face off. Which, I guess, is the definition of zombies whichever way you slice it. They are zombies that run, too. None of that slow, shambling mess that you can outrun and hide from so easily.
And there’s guns! Lots and lots of guns. And knives. And a character obsessed with collecting guns and knives. I’m sure you can imagine her obsession only works to the characters’ benefit. And odd weapons you don’t hear about every day (hello Galil sniper rifle and bolo knife).
There’s also sex. But that doesn’t show up until the second book, soooo…I don’t think that counts (yet).
Badass female characters? I hope you like those, because there’s three of them (granted, one’s a teenager, so she’s only as badass as she can be while avoiding the zombies as opposed to actively hunting them down and killing them).
Characters with psychological problems! Jealousy! Sociopathy (…which is one of those things that really shows up in the second book)! Secrets! Lies! Betrayals! Hookers with hearts of gold!* (Oh wait, that’s only in the Kevin Burke version of The Becoming.)
What else you need to know? 😛
 
*Editor’s note:  She’s referring to a fake blurb I wrote for her, having no idea what the book was about.  Hookers with hearts of gold won’t show up until Book 4.
 
 
KJB: I went with the classic undead shamblers myself. I know they’re not very scary, but they are relentless and dangerous in numbers. I got some pretty good use out of them, if I do say so myself. I always say I prefer slow to fast but when I think about all the zombie films that truly scared me, they all had fast. And most of the films near the top of my Best list have fast too. I guess what I’m saying is, if anything, I love both.
I did not think it possible to be hooked anymore, but your description is awesome. It always has seemed to me that we have very similar styles. I very much look forward to being proven right. I feel like we’re ZFFs now. 
Now, how did you get into this zombie craze? What are some of your favorite books, movies, or games?
 
JM:  “Relentless and dangerous” very definitely describes a slow zombie, especially en masse. I suppose it’s because you can run, but you can only run so long before you get tired, and they NEVER get tired. I personally like both too, but I definitely think that the faster ones are scarier than the slower ones.

As for how I got into the zombie craze (at least recently, because I’ve watched zombie movies since I was a kid), I blame it on a combination of 28 Days Later and Max Brooks’ book World War Z. I think both defy description of how awesome they are, so I’m not sure I’m willing to even try.
Favorite books, movies, and/or games: For books, definitely everything written by Max Brooks, Mira Grant, and Jonathan Maberry. There are others too, but those are always the first three that pop in my head when I’m asked who my favorites are. 🙂 As for movies, everything from the original Night of the Living Dead (which was the first zombie movie I recall seeing) to the remake of Dawn of the Dead (which I honestly liked better than the original!) and 28 Days/Weeks Later. And, of course, The Walking Dead, which I thought was pretty good, and I was really thrilled to see a television series about zombies (which just leads to the question of WHAT TOOK THEM SO LONG?!).
 

Scary...

 

Not...no, wait, yeah, both scary.

KJB: You should read The Walking Dead comic. As the old saying goes, “the book is better than the movie.” And by book, I mean comic book and by movie, I mean TV show. Who are your heroes? Who are your influences? Do you like ice cream?
 
JM: I’m waiting on The Walking Dead to be available to read on an eReader before I dive into it. Never been a HUGE fan of comics, but I’ll dig into some of them. 🙂

You made me think about this one, huh? 😛

Let’s see. Who are my heroes? Definitely my parents. They’ve sacrificed a LOT for me, and that’s something that I seriously can’t ignore. They are seriously the most amazing parents ever, and I wouldn’t ask for anything else. (No, I’m totally serious. I’m not sucking up to my parents AT ALL.)
My influences: Really, it rolls back to my favorite authors: Mira Grant, Max Brooks, and Jonathan Maberry. They’re definitely the best zombie writers EVER, and if I could write even a fraction as well as them, I’d be perfectly content.
Hell yeah, I like ice cream. Chocolate chip cookie dough all the way. 😀
 
KJB: I’ve been blown away by all the compliments I’ve received and it’s made me go, “yeah, I’ve definitely got some writing chops. I can do this.” What has been your most flattering fan reaction so far? Have you had any special moments or your own time when you said “I can do this!”?
 
JM: My favorite (and therefore most flattering) fan reaction was a message I got through Facebook from a US soldier currently in Afghanistan. He was messaging me to thank me for writing the books (he’d just finished reading the self-published ones), because they did a wonderful job of distracting him and keeping him occupied in his down time while fighting in Afghanistan. I’m HUGE into supporting the military, so that absolutely made my day when I got it.

