It’s time for another interview with another great zombie writer. And who better to talk about Zombies and Horror than the Zombie King himself, Jack Wallen!
SM: I am super excited to welcome today the Zombie King, Mr. Jack Wallen! Hi, Jack. Thanks for joining us today. You know I love me some zombies and horror!
JW: As well you should. And thank you for having me here. From what I hear, the dressing rooms are tops and I get full access to your closet. I can’t wait to see what kind of smexy frights are locked away in there. I KNOW everyone has a fright or two stored away in their closets – some in the form of ghosts of fashion past, but some are real frights.
SM: Just stay away from the silk Kimono. Thing cost me a fortune. Now, let me start by asking you a few random questions so we can get to know you a little better.
1): What’s your all-time favorite thing to eat?
JW: There’s a mexican place here in Louisville, Kentucky called ‘Bazos’. They have a burrito that will make you smack your momma it’s so good. I’d have to say, when the apocalypse arrives, I must get my Bazos on before the oncoming horde arrives and noms the owner’s brains.
SM: That’s the true tragedy of the apocalypse, most of the best chefs will no doubt get eaten.
2): If you had a theme song to your life, what would it be?
JW: Wow, what a tough question that is. You see, that’s not a question that calls to my ginormous LOVE of music – it’s more a question of what song speaks closest to the story of my life. I refuse to call on that old cliché “I will survive”, and will go directly to my all-time favorite band Rush. Their song “Mission” speaks most clearly to me and what I am all about. The first verse says “Hold your fire, keep it burning bright. Hold the flame ‘til the dream ignights. A spirit with a vision is a dream with a mission.” It doesn’t get any better than that.
JW: Can I include my own? 😉 Nah, that would be in poor taste. My top three zombie books are:
Day By Day Armageddon (by J.L. Bourne)
The Zen of Zombie (by Scott Kenemore)
Xombies (by Walter Greatshell)
And I’ll add Biomega here as well. It’s actually a Graphic Novel, but is absolutely amazing.
SM: Oooo, more stuff for the TBR pile!
4): What’s one totally crazy, off-the-wall thing you’ve done in your life? And would you do it again?
JW: Oh goodness – some of those things I can’t actually repeat in public right? RIGHT? Stop me now, before I completely ruin my public image. 😉
The first show I did off Broadway was HORRIBLE. One night a castmember and I went to see Mandy Patinkin’s one man show (this was back in the ‘80s). After the show we decided we were going to wait for him and say hello. When he came out we begged him to come see our horrible show… just to make it worth doing. We don’t know if he ever came. Honestly, I hope he didn’t (the show was that bad). I’d do it again.
SM: First off, I love Mandy Patinkin. Second, you can repeat ANYTHING here … 😉
5): If aliens came down and asked you to go with them to their home planet, would you go?
JW: Without hesitation. Probes optional? Oh hell, who cares, I’d still go!
SM: Oh, the jokes I could make … But I shall refrain. For now. Now let’s move on to your writing.
6): I know Clive Barker has been a huge inspiration to you as an author. Is there anything or anyone else that has inspired your love of writing zombies and horror?
JW: Clive was pretty much the single inspiration for getting me to write and to write horror. Do you really need any more inspiration than that? Okay, I’ll also give a slight nod to Edward Lee – who is one of the masters at splatter punk. It is the depravity that he writes that makes me realize what I’m writing should be okay for the average reader of horror. I only recommend him if you have a very strong stomach. But beyond the realm of writers, I can honestly thank my fans for continuing to inspire and encourage me as well as much of the music I listen to.
SM: 7) Can you tell us a little more about your I Zombie series and the journey so far?
JW: It’s funny how this whole thing works. What started out as a simple question “What would it feel like to turn into a zombie?” has evolved into an entire world. And what started as a single book, turned into a trilogy, and then into a series. I honestly thought it was going to end with Die Zombie Die (hence the title). I realized, as soon as I completed Die Zombie Die, I had a lot more story to tell. I was originally going to start a new series, one based on the I Zombie story line, called The Book of Jacob. That series will still happen, but there’s way too much ground to cover before I reach that. I can tell you, though, that some of my favorite characters I have ever created are in this series and that I truly LOVE writing strong female characters. I honestly think anyone who likes a strong female character will love this series. And Bethany Nitishimi kicks ass!
SM: Yes. Yes, she does!
8) Why zombies? Why horror?
JW: Good questions. There is no other genre of fiction as cathartic as horror. And horror is something readers can curl up with in the security of their own house, and be frightened as if what they read could actually happen. It’s an amazing release. Your heart races, your skin chills, your breath is stolen… what else gives you that type of release besides the big smexy? And zombies represent something we can all actually relate to. Anyone that has ever been in corporate America knows the longer you remain the more zombie-like you become. Zombie horror easily serves as a metaphor for a human condition we all know and loath. Zombies are a socio-political vehical that can be used as a horrific mirror to hold up to society.
SM: 9) What do you have planned for the future of the I Zombie series?
JW: Death and destruction aplenty. I don’t want to give away much, but I can say that Bethany Nitshimi will remain as the main character throughout the series now. She and baby Jacob are the only two that are safe from my nasty habit of killing characters off. I can also tell you that one of everyone’s favorite characters, the Zombie Radio DJ – might just return from the ‘grave’. Can I get a MUHAHA?
JW: Shoo there is no question about it. ‘80s Rock. The likes of The Fixx, The Scorpians, Van Halen, Saga, Michael Jackson, U2, The Cars, Queen, Peter Gabriel, Billy Idol… they eat modern pop for breakfast and have it poo’d out of their systems by lunch time!
SM: Chocolate or Cheese?
JW: I can’t… I simply can’t answer that one. Okay… I’m gonna have to say Chocolate, simply because peanut butter and cheese doesn’t work well together.
(SM: Really? Try telling my dad that. He thinks peanut butter and cheese sandwiches are god’s gift.)
SM: Paris, France or Paris, Texas?
JW: We’ll always have Paris… France. But honestly, I’d still prefer Australia to either. My biggest fear is if I go to France, I’ll make that funny ‘haw haw’ French sound that I think is so hilarious and stereotypical of the French. That would get me in trouble. While at the same time, I might wind up yelling out “The stars at night, are big and bright…” if I were in Paris, Texas. Still in trouble.
SM: Okay then. Australia it is.
And how do you feel about dragons?
JW: I rode one to work. Her name is Mary. She’s pink.
SM: Awesome. Final question: Do you have a Zombie Survival tip?
JW: I have tons of them (follow me on twitter for a new one every day @jlwallen). But here’s the best you’ll ever get. Although guns are the great equalizer between humans and zombies, they also go ‘bang bang’ which will go a long way to attract the undead. A better weapon is a bow and arrow (for distance) and either a retractable, sharpened pole or a slicey-dicey machete (for up close and nommable).
SM: Jack, thanks so much for doing the zombie thing with me today. Glitter all around!
JW: Here’s something fun. Pretty soon I’m going to be getting a zombie tattoo and want to have my fans help me to design one! If you have any ideas for a great zombie tattoo (especially as it might pertain to my I Zombie series) send me your thoughts firstname.lastname@example.org!
And thank you so much for having me here. You’re lovely and your fans are lovely. It’s been swell, but the swelling’s gone.
If you want to keep up with Jack online, he can be found here:
His Website http://www.monkeypantz.net