Asking Bram Stoker award winner and NY Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry 20 questions (part 1)

There are authors that do not really need any type of introduction. I am sure that you read one of Jonathan Maberrys books and loved it.. With over 35 published novels, countless comics and short stories, Jonathan Maberry is one of the biggest names in contemporary fiction (part one of the interview) ..

  1. ALINA IONESCU: Which one is your favorite novel from the over 35 you have written?

JONATHAN MABERRY: GLIMPSE is my favorite novel I’ve ever written. The lead character is a young woman recovering from years of drug addiction who is now clean and looking for the child she gave up for adoption. That child, now ten, is in the hands of some very frightening creatures. GLIMPSE is a fractured story about courage, love, and hope. And it’s recently been optioned for film.

2. ALINA IONESCU: Your new comic book PANDEMICA is expected by fans and mentioned by the press, would you like to tell me a bit about this project?

JONATHAN MABERRY: The story is very gritty and a bit cynical. It deals with a group of entitled businessmen and scientists who have developed a way to create ethnic-specific bioweapons. They can target very specific ethnic groups and are selling these weapons on the black market. A resistance group, Pandemica, rises to try and stop them before the death toll mounts into the millions. And things go even more badly wrong when the diseases begin mutating out of control. The first issue debuts in September from IDW Publishing.

3. ALINA IONESCU: I am fascinated by your vampires, they are very different, why did you choose to be inspired by folklore and not go with the Hollywood version?

JONATHAN MABERRY: My grandmother was a wonderfully strange old lady. Quite a bit like Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter, but as an old woman. She loved all things about what she called the ‘larger world’. Ghost, demons, vampires, werewolves…all of it. And when I was little she told me stories about these monsters, and later encouraged me to read the mythologies, the folklore, and also the cultural anthropology so I could understand why people believed what they did. I was exposed to the folklore versions of these monsters before I began reading horror novels and watching monster movies. They are my first love.

4. ALINA IONESCU: I finished reading The Pine Deep trilogy, how much of your own personality is flowing into the main character Crow?

JONATHAN MABERRY: Crow has my sense of humor, my martial arts background (we’re both advanced practitioners of Japanese jujutsu), and my idealism. We were both rather badly abused as children, though in different ways. His subsequent emotional damage is different, though. He became an alcoholic and I’ve never been addicted to anything.

5.ALINA IONESCU: Your fans love your strong female characters, is it harder to write from a female perspective than a male one ?

JONATHAN MABERRY: I grew up as the younger brother of four sisters. I studied martial arts at a dojo that was forty percent women during an era when that was not at all common (1960s-70s). And later I taught women’s self-defense at Temple University in Philadelphia for fourteen years. I’ve known a lot of very tough women; and it was my honor to help thousands of women learn to embrace their strength to become tough as students in my classes. I’ve never actually thought women were the weaker sex. People are stronger or weaker according to who they are. And that’s reflected in my characters –like Shuri in my BLACK PANTHER comics, Dez Fox in DEAD OF NIGHT, Val Guthrie in the Pine Deep novels, and so on.

6.ALINA IONESCU: what’s your writing routine?

JONATHAN MABERRY: I’m a professional writer, so I approach it as my job. I write, on average, eight hours per day. I try to write about four thousand words each day. Sometimes less, sometimes more. I pay attention to the business side of things –pitches, contracts, shifts in the market, and so on. And I stay focused.

If I’m at a convention or conference –which is often— I still need to find time to write. And I manage my own social media –Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

7.ALINA IONESCU: Do you have any advice for authors that try to become successful?

JONATHAN MABERRY: Anyone hoping to break into the publishing world needs to be very good at three things. First, they have to constantly refine their craft. There is no end to the process of becoming the best writer we can be. Second, they need to understand how publishing works –to be savvy, forward thinking, flexible, and not vulnerable to taking things personally. And third, they need to have a very good social media game. Even before they sell their first word. Oh, and…only write the stuff that’s the most fun to do. That enthusiasm will shine through.

8.ALINA IONESCU: Your V Wars will be turned into a Netflix series, that’s so cool, how much influence does an author have on the final product?

JONATHAN MABERRY: V-WARS will hopefully launch in December with a ten episode first season. I am not an executive producer on the first season, which means I wasn’t deeply involved in the creative process. However I was at the table reads and on the set for the start of shooting. I’ve become friends with many of the cast and crew, including our star, Ian Somerhalder, and cast-members Adrian Holmes, Laura Vandervoort, Peter Outerbridge, Michael Greyeyes, Kyle Breitkopf, and others. And if we get picked up for a second season there’s a chance I may be elevated to EP.

