Something I've been wanting to do for AR (Apparatus Revolution), has been to interview people, authors, filmmakers, bands, whomever. So, I started, I wanted to put this up with the launch of the new AR site, but decided to put it up here, eventually it will be on the site--but I have to finish it first. So, without further delay...
...the interview with the author of The Zombie Chronicles, James Melzer.
1). What do you think separates The Zombie Chronicles from other zombie novels, other zombie-related works (movies/games/novels/comics), and in general, other works in the genre?
Answer: I don’t necessarily go for the gore factor in my novel. It’s more about the characters and what they go through. The zombies are more of a side-story, at least in the first book anyway. Book Two will have more zombies and more gore but for right now, I think what makes TZC different is the story and the people that populate it. Readers/listeners care about them and what happens to them, judging from the emails I get. I like that response, makes me feel like I’m doing my job properly.
2). Do you feel that TZC is a body of work that has appeal to an audience outside of fans of the genre or is it more so a work intended for them.
Answer: I think there can be the appeal if given the chance. It’s a zombie story, yes, but there’s also mystery/thriller undertones as well. Book One is about conspiracies and a corrupt government so if you like that sort of thing, I suggest you give it a try.
3). Do you think there’s still room for more zombie fiction?
Answer: Absolutely. I wouldn’t be putting TZC out there if there wasn’t. I’m a creative guy and I enjoy writing more than anything but I also want to get paid. If there wasn’t a market for it, I probably wouldn’t have started it. The recent success of Max Brooks’ World War Z and David Wellington’s Monster series prove that there is still a market for zombie fiction. It might be a niche market but there’s a lot of freaking zombie fans out there so it’s a BIG niche market.
4). TZC has gotten a great buzz surrounding it, there seems to be a big grass roots movement talking about TZC pretty darn favorably, especially podcasters and bloggers. What do you attribute this to? Is it a part of a marketing strategy that you initiated?
Answer: Honestly, I went in to this whole thing blind. No marketing strategy, nothing. Everything has been about timing, luck and hard work. When I first started the podcast novel I emailed a bunch of other podcast novelists and invited them to come and listen. I also did up a promo and emailed it to a bunch of other podcasters as well. It got played on some shows and people were intrigued so they came and listened. Everything else just happened from there. I have Google Alerts so I know where it’s being talked about and when something pops up I try and respond to it. Makes it more personal that way I think.
5). Permuted Press has picked up TZC as well as the other two planned novels of yours. Have you finished writing TZC and can you tell us anything about the other novels?
Answer: No, Permuted bought the trilogy before the first book was even done. In fact, I became the world’s first podcast novelist to sell a novel before it was completed when that happened. Yay me! The first novel is still in progress. I do have a deadline which I will easily meet and then it’s off to Books Two and Three. If I had to do it over I probably would have finished the first book before podcasting it. I could have focused more of my efforts on marketing than writing AND marketing.
6). What has it been like working with Permuted Press? Are they going to edit any of the work? Have they requested any elements be included or excluded from TZC or its sequels?
Answer: Working with Permuted has been a blast. I haven’t got into detailed stuff with them yet since the first book is still in the works but I’m looking forward to going through the editing process and seeing the final cover art for the book. Permuted is pretty easy going. There isn’t much they won’t let me do in the book. The possibilities are endless, really.
7). Do you have any plans for shorter works of fiction within the TZC universe?
Answer: Not at the moment. I’m open to the fans sending me some fanfic, which I will gladly put to podcast but as for myself doing anything; I just want to finish the trilogy first. You never know what will happen though.
8). Have you received any negative feedback from listeners/readers?
Answer: I am pleased to say I have not received one single negative comment about the book from anyone.
9). What is a typical day of writing like for you? Do you have a word quota you try to hit? A certain place you like to go and write?
Answer: Well a typical day of writing for me is sort of jammed in between everything else. I have a full-time job that I’m at 9-10 hours a day so my writing is done on the go a lot of the time. On the subways and buses of the city as I travel. Once home though I try and get at least 1000 words done on the computer each night. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I also answer emails and respond to any other messages I might have, so my day is pretty busy. Writing always comes first though.
10). What would you say are the biggest inspirations behind you creating TZC? Was it difficult to start the writing process?
Answer: The writing process itself wasn’t difficult to start. TZC is something I conceived about ten years ago so I was anxious to finally get started. In terms of inspirations for starting the podcast novel I would say other novelists like Matt Selznick, Mur Lafferty, JC Hutchins and Scott Sigler. Those people have paved the way for people like myself to come along and try and make a name for ourselves in a form of media that is becoming more and more accepted each day. Mur Lafferty has been a huge inspiration to me though and she’s been very supportive. She rightly deserves the title ‘Queen of Podcasting.’ She’s awesome!
11). TZC was a work in progress when you began podcasting, why did you start a podcast of an unfinished work? Was it a way of forcing yourself into a schedule?
Answer: Yeah I guess you can say it was a way of putting myself of a schedule. I would say it’s more due to the fact that I’m very impatient, something I need to work on. I just wanted to get it out there and see what kind of response it got. Like I said though, if I had to do it all over again, I would have waited. I recommend anyone looking to podcast a novel finish the book first, don’t follow my lead. I’m the exception to the rule.
Closing Statement(s): Thanks for the interview Steve. I encourage all the fans to email me and tell me what they think or comment on the site or call the BLOODLINE and leave me a voice message. I’m easily accessible. If you send me an email I will respond. It’s been one hell of a ride so far and I look forward to what 2009 has to offer.
HALF NAKED: http://www.jamesmelzer.wordpress.com