And my special moment that I had when I said, “I can do this!” was definitely when my editor came back to me with the first edits on the first book. She had put commentary all through it, and a lot of it was flattering and just made me smile while reading it. I was SO thankful that she hadn’t been like, “This is crap! Why are we publishing this?!”
 
KJB: This one’s from my brother.  He asks, “How would your book be different if it had been written on an iphone instead of a blackberry?”
 
JM:  Good question! It probably wouldn’t have gotten written, to be honest. Typing anything of significant length on an iPhone was such a pain (there’s actually maybe a grand total of two paragraphs that got typed on an iPhone) that I very quickly gave up and went back to using the BlackBerry to write on. Drove me absolutely NUTS trying to type on that thing!
 
KJB: In closing, what does the future hold for Jessica Clementine Meigs  and what words of wisdom do you have for the future children of the zombie apocalypse?
 
JM: Clementine? I suppose it’s close enough to Elaine to pass. 
 
The future likely holds the release of books two and three of the trilogy, unless the first one falls so hard on its face that Permuted goes, “Oh dear God, what were we THINKING?!”

"The Becoming? I wish it was the Be-going! Hahaha"

 
Words of wisdom: Keep your guns loaded, keep your emergency supplies stocked, and keep your friends close, because they’re the ones that are going to have your back when the zombies try to eat your face off.
 
KJB: Thanks, Jessica!  See you at the Permuted family picnic!
 
 
 

Zombie Movie Night July ’11

As many of you probably know, this zombie thing really hit full throttle for me when my brother and I started getting together once a month for “Zombie Movie Night.”  Not counting special editions, last night was ZMN 22.  The features were “The Dead Pit”, a low-budget indie from 1989 and “Rammbock” a 2010 German film just recently made available in the US.

Trailer: "The distance between the depths of a damaged mind & the depths of hell is no greater than the thickness of a door. And now the door is open!" So true.

At an insane asylum twenty years ago, Dr. Swan was forced to shoot his friend and colleague, Dr. Ramzi, in the head when he descended the world’s largest spiral staircase and found him doing unspeakable brain experiments.  He nailed and spackled the basement door and never thought about the incident ever again.  Until…

The mysterious Jane Doe arrives at the hospital claiming someone took her memories.  Soon after, an earthquake rocks the foundation and the door in the basement loosens up.  With a bullet hole in his head and glowing red eyes that look like someone removed the lights from a ‘light-flashing action’ Tonka truck, Dr. Ramzi returns to torment Jane Doe and get his revenge on Dr. Swan.  With an army of the undead emerging from the titular dead pit to follow his command, he succeeds at both.

This movie is bad, but in the good old entertaining way.  Very easy to make fun of.  Horrible acting, inexplicable decisions and actions taken by the characters, gore that defies anatomy.  All the staples that make watching this kind of movie great are there.  It drags a bit in the middle and it takes way too long to get to the hardcore zombie action, but we were entertained enough to keep The Dead Pit pretty far from the bottom of the heap.  That was more than I expected from it.    Grade: C+

Rammbock is a really great…uh…it’s hard to call it a movie because it’s not even an hour.  It’s a really great short film I guess.  It is very well done and leaves you wanting more, which is exactly the problem.

Mike is heartbroken over getting dumped by his girlfriend and when he has to go to Berlin to return her keys, he figures it’s the perfect opportunity to win her back.  Except for…

As soon as he enters her apartment, he is attacked by a zombie of the raging variety.  He quickly finds himself locked in the bedroom with a handyman’s apprentice, a rabbit and …a bear suit.  He even puts it on (???) at one point ( presumably in case he runs into the Wicker Man cult).

  http://youtu.be/xo_5ZKcYROw

There are a lot of great predicaments and tight spots and, of course, the daring escape.  And then it ends just as it’s getting warmed up.  I know movies aren’t cheap, but it wouldn’t cost all that much to add a few more scenes of dialogue.  The description says the two leads are “forced to work together,” but other than an argument over forks, they get along swimmingly.  The movie could have used a much healthier dose of human conflict, which is the key element that turns good zombie stuff into great zombie stuff. 

Putting its own spin on the idea of zombies, you can be infected but not turned…adrenaline sets off the virus, so just stay calm after your loved one bites you and you’ll be fine.  Again, they could have done a lot more with that angle-it’s a gold mine of tension that they barely do anything with. 

Rammbock is a great short film, but I wanted it to be a great regular film, which ultimately knocks it down to just a good film.  So much unlocked potential.   Grade: B

 

To read what my brother thought, go here:

http://askmeaboutzombies.wordpress.com/2011/07/03/the-dead-pit-rammbock/

Flashback: Shaun of the Dead Review

I was just digging around my old AOL Journal (as yet another form of procrastination).  I found my review of Shaun of the Dead.   So here it is, originally published on October 22, 2004 (at 4:40pm).