That said, for all subsequent projects I am an executive producer, including the ROT & RUIN movie in development by Alcon Entertainment (BLADERUNNER 2019, THE EXPANSE); and others.

9.ALINA IONESCU: A Rot and Ruin question.. Is a doomsday cult a possibility after the apocalypse? A solution for people that don’t think that they live and just exist?

JONATHAN MABERRY: I think a doomsday cult is a very real possibility. After the world has fallen, taking with it the government, infrastructure, and the institutions that were supposed to save us –such as major religions—people would all be suffering post-traumatic stress and despair. Anything that gave them something to cling to –even a cult that embraced a meaningful rather than meaningless death—would be dangerously appealing.

10.ALINA IONESCU: Is there a mythical monster that you have not written about yet?

JONATHAN MABERRY: That depends on how you define ‘written’. I’ve written about hundreds of different kinds of folkloric monsters in a series of nonfiction books I wrote in the early 2000s. However, in my fiction –novels, short stories, and comic books—I’ve barely scratched the surface. Mostly because folklore and myth has such a wonderful menagerie of creatures, including variations (or subspecies?). There are, for example, hundreds of variations of vampire, many more different kinds of demons, countless theriomorphs (shapeshifters), and so on. I haven’t had time to even make my way through my personal wish-list of favorite monsters.

I was drawn to writing fiction because I wanted to explore how ordinary humans would fare against the folkloric versions of vampires, ghosts, and werewolves. That became GHOST ROAD BLUES and its two sequels.

That said, I am planning a swords-and-sorcery short story about a warrior from the Crusades encountering the fierce Draugr of Viking legend. That’s a demonic spirit inhabiting the corpse of a dead Viking. It’s smart, powerful, and evil. No weapon can kill it, and it can only be defeated by a hero in unarmed combat.

This was the first part of the interview…. Part 2 to follow soon.. Find the books online and in all good bookstores… On a personal note, if you are a zombie fan you should start with Rot&Ruin……

Why zombies…

My first love in horror were the vampires.. I still remember the first Dracula movie and how fascinated I was by the elegant undead that happened to be from my own country… I started reading everything I could pick up on vampires.. Zombies where not on my radar.. I considered them some type of ghoulish creatures under the power and influence of the vampires.. Now the movie that changed my mind was… Who can guess?!? Resident evil! It was the perfect mix between a strong female heroin and the hordes of the Undead.. After that I was sold… Zombies are scary to me because they lack any reason.. You can’t negotiate.. You can’t intimidate them.. They don’t hate, they can’t be bribed and they will go after their pray to the last… Even a chopped off head will try to feed… I am curious what your thoughts are on zombies…

The awesome cool author David A. Simpson chatting about cars, books and deadlines…

