Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Zombified Interview with H.E. Goodhue

H.E. Goodhue is the fearsome fella behind the Zombie Youth series. The first book Playground Politics haunted many dreams. His newest Borrowed Time continues the terror. Let's crack him open and learn more about his inner workings...

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?

H.E.: Horror stories were something that I somewhat brought upon myself as a child. When I was seven or eight years old I used to have recurrent nightmares. These dreams covered everything from train rides to Hell to flesh eating cats. Every night the previous night’s dream would pick up where it left off. Eventually, my parents rightfully worried about having an insomniac six year old on their hands, suggested that I start writing the dreams down. This lead to them stopping, but also fostered a love of all things horror and writing.

Around this time I also discovered horror and sci-fi movies. I can remember watching The Gate and Troll, both of which robbed me of more than a few nights of sleep. I have to admit that I still won’t watch Troll.

A love of cheesy monster movies eventually spilled over into video games. I had always had an interest in zombies, but the first Resident Evil game threw it into overdrive.

The most difficult part of being an indie author is breaking through to new readers and getting attention for your work. I never want to inundate people on Facebook or Twitter with repetitive pleas of ‘read my books’. On the other hand I want to get my books out to as many readers as possible. It’s a very fine line to walk.

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

H.E.: Probably the best way I could explain the overarching plot of the Zombie Youth series is this:

Adults = zombies…kids are in charge…chaos ensues.

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

H.E.: The first book in Zombie Youth series centers on a group of students who are trapped within the Montville Regional School Complex in the first hours of the outbreak. The adults they trusted to protect them become infected and turn on the students. A small group of unlikely cohorts band together to fortify the school and battle the undead.

I wanted the main characters of Zombie Youth to be regular kids, not highly skilled soldiers or sociopaths – granted one or two of those might show up, but I really wanted to explore the idea of how regular people might deal with the zombie apocalypse, specifically children. I have always found it odd that zombie stories are largely devoid of children. They seem to magically disappear once the dead rise or perhaps are assumed to be the first eaten, but I felt that children would do better than adults. That’s where Zombie Youth picks up.

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)?

H.E.: I’ll admit that I enjoy all sorts of tropes when reading a zombie story. Sometimes it’s a fun escape to read about a completely over the top character, but at the end of the day a good zombie story is really more about the people and their humanity or lack there of.

I wanted my characters to be real people. They’re scared and some have had issues long before the dead rose. At the same time they have moments of heroics. The dichotomous relationship that exists within the human mind has always fascinated me. No one is completely a hero or totally a coward; the potential for both exists in all of us. The characters in Zombie Youth are no different and have to grapple with these conflicting drives.

But in the end what matters most is solid writing. Readers need to find something to connect with, even if the character is a total psychopath.

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

H.E.: The first book in the Zombie Youth series, Playground Politics, begins a few hours before the zombies show up, but gets to rotted bits pretty quickly. The subsequent books center on how the survivors deal with trying to rebuild a life while also knowing that each day that passes is one closer to when they too may become infected. Survival becomes a bit of catch-22 in the Zombie Youth series.

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

H.E.: There are your usual shambling hordes, but I wanted to include some new monsters to keep the reader’s attention. I threw in a few skinless/eyeless nightmares and something I love called an Ogre. There’s also what’s been called “The Zombie Rat King” (thanks Dave at Bricks of the Dead) which is basically a tangled mess of dried intestines and zombies. In the second and third installments some new monsters find their way onto the pages as well. Being that I went the viral route for my outbreak I felt that it would mutate and my zombies should as well. The mutated monsters definitely add a new dimension to what the survivors are dealing with.

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?

H.E.: So far I have released two installments in the Zombie Youth series through Severed Press. The first is titled Playground Politics and the second is Borrowed Time. I am currently working on the third book in the series and hope to have it out soon, but I also want to make sure that I give my readers a complete story.

I have planned for there to be at least three books in the Zombie Youth series, but have begun thinking about possible offshoots. I’m not really sure where it will end, but there will be a sense of closure with the third. That being said, a lot of material still exists in the Zombie Youth universe, so I could definitely see myself returning to it.

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.

H.E.: Good question. I don’t really have a favorite method, though I do keep my machete sharp. I like the zombie kills to be situational and based off of what the survivor has at hand. One character in Zombie Youth, Ronnie, embodies this idea and I really enjoyed working out his ideas and story. Beyond that, I also really enjoyed writing the parts where two dogs, Gozer and Zule, have a crack at the undead. Other than kids I think dogs probably stand the best chance in a zombie apocalypse.

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.

H.E.: I love the zombie from the cover of Fulci’s Zombi 2. He’s grinning as maggots spill out of his empty eye socket – it’s awesome! Dr. Tongue from Day of the Dead is great too. I like my zombies with a little wear and tear…or in this case without a lower jaw.

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

H.E.: That’s a tough one. In the comics I found Andrea’s character to be engaging and believable, but man oh man did they crap that up in the show. I think Laurie Holden did a great job playing Andrea, but I really just didn’t like the character at all. Maybe that was the point, but it would have been great to see her as strong as she was in the comics. I also like Glenn’s character, both in the comics and on the show. He’s constantly struggling to figure out who he really is and what role he is going to play, which is something I think many of us would face.

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

H.E.: I’d say better than some, but honestly nowhere near what I would really need to survive. My grandfather is a retired game warden in Maine and has imparted a good deal of knowledge about the woods, survival and firearms. While we were wandering around the woods I’m not sure he was thinking about zombies, but I was.

H.E. Goodhue Bio Info
H.E. Goodhue is an author and educator. Zombie Youth: Playground Politics is Goodhue's first published novel. It is the first installment in a new series from Severed Press that has been called "unrelenting", "thrilling and exciting" by both fellow authors and literary critics. Since its release in April 2012, Zombie Youth has posted sales throughout the US, Europe and Australia. The second novel in the Zombie Youth series, Borrowed Time, has recently been released. H.E. Goodhue currently resides in New Jersey with his wife, daughter and two hardheaded pit bulls.

Devour H.E.'s books at Amazon.

Hunt down H.E. at Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Severed Press, and his blog.

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