Saturday, January 18, 2014

Interview with M.F. Soriano, author of the Zombie City series

Hi this is George Cook of It was my pleasure to interview M.F. Soriano author of the Zombie City Series.

Synopsis: What would you do if all the hipsters turned into zombies? 

Shane moved to San Francisco to write, following in the steps of his Beat Generation heroes. Twelve years later he's pushing thirty, flirting with alcoholism, and not writing at all. His life revolves around his dead-end job as a janitor at a tech startup, cleaning up after work-obsessed hipsters who dress like artists but think like yuppies. On the day Shane realizes he needs to get out of the City or give up on being a writer, a horrific infection breaks out amongst the startup workers, plunging San Francisco into a nightmare of cannibalism and murder.

San Francisco is dying. Welcome to Zombie City.

Here is our interview:

George Cook: What inspired you to become an author?

M.F. Soriano: I started writing because I found it easiest to express my thoughts and feelings in a written format.  I also love to get lost in my imagination, and writing is a way for me to put my imagination into a form that other people can experience.  When you write, you build worlds with your words.

George Cook: Why write in the zombie genre?

M.F. Soriano: I'm a big fan of George Romero, and love the way he used the zombie-apocalypse scenario to comment on certain aspects of modern life (like how the zombies inDawn of the Dead are somehow compelled to return to the shopping mall, which highlights the mindlessness of consumerism).  I also think the idea of our world being radically and rapidly transformed is compelling.  What would it be like if everything we take for granted just suddenly changed entirely?  Plus I get a kick out writing horrific scenes of gore and violence, and the zombie genre lets you do that.

George Cook: Lets's get to Zombie City. What's the series about? How many books are there in the series?

M.F. Soriano: Zombie City follows a failed-poet-turned-janitor named Shane as he struggles to survive in a San Francisco that's gone bat-shit crazy.  There are three books in the series so far (I call them "episodes" because they're shorter than novels, and they're plotted out more like episodes in a TV show).  I'm working on a fourth episode now, and I think there will be five episodes in the end.

George Cook: As I'm sure you know there are thousands of zombie books out there right now. What makes yours stand out?

M.F. Soriano: I think Zombie City stands out because in addition to offering action and horror, it reveals something about the changing nature of San Francisco.  SF used to be a Mecca for immigrants, artists, and other minorities—a sort of refuge for people who didn't fit into mainstream American society.  Now it's becoming a city of business, specifically tech-industry business, and those immigrants and artists and other minorities are being forced out.  Zombie City takes that change and makes it explicit by having a virus break out amongst the tech workers—they literally become zombies intent on eating the uninfected.

George Cook: What's the cause of the zombie apocalypse in your books?

M.F. Soriano: The story follows Shane and he doesn't know the specific cause of the phenomena affecting the city, but he does notice things and start putting two and two together as the story progresses.  I don't want to give all the secrets away because I think the gradual reveal—and the sense of intrigue that accompanies it—is part of the allure of the series… but I will say that it involves an energy drink that's been created from a blend of Epidemiology (disease science) and black magic (of the Voodoo variety).

George Cook: Are your zombies the fast or slow moving type?

M.F. Soriano: Slow.  They lurch along, their bodies loaded down with sickness.  I remember hearing someone say that fast zombies are scary because they're fast, but slow zombies are scary because they represent the relentlessness and inescapability of death.

George Cook: Are you trying to make any greater point with your books or just write a good zombie story?

M.F. Soriano: I am trying to imbue the story with certain deeper meanings—like what I mentioned above about the changing nature of San Francisco.  I think a well-developed context makes all the killing and mayhem more rewarding!

George Cook: Do you have an online prescence? If so where? Blogs, web sites, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

M.F. Soriano: I'm working on developing an online presence, but usually I'd rather be writing so my "online-presence efforts" are still somewhat primitive.
Here's a link to my blog:
There's a page for me on Goodreads:
And I finally got around to joining Facebook, about a month ago.  Here's a link to my author page:
George Cook: Where are your books available?
And also on Kobo, Apple Store (iTunes), and the Sony Reader store.
George Cook: Any thing you would like to say in closing?

M.F. Soriano: Thanks very much, Mr. Cook, for interviewing me!

Buy the book!