Summer is the perfect time to pick up new books, discover new authors, break the pattern and enjoy something awesome. I know that Jonathan Maberry is famous for the rest of the World but his work is relatively new to me and I am reading fast to catch up… If you scroll down you will not only find some of my opinions on Rot and Ruin but also a fascinating interview with the man himself.. So, back to business… I really love the fact that you can read Broken Lands as a standalone novel, still be warned, it will make you want to pick up Rot and Ruin… The main character, Gutsy is fascinating.. She is a problem solver, very mature and calm for her 15 years of age.. Probably children grow up faster in the apocalypse.. The story is starting under the empire of sadness and loss with Gutsy having to bury her mother… What I find fascinating here and also in the Rot&Ruin series is the different ways people deal with the Zombie. They are not just ravenous undead, but also shadows of family and friends.. Tom Imura believed in giving families closure… Gutsy respected her Mama’s catholic faith that mean she has to restraint the zombified body of her mother, put her in a shroud and let her go through purgatory…. Death becomes more about fulfilling the wishes and respecting the beliefs of the deceased…. A series of events are making Gutsy snap out of her sadness…. Pain and loss is replaced by anger and confusion .A problem solver will always ask why.. When she finds out that her entire town is a huge lab, and that they are all rats for experiments her need for closure and revenge reaches new heights… Together with her friends, the orphans Spider and Alethea and her dog Sombra, Gutsy puts the puzzle parts together and solves parts of the mystery… Another very sweet thing about this story is that in all the madness, loss and chaos, with the advancing Night army and the epic battle that followed, Gutsy still gets a kiss from the girl she has a crush on…. Only because the apocalypse is happening human feelings can’t be ignored…. And as she realizes during the fight, she’s a warrior, and every warrior needs a reason to fight and someone to come back to…. https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B07GNTPSB3/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1562588524&sr=8-1
New York Times bestselling author and multiple Bram Stoker award winner doesn’t really need much introduction. If you missed the first part of the interview you can catch up with it here. https://readingzombie.com/2019/07/02/asking-bram-stoker-award-winner-and-ny-times-bestselling-author-jonathan-maberry-20-questions-part-1/
11.ALINA IONESCU: Would you like to rewrite a classic novel and add a horror touch to it? And if yes which one and why?
JONATHAN MABERRY: I’ve toyed with that idea ever since Seth Graeme-Smith did PRIDE & PREJUDICE & ZOMBIES. And while I’m unlikely to ever tackle that kind of project, it would be fun to introduce vampires into Charles Dickens’ A TALE OF TWO CITIES. Surely the French Revolution would have displaced many of the undead.
12.ALINA IONESCU: It’s Reading Zombie, so, if you would be bitten by a zombie and had just 24 hours left, would you try to see how the other side exists?
JONATHAN MABERRY: If I thought there was even a chance of retaining some awareness, I might go over to the cold side and learn that experience. But otherwise, no. I’d spend my last day helping uninfected get out of town and to safety. And if I was still healthy enough, I’d set a big fiery trap for the zombie horde. If I have to go down, then by god I’ll go down in flames!
13.ALINA IONESCU: You write is amazing stories about the supernatural, so if you could choose one “monster” to be real what would it be?
JONATHAN MABERRY: My favorite monster of all time is the werewolf subspecies called the Benandanti, which translate as ‘good walker’. These creatures are from families that can trace their lineage back to Etruscan times, and for centuries they claimed that at night they became werewolves who hunted evil monsters. They were also known as the Hounds of God. I based my Sam Hunter short story series on that legend. He’s a private detective who uses his special powers and appetites to protect his clients, rescue women and kids from abusive situations, and hunt human evil. We could use some supernaturally powerful yet idealistic monsters right now. I can even give them a list of viable targets.
14.ALINA IONESCU: I am intrigued by the poetic beauty of the decaying apocalyptic world in Rot & Ruin, and the darkness of Pine Deep, do you see those places before you put the characters in or is everything growing as the story progresses?
