Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Zombified Interview with M. Lauryl Lewis

M. Lauryl Lewis is the bloody babe behind the erotically charged Grace series. With twists and turns, love found and lost, these zombie books provide a unique entry into the gruesome world of the walking dead. The newest rotting book, Dark Grace, was published just last week and is already a hit. Let's dig around in the author's head and see what yummy offerings we can find...

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?
M: It all goes back to when I was about five years old. My parents somehow got "free" HBO in the basement of our family home, and I would sneak horror movies in the middle of the night. They were scarier with rabbit ear antennas. If you're old enough to remember a time before digital TV, you'll know what I mean! My love of horror grew, as did my rate of nightmares. I've always been particularly fond of zombies, but not mummies. Mummies just don't make much sense to me, I suppose. Vampires, werewolves, and things like that are just ok, but zombies really are the coolest. Ghosts are next best. As an Indie, my biggest hurdle is competing against all these darn vampires. It seems like vampire novels runneth over these days. Now, it might make more sense for me to say that other zombie authors are a bigger hurdle, but I don't see it that way. My issue is that all these vampire fans just don't see the coolness of zombies. Yet.
Ang: If you had to dumb down the plot of your series so a zombie could understand, how would you explain it?
M: That's a tough one to answer. Traditional zombies are extremely "dumb," acting on instinct alone to eat flesh and brains. Some of the zombies in The Grace Series are traditional, but there's a second strain that bears some intelligence. For the sake of tradition, I'd describe the plot of the series as: "See girl.  See boy. See girl and boy run. See them fall in love. See them make friends. See lots of friends get eaten by the living dead. See the dead evolve."
Ang: Describe the lucky survivors who engage with the festering horde of the dead.
M: The series opens with lifelong friends Zoe Kate and Adam Boggs. Zoe is young at twenty years old and on her own in the world. She's na├»ve and a loner. Boggs is a couple of years older and more experienced in life. Before long, Gus arrives on the scene. A cowboy nearly twice Zoe's age, he takes a natural leadership role in their small group. Emilie happens upon the group by chance. She's a feisty redhead in her mid twenties who adds humor and life to the group. As time goes on, sub characters are introduced who may or may not hold more significant roles in later works. Susan, Wanda, Julio, Louisa, Jane, Abbey, Kelsey...Bobby.
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)?
M: I strive to write realistic characters who are flawed. Zoe has gotten a lot of criticism because she is a "weak" main character. She cries and whines a lot, throws up, etc. My reason for this was to write about how I thought a real person, randomly picked from society, might react if they were suddenly in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. The characters in the series engage in realistic activities: sex, drugs, abortion, chewing tobacco, suicide, even domestic violence. None of them are perfect. Some of them are hiding secrets. Some of them will break trusts. Some will live. Some will die. None of them will ever be perfect.
Ang: Does your series begin just as the zombies start building their paradise or have zombies already gotten things rocking and rotting?
M: Zombies have just risen in Grace Lost (book one). The apocalypse was unpredicted, and happened overnight. The cause is unknown, and the infection has hit the long dead, the newly dead, as well as the living (yup you read that right). There isn't much set up in the series; the first zombie appears in the first few pages. That was intentional as the characters themselves had no warning in the book. I didn't want readers to have an unfair advantage.
Ang: Zombies are people too. They come in all shapes, sizes, speeds, and smarts. What types of the walking dead inhabit your series?
M: From amputees to drug addicts with needles still in their arms, from obese farmers to little kids and infants, from bloated "swimmers" to a German Shepherd...The Grace Series has them all.
Some are slow (Roamers) and some are fast and capable of thought and planning (Runners). Some look burnt with the clear eyes of the living. One thing is for sure - the dead are evolving into something unimaginable.
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?
M: As of right now there are three books in The Grace Series, with two more planned (Fallen From Grace and Praying for Grace). I'm leaving the series open and plan to continue to add installments as long as I can keep them "fresh." If that happens to be five books, so be it, but I'm hoping to go beyond that. I'm aiming to have Fallen From Grace out by January 2014 (or sooner). My goal is every six months or so. I also have a new book that I hope to write soon, Schiessl House, which will be a ghost/haunting tale. It will likely be a stand-alone vs. a series. There will be more books, and I'm sure more series, but I need to give my aging mind a chance to imagine them. I cannot imagine NOT writing.
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.
M: A fork through the ear-hole. Hands down. I would say my next favorite is a sledge hammer to the mouth. I'm not sure there's much more to say here...especially without a mouth.
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.
M: I'm not so sure it had a name, but the zombie in the movie NIGHT OF THE COMET (1984) that was the lead of the mall zombie gang. He was super evil and still semi-human. He also looked good in sunglasses. Well, for a semi-zombie. His voice over the mall loudspeaker was also bone-chilling. "Let's go shopping!"
Ang: Who is your favorite character from The Walking Dead (comics or TV show)?
M: Merle. Oh, I miss Merle.
Ang: Finally, how prepared are you for the zombie apocalypse that we all know is just around the corner?
M: I got me a gun and I got me some bullets. I also have a fork and a sledgehammer... And, I have five and a half chickens and two ducks our family can eat if the stores close. Our motorhome will probably keep the dead out for a couple of days. If they get in, the best I can do is Clorox Wipes.

Dig into all three Grace books at Amazon.

Chase M. Lauryl Lewis at her website, Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter.

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