Vincenzo Bilof is the ghoulishly gifted guy behind Necropolis Now. The first book in the Zombie Ascension series is his latest terrifying tribute to the zombie world. Let's rip open his skull and get a taste...
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?
Vincenzo: I've always loved zombie fiction. Like most fans of the genre, I grew up with the Romero films and the Return of the Living Dead franchise. There really wasn't a lot of zombie fiction out there for a very long time until the explosion in the last few years. I was writing my own zombie fiction but there wasn't a market for it, until some brave authors helped make it relevant. The most difficult part about loving this genre is a lot of people don't take it seriously; it seems to be regarded as a comical sub-genre rather than something capable of inspiring horror and dread. The zombie genre is just as important as any other monster franchise.
Ang: If you had to dumb down the plot of your series so a zombie could understand, how would you explain it?
Vincenzo: The zombie epidemic breaks out in
That's the easiest way to describe Necropolis Now, which is the first book in the Zombie Ascension series.
Ang: Describe the lucky survivors who engage with the festering horde of the dead.
Amparo Vega - A haunted mercenary whose life has been defined by violence. When she's called upon to hunt Jim Traverse in the middle of a city on the brink of destruction, she discovers an opportunity to redeem herself by searching for an innocent girl in the chaos.
Jim Traverse - A legendary soldier who discovered a dark secret while on a mission in Egypt; warped by his knowledge, he became a serial killer, though the chaos in Detroit allows him an opportunity to escape the asylum where he's been studied by military doctors.
Mina Neely - A porn actress confined to the same asylum as Traverse; her dark secrets and macabre lusts are connected to the undead uprising.
Patrick Griggs - A former police detective and porn industry maven who was ordered by the court to halt the sales of all his videos featuring Mina, Griggs uncovers his own need for violence while attempting to rescue the woman he loves.
Desmond Hunter - A lawyer who clawed his way to the top after being raised in a crack house, he represents Griggs in his lawsuit against the state of
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)?
Vincenzo: My characters are troubled individuals whose flaws actually help them survive; they're not "good" people; realism adds relevance to their struggles. There is a fantasy element involved with one or two of the characters, but it's not something you would anticipate…
Ang: Does your series begin just as the zombies start building their paradise or have zombies already gotten things rocking and rotting?
Vincenzo: Necropolis Now unfolds during the zombie apocalypse as the city begins to burn.
Ang: Zombies are people too. They come in all shapes, sizes, speeds, and smarts. What types of the walking dead inhabit your series?
Vincenzo: The zombies in this series are Romero-esque; slow, shambling corpses who are clearly disfigured by however they were murdered.
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?
Vincenzo: The sequel to Necropolis Now will be available this summer. There will also be a novella that serves as a prequel shortly after that. There will be a "third" book sometime in 2014.
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.
Vincenzo: By any means necessary. Think of Joe Pesci killing a zombie with a phone book or a rotary telephone… anything can become a weapon when you're trying to survive.
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.
Vincenzo: My favorite zombie is the one that appears at the start of Day of the Dead. A shadows approaches the cement, the camera looks up at the sun, and the zombie's figure is an eclipse… very beautiful.
Ang: Who is your favorite character from The Walking Dead (comics or TV show)?
Vincenzo: I personally love Michonne from the comic books. You get a sense of why she is the way she is. From the show, I thought Shane was a very engaging character because there were so many factors that motivated his actions. The conflict with Rick was very well done in the show.
Ang: Finally, how prepared are you for the zombie apocalypse that we all know is just around the corner?
Vincenzo: I think zombies will be a lot scarier than we think… and we'll never be prepared enough…
Bite off a chunk of Necropolis Now at the following AmaZons (US, UK, Canada).
Shuffle after Vincenzo at his website and on Twitter.