JONATHAN MABERRY: The place and setting of my stories is often every bit as important as the characters, and often takes on enough of its own unique personality. It’s more than atmospheric language, the place becomes a character. Pine Deep, which is the setting for GHOST ROAD BLUES, DEAD MAN’S SONG, BAD MOON RISING, DARKNESS AT THE EDGE OF TOWN, and the novel I’m currently writing, INK, is based on a real place –New Hope, in eastern Pennsylvania. When I was a teenager, New Hope was very different than it is today. Back then, in the mid-1970s, it had a small and very artsy community huddled against the banks of the Delaware River, but wrapped around those few streets were miles upon miles of farm fields. Lots of corn and pumpkin, apples and wheat. Vast fields of it, with lonely farmhouses set way, way back from the roads. My friends and I would drive out there in the evenings, when those fields were empty, and under vast star-fields we’d sit and talk, tell ghost stories, make out with our girlfriends, and seem to be in another world. Or another century. There were no street lights and the darkness was towering. We scared ourselves silly, but that’s what we wanted. It was a place of dark mystery and magic. Now, alas, it’s all built over with housing developments and strip malls. But I remember the magic, and the personality of that town, and built my first three novels around it.
As for the post-apocalyptic world of the ROT & RUIN, that has its own heritage. When I was ten years old, a buddy and I snuck into the Midway Theater, a massive and crumbling old movie house in our neighborhood, to see the world premiere of George A. Romero’s immortal NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. For anyone who grew up later, that movie seems cheap and quaint, but in 1968 it was a total gut punch. We’d never seen anything like it. It was, to that point in time, arguably the scariest and most shocking movie ever. My friend fled halfway through; I stayed to see it twice. And I’ve spent way too much of my life working out how I might survive that kind of apocalyptic event.
When I sat down to write ROT & RUIN, which is set fourteen years after the events of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (with a bit of retroactive blessing from Romero, who became my friend in later years), I knew that the world was going to have to be a character. The day-to-day lifestyles of people who either lived through the end of the world, or who grew up afterward, would inform the entire story. And, the world inside their fenced town would be different from the world beyond the fence. That became important for me to tell and explore.
15.ALINA IONESCU: I love Rot & Ruin. Why did you decided to place it there, and not write the story of the outbreak first?
JONATHAN MABERRY: I’d first written ROT & RUIN as a novella called “The Family Business” for the wonderful anthology THE NEW DEAD, edited by my friend Christopher Golden. He’d asked me to write something outside of my comfort zone, and at that point I hadn’t written anything post-apocalyptic and hadn’t done a story with a teenager as the protagonist. So, I jumped forward to fourteen years after the plague and told that story, which later morphed into a series of novels.
However, all throughout those novels there are references to First Night, which is what the survivors call the actual zombie apocalypse. I kept wanting to write that, but the story really wasn’t something that would involve teenagers in lead roles –and ROT & RUIN is teen fiction. So, I pitched a novel, DEAD OF NIGHT, that would be for adults and would tell the story of how the zombie apocalypse happened. Unlike most of the zombie fiction out there, I worked with epidemiologists, virologists, molecular biologists, and parasitologists to come up with as reasonable an explanation for the plague as is possible to get. Turns out we got closer than I thought. Scary close. That book starts with the first bite and expands outward, so we see how a plague of this sort can spread if the circumstances are just right. Or…just wrong.
I ended DEAD OF NIGHT on a cliffhanger and then decided to continue with FALL OF NIGHT. I jumped forward several weeks for DARK OF NIGHT, and took another jump forward for STILL OF NIGHT.
16.ALINA IONESCU: I am still under the spell of Pine Deep, and without giving away spoiler I noticed that you don’t shy away from killing main characters..
