Monday, August 19, 2013

Interviewing William Esmont

  Recently, I had the good fortune to meet up with William Esmont at a coffee shop and pick his brain.  I also had the pleasure of meeting his wife.  While sipping on some lemonade and asking my questions I typed away feverishly at my laptop trying to keep up with his spontaneous answers.  We shared several laughs and too soon it was over.  Well, now you too can enjoy this conversation.

1. How did you come up with the 'Elements of the Undead' concept?

  It came up because I was in the middle of a big move across country during the thick of the depression.  That's why it's so dark.  I was reading a lot of zombie books at the time.  I'd written my spy books, but I wanted to try my hand at a zombie book.  I wanted to make it a series with a common thread or theme, so I came up with the elements.  'Fire' was about the nuclear fallout.  'Air' was inspired by the feelings I got from the 9/11 attacks, especially the picture of a man jumping out of the building to his death.  I wanted to have that imagery in my story.  With 'Earth', I wanted to write about a road trip and introduce a younger character in Luke.  Each one came from different places and the last one will tie it all up, hopefully.

2. When I was in the Navy, I served on board the USS Wyoming, which showed up in your novel 'Fire'.  How did you choose that particular vessel for your story?

  I love the state of Wyoming.  I did a lot of research online and figured out where the various ships of the Navy were stationed.  I wanted to fictionalize it some.  I heard the phrase "We lost the bubble" and wanted to include that, but first I had to find out what it meant on board a submarine.

3. Stephen King has his fictional city of Castle Rock, Maine, while writers like you (Tucson) and Joe McKinney (San Antonio), have your stories take place in real cities.  Do you think that this creates any challenges in your writing?

  Yes.  I fictionalize certain elements.  Like I made Sabino Canyon into Scorpion Canyon.  It has confused some readers because of the fact that I use some real places.  Over time, my taste for using real places as opposed to fictional places has changed.  In book number four, I created an entirely new island in the Caribbean.  In book 1 I was new to Tucson and fascinated by it that's why a lot of it shows up in that book.

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

  Absolutely!  I just recently had the first few books turned into audio books.  Hearing them dramatized definitely made me excited about the possibility of making them into movies.  They will soon be available at and iTunes.  I can almost envision the character of Megan: Eliza Dushku.  I saw that show 'Dollhouse' and thought to myself, she has got to be Megan!

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

  I like 'Area 187' by Eric R. Lowther.  I like that one because it's all set in Appalachia.  I've spent a lot of time there so I can identify with the sights and the sounds.  I like the old Romero stuff, that's a given.  I loved the remake of 'Dawn of the Dead'.  I love the stuff by ZA Recht.  I also love, love 'Mountain Man' by Keith Blackmore.  D.J. Molles has a series that's really good.  Those are kind of my favorite ones at the moment.  Oh, and I love 'The Walking Dead'!

6. Being a Tucson author, what different perspective do you think that gives you than say, someone writing from New York or L.A.?

  Wide open space.  I've lived all over the place: Europe, east coast, west coast, but I've always avoided the big cities.  I also pick up a little bit of the mix of cultures living near the border here.  The character of Cesar reflected what I wanted to write about that.

7. I hear that your new book, 'Ice' is coming out soon.  Is there anything you would like to say to your readers about it before it comes out?

  Be ready for a wild ride.  There's a lot of stuff.  I'll answer as many questions as I can and I'll give you some more questions.  I don't believe in clean endings.  I'm trying to coincide the release of 'Ice' with the new season of 'The Walking Dead'.

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