  1. The Zombie fans know and love you already, how do you feel about the last 2 years since your first book?
    It’s been a whirlwind. Sometimes I still sit and marvel and wonder when it will all come crashing down. I wrote a book because it’s something I’d always dreamed of doing. Amazon made it possible to self-publish and have a platform to sell. Vanity presses have always been around, anyone with a few thousand bucks could publish a book, but until Amazon there was no way to reach a large audience. Eighteen months after I first hit the “publish” button I was able to quit the day job and write full time. It’s like winning the lottery.
  2. Tell us a little bit about your new book The Feral children.
    It’s the story of the group of wild children Jessie and Scarlet met in the Zombie Road books and tried to help. They had survived the zombie uprising by luck, a little knowledge and some basic skills. They happened to be at a wild animal safari park when it happened and were safe behind the fences. Most of animals weren’t really wild, many were former pets or circus performers. The kids don’t have guns and can’t survive on their own and the animals are so domesticated they don’t know how to hunt or take care of themselves. They help each other and the animals adopt the children. They become a tribe.
  3. This is your first collaboration, how was it?
    Wesley has written a few short stories set in the Zombie Road world and I don’t even remember how it came up for us to co-write a series. Probably over drinks. He is doing most of the heavy lifting for these books. All he had to work with was a few chapters from ZR5 that introduced them and a few ideas we bounced around. From that, he built the entire story, introduced all the new characters, created the mood and the setting. He’s a super easy guy to work with.
  4. It’s very cool that you picked a fan as Co-author, do you think that you will do that again?
    Of course, if anyone has a good story to tell. Wesley has already said he’d like to write a Retriever novel once the Feral Children trilogy is finished.
  5. Do you plan to write about another type of apocalypse?
    I haven’t thought that far ahead. We have two more Feral books to finish, I have two more Zombie Road books to tell the tale of how Jessie became the Traveler and then I get to jump into the story of Scarlet waking up in the mysterious house where we last saw them at the end of ZR6. Spoiler Alert: it won’t be about zombies. It’s about those men who hold a grudge and carry Mark Seven Blasters. The two teens are stranded a long, long way from home.
  6. If you could talk to someone dead or alive who would it be?
    Enoch. Legend has it that he built the pyramids, walked with God and knew the secrets of the universe.
  7. Got to ask, how do you feel about the end of Games of Thrones.
    It summed up the story nicely. The good guys won, a fair and just king would rule the six kingdoms and they set it up for a spinoff with Arya Stark seeing what there is to see west of Westeros. I can imagine her in a series that is sort of a cross between Xena: Warrior Princess and Conan the Barbarian.
  8. When are we getting Zombie Road VII?
    Hopefully by September. It’s a third of the way finished.
  9. Tell us a bit about your creative process.
    Work out the story, the backstory, the foreshadowing, post it on sticky notes so I don’t forget then write. Then go back and fix it. Then fix it some more. Then keep fixing it until the editor is yelling at me to stop fixing it**, **Check out The Zombie Road series and David’s other work on Amazon!

Interview with Wesley Norris

The Feral children won the much desired Zombie Book of the month club title!

1.You are a new author, tell us a bit about yourself

I’m an industrial mechanic by trade. In addition to being an Air Force veteran, I’ve been a collections agent (repo man), worked in a custom rifle shop owned by a world renowned gunsmith and a cook for my hometown Pizza Hut when I was a teen. Married to the best woman I’ve ever known. Father of five and Poppy to the most awesome 2 year old ever named Harper. I’m an avid outdoorsman and a terrible carpenter. I’ve loved to read as long as I can remember and started writing a few years ago just as a hobby. It never fails to amaze me whenever I actually get paid to do it.

2. What’s your inspiration?

I have a vivid imagination that never switches off. Reading has always been an escape for me from the daily grind of life. If I can offer something that gives that same escape to someone else then it’s worth it. Life is tough and I think when something that came out of your imagination makes someone else’s day a little easier it’s very inspirational for me to keep writing

3.. Any favorite books and movies.

I grew up with 3 tv channels and we watched what my dad wanted to watch so books were important entertainment. Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan novels and Conan the Barbarian by Robert E Howard were some of my favorites. I also read a lot of Dean Koontz and Stephen King books that my neighbor loaned me. I hardly ever watch tv unless it’s the ID channel. I do love the Marvel movies though.

4. If you could choose a apocalypse what type would you pick?

My apocalypse pick would have to be slow zombies who ate garbage. I’d keep a couple in the backyard and never have to make another trip to the landfill.

5. If you could talk to someone dead or alive for a hour, who would you pick?

I’d pick President Teddy Roosevelt. He was an amazing leader and incredible human being. Anyone who’s never read up on him should do it. He was the inspiration for Teddy the buffalo in The Feral Children. If he wasn’t available then it would be my grandmother. She was one of a kind.

6.What is your favorite character in The Feral children?

That’s a tough one! I love them all. But if I have to pick then it’s Swan. She wrote herself. I wasn’t excited about her at first but as soon as she came to life, she was my instant favorite. She had several story arcs that we bounced back and forth. Maybe some of that will find it’s way into the sequels. I don’t want to spoil anything, but she probably goes through the biggest transformation as the story progresses.

7. How was the collaboration with David Simpson?

When David asked me to work on this with him, I was flattered and floored. I mean Zombie Road is his baby and the chance to play in it officailly was too good to pass up. I’ve done some ZR fan fiction and the ZR anthology. My characters from the anthology made it into the main series. We laid out the story on my patio, a bunch of texts and phone conversations later, we had a book unlike anything else out there and the fans seem to love it. He’s a professional all the way through and one hell of a nice guy, so if he ever asks you to work with him, do it.

8Future plans for new books?

The Feral Children Book 2 is next. There’s also a good chance of another spin off but that one is still up in the air.

