My countdown to the September 3rd release of my next zombie novel, The Savage Dead, continues with my interview with Mr. Timothy W. Long, author of The Zombie Wilson Diaries, Among the Living and Beyond the Barriers, to name but a few of his kickass zombie books. Timothy W. Long is ex-military but he has also been writing tales and stories since he could hold a crayon and has read enough books to choke a landfill. Tim has a fascination with all things zombie, a predilection for weird literature, and a deep-seated need to jot words on paper and thrust them at people.
Recently, Tim and I were trading emails back and forth, getting ready for this interview, and we got on the subject of the inevitable zombie apocalypse. I thought his response so entertaining I had to reprint it here, in full:
“It’s only a matter of time before they come for me. That’s how I approach life. I figure that if I’m not having a good time – I need to fix that by getting into some trouble.
You do know that zombies are coming for us all. Right? Some people live every week like it’s shark week. I live every day like tomorrow will bring the inevitable zombie apocalypse.
You’re probably thinking: “Well Mr. Author-Man. I don’t believe in zombies. So there.”
Good for you but I don’t think zombies give two frontal lobes what you think. You’ll be sitting there with your laptop open while you stare blankly at the television and occasionally type a message to your spouse who is sitting upstairs. You’ll jump up to pour another vodka and Yoo-Hoo and that’s when they will be at your door. And when I say “at your door” I mean beating the crap out of your door until it’s kindling.
They are going to smash their way inside like the mindless horde that they are. The dead — in their glorious masses. Men and women who used to be your neighbors. They’ll be covered in bite marks and drooling blood. Remember Mr. Johnson and how his dog used to piss on your petunias? That dog is currently chewing on your neighbor’s leg and old Mr. Johnson, with his lazy eye and mothball haze, has set his mouth on a collision course with your throat.
So you’ll fight them — with the power of deniability, but it won’t work because zombies don’t stop. Ever. If you think you’re going to stand in your living room while they crowd around you, and exclaim, “You aren’t real!” Well, good luck with that. I bet you’ll taste delicious.”
So that’s what we’re up against, ladies and gentlemen. Now let’s see if he offers us any words of advice to keep from tasting delicious.
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?
Timothy W. Long: Hi Joe. Thanks so much for inviting me to your blog.
I primarily write character driven books. I am known for being a zombie writer but I suspect my fans would say they keep coming back because I focus so strongly on the people that make up my works. My first novels are the ongoing Among the Living series. The book series takes place in Seattle Washington and focus on a number of main characters during the first week of a zombie outbreak. The books are visceral but they also contain a little bit of humor to lighten up the morbid subject of people being devoured by the hungry dead.
I have a military themed zombie book out there called Beyond the Barriers and it focuses on an ex-special forces soldier who is cut off from civilization for half a year and returns to find the world over run with the dead. The zombies in the book are bad enough but there are now ghoulish creatures that are able to herd the Z’s and direct them to do the ghoul’s bidding.
I also have a new book that is unfolding as a serial called Z-Risen: Outbreak. This is a fun project I’ve been working on for a few months and it is about 1/3 complete. When the USS McClusky (FFG-41) was overrun by the dead Machinist Mate First Class Jackson Creed, and Marine Sergeant Joel “Cruze” Kelly, were forced to abandon the ship, and take their chances in San Diego. Now they are stuck in a city that has been completely overrun with zombies and as the days go by they must range farther and farther away from ‘fortress’ in their search for supplies. Relying on military training, guts, and pure force of will, the two men face a nightmare world that is intent on killing them one bite at a time. I’m having a hell of a lot of fun writing this and the best part of fans is that the story is completely free. http://z-risen.com
JM: The zombie apocalypse is happening right now. Are you prepared? Would humanity win?
TL: I’m sort of prepared. I have some survival gear, a stash of food with a 20 year shelf life (although I really don’t want to test that stuff in 19 and a half years – ewww) and a number of weapons including an assault rifle. I’d say I am more prepared for a catastrophic event than a zombie apocalypse. If it came down to it I think I could have my house secure in a few hours and I already live out in the boonies.
Would humanity win? I hope so. I think it’s telling that so many people jump in and help without regard for their own safety in the event of a nasty situation. After the Boston Bombing we saw some great acts of courage. The same is true of earthquakes and hurricanes. People band together and help each other out so why would the zombie apocalypse have to be any different?
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.)
TL: Shaun of the Dead is not only my favorite zombie movie but probably my favorite movie of all time. Not only is it a funny, quirky, British romantic comedy, it’s also a genuine zombie movie with real horror and gore. The cast is amazing. The scene where Simon Pegg’s group runs into an identical group and greet each other as they pass is hysterical.
JM: What’s your favorite zombie kill scene of all time?
TL: Back to Shaun of the Dead. Definitely the scene where Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are in the backyard and they are using anything available as a weapon. I particularly enjoyed the album in the zombies head! I don’t have any albums laying around but I suppose I could make an investment in cheap zombie 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?
TL: If anything it tells us that a lot of folks are obsessed with the end of the world. It probably won’t be zombies because let’s face it, no matter how you spin the science it simply cannot happen. But in our increasingly news media and instant social media gratification society people really want to play the what if game? Shows like The Walking Dead and Revolution all posit futures where the world has changed and we no longer have our creature comforts. This is a modern era where you can order an item on Amazon and have it delivered the next day so one of the scariest thoughts (for me) is “how would I even survive a world where the dead ruled and I couldn’t order a crossbow online to deal with them?” I know that sounds funny but it is a valid question. How many of us are really prepared for the end of the world? Not many and that’s why we love the fantasy.
People are welcome to seek me out at http://timothywlong.com. Thanks so much for having me on your site, Joe. I’m looking forward to your new book.
Thank you, Tim!
Check out all of Tim’s books here.