 

SHAUN OF THE DEAD

I knew I would like this movie before I even sat down. The tagline on the poster outside reads: “A romantic comedy. With zombies”. Well, two out of three isn’t bad. There’s plenty of comedy and plenty of zombies, but not much romance. It’s not missing entirely, but the movie has better targets in mind and no one is going to leave the theater complaining that there wasn’t enough kissing.

I really hope no one sees this movie expecting an actual romantic comedy or worse, to be really scared, because the film is pure laughs. The zombies are really more of an inconvenience that keeps getting worse as the film progresses. At first, our hero Shaun doesn’t even notice them- in a hilarious extended scene where Shaun does exactly the same thing he had done the previous day, oblivious to the fact that there is blood everywhere and the dead walk amongst him.

Shaun’s world starts out as both monotonous and all-consuming. He is going nowhere as an employee at an electronics store. Even when having a heart to heart with his girlfriend about getting a life, he can’t be bothered to change the scenery from the pub he frequents or tell her friends and his to take a hike while they sort things out. These every day problems keep him in enough of a rut that dire news reports and television warnings to stay inside go unnoticed. I imagine there’s supposed to be some thinly veiled social commentary when even the viewer can’t tell at first who is a zombie and who is not- such is our workaday lifestyle! But the movie doesn’t spend any time dwelling on such observations before amping up both the violence and the comedy.

The movie does resort to the usual horror cliches from time to time. For every hysterical scene like Shaun and his friend Ed trying to decide which of their vinyl records they can part with before hurling them at oncoming zombies, there’s also obligatory horror items such as one of the survivors trying to hide the fact that they will soon be forced to switch sides.

Overall, the comedy is sharp and fresh- even if it wasn’t, the premise alone keeps one from ever being bored. It’s easy to like Shaun and root for him as he finds his untapped courage while battling under strange circumstances. The film should not be frightening to anyone over twelve, but there are a few moments where things do look grim, even for the residents of a zombie “spoof”. The ending is inspired and I believe it is what might really happen if we were ever forced to share the world with the undead.

3.5 stars

Spotlight on Tony Faville, author of Kings of the Dead

   As far as zombie hunters go, they don’t come much nicer and friendlier than Tony Faville.  When I was on the fence about selling TLM to Permuted Press, Tony was there to offer guidance and provide the inside scoop on what it would be like to work with them.  Since then, he’s become a friend and mentor and when I said I’d like to interview him for my blog, he said yes before I had even hit Send.  (not literally of course, but it was a fast reply).  Tony is just that good.  And you know what else is good?  Kings of the Dead.  By Tony Faville.  Available from Permuted Press.

http://www.amazon.com/Kings-Dead-Revised-Expanded-Faville/dp/1934861839/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1309498758&sr=1-1

Here now, my Q & A with author and zombie hunter, Tony Faville: 

 KJB:  I guess the first, most obvious question is, how did you get into zombies?  What compelled you to write stories about them?
 
TF:  I first became a fan of the genre back when I was a kid and was able to see Dawn of the Dead ’78 when I was around 12.  I then went on to become a FAN of the genre when 28 Days Later started what I view as the second age of the zombie/PAW movies.  As for writing about them, I never really put much thought into it until around 2009 when I wrote my first book.
 

Tony Faville, with Battle Kat

 
KJB:  Kings of the Dead is a great book.  What is your writing process like?  Do you have meticulous notes that you stick to or do you make it up as you go along?
 
TF:  Much of my early writing was done by the seat of my pants, making it up as I went.  Since that time my writing has definitely matured, but because of that, I find myself having more difficulty writing. I will continue answering this one down below, you’ll know it when you see it.
 
KJB: You’ve said before that a lot of the characters are based on real people you know.  Without giving too much away, how did they all react to their fictionalizations?  Anyone resent being killed off in a book?  On your end, was it difficult to make all these bad things happen to them or were you able to detach yourself from the emotion that could be involved?
 
TF:  You know the old adage, write what you know?  Well, I took that to heart and changed it a little bit by writing who I know.  For the most part, they loved what [I] did with them.  I have had a couple of people take stuff a little too seriously and, fact is, it has hurt our relationship.  Excuse me, it’s fiction, get over yourself.  One of the pleasures I had though, was one day while out shooting with the guys I based Lenny and Gabe on.  They were standing around talking about whether they could really steal/borrow a Coast Guard cutter like they do in the book.  At first, they were a little bit skeptical.  Then I reminded them that they were talking about a military vehicle, and in typical military fashion, there would be a checklist for every single step in the process.  Being a couple of old Navy guys, I saw the lights come on and then they moved beyond whether they could do it or not, and it became a question of how long would it take?
 
