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Monday, May 9, 2011

Interview with author Matt Mogk

Ben and I recently got the chance to sit down and chat with Matt Mogk author of the fantastic book That's Not Your Mommy Anymore: A Zombie Tale. In addition to writing Matt is the Founder and Head Researcher at Zombie Research Society . We hope you Enjoy! :)

Undisclosed Location. Human Safe House. 2 Sheep and 1 Zombie Hunter meet.

Katie: Thanks for coming over to our Sheep site, Matt! Can you tell us a little about your book That's Not Your Mommy Anymore?

Matt: Mommy is a cautionary tale that teaches kids how to recognize a zombie outbreak in its earliest stage. The easiest way to describe it is Dr. Seuss meets Night of the Living Dead.

Ben: As any zombie veteran knows, you absolutely must have a plan for an inevitable zombie attack. What's your personal plan for if, or rather when, the zombies strike?
Matt: I actually believe you need more than one plan, because you never know where you’ll be when the dead rise. If you’re at work and can’t get home, then a home defense plan is worthless. But in a nutshell my plans primarily involve staying away from other people. Avoiding other people is vital.
Ben: I couldn't agree more.

Katie: You have lots of experience with Zombies, what would be your best advice for people NOT wanting to get their brains eaten?
Matt: Not to geek out too much, but zombies actually probably don’t eat brains. That popular belief comes from the Return of the Living Dead film series. But a bite compression study found that the human mouth is not large enough, and the human jaw not strong enough, to bite through the human skull. So they may prefer brains, but it’s unlikely that they eat brains.

My best advice for surviving a zombie outbreak would be to pay attention to the basics. Real zombie survival isn’t like a video game. Access to clean water, safe shelter and abundant food is the difference between life and death.
Katie: What do you recommend for the best "safe shelter"? Not my clubhouse in the backyard I take it? lol
Ben: I don't know what you're talking about, my clubhouse is a concrete bunker with canned provisions and an independent water supply.
Matt: I think I like the sound of Ben’s clubhouse. But in reality your safe shelter will likely have to be created from wherever you are. One thing to remember is that no place is truly safe in a zombie outbreak. Rather than planning for a perfect defense, try to become invisible. You won’t get attacked by zombies or other hostile humans if they don’t even know you’re there.

Ben: When did you become aware of the zombie threat?
Matt: I have always been obsessed with zombies. But I guess I really got serious about zombie research after college. I earned a Masters Degree from NYU Film School where I concentrated on horror in cinema and did my thesis on zombies.
Ben: Certainly sounds like a more interesting thesis than mine on the Baltic Crusades and their overall cultural significance.
Katie: *rolls eyes at Ben* Would you like to make your own Zombie movie someday?
Matt: Yes. Making a zombie movie is a goal of mine, but that’s not in the cards for the near future. Certainly down the road if I can find somebody reckless enough to give me a boatload of their money I’m all over it.

Katie: Do you think Zombies have any morals? Meaning, do they know they are doing bad things like eating brains?
Matt: No. It’s widely accepted that zombies are relentlessly aggressive. They don’t do what they do by choice, but rather by some fundamental need or drive. So they aren’t really evil, any more than a shark or crocodile is evil. It just doesn’t what it does.

Ben: Is there anything zombies fear?
Matt: That’s an interesting question, because many would argue that zombies don’t fear anything and in fact don’t even feel pain. But a recent study at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory discovered a switch in the human brain that controls fear, identifying the specific type of neurons that determine how animals react to frightening stimuli. When the switch is “up” a passive, fear-based response is triggered. When the switch is “down” aggression takes hold.

So zombies may actually be afraid all the time, but their switch is down so they have no option but to react to that fear by pure, relentless attack.
Ben: So they're in a fight-or-flight situation and they're permanently stuck in fight mode?
Matt: Sure, you could say that.

Katie: Who do you think would win in a fight: Zombies or Vampires?
Matt: Zombies would win, hands down. For all their special powers vampires have decidedly human emotions. They can get discouraged, lonely, experience the pain of failure, and strive for self preservation. Zombies don’t care if they win or lose. They never stop, negotiate or retreat.

So while vampires are taking their 12 hour daily naps, zombies will be busy eating the human race out of existence. A vampire without human blood to drink is a dead vampire in a matter of days.
Katie: As a vamp lover that is NOT comforting! My man-vamp is not going to protect me?!
Ben: What's he going to do? Sparkle at them?
Katie: *smacks Ben* Oh shut it! I asked Matt NOT you! lol
Matt: Your vampire boyfriend might protect you for a while, but in the end he will likely die of starvation or kill you for a meal. Either way it’s game over.
Katie: Oh…gee well my dreams for falling in love with a vamp are kind of dying here….

Ben: What inspired you to undertake informing the general public about zombie defense?
Matt: I’ve always loved zombie movies, but I was never as scared watching them as I thought I would be in a real zombie outbreak. So I started research what the reality of a zombie plague would actually be like, and everything grew from there.

Katie: What is your favorite zombie movie?
Matt: I have to say George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968). It is the first modern zombie movie, and started the entire subgenre. But I really love all zombie movies.
Katie: If I wanted to befriend a zombie, do you think it could be done?
Matt: Probably not a good idea. Though some movies (Fido) and books (Breathers) depict this possibility, I wouldn’t want to be the one to test out that theory. The downside if you’re wrong is just too great. I mean, I have a dog that is as harmless as can be and even he bit me once.
Katie: Good point, but after you mentioned they aren't trying to be evil I kinda felt bad for them…but not THAT bad. *evil laugh*

Ben: As we all know there are multiple possibilities for a zombie outbreak to occur: mutated flu, genetic experiment gone wrong, old voodoo magic, et cetera et cetera. What do you think is going to be the most likely cause of the next outbreak?
Matt: The leading contender according to most researchers is some mutated prion disease. Prions are proteins that fatally infect the brain. Mad Cow is a prion disease. And the problem is that scientists don’t really understand how they work, and why they are evolving at such a rapid rate.

Katie: Will you be writing more stories about zombies, and if so what can we expect next?
Matt: I have a nonfiction book coming out in the fall with Simon & Schuster that covers all aspect of the modern zombie, from science to survival and pop culture. It’s called Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Zombies (Oct. 2011). And my first zombie novel will hit stores in May of 2012.
Katie: That's awesome! What's the name of the book coming out next year?
Matt: Don’t ask me why, but I’m not supposed to give out details about next year’s book yet. The publisher makes the rules and I try not to ask too many questions.
Katie: *pouting*

Ben: As Katie will probably tell you, I've been asking people whether they'd prefer to face Shamblers or Runners in a zombie apocalypse. What would you personally prefer to fight?
Matt: First, do you mean living runners or undead runners? Because in films like Zombieland and 28 Days Later the creatures are still alive. I would always prefer to face a living threat than an undead threat, because living beings can be killed more easily and still need to eat, sleep,and drink water. They are limited by the same survival requirements that humans have, so they’re inherently less dangerous.
Ben: When I say runners, I guess I'm really thinking of the Left 4 Dead zombies. I never got close enough to see if they were alive or dead. The whole trying to survive thing got in the way.
Matt: In that case I would want to face Left 4 Dead zombies, because they are in a video game and video games aren’t real.
Seriously though, I think that the question of fast or slow zombies is unimportant, because no matter what abilities the walking dead have when they finally rise we know that humans are fast and humans are smart. If you