Check out my interview with Mikhail Lerma. The author of The Z Plan zombie series.
TDWZS (The Dead War Zombie Series): What inspired you to become an author?
Mikhail Lerma: It was kind of an accident really. Just one day, while deployed in Iraq, I just started writing. At first, just to entertain myself and my close friends. It just evolved from there. So I'd say my inspiration was a combination of boredom and the desire to entertain.
TDWZS: Why write in the zombie genre?
Mikhail Lerma: The experts say, so I hear, to write what you know. And from a young age I've always been fascinated by the concept of the dead returning to life and eating the living. A fear/interest introduced to me by my mother. Damn Romero movies. So I paired my zombie hobby with my military knowledge.
TDWZS: Lets's get to the Into Zombies series. What's the series about? How many books are there in the series?
Mikhail Lerma: It starts as a group of soldiers, deployed in Iraq, desperately trying to get home amidst a zombie apocalypse. The members of this group are whittled down by the undead to one man. His goal; to get home to his wife and daughter alone as the world crumbles around him. His story spans three books. In the first he attempts to escape the Middle East. Book two ends with him "making" it to the United States. A book three? Well, I'm still working that one out. But I can promise that just being on American soil doesn't make his travels any easier.
TDWZS: As I'm sure you know there are thousands of zombie books out there right now. What makes yours stand out?
Mikhail Lerma: Most, if not all, zombie books start with their main characters being fairly close to their home. My characters aren't even in their home countries. Another factor that makes my story standout is that a lot of military characters in stories are Special Forces, Rangers, Seals, just absolute badasses. The group of soldiers I created are just regular military personnel. They are, in my opinion, more believable this way.
TDWZS: What's the cause of the zombie apocalypse in your books?
Mikhail Lerma: I hint a some kind of virus hybrid that originates in Africa in book one. In book two I reveal its appearance was a little more widespread than just Africa. And without spoiling anything, book three dabbles in the virology and nature of my fictitious plague. But at this point it could be anything. A radioactive meteor passing too close to earth, a genetically engineered bioweapon, a parasite, or even rage infected monkeys.
TDWZS: Are your zombies the fast or slow moving type?
Mikhail Lerma: In general I'd say they're slow. Old Romero zombies were by far the scariest. A slow and silent killer that sneaks up. If they're fast it becomes more of an action novel than a horror. But I've got a couple of exceptions. Recently reanimated corpses are a little faster, but degrade quickly as decomposition sets in.
TDWZS: Are you trying to make any greater point with your books or just write a good zombie story?
Mikhail Lerma: My book is a lot more than its face value. My main character's story isn't just about his daunting task of getting home, but growing as he journeys. He's faced with a lot of real issues soldiers returning from a warzone experience. He and his friends share a deep bond. They're like brothers. So when they die he exhibits many signs of survivor's guilt and post traumatic stress. Book two is when the reader really starts to see just how badly he's been affected. And while it makes for great character development, the readers are reminded that he's mentally ill. If you remove the zombies from my book, what you have is a very real story of what our veterans experience when they come home.
TDWZS: Do you have an online presence? If so where? Blogs, web sites, Twitter, Facebook?
Mikhail Lerma: Yes I am very active online, and enjoy connecting with readers. You can find all of my social media links on my main website www.MikhailLerma.com.
Mr. Lerma will be hosting a Virtual Book Release Party on Facebook tomorrow August 31st. All are welcome, and he will be giving away a lot of prizes. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1538605889694853