KJB: I met you through Twitter.  Talk about how important social networking is to the modern writer trying to make a name for him/herself.
 
TF: I think that for all of its faults and weaknesses, if a Twitter user knows how to use it, it can be an incredible networking tool.  If a new follower asks me if I can recommend an editor, publisher, agent, etc., I can provide them with dozens of @names that can help them out.  Networking has always been an important tool to me, so Twitter was only the next step.
 
KJB: My daughter is terrified of the front cover of Kings of the Dead and refuses to look at it.  I think it’s fantastic.  Who designed it?
 
TF: Permuted Press Publisher Jacob K. worked closely with the artist Christopher Dovel on the cover.  I was able to give a little feedback, but the feedback I gave wound up being kind of important.  People love that cover though.  In fact, I have had more than a few people tell me they bought it just because of the cover, and wound up loving it.
What changes did I request?  Well, the guy with the sledgehammer originally held a bat, so I asked them, since one of the main characters uses a sledge, can we change it from a bat to a sledge.  Done!  And the other one, Cole, the main character, was written as a husky guy in his mid-40’s.  When I first saw the silhouette in the middle, I saw a 20’s something, slender/muscular young man, so I asked them to make the silhouette “older and thicker”.  As you can see when looking at the cover, the artist was able to do so.
 

Warning: This book contains badasses.

KJB: What has your experience with Kings’ publisher, Permuted Press, been like?

 TF: Jacob, the PP publisher, is a younger guy, that absolutely loves doing what he does.  He is very enthusiastic, a gentleman, and a man of his word.  IF you are lucky enough to be picked up my Permuted Press, you will definitely learn why they are considered to be THE Zombie/PAW publisher.
 
 
*SPOILER ALERT* SKIP THE NEXT QUESTION IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK…
 
 
KJB: I have to get a little spoiler-y because I’ve got this theory I’ve been meaning to run by you.  My favorite thing about Kings is how you can see day by day, entry by entry, Cole is losing his mind.  (Very nicely done, by the way).  So here’s what I think: The final encounter with Harley was not real.  Am I right? 
 
TF: I am sure that you have seen The Matrix, right?  Remember the bald little boy, “There is no spoon!”  Yeah, there is no Harley, Cole is just seriously going batshit crazy.
 
 
[Editor’s note: No, I haven’t seen The Matrix, and now you’ve ruined it for me, Tony.  Just kidding.  I really have never seen it, though.]

He'll always be Johnny Mnemonic to me

 
 
KJB: Talk about the upcoming Avery Nolan and where that whole idea stemmed from.
 
TF: I woke up early one Sunday morning and hopped on my computer to see what my sales had been like overnight and to check my farm on Facebook (kidding, I do not play Farmville). As I sat there reading the news as I like to do, I had what I call a day flash, just a snippet of a scene. I wrote the scene down, then looked at it and realized that in all of my current works in progress, there [was] no place this scene would fit into. Later that day I was sitting there watching television, when I reached out, grabbed my iPad, and wrote 1000 words around the scene, Avery Nolan: Private Dick of the Dead was born.
 

You can't spell Farmville without "Faville." I'm just sayin'. Who are you fooling, Tony?

KJB: I know I’ve thought about it and you obviously have too…A zombie apocalypse would be kind of fun in a sick way, wouldn’t it?

 
TF: You know, I have put absolutely zero thought into it.  Just because I have several months worth of canned and dried food, water, a war box full of ammo, blades and tools of all sorts, gloves, clothes, first aid supplies,duct tape, nails, etc, a gun safe full of, well, guns, and have spent a significant amount of time learning how to use all of those things, means absolutely nothing.
No, truth is, I have put a lot of hypothetical thought into it, and I enjoy it for what it is.  With that being said, I do have all of those things and all of that knowledge, but not because I expect the dead to rise from their graves, but because I have little faith in mankind.  We are coming up on a crash, and it will be fast, and it will be nasty.  I plan on taking care of me and those I care most about, at all costs. I am not a survivalist, I am not a tinfoil hat wearing paranoid schizophrenic, I am just a guy that has taken a close look at the world and the direction we are heading, and has taken certain steps to prepare for it.  If it never happens?  Then I will be an old man eating a lot of Dinty Moore Beef Stew, and, frankly, I am okay with that.
 

Pictured: Not Tony Faville

 KJB:  And finally…
 
TF:  Kevin, I would like to thank you for taking the time to put these questions together for me, and I would also like to congratulate you on your pending release from Permuted Press.  My best advice is to write until you can write no more, and when you think you have written enough, write some more.