Check out The Feral children by David Simpson and Wesley Norris on Amazon.

Feral children… A wild adventure

David A. Simpsons fans got used to the fact that everything he writes is golden. In this new adventure, Feral children, David associated with a fan, Wesley Norris and the result is awesome!

I won’t post too many spoiler for the people that didn’t had the chance to read it yet, I was one of the fortunate beta reader, and I have to say, what a ride!!!

Is a Kodiak bear a pet? Would you trust him with your life? After the Zombie outbreak only survival counts.. A few Orphans are stranded at the zoo… A special type of friendship is borne.. Wild beasts fight against wild undead.. Mercy and compassion can get you killed.. Will Gordon search revenge? Will the children and their Savage animals survive the fight both against the living and the dead? In this new wild world only ferals survive… Join them in a incredible adventure about courage and true friendship!

Rot and Ruin… My opinion about the end of the World

Rot and Ruin… The title sounds already foreboding.. The strong words cut into your brain and stay there, going deeper into the subconscious.. This will not be a review or synopsis, I think that there are enough out there.. I want to talk about what will stay with you after finishing the book.. It is marked as a YA novel but all age groups can find something fascinating within its pages.. Zombies and the risk of infection are a constant danger, but what’s life if you spend it being scared and always cautious… It’s a life on hold worth living? The main characters are teenagers, that are armed with curiosity and the crazy courage that are characteristics of their age… The story is opening in front of us like a beautiful tapestry rich in different characters and personalities… My heart was mostly with The Lost Girl, a beautiful young woman with extraordinary fighting skills that’s almost feral because she survived for years alone in the ruins… Out there where the zombies are not the worse threat.. Nix, a fighting fae type girl that lost everything and tries to find hope and herself..At the end the girls turn into women that are not easily impressed or scared of anything.. Theconflicted main character Ben Imura, a boy at the beginning of the story, and a young man at its end.. This is a book about finding your place in the world, fighting against all odds and not giving up when you think that you are lost. It’s a optimistic story, sprinkled with tears and loss.. A adventure that changes everything… The human soul is alive and in a constant process of evolution .. Everything we feel and live through puts a mark on our most inner self.. And change is not good or bad, it just is.. It happens.. Life happens… No fortress is ever that safe, no mountain is high enough.. Saint John of the knife is another fascinating character, he is one of those people that are beyond salvation… A truly evil character.. No matter how old you are, do yourself a favor and read the series Rot and ruin by Jonathan Maberry. You will develop a personal connection to the characters and will hold your breath and hope and root for them… The beautiful zombie art is made by Rob Sacchetto (find him on FB and Patreon)..

A few words with the vampire hunter. Scott M. Baker

  1. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a native New Englander, born and raised outside of Boston and now living in rural New Hampshire. I retired from the CIA in 2013 after twenty-three years during which I travelled and lived all over Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, many of those locations having found their way into my books. And yes, some of the sick shit I saw and experienced also appears in my books, but I’ll let you figure out what that stuff is. I am proud of my time with the Agency and would never change a thing, and now that retired I’m enjoying my new career as a full-time writer.

  1. Why vampires, where’s the fascination with the undead coming from?

Vampires are a cunning enemy because they can think. I love rampaging hordes of zombies as much as the next person, but a truly dangerous opponent is one that can calculate and adapt. Vampires also appeal to that inner part of us that wants to unleash our animal instincts, that wishes we could give free reign to our deepest desire for unbridled violence and lust without being hampered by conscience or morals. It’s the classic story of good versus evil.

  1. Your vampire novels feature classic undead, similar to Buffy and Blade. Why did you choose the dark evil vampire and not the more romantic version?

I grew up with the old school vampires from Universal and Hammer, especially Christopher Lee. Vampires don’t date teenage girls, they feed off them. They don’t sparkle unless they’re covered in blood. Unfortunately, most bad-ass vampires in books and movies are two dimensional. I give my masters their own back stories, personalities, and motivations. The vampires drive the plot as much as the humans do.

  1. Where’s your inspiration coming from?

My inspiration comes from numerous sources. A visit with friends to Mont St. Michel in 2004 inspired the opening scene in Dominion. One night at dinner my wife and I were joking that nothing was cooler than Nazi zombie when my daughter chimed in “What about Nazi zombies from space?” I’ve always had an active imagination, always thought outside the box, always given free rein to my darker side. It’s the reason I have ten books and two anthologies published and five more books and a screenplay in progress.

