Zombie Evolution has been really lucky lately in that I've had the opportunity to interview some amazing filmmakers and authors. I'll keep putting out more requests. This week, I had the great fortune of being able to interview one of my favorite zombie authors, Dave Wellington. His work was a huge inspiration to my own. I hope this interview will help you want to read his books if you haven't already. Here's the cover of one of his novels.
1. I love the spiritual aspect books like yours, Brian Keene's and Arthur M. Wyatt. How did you come to take your zombie stories in that direction?
It would have been very easy to blame the zombies on a virus, or on radiation from a Venus probe (that's actually the explanation given in Night of the Living Dead!). But I've always approached stories with the attitude that I want to make them my own--give them my own particular twist. As long as you keep the basic idea intact--the dead have risen and hunger for the living--it seems to work. Once I had decided where the zombies came from, a fluctuation in the life force itself, things just sort of grew from there.
2. The first book of yours I read was 'Monster Island'. What inspired you to write that?
It started out as an image I had, maybe from a dream. I had this idea in my head of an astronaut who came back to earth to find that everyone had been wiped out, and that if he ever took off his space suit he would die as well. It was going to be a very melancholy science fiction short story. Then a friend of mine suggested I should write it as a novel, and post it on his blog one chapter as a time. I needed more of a plot for a full novel, so I started playing with the idea of what had happened to all the people. The original image is still in the book, though it changed so much it's barely recognizable any more.
3. You've written about zombies and about vampires, but would you ever write a book pitting the two against each other?
It's always tempting. Another idea would be to have two of my heroines--Cheyenne Clark and Laura Caxton--team up. Every time I try to develop that idea, though, I find I just end up cheapening both stories. A lot of the impact of a monster story is that the monster is something unique, a fracture in reality. If there are too many monsters, they just become like the elves or dwarves in fantasy--just different kinds of people, and they just aren't scary anymore. Though that doesn't mean I'll never do it...
4. Do you ever hope to have any of your stories turned into movies?
Well, of course I'd love it if that happened. Any author would. And I think my books would make great movies, if I say so myself. I think it's going to happen eventually, but I have no idea when.
5. What are some of your favorite zombie stories (cinematic, episodic or literary) and why?
I always love a good zombie movie. 28 Days Later is probably my favorite. I grew up in Pittsburgh, where George Romero is a local hero, so I was exposed to Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead at a very young age, and they still get to me.
6. What helps you get into the mood to write some scary material?
Oh, I never need to get in the mood. It's there whenever I want to tap into it. There's this idea that horror writers are scary people themselves, but it's actually the opposite that's more accurate--we get scared a lot, and we work through that by writing down what we're afraid of. So I've always got plenty of material.
7. What contemporary zombie authors do you admire?
Walter Greatshell keeps turning out really interesting stories, and Mira Grant really seems to get zombies in a wonderful, elemental way.
8. Do you have anything coming out soon that you would like to tell your readers about?
I just released a thriller novel (with monsters!) called Chimera. And I have a big zombie epic coming soon, called Positive! Anyone who liked my zombie books is going to love this thing.