At a cousin’s birthday party last night, a funny little eight-year-old boy came running over.
“Can I read your book yet?” he asked while his mother looked on.
I wrinkled my nose and shook my head. “No, buddy,” I said, and his face fell. “Well, not yet anyway.”
“Up to your parents, really, but my guess would be somewhere around sixteen.”
“But I love zombies!”
I smiled. “Me, too. This book’s just a little too grown up for you still. I’m sorry.”
He frowned and pouted a little, but then he looked back up. “Why do you write about zombies, anyway?”
And isn’t that the question of the hour??
I actually get asked that a LOT. People look at me and expect me to write YA contemporary romance, or even fantasy. They don’t expect horror, mainly because I don’t look like Anne Rice, I think. I mean, aside from a preference for black nail polish, I look more like…well…a soccer mom, I guess. So why horror? Why zombies?
Here’s my response:
In the first place, zombies are pretty generally evil. There’s no chance for redemption. So with zombies, the ultimate goal is to kill them, and since they usually attack with numbers on their side, you get to be really creative in how you kill them. My favorite method from my first book included a gas station nozzle through the eye socket….my protagonist then blew up the whole place. Sort of fabulous, right?
But then there’s the real reason, and it’s that when you totally mess up the world around a group of people…when you push them to the brink of starvation and civilization, you really get to dig into human dark sides. I ask you this: if you had guns and food during the zombie apocalypse, but just enough for your own family, what would you do if your neighbor came calling for help? Would you help him?
Or what if there was someone wreaking havoc within your little camp. What would you do? Would you set up some sort of jail system, complete with trial by jury? Or would you simply kill the rabble-rouser?
These are the questions I love to explore, love to dig into, within my zombie stories. As I like to put it, in my Undead America series, it’s not the zombies you need to fear; it’s the people.
For more information on the Undead America series, check out the books on Amazon.
2 thoughts on “Why zombies?”
Ha! Love it! 🙂 Zombies can induce some pretty deep existential questions, can’t they?
Writing zombies definitely allows you to get dark!! My theory is that as a culture, we’ve pretty much given up on religion, and the popularity of zombies reflects our fear around what happens after we die, since we don’t have heaven and hell as a construct anymore. Doesn’t get much darker than that!