Monday, August 26, 2013

Interviewing AR Wise

  This is one of my favorite zombie authors.  I'm so glad that he was willing to be interviewed by me.  I'm really looking forward to his new book which is coming out soon.  For now, you can read all about some of his other books and a little about his new book.

1. You write people so well.  That is one thing I love about writers like you, Joe McKinney and Brian Keene.  What, if anything, helps you to bring your characters to life?

  Well, for starters: Thanks! I appreciate the compliment. I have an odd relationship with my characters. I often times start writing them with a distinct personality in mind, and then often find myself altering the story because the characters have a mind of their own. It's never a bad thing when a writer has to stop and say, "I can't do that, because this character would never let that happen." I try to never allow a story to force characters into any situation that they otherwise wouldn't have found themselves in. Doing so leads to the old cliche where characters in horror stories have to do something stupid to lead them into trouble, and I've always hated that trope of the genre.

2. The first book of yours I read was 'Deadlocked'.  What inspired you to write that?

  I always wanted to be a writer, but never would've guessed that my first book would be a zombie apocalypse tale. I've always loved the genre, but felt that it was a tad overplayed. However, a friend of mine was vehemently against the glut of zombie media, and I felt like that was a challenge to write something even he would enjoy. At the same time, my mother was going through breast cancer, and writing Deadlocked was a way to simply shut out the outside world and forget about what was happening outside of those pages for a while.

3. Stephen King has his fictional city of Castle Rock, Maine.  Writers like you and William Esmont (Tucson), however have your stories take place in real cities.  Do you think that this creates any challenges in your writing?

  Well, the first Deadlocked book takes place in a fictional city (it's never named, but readers are told it's in Georgia) and then the story switches in books 5 - 8 to be in Colorado. After the apocalypse, it's not really an issue as to whether or not the locations are real because everything is alien at that point. Also, in my series 314, the town of Widowsfield is entirely fictional. However, my newest book (yet to be released), Daughter of Bathory, takes place in and around Boulder, Colorado, and I've found it's rather fun to include a city's character in the book. It adds a lot of realism to it.

4. Do you ever hope to have any of your stories turned into movies?

  I would love to see that happen, but I also dread the thought. I'm aware of how authors have very little control over movie adaptations of their novels, and it would pain me to see something I've done turned into tripe. I sure wouldn't mind cashing the check though!

5.  What are some of your favorite zombie stories and why?

  There are so many great zombie stories out there, and a ton of awesome new authors that are having fun in the genre. Authors like Joe McKinney, Mark Tufo, Chrissy Peebles, Kristen Middleton, DJ Molles, and many other have come to prominence with their zombie books. Everyone offers something unique, but I find myself drawn to stories about regular people dealing with the apocalypse. I'm not as enticed by survivalist fantasies and military-men style action adventures, although I'm not saying anything against that type of story either. I simply enjoy reading about characters that are caught off guard by an apocalypse.

6. What inspired you to write your '314' series?

  To be honest, I think 314 is a better example of where I want my writing career to go than Deadlocked is. I'll forever be indebted to Deadlocked and the zombie genre for getting my start, but I've always wanted to write books that can't be categorized as belonging to a specific genre. I wanted 314 to be different from anything anyone's read, and I believe I achieved it. And I was overwhelmed by the response it's received. I'd been afraid that 314 would be a blip on the radar, and that I'd have to go back to zombies again and again to sustain a living wage from my books, but 314 has sold more than Deadlocked ever did.

7. What contemporary zombie authors do you admire?

  Max Brooks comes immediately to mind. He's largely responsible for the recent tidal wave of interest in zombie literature, and his fame is well deserved. While World War Z is great, I think the Zombie Survival Guide might very well be one of my favorite zombie books of all time. It's not a story, but a serious look at how to survive an apocalypse with a wit and humor that is rare in the genre.

8. I hear that your new book, formerly known as 'Sex, Drugs and Dead Things' is coming out soon.  Is there anything you would like to say to your readers about it before it comes out?

  The new title is Daughter of Bathory. I initially set out to write a comedic horror tale, but it quickly evolved into something completely different, hence the title change. I think this novel continues the trend started with 314 for me, in that I'm trying to make sure readers know that when they pick up a novel by A.R. Wise, they're going to get something unlike anything else they've ever read. Daughter of Bathory will definitely achieve that goal!

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