Meet Andy Warner, a recently deceased everyman and newly minted zombie. Resented by his parents, abandoned by his friends, and reviled by a society that no longer considers him human, Andy is having a bit of trouble adjusting to his new existence. But all that changes when he goes to an Undead Anonymous meeting and finds kindred souls in Rita, an impossibly sexy recent suicide with a taste for the formaldehyde in cosmetic products, and Jerry, a twenty-one-year-old car-crash victim with an exposed brain and a penchant for Renaissance pornography. When the group meets a rogue zombie who teaches them the joys of human flesh, things start to get messy, and Andy embarks on a journey of self-discovery that will take him from his casket to the SPCA to a media-driven class-action lawsuit on behalf of the rights of zombies everywhere.
Darkly funny, surprisingly touching, and gory enough to satisfy even the most discerning reader, Breathers is a romantic zombie comedy (rom-zom-com, for short) that will leave you laughing, squirming, and clamoring for more. (Goodreads)
Over the past few thousand years, Fabio has come to hate his job. As Fate, he's in charge of assigning the fortunes and misfortunes that befall most of the human race-the 83% who keep screwing things up.
Frustrated with his endless parade of drug addicts and career politicians, Fate has to watch Destiny guide her people to Nobel Peace Prizes and Super Bowl MVPs. To make matters worse, he has a five- hundred-year-old feud with Death, and his best friends are Sloth and Gluttony. And worst of all? He's fallen in love with a human.
Getting involved with a human breaks Rule #1, and about ten others, setting off some cosmic-sized repercussions that could strip him of his immortality-or lead to a fate worse than death.
Me: When did you first get interested in writing about zombies?
I started writing in 1990. Novels and short stories. Mostly supernatural horror ala Stephen King, Peter Straub, Robert McCammon, and F. Paul Wilson. For a number of years I kept trying to write a zombie story but nothing was working. Then, in 2001, I wondered what would happen if I reanimated from the dead. But rather than being your typical Hollywood zombie, staggering around and wanting to eat human flesh, I was instead just a reanimated corpse with no rights, I was gradually decomposing, and I needed some serious therapy. What would my existence be like? How would society treat me? Would there be self-help groups I could join? So I wrote this two-thousand-word short story titled “A Zombie’s Lament” which, several years later, I would expand into a full-length novel titled Breathers.
Me: What weird habits do you have when you are writing? (Box of cheese doodles, three cans of Mountain Dew, a stuffed cat named Herman...anything like that.) Me, I have to have my container of cashews, some chocolate, two bottles of water and my dog Tadpole sitting next to me. He is my puppy muse. Or something. He claws the crap out of me if I don't.
I don’t know if I have any habits that you would call weird, but I can’t write with any distractions. No people talking. No clowns juggling. So cafes and Cirque du Soliel are definitely out. Other than that, I’m pretty vanilla when it comes to my writing habits. And I don’t have a puppy muse. However, I do have two cats who stare at me like I’ve done something wrong. They’re doing it right now. It’s kind of creepy.
Me: What one thing would you tell someone who wants to be a writer?
Whatever you choose to write, make sure it resonates with you on some level. Write something that makes you laugh or cry or feel a cold finger of dread tracing its way along the length of your spine. Don’t write something just because you think it will sell. If it doesn’t resonate with you, it’s not going to resonate with anyone else.
Me: How do you balance your everyday life and writing time?
Balance? I’m supposed to have balance? Well, that explains a lot. What I try to do is limit myself to four hours of writing a day and a couple of hours of e-mail and social networking so that I can get out and get some exercise and interact with three-dimensional human beings. It doesn’t always work. It’s easy to get sucked into writing and end up spending ten hours without taking enough time to play or run errands or eat a healthy meal. So let’s just say it’s still a work in progress.
Me: In Fated, you are writing about Fate and the Deadly sins. What was your inspiration?
I was sitting in a shopping mall one day back in June of 2004, watching all of these people and wondering what they would be like in twenty years. So I wrote a scene from the point of view of someone who can actually see what their futures hold. It didn’t take long for me to decide that the main character would be Fate. That more or less became the first chapter. From there, I realized Fate needed some friends and co-workers, so as I went along I added Destiny, Death, Karma, Lady Luck, Honesty, Love, Failure, Integrity, Sloth, Gluttony, and the rest of the Deadly Sins, among others. They’re all immortal beings who are in charge of humans, yet they exhibit rather human qualities themselves. It’s a little bit like a modern day Greek mythology, only instead of gods I have immortal personifications of concepts. And instead of living on Mount Olympus, they live in Manhattan.
Me: What is your favorite zombie book or movie?
While I’m not the zombie geek that everyone assumes me to be, I do enjoy a good zombie film every now and then. And my favorite one would have to be the original Night of the Living Dead. It doesn’t necessarily holdup against some of today’s special effects and action, but it’sstill creepy and manages to get the job done without all of the hoopla.
Me: Do you listen to music as you write? If so, what?
For the most part, I listen to instrumental music. Not something you’d hear in an elevator. We’re not talking Air Supply muzak. Just good surf tunes or some classic R&B like TheVentures or Booker T. & the MG’s. Maybe throw in some Medeski, Martin, & Wood and The Dust Brothers from the Fight Club soundtrack. Though if I’m in the right mood, I enjoy writing to a mix of Green Day, Sublime, Morphine, and the Pixies.
Me: What are you working on now?
I’m working on the edits for my third novel, Lucky Bastard, which is tentatively due out sometime in Spring 2012. Like Breathers and Fated,it’s a bit of a dark comedy and social satire, but in this one the main character is a private detective who has the ability to steal luck, so it has some mystery/noir elements to it, as well. And it takes place all in one day,which was both fun and a challenge to write.
Me: How do you gauge your success each day as a writer? Page count?Word? Not falling off the chair in mid thought from lack of food?
On a good day, I like to get 1000 words written. Maybe 1500. That’s enough for me. On a bad day, I’ll write for four hours and if I don’t hit my word count, I’ll go take a bike ride or go hit a bucket of balls at the driving range. But really, a successful day is one in which I get my words written and get a chance to play without feeling guilty about it.
Me: What is one thing readers should get from your books?
A good laugh. And hopefully a somewhat different way of looking at the world. I know, that’s two things, but I’m bad with math.
Many thanks to Scott for answering my questions. If you want to find out any more cool information, make sure you check out his website at: http://www.sgbrowne.com