Are there any Mark Tufo fans in the house? Raise your hands with me. Whenever I’m asked for my recommendations on great zombie writers I have a short list I always give out, and Mark is always on it. He’s hilarious, he’s terrifying, and he’s a damn good storyteller. I’m delighted to have him here on Old Major’s Dream.
As you know, I’m counting down the days till the September 3rd release of my next zombie novel, The Savage Dead, with a series of interviews of zombie masters, and Mark Tufo is most certainly that. Mark was born in Boston Massachusetts. He attended UMASS Amherst where he obtained a BA and later joined the US Marine Corp. He was stationed in Parris Island SC, Twenty Nine Palms CA and Kaneohe Bay Hawaii. After his tour he went into the Human Resources field with a worldwide financial institution and has gone back to college at CTU to complete his masters. He has written the Indian Hill trilogy with the first Indian Hill – Encounters being published for the Amazon Kindle in July 2009. He has since written the Zombie Fallout series and is working on a new zombie book. He lives in Maine with his wife, three kids and two English bulldogs.
Joe McKinney: Thanks for joining me here on Old Major’s Dream. I’m glad you could swing by. You’re no stranger to zombie fiction. Would you mind telling the folks out there a little about your zombie-related writing? How do you approach the genre?
Mark Tufo: Hi Joe, first off I wanted to thank you for inviting me to be here. But I was told there would be refreshments and I’m not seeing any. Right now I have three series that revolve around zombies, Zombie Fallout, Timothy and The Book of Riley, so I guess it’s safe to say I really dig zombies. I’ve been fascinated with the genre since I was 7 and my babysitting cousin thought watching Night of the Living Dead would be a good way to while away the time. I’ve never been so scared and enthralled in my entire life. When I started the ZF series I really wanted to go with the Every Guy and see how he would deal with protecting his family and friends. That he’s a sarcastic smart-ass was just a bonus.
JM: The zombie apocalypse is happening right now. Are you prepared? Would humanity win?
MT: I’m not a ‘prepper’ per say. I have guns, ammo and some food stored. Could I make it for the long haul with my stores and my defenses? I don’t think at my present location. I think humanity’s survival would rest on how fast the outbreak hit. And having been prior military I think the biggest threat to mankind would be mankind. When the crap hits the fan we are not nearly as altruistic as we would like to think. Cynical? Probably.
JM: What’s your favorite zombie book, movie, short story, whatever? (Please feel free to ramble as much or as little as you like here. I’d love to know why that story or movie or whatever grabs you.)
MT: I almost hate answering this question because honestly I’ve read or watched so many books and movies that I’ve loved I’d never be able to give this list justice. How about if I go with a cop-out. If it has a zombie in it, I’m pretty much a fan.
JM: What’s your favorite zombie kill scene of all time?
MT: Dead Snow has this one scene where two men one armed with a sledge hammer and the other a chainsaw fight through a horde of Nazi’s. I thought that was a pretty awesome scene. Now hopefully if I’m ever caught in that scenario it’s with a fully automatic weapon. None of that hand to hand combat crap! Always carry extra ammo!
JM: I’ve always felt the best and most effective horror is trying to investigate what we think of ourselves and what it means to be us. Washington Irving’s tales, for instance, generally grapple with the question of what it means to be an American in the post-Revolutionary War period. Nathaniel Hawthorne battled with the intellectual promise of a nation rising to international credibility while simultaneously choking under the yolk of a Puritan past. Stephen King made a name for himself chronicling the slow collapse of the American small town way of life. What do you think the zombie and its current popularity is telling us about ourselves?
MT: Personally I think people want a change. A radical, apocalyptic change. We are so wrapped up in the monotony of our lives that somehow fighting hordes of the Living Dead seems like a viable alternative. No more mortgage, cable or cell phone bills. No more stories about our corrupt government officials. No increasing taxes. No more working for The Man. It’s a way to live life the way it was meant to – unencumbered. Although fighting continually for your survival has its own inherent burdens.
Thank you for allowing me the time to rant!
And that, my friends, was Mark Tufo, one of my personal favorites. You can learn more about him and his Indian Hill Trilogy and Zombie Fallout series at his website here and here, and you can friend him on Facebook here.
You can check out all his books here.