Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Zombie Girl Shambling: A Visit With Rusty Fischer Author of Zombies Don't Cry and Ushers, INC.

Please give a large welcome to Rusty Fischer, author of Zombies Don't Cry and Ushers INC. among others. Thanks Rusty for joining us here at Zombie Girl Shambling! 

Now for the interview:

1. How did you start writing about zombies?
Does it sound too mercenary if I cop to the fact that I started writing about zombies because I resented the fact that YA vampires were getting so much play? I mean, it really blossomed and turned into something special – for me, anyway – ONCE I made the decision to dive into the zombie world.

But, originally, I looked at the YA shelves and saw vamps everywhere, werewolves all over, but not many zombie books (at the time, and this was admittedly a few years ago). I never really thought consciously about zombies before that moment, but after that I began thinking, “Hmmm, here’s a chance to write about the underdogs of the supernatural world…”

And that’s what I’ve been doing ever since…

2. What writers have influenced your work?
Oh gheez, seriously?!?! You had to go there!?!? Well, there are the “zombie greats” who first showed me it was acceptable to do zombies for YA, including Amanda Ashby, Stacey Jay and E. Van Lowe.

But lots of writers are still influencing my work. Writers like Nathan Bransford, an agent turned author. And “indy” YA writers like Tori Scott and Julie Campbell and Sean Hayden and Jen Wylie and Trish Young and Ciar Cullen. And awesome bloggers like Ashley of the Bookish Brunette and Evie of The Bookish Blog (and sorry if I left anybody out), who inspire and challenge me every day.

Does that help!?!? Sorry, it’s a HARD question to answer because really, on this writer’s journey, I hope I never quit being inspired by all kinds of writers…

3. Did you like AMC's The Walking Dead?

You know, I watched the first episode last Halloween. I was all excited. I couldn’t wait for it, really got into it, dug that whole hour and then… deadlines came up and I forgot which night it was on each week and, well, that was that. Later I bought the first season on DVD figuring I’d watch it before Season Two came out and… deadlines came up and I forgot it was there. I NEED to watch it!!!

4. What is your favorite zombie movie?

Finally, an EASY question: My favorite zombie movie of ALL time, hands down, is 1985’s Return of the Living Dead. From the poster art to the cheesy 80s fashion and music – I graduated high school in 1986, if that tells you why that kind of stuff appeals to me so much – to the tongue in cheek but very real violence, for me it embodies the best of what a zombie movie can – and should – be.

And what a zombie book can and should feel like, btw. This movie is never far from my mind when I’m writing my zombie stuff. I always try to make it delightfully B-movie, tongue in cheek scary fun.

5. Describe a favorite Halloween memory.

My favorite Halloween memory was the time my buddies and I – we were in high school at the time – bought a few of those drugstore, straight-out-of-the-box costumes and wore them to a big high school costume party. They were way too small, as you might imagine, and totally goofy and a big hit at the party, but I swear all we wanted to do once we put them on was… trick-or-treat!

It’s a favorite memory because I think it represents that bittersweet nature of most holidays as you get older; you’re kind of too old to be doing this stuff – believing in Santa (shhh!), dressing up, trick or treating, making a turkey out of your handprint and construction paper, but… it feels good just the same.

6. What is your writing day like?
I’m fortunate enough to freelance write for a living, so my “day” is spent working on client projects, ranging from white papers to articles to blog posts to EBooks to business books and so on.

I generally keep 9 to 5 office hours on account of conference calls, deadlines, that kind of thing. So I’m generally at my computer by 8 a.m., catching up on emails and following-up on what I missed the day before, etc. Then I’m actively writing by about 9:30 and pretty much stay that way until 5 or 6.

By then I pretty much knock off from the day job and work on my own stuff for another few hours. That might be… writing a new story, poem or chapter of a zombie, vampire or werewolf book, or blogging and doing social media or, lately, filming one of my short book trailer-puppet shows-silent movie thingies. I wrap up around 8 or 9 and am pretty much beat!!!

7. What current projects are you working on?
Right now I’m not actively writing a book project. I have several in the pipeline due out from various publishers over the next two years and I’m really working consciously, and hard, at creating a strong promotional platform to launch those from.

But I’m still working hard on free stories and poems and such to promote them. One of the upcoming books is My Big, Fat, Hairy Werewolf Intervention so I recently wrote my first werewolf stories and a poem, which was fun.

I also have Vamplayers coming out next February, so I’ve been ramping up on vampire stuff; poems, stories and I’m hoping to do a puppet-show-book trailer for that one as well!

So it’s not just writing but doing lots of things around the writing, which is nice sometimes.

8. Do you outline or write by the seat of your pants?
I do both. I start with an outline, which I promptly discard! No, seriously. I always know the general beginning, middle and end before I start a book. The 5 to 6 main characters as well, the plot twists, the BIG stuff; it’s the details that change as I begin to wade into the book itself.

For instance, the original outline – and indeed the first REALLY rough draft – of Zombies Don’t Cry had the main character already a zombie and living that way with no real back story or mention of how it happened, other than in a brief flashback toward the end of the book. But it was clear once I got into it that it could be a LOT of fun, and better for the story, if we know who Maddy was before she became a zombie – and even how that happened, how she dealt with it, etc.

So, instant rewrite. That’s an extreme example, but I never worry if I stray too far from my outline once I start writing… IF I think it’s going to lead somewhere better, stronger, whatever.

9. Do you have a playlist for your books?
Not consciously, to where I’ll sit down and call it up when I’m writing. But definitely my characters each have a “theme” song that I hear each time they walk onto the page.

I know it sounds way too obvious, but whenever I started writing about “Bones” from Zombies Don’t Cry, I always heard a Rob Zombie song playing in the back of my head. For Dane, it was Led Zeppelin.

If you don’t know those guys, it doesn’t really matter. I guess the point is certain characters always evoke a certain soundtrack, which I suppose becomes a “playlist” after awhile. (I’m just too lazy to actually create one for each book!)

10. What is one thing you want readers to get from your work?

You know that feeling you get as a kid on Halloween night? Not early, when you’re dressing up and trick or treating and going from door to door, but later, after you’ve had one too many candy corn or Tootsie roll.

That kind of sated, satisfied, “aaahhh” moment where you’re a little sad it’s over but happy because now you have a full belly and, besides, next Halloween will be here before you know it.

Yeah, that…

I  know just what you mean, Rusty! Now I am sad this interview is over, but I hope you will join us here at Zombie Girl Shambling again very soon! 

Now for the giveaway!

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