Monday, April 15, 2013

Zombified Interview with Doug Ward

Doug Ward is the grisly guy behind the Zombie Apocalypse series. Two books in the terrifying trilogy are already shuffling in public. Let's crack open that skull and dig around inside...
Ang: When were you first bitten by the zombie affliction? Can you take us back to how the infection began? What’s the most difficult part about sharing this ghoulish love as an indie?

Doug: My best friend sent me a copy of his favorite zombie novel for my birthday. At the time I was reading mostly science and historical books but he knew I always loved zombie films. I really wasn't interested in reading a book about zombies but persisted and immediately fell in love with the genre. I soon friended Mark Tufo on Facebook (he's a really great guy) and learned about a fan fiction contest he was running. 10,000 words didn't sound like too awful much so I bit the bullet and wrote, Saving Jebediah. Before his contest was over I was another 10,000 words into my first full-length novel, Parasite: The True Story of the Zombie Apocalypse.

I think the hardest part is getting your book noticed and read. There are so many good stories being written every day by Indie Authors. Sometimes I just want to scream read my book! Give it a try!

Ang: If you had to dumb down the plot of your book so a zombie could understand, how would you explain it?

Doug: The main character in my book is Dr. Henry Cooper. He's an Entomologist who barely notices the dead rising all about him. When he does catch on he tries to figure out how it is happening. But first he needs to save his wife, Melissa. With the help of his neighbor Dean and some super hero clad comic book fanboys, he's off to the rescue. Join them as they race across Northwestern Pennsylvania on a quest, which involves everything from undead to fire trucks. Along the way you will discover the hard science behind how the dead truly rose from the grave.

Ang: Describe the lucky survivors who engage with the festering horde of the dead.

  • Henry Cooper is the main guy. An Entomologist who is currently studying a parasite.
  • Melissa Cooper is trapped at work but is very resourceful.
  • Dean Walker is Hank's neighbor and a survival nut.
  • Amber is the beautiful assistant trapped with Melissa and two others.
  • There are the guys from the comic book shop, Drew, Frank, and Ben. They are holed up in the store wearing super hero outfits and eating snack foods.
Just a bunch of normal people. You know...

Ang: What was the most important aspect when writing your non-zombie characters? Realism (losers, assholes, and cowards) or fantasy (Rambo or the guy/gal who has a Rambo hiding inside them)?

Doug: Definitely realism. I like character development. I want them to be believable and do realistic things. Each character is odd in his or her unique way. They change as circumstances change. One of the themes I use in my books is that everyone can contribute. No one is useless. No one is stupid. Everyone has unique knowledge that is necessary to the survival of the group.

Ang: Does your series begin just as the zombies start building their paradise or have zombies already gotten things rocking and rotting?

Doug: The dead have just risen and the funny thing is that Henry is so self-absorbed that he doesn't notice. In a way, I guess, that is real world. We would explain it away. Make excuses for peoples actions. But what happens to the neighbor girl in my book... Sometimes technology is not your friend.

Ang: Zombies are people too. They come in all shapes, sizes, speeds, and smarts. What types of the walking dead inhabit your series?

Doug: All types. From big heavy guys to children. Kids are the scariest. Double tapping a little girl would have to be the hardest thing to do. Even if she's about to chew on your spleen.

Ang: Will your infection spread to more books and series? How many blood and guts offerings do you predict in your future? How soon can our zombie and human readers expect to see your next festering contribution?

Doug: I just released the sequel to Parasite. It's called, Symbiote: The True Story of the Zombie Apocalypse Part 2. It takes the story further along and my beta readers say it is even better than the first. I'm currently about 20,000 words into Part 3 and hoping for a Halloween release. I am imagining it as a four part series.

Ang: What is your favorite way to kill a zombie? Shoot ‘em, hack ‘em, poke ‘em, burn ‘em, or something even more fiendish? ***Zombie readers please turn away to avoid having your putrefied feelings eviscerated.

Doug: I love to kill undead in all sorts of ways. You know, get creative. I have a few that I've never read about before. I actually explain why the zombies die when they supper severe trauma to the head. Like I said. I love science so I sprinkle actual science throughout my novel. Kind of a Michael Crichton treatment.

Ang: Do you have a favorite cinematic zombie? Example: My co-blogger Zombie Earl is quite fond of Zombie Roger from the original Dawn of the Dead.

Doug: Zombie Roger was great! I would rather go with the gas station guy from, Land of the Dead. I liked how they were starting to remember the way things were. Ok, it was a bit hokey but somehow it worked for me.

Ang: Who is your favorite character from The Walking Dead (comics or TV show)?

Doug: I never read the comic book but the TV show's awesome. I was a Shane fan. I know, he was a jerk but he was also a survivor. He shot Otis in the knee because they were both going to die. He killed the zombies in the barn because they were a danger. He did what needed to be done. Remember folks, humanity is a killer in a world where the dead are animated and want to eat your face off.

I was also a T-Dog fan. I knew his time was limited but I think I was rooting for the underdog. I knew he was going to die when he started getting too many speaking parts. That's a death sentence to any second tier character in that show.

Ang: Finally, how prepared are you for the zombie apocalypse we all know is just around the corner?

Doug: BudK is my favorite catalog. Does that answer your question? Actually, writing about The zombie apocalypse has given me an edge. I had to figure out good places to hide and techniques to survive large groups of zombies. I would write a book but I already have.

Chew on Doug's books at Amazon. Chase down Doug at Goodreads.

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