Ten Questions for Eric S. Brown.
Eric S. Brown is a 32 year old author living in North Carolina with his wife and son. Some of his books include the zombie novel/novellas The Queen, Cobble, and The Wave. Some of his chapbooks include Zombies: The War Stories, As We All Breakdown, Still Dead, and Viruses and Vamps. His latest book, Zombies II: Inhuman will be out in June, 2007 from Naked Snake Books. For those interested in checking out his work, his books can be found on www.amazon.com, www.nakedsnakepress.com, www.shocklines.com, and www.fictionwise.com
NT:How did you come to focus on the zombie sub-genre?
Eric: I just have always loved zombies since the first time I saw Dawn of the Dead. When I started writing, my first story not only that I wrote but that I sold was a zombie tale. Since then they have just kind of stuck with me. I write more zombie stuff than anything else and zombies are what I am known for most in my career.
NT:Do you feel that the zombie genre offers greater opportunity for social satire, philosophical musing and political statement than other forms of horror?
Eric: YES! Take one look at George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead and you can see all those things in it. I try to have a message in my tales sometimes too but honestly I write out of a love of the zombie genre than anything else.
NT: What work within the zombie genre (be it novel, short story, film, image, etc) has most influenced your work?
Eric: The Rising by Brian Keene. That book not only made zombies cool again but it opened the door to much less traditional takes on the living dead in fiction.
NT: Zombie fiction (as well as horror in general) is making a real comeback these days. Do you believe that there is a political aspect to this? That is, is it true that as a society we turn to the frightening and the terrible in times of political or economic insecurity? If so, why?
Eric: Though many would disagree, I think so. I think we want to escape into a fantasy world rather than deal with the problems in our own real world and zombie tales despite their end of the world storylines often are filled with hope and if nothing else at least try to remind the reader why it’s important to try to stay alive.
NT: Other than yourself, who is the best writer working in this field?
Eric: There are a ton of great writers out there today. Brian Keene is certainly the one that has caused the most change but I think I would say David Moody. He’s a writer who’s not scared to take chances and his work is so character driven you can’t help but be amazed at his talent after reading Autumn. Travis Adkins, I think, is certainly one of the younger, newer authors to watch. He has great potential.
NT: To be effective does a zombie tale have to contain a extreme gore? Can the same effect be gained through other means, and if it could would it be as good?
Eric: Readers do expect some gore or it wouldn’t be a zombie tale but certainly books like David Moody’s Autumn come across as powerful and moving without focusing on that aspect of the genre. Gore isn’t needed but it shouldn’t be completely left out either.
NT: What’s the most important thing you’ve ever put off or ignored to write?
Eric: I have always wanted to do a super-hero type comic book since comics are my other real passion in life aside from zombies, my wife, and my son. It’s something I have thought about my whole life but have yet to really try to do it.
NT: What’s your favorite book (zombie or non-zombie)?
Eric: The Legion of Super-heroes and The Fantastic Four are my favorite comics and I also have a love for the old Weird War Tales books that DC did in the 70s but as to a novel I would likely say Hyperion by Dan Simmons or The Rising by Brian Keene. However the all time greatest ever zombie book to me would certainly be The Book of the Dead anthology.
NT: What’s your advice for someone trying to break in to the zombie fiction market?
Eric: As a person who was writing and selling zombie tales before they were cool again I know how hard it can be. I think the most important things are just to write a lot, develop a body of work, and keep sending it out to publishers. If you really want to make it, you can.
NT: Are zombies real?
Eric: That depends on what you mean by that statement. I think Romero type zombies certainly could be someday with the way science continues to advance but if you’re talking Haitian type creatures then certainly just as seen in The Serpent and the Rainbow.