  1. What are your favorite horror movies?

The Thing (1980), Resident Evil, and Dawn of the Dead (2005). I can’t even begin to guess how many times I’ve seen them.

  1. Favorite vampire novels?

Robert Lumley’s Necroscope series and William Steakley’s Vampire$.

  1. If you could meet any author dead or alive and have a chat, who would you pick?

Joss Whedon. The man is brilliant, the way he can weave humor through intense situations as he did in Buffy. His character development. The way he can twist a plot. I have never watched a series he has written that I haven’t been impressed with.

  1. How similar is Drake Matthews, your main character from The Vampire Hunters to your own person?

I admit Drake Matthews is based on myself, at least the cigar-smoking, iced coffee drinking, whiskey shooting, rabbit lover part. The rest is a fantasized version. They say write what you know. I never battled vampires, but for several years while with the CIA I was involved indirectly with the war on terrorism. The Vampire Hunters trilogy is my take on that campaign, the endless battle against a relentless enemy whose ranks are always growing and who are not afraid to die. Sadly, I’m not as cool as Drake.

I want to thank all my fans, those who have been with me from the beginning and those who are just being introduced to me. I love writing and telling stories, and nothing makes me happier than to have a reader tell me I kept them up all night because they could not put down my book.

I had the pleasure of reading a few of Scott’s books and I they are very entertaining. It’s the type of stuff you can’t put down! Go get his books on Amazon !!!!

Black Summer or HODOR

***Spoiler and stuff ****

I just finished watching Black summer. First I didn’t liked it .. But after two episodes I was remind by the old rule of Zombie land.. .#1 Cardio! ! Because we talk fast zombies, like sprint type fast.. These zombies don’t want to feed, they want to infect and the conversion rate is fucking amazing! However, during the 8 episodes I learned that this zompoc survivors do not know how to close a door!!! They are absolutely incapable of it.. They run, hide, see that the Zombie is in pursuit and refuse to use this architectonic barrier.. Another huge minus in my opinion is the fact that you don’t get to know the characters at all.. So you don’t get attached to either one of them. I don’t care about them. I just scream at the screen “Yo, Idiot, close that fucking door !!”… So, my favorite stupid episode is episode 4..that bearded guy on the bus was soo funny. I mean he had so many chances to fight back, to escape, to hide or just to CLOSEDOOR!!!

The end of everything… A review of a story that is just at its beginning

 I won’t say that I started reading this book with a neutral eye. I was already a fan of the authors Safe Haven series.. But even if this book would have been completely new to me I would have been intrigued by the cover.. The old saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is oh so not true… 
The cover was fricking intriguing, and I am a easy charm with visual candy. But how can you resist the two young women in front of this blazing apocalyptic background..  Chris Artinians familiar narrative style greeted me on page one. His way of expressing himself is charming and unique, he has a great verbal signature. Once you read a Artinian book you will recognize all others. The story is captivating, because you, like me, will care fast for the two main characters, Wren and Robin. The two sisters find themselves in the middle of the Zombie apocalypse, Orphans in a new world that is filled with danger and darkness.. Their parents succumbed to the disease and turned, but they have to realize that the victims of the Plague that wanted to kill them had nothing to do with the two people that gave them live..  After reclaiming their home, the young women have to work out a plan to survive, because the worse monster do not have blood on their lips and Rage in their eyes… The worse monsters do have human faces and friendly smiles.. I won’t spoil things for you, dear readers.. I will just say that Artinian surprised me.. Some of his characters have a Hitchcock quality to them, he plays with madness, with basic human fears and emotions. What I loved the most is the evolution of the relationship between the two sisters. From a cold distant way of relating, based on their different characters the two sisters get close and start working and acting as a unit, because nothing is welding two people closer together than fighting the undead..  Before ending my review, I want to say a few words about the girls.. Wren is very disciplined, a true fighter, a Olympic level athlete. Robin is your typical girl, she loves to party, dates boys and invested all her pocket money in clothes and make up.. When Wren is training in the backyard with the javelin to fight the undead, Robin is morning the loss of her phone charger..  I think that most of us can relate a bit with each of them.. Have you ever asked yourself what would you miss the most if everything would end tomorrow??? Give The end of everything a chance, you won’t regret it. Find Christopher Artinian on Facebook, Amazon and on the island he lives on.. His books are all available on Kindle unlimited.