JONATHAN MABERRY: Stories about real people fighting supernatural monsters are, for the most part, war stories. People die in wars. Writers who are overly sentimental or timid about killing characters seldom write compelling fiction.
17.ALINA IONESCU: You switch between zombie apocalypse, vampire horror, thriller, Scifi.. (have I missed something) what’s a genre you have not written yet but plan on?
JONATHAN MABERRY: I’m always eager to try new things. When I was a teenager I became friends with, and then mentored by, Ray Bradbury and Richard Matheson. Two towering legends. Matheson stressed that I should never let myself be trapped in a box, creatively-speaking. His own novels were scattered through genre categories. So, I’ve explored outside of my comfort zone. Horror and thrillers are my favorite genres, but I’ve written steampunk, urban fantasy, dark fantasy, swords & sorcery, western, mystery, space opera, military SciFi, Lovecraftian cosmic horror, and more. And I’ve written in a lot of worlds created by other writers –what we call ‘media tie-in writing’. Among those are stories set in the worlds of Alien, Predator, True Blood, John Carter of Mars, The Land of Oz, Hellboy, Sherlock Holmes, C. Auguste Dupin, C.H.U.D., Plan 9 From Outer Space, Monster Hunter International, the X-Files, and many of the Marvel super heroes.
On my genre wish list… a post-apocalyptic social satire, a literary novel, non-supernatural adventure fiction, and a World War II story.
18.ALINA IONESCU: You have a fascinating background and wrote nonfiction for years, do you ever consider publishing an autobiographical novel?
JONATHAN MABERRY: I’ve been asked to write an autobiography or memoir several times, but I have no interest in it. My ego doesn’t need the stroke. However, I have mined my personal experiences for inspiration. For example, I’m writing a young adult mystery thriller, WATCH OVER ME, about a teen who wants to be a bodyguard like his parents. I used to be a bodyguard, but I’d rather take bits and pieces of that, fictionalize them, and use them in a novel.
19.ALINA IONESCU: I know that your zombies in Rot and Ruin change, but there’s this discussion fast zombies vs slow shuffling ones.. If you have to pick one type what would you choose?
JONATHAN MABERRY: That depends on what you mean. In terms of entertainment, I find slow zombies scarier in prose and fast ones scarier in film. In terms of what I’d prefer if I was in the middle of the zombie apocalypse…? Definitely slow ones. I can fight, but I’m not a very fast runner.
20.ALINA IONESCU: You wrote scripts for comic books, how does this process work? How has the final decision?
JONATHAN MABERRY: Unlike novels –which are intensely solo efforts—comics are heavily collaborative. When I pitch a story to my editor, there is often discussion back and forth to make sure the story works for the medium. Then I write an outline –which gets notes. When I sit down to do a script, I’m on my own until that’s done. I’m currently writing PANDEMICA, a new bio-terrorism comic for IDW Publishing. My script decides on the number of panels, tells the artist what to draw, and includes all of the dialogue and character descriptions. Then the artist does light pencils to show how he interprets the script. More discussion –me, the editor, and the artist—and once we agree on any changes, the artist does the finished pencils and (in most cases) the inks. Then it gets sent over to the colorist, and finally the letterer. Everyone has a say, and it is a very unwise writer who doesn’t pay attention when an artist, inker, colorist, or letterer makes a suggestion. We are all professionals working together.
Find Jonathan Maberry on social media and Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/author/ref=dbs_P_W_auth?_encoding=UTF8&author=Jonathan%20Maberry&searchAlias=digital-text&asin=B001JSF8TK
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) ..
- 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…… https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/author/ref=mw_dp_a_ap?_encoding=UTF8&author=Jonathan%20Maberry&searchAlias=books&asin=B001JSF8TK
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).. https://www.amazon.com/Rot-Ruin-Jonathan-Maberry-ebook/dp/B003UYUP1W/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?keywords=rot+and+ruin&qid=1557473188&s=gateway&sprefix=Rot+and+&sr=8-2