Whenever I’m asked about what my current work in progress is about, I get slightly embarrassed. This is how a typical conversation tends to go:
Them: So whatcha writing now?
Me (cheeks flush red): Ummm . . . A zombie western romance for young adults.
Me: Yeah, a zombie . . . western . . . romance.
Them: That sounds . . . different. (Their way of saying, “You’re strange.”)
Me: (trying to make myself sound less strange): It’s really more of a romance set in the wild, wild west really, with only a sprinkling of zombies, not a lot, but enough. It’s actually quite fun to write.
Them: Sounds . . . fun. (Their way of saying, “You’re even more strange than before.”)
Me: I write other stuff too. More contemporary stuff, not just zombies. My other three books are more contemporary actually, like Lesley Kagen and Elizabeth Flock. That kind of stuff.
Them: Oh, tell me about those. (Now I’m back to just “strange” and not “strange-strange” and that makes me happy).
I need to learn to own my strangeness. Just embrace it and go with it. It is what it is, and the truly bizarre thing about zombie novels (something I didn’t know about until well after I started writing one) is that their HOT. People like their zombies. They do. (I bet you do too. Go on, admit it). From costumes, to movies, to the new show called “The Walking Dead” on AMC, to shirts and clothing—zombies are EVERYWHERE. Well, not literally everywhere. Their not real—duh? But you know what I mean.
So I shouldn’t be embarrassed. I mean in the hierarchy of paranormal creatures and writing, it goes something like this:
1) Vampires (super big genre, but slowly losing momentum. How much more can we take, really?)
2) Zombies (I’m biased here. I think their much cooler than the following. But like I said, I’m biased)
6) Wicked clowns (clowns suck)
In an article in The Writer magazine, October 2010 issue, it says that zombies are the next BIG thing. Who knew? Not me. Not when I started. Jonathan Maberry goes on to say, “Nowdays, zombies offer greater storytelling potential than vampires . . . in recent years the vampires themselves have become the story. They are beautiful, tragic figures, and much of the writing is about them. Not so with the living dead. Except in a handful of zombie tales, the walking dead do not possess intellect or personality, and therefore all the writer has to do is establish that they are the threat. Once that’s done, the story can focus on the humans who are caught up in that threat.” He also says, " They allow the fiction writer to create and sustain suspense. They are a constant and pervasive threat. Blood and gore, however, is not absolutely required."
That’s what I do. It’s not about the zombies. It’s about the people (the alive people). AND, I'm not a horror writer. so there's not a ton of blood and gore in my novel. It's actually quite tame as far as zombies go. The article even goes on to say that you don’t have to like zombies to write about zombies—their talking about me, folks.
So YES! I’m writing a zombie book and I like it. Think what you will (but I'd much rather you think kindly please).
Who knows, maybe it will be this zombie book of mine that will break down the door to publication and not my more contemporary works.
Now wouldn’t that be funny . . . Angela Scott, Zombie Writer Extraordinaire (I added the extraordinaire because I wanted to). Oh, and don't forget to check out my cool "Got Zombies?" tab above.