ZZN readers know how much I love to bring you interviews with new authors chomping at the bit to give you their take on zombism. With that in mind, it gives me great pleasure to introduce Jason McKinney, and his debut zombie opus,
Memoirs of the Walking Dead.
WLF/ZZN: Hi man. I understand that Memoirs of the Walking Dead is your first published novel. Tell us why you wanted to begin your writing career exposing the undead mindset?
Hey, Wednesday. Thanks for the opportunity to be interviewed by you on Zombie Zone News. I’ve loved zombies since I was kid. Honestly they’re second only to werewolves for me. I really wanted to shake up the genre as much as I could. It seems every time you turn around there’s a zombie novel about human survivors, but very few centering on the undead. The novels there are from the zombie’s perspective are mostly serious.
WLF/ZZN: What was your introduction to the zombie genre?
Like the majority of zombie lovers everywhere, my first brush with revenants was watching Night of the Living Dead. I was 10 and it blew my mind. After that I wanted to read everything I could about zombies.
WLF/ZZN: Which Romero zombie film is your favorite, and why?
Dawn of the Dead is my favorite Romero film. To me, it is the crowning achievement of Romero’s work. It has a real world feel that makes you imagine that is how the nation would actually crumble from the undead onslaught. Also, the characters Roger, Peter, Stephen, and Francine were extremely compelling. They seemed more realistic than any of the cast members from the other Dead movies.
WLF/ZZN: What qualifies you to write from the POV of a zombie?
I was an office worker for almost 15 years. That’s pretty close to a zombie in my opinion. Seriously though, there is nothing that really qualifies me. I just let my imagination run wild and came up with a story that I hope will entertain a few people and make them laugh and maybe think a little.
WLF/ZZN: Your bio says you have seven pets. All living, I presume? Which of these pets do you think will be most helpful during the zombie apocalypse?
I think the cats would probably be the most helpful. They’re quick, quiet, and naturally wary of their surroundings. Cats are the best natural hunters and survivors. I love my dogs, but they bark at everything which is great where living people are concerned, but bad with the dead ones. And the gerbils…well, they would most likely just get stepped on. ☹ For proof of feline superiority, read about Charlotte in Memoirs.
WLF/ZZN: Am I correct in thinking that Memoirs of the Walking Dead is a black comedy? Are zombies inherently funny in your opinion?
Yes, I would describe Memoirs as a black comedy. No, zombies are not inherently funny. They are the stuff of nightmares. The concept of something with the single-minded desire of eating human flesh– that will never stop coming after you is very unfunny. With that said, I imagine zombies have the potential to be pretty damn hilarious; but my wife tells me that I’m not right in the head. ☺
WLF/ZZN: Who are your favorite purveyors of contemporary zombie culture?
Wow. Good question. Christopher Moore author of The Stupidest Angel is an author that comes to mind. I love all of his work.
Tommy Wirkola, director of Dead Snow, and Yannick Dahan, director of The Horde, did a bang up job with those zombie flicks.
I’m a comic fan so I have to mention that I love Mark Millar’s contribution to the first appearance of the Marvel Zombies and Jonathan Maberry’s work on Marvel Zombies Return and his novel Patient Zero.
WLF/ZZN: Zombies having their own consciousness must create all sorts of problems. Is there any advantage at all to being undead?
For my main character Paul Rierson, the advantage comes in that being undead has given him a new lease on “life”. Dying removed the limitations that he placed on himself while living and for him, being undead has given him the courage to do things he never would have dared to do before.
WLF/ZZN: Are you familiar with the zombie-themed work of Dr Steve Schlozman? He disputes the idea that zombies can reason or remember. Comment?
I’m not a scientist or a doctor, but his work seems sound and logical. However, I imagine there are variables that could lead to anything happening with a zombie infestation. Science has given us many marvels, but sometimes theories are rewritten once other evidence is presented. The beauty of science is that it’s constantly moving forward and reinventing itself so I see anything as being possible.
WLF/ZZN: How has your work on Memoirs of the Walking Dead affected your personal zombie survival strategy?
It hasn’t affected it much. I’m still in the same mindset of be prepared but failing that, I figure I can make it up as I go along.
WLF/ZZN: Speaking of zombie defense, are you a shooter, or a blade-guy?
I’m a shooter, though I have trained with bayoneted weapons. While blades are more practical, I’m going to make it a point to not go into places where I’d need a blade.
To date, my best weapon is my six year old daughter Emily. She’s brutal and proficient with anything she can use as a club.
WLF/ZZN: Do you worry that when the zombies get here, that they’ll be pissed that you wrote about them in a lighthearted manner?
Hell yeah, they’ll be pissed; but they’re going to want eat me anyway so what does it matter? I imagine a few, and hopefully more, will come to me and say, “Great book, Jay. You had me rolling.” Right before they have some author sandwiches.
WLF/ZZN: Your book was published through CreateSpace. Does this mean you hired your own editor and cover designer? Please tell us about the process.
My cover designer is actually my wife, Tabitha. It was all originally drawn by her. She had a vision for the cover and I loved what she brought to the table. I’m pleased that the CreateSpace team took it and was able to bring it to life.
The editing we did ourselves and frankly we could’ve done better. When we started, we didn’t have the necessary cash flow or connections to have it done professionally so we did the best we could. These days we still don’t have the cash, but we do have connections to give us the boost we didn’t have a year ago.
WLF/ZZN: Memoirs of the Walking Dead came out just about this time last year. How’s the reception been? Where can we buy it?
The reception for Memoirs has been outstanding. I’m flattered that Steve Da Zombie has enjoyed it and thinks highly of it. He gave Memoirs an awesome review as well as some of the greatest praise I’ve had to date. By far that means the world to me.
I was also floored one day when I received a tweet from SwedishZombie.com, Sweden’s answer to ZZN, for an interview and review. Jonny Berg was only a serious zombie’s type guy until he read Memoirs. After reading it, he made an exception for Memoir of the Walking Dead’s undead humor.
If anyone is interested in getting a copy, it’s available through Amazon and Kindle. And for Feb 3rd and 4th only, it’s free on Kindle! Rush over and pick up a copy.
WLF/ZZN: What’s next for Jason McKinney’s writing career? Any upcoming appearances?
I’m currently working on a spin off of Memoirs. It’s centered on Charlotte the undead cat and is tentatively titled, Tales of a Pissed off Undead Pussy. I figure the title alone will garner attention. lol
I’m also working on the sequel to my werewolf apocalyptic novel, Dog World and will soon be collaborating with my British colleague, Janet Sked on a very hush-hush supernatural project. Shhhh.
I’m trying to get all my zeds and lycans in a row so I can make an appearance at WerewolfCon in Columbia, Missouri in May. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I can make it.
I’ve only had one TV interview and that was with local horror host, Dr. Gangrene, about Dog World and Memoirs. I had a blast and I’d love to do something like that again.
WLF/ZZN: How can fans catch up with you?
If you want to send fan mail or death threats, I can be assaulted at WordPress or even stalked on twitter under @jason_mckinney.
If you truly like what you’ve read, you can be my bud on Facebook here:
Jason McKinney’s Author Page
Memoirs of the Walking Dead Facebook Page.