Okay, you know my books, The Fourth Queen and The Lost Queen. You know my short stories from One and Small World Global Protection Agency. You know my writing is safe, clean and fun for the whole family.
Maybe you don't know I have a guilty pleasure: Zombies!
I watch the movies. I read the books. I play the video games. So when my fellow Trestle Press authors Darren Sant and Sam Lang started a new zombie series called Severed, I was hooked. The debut story, In the Beginning, was strong on characters and had such a huge scope. So, I got with them and dazzled them with my hard-hitting journalism.
Without further ado, I would like to welcome Darren and Sam to the Land of Empyrean.
ME: What made you want to write about zombies? What is their appeal to you?
SL: It seems that many of the horror greats have tackled the subject. I've wanted to do a zombie story for some time. When I heard Darren on Giovanni Gelati's G-Zone talking about it, the opportunity presented itself. I wanted to do a different take on what's been done and working with Darren, I think we are going to accomplish that. My appeal to zombies is the sheer hopeless, faceless horror. With a vamp or a werewolf, you can give it a name then kill it. Zombies keep coming and they come in droves. They are mindless, but with a singular purpose. Kind of like trying to stop the ocean from hitting the beach with a five gallon bucket.
DS: For me the appeal is not so much the zombies as the scenario. I’ve always enjoyed post apocalyptic end of the world stories. How do people cope? How do they survive? What do they do? I like the thought that we could all start again afresh from the ashes of the Old World that has so much wrong with it.
ME: Wow. Hopeless and apocalyptic. You two must be barrels of fun when you get together. Of course, I'm aware that Sam is in the US and Darren is in the UK. Now, writing is a typically solitary endeavor. How is it collaborating? How do you divide the work/ideas? Any unusual challenges?
DS: The challenge is keeping up with Sam. The man is a turbo charged Energizer Bunny of ideas. We’re looking at sections and chatting about how they might pan out. My flair as a writer of short and flash fiction primarily is for creating short scenes. Sam, he may disagree with me, has a better idea of the big picture.
SL: I typically prefer to be alone, writing or not. Darren is a fantastic writer and so easy going. We get along famously! Luckily, we are basically on the same page all the time. We email back and forth only to find out we have each had the same idea. As to dividing the work, it's been organic so far. We both contribute equally to the end result and I think you will see that flourish more in the second installment. The only challenge I've encountered is the difference in our time zones and that is not really a factor.
ME: It seems that you compliment each other very well. I'm excited to see where you take this series. Can you give any hints to what we can expect? Is there an end goal?
SL: Oh, I don't like to give away the surprise. We'll see what Darren has to offer, but all I will say is that it is shaping up to be quite huge.
DS: Nope. Because then we’d have to kill you. Let’s just say you’re in for a wild ride that will feature more super natural creatures and action from around the globe.
ME: I definitely don't want to be zombie food! To be safe, I'll change the subject. What else are you working on at the moment?
SL: I've turned over my contribution to the Drunk on the Moon series to Paul D. Brazill. Beyond that, we should see the next chapter of Reprisal very soon. I've got some more convicts to parade out before we get to the really gruesome stuff.
DS: My third Longcroft story, which I can exclusively reveal, will be called Temple and the Cross is nearly finished. I’m working on a collaboration with Cody Toye, another Trestle author. I have a hard boiled story for Trestle in November and various other projects that I shouldn't have taken on because I want a social life!
ME: Very nice. You both seem to be extremely busy. Darren, thanks for giving me the exclusive on the title to your new Longcroft story. I did read the first two stories and thoroughly enjoyed them. Back to the zombies, what are your influences?
DS: Night of the Living Dead as a film. The excellent new series Walking Dead. Fiction wise there was an excellent zombie anthology I read this year by Wild Wolf publishing called Holiday of the Dead. That was a huge anthology and it has inspired me a lot.
SL: The first and last movie to ever truly scare me was the original Night of the Living Dead. George Romero keeps doing it right, Land of the Dead was excellent as well. Bookwise, I've got my eye on Death Troopers. What could be a better combination than Star Wars and zombies?
ME: Star Wars undead? Sounds fun. It seems that you both must have been warped by the Night of the Living Dead. One of you being from Florida and the other from Hull, do you find your nationality playing a factor or bringing something unique to the stories?
SL: Other than some familiarity with some of the settings, I can't think of anything specific. Horror is one of those genres that speaks to the heart in any language.
DS: Hmmm. A good question. I think my Britishness is more a state of mind. I have a certain humour that is very British. I also do melancholy very well, perhaps because we are a cold miserable rained on lot over here in Blighty.
ME: England does seem to be quite dreary. Just kidding. Darren, I suspected you were a bit of a comedian. Does anyone ever mistake you for the actor Matt Lucas? I saw him in Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire. Funny guy.
DS: Annoyingly that comparison has been made. It makes me want to swear. I wouldn’t mind the little man’s cash that’s for sure. Joking aside he’s a rare comic talent and I could have been compared to worse.
ME: Well said. Sam, my last question is for you. I'm on Facebook too much and I've noticed a lack of photos of you.
SL: Some of the skulls on my covers are more attractive. But seriously, I enjoy my privacy and solitude.
ME: That's understandable. Social media can easily become pretty invasive. I want to thank you both for taking the time to answer my questions. I'm sure our audience will enjoy reading what you have to say. By the way, as of this writing, I saw Severed made it to #78 on Amazon UK. Congratulations and I hope it keeps going!
Severed: In the Beginning is available from Trestle Press on Kindle for ONLY 99 Cents.