In preparation for the Confession of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know of) blog tour, I answered a few blogger's questions that for one reason or another never ended up going live.
But why let them go to waste? Here's one a lot of people have asked in passing in one way or another, asked simply and answered in full:
Obviously, I have a lot of love for zombie fiction. Plenty of zombie stories were bouncing around my head when the idea arose. It's fairly intuitive in retrospect that they were something I'd want to play with.
But why do I love zombies? Well, for starters, they're one of the perfect escapist devices. I don't mean that as a bad thing. I believe one of the purposes of stories is to take us places we couldn't otherwise go, and I see no shame in that.
Zombies transform their world. They tend to rip out the structure, and for a wanderlust-stricken artist tied to a day job which, at the time, involved yelling at the corrupt salespeople of a corrupt and enormous corporation for not following a few of the more arbitrary rules while having to ignore the massive corruption itself... well, you can see the appeal in grabbing a baseball bat and taking off to knock the heads off corpses, feed the animals at Tulsa Zoo, and get drunk in Elvis's TV room.
I'll admit, the anarchic quality of zombie fiction also lends itself very well to YA, my main passion as an author. In YA, especially speculative YA, one of our first tasks is often to get any responsible adults out of the way so stories beyond the realm of the usual can happen. One of the things zombies do quite reliably is get rid of most of the people who would normally demand acknowledgement.
(Hey, you can't say I'm not honest about it.)
I think the biggest reason I found myself writing about zombies, though, comes down to mood. I write scary, dark, and heartfelt-heavy, and I write funny and sarcastic. Some of what I write swings more to one side of that spectrum than the other; Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know of) is very much on the fun side, but both those elements will always come through for me. I can't write a story completely free of jokes or completely free of darkness or other feelings, and zombies are the line right in the middle of all that.
There's tragedy to zombies. There's the loss of people and of a way of life. There's the challenge of forging new bonds under unfamiliar circumstances. But there's also natural comedy to zombies. They’re dumb and mindless and gooey. They’re made for silly action and slapstick.
Zombies live in the same no man's land between serious and not where I am most at home.
Agree? Disagree? Comments are always welcome! Or keep up with my fictional musings by joining me on Facebook, on Twitter, or by signing up for email updates in the panel on the right!