Monday, September 1, 2014

Interview with William Bebb author of Chronicles of the Undead

TDWZS (The Dead War Zombie Series): What inspired you to become an author?

William Bebb: While hunting for a hobby I read a very bad novel written by a successful and famous author. I don't want to drop names but probably everyone has heard of him, and to be fair there are a great many stories by this writer that I really loved reading up to that point. I simply couldn't focus on that particular story and kept being forced to read the same few pages in a vain attempt at understanding what was happening. The main problem was excessive long winded descriptions that caused me to lose interest. And I thought, Geez, I could at least write something that captures and keeps a reader's attention. I've been a life-time fan of zombies and decided to give writing a story about them a shot. After a couple of years of work and what felt like a million rewrites Valley of Death Zombie Trailer Park shambled its way onto the literary stage.

TDWZS: Why write in the zombie genre?

William Bebb: I could not ONLY write novels or stories about zombies. The second book I tackled was a science fiction story called The Tiniest Invaders. Next year, in 2015, I plan on finishing the trilogy on that. But, yes, zombie tales can be quite a bit of fun. I've read other author's zombie books and felt... most had problems. World War Z was dry and I couldn't come close to caring about the characters. Someone told me it was supposed to be a 'dry objective historical accounting of humanity versus the undead' and I wasn't supposed to make me care about the characters. That's nice, I guess, but not for me. Brian Keene has a very good handle on the zombie genre, but his tales always end (Or at least always seem to end) badly for everyone. I might be able to create a book about zombies and their adventures without including the living but I believe it would be a problematic endeavor. Zombies, of and by themselves, bore me. To write a compelling story about zombies I need for there to be characters (living ones) that I can relate to. There have been a great many bad zombie movies over the years that are so formulaic and annoying that I want to slap whoever made them. Many typical badly made zombie films usually includes the following: SCENE 1: Scared people running from zombies. SCENE 2: Brief fight scene where some zombies are destroyed. SCENE 3: Survivors find a safe, secure, well stocked, location to stay in. SCENES 4-99: Almost no scenes with zombies and everything slides into conflicts involving the survivors and their personality quirks. LAST SCENE: Either a nuclear bomb explodes and simply atomizes everyone and everything, a helicopter picks up survivors and flies them to 'safety', or everyone dies. Shaun of the Dead actually had one of the more satisfying conclusions, at least for me. I prefer stories with interesting living characters in struggles with the undead but that's just it. They HAVE to actually deal with them, not hide in the cliche safe place and then spend most of the time talking about how life used to be, get in fights with each other, blah-blah-blah. At the same time, not every page in my zombie stories is dripping with gore. I was doing clean-up, revisions, and a bit of expansion to Valley of Death Zombie Trailer Park and came across a scene that seemed more powerful now than it did when I wrote it. A traveling evangelist that is searching a run-down trailer finds the skeletal remains of someone that over dosed on some narcotics back in the 1980s after her son was taken away because she was an addict. It had absolutely NOTHING to do with zombies, was maybe 2 or 3 pages at most, and yet the tragic feel was and still is intense to me. Another thing I enjoy about a world filled with zombies is that all the rules of regular life and laws are suspended. Survivors are forced to either deal with things themselves or die, reanimate, and then possibly get shot in the head and die again. I don't believe in relying on other folks or the government too much. In a world where everyone is looking out for themselves and the people they care about- that's where heroes or villains tend to be made.

TDWZS: Lets's get to the zombie books. What's the series about? How many books are there in the series?

William Bebb: Actually there are two concurrent series dealing with zombies that I am working on. The first came about because of VODZTPARK and is unofficially called the Keck Series because a deceased executive that worked at Beaumont biochemical corporation in Albuquerque New Mexico was named Stephen Keck. He was directly responsible for the virus that turned normal folks into ultra-violent murderous creatures, that when killed reanimate as more traditional undead zombies. There are 3 completed novels in that series with more in the works. The other series is called Chronicles of the Undead and focuses on a 20 something year old man named George. The cause or reason dead humans reanimate has nothing to do with a virus and everything to do with radiation that coming from a freak interstellar cloud that is making its way through the solar system. No biting is required to change into a zombie either. Anyone that dies simply reanimates and becomes a nasty problem.

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

William Bebb: Nothing much. I mainly focus on the characters and how they struggle to survive and sometimes question themselves whether it's even worth trying. Both series have light/humorous moments without getting overly silly.

TDWZS: Are your zombies the fast or slow moving type?

William Bebb: Fun question. Keck virus victims are alive and usually very quick. My take on the traditional dead zombie and their speed is a bit complicated but makes sense to me. A 'fresh' recently reanimated dead zombie should be not only fast moving but extremely fast. For the first few hours there's no reason a zombie couldn't or wouldn't move or run at least as fast and sometimes faster than the living. Zombies don't breathe or get tired. They wouldn't worry about over exerting or injuring themselves thus for a brief few hours they'd be fast and much more dangerous. Of course, as rigor mortis sets in- muscle stiffening etc, plus as gravity causes blood and other bodily fluids to pool in the lower legs they will gradually slow down to the typical slowly shambling zombies that we all know and love.

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

William Bebb: I enjoy spinning a good story. I'm a believer in karma and like to see the bad characters get what they deserve. In George's case, in Chronicles of the Undead, he's driven by a need to make up for some things he did that ended up killing the girl he loved. Motivation for my characters is something important to me. As to a greater point being made in my tales... I'd guess it might be something like no matter how bad things seem never give up.

TDWZS: Do you have an online presence? If so where? Blogs, web sites, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

William Bebb: Email can be sent to handsonppbooks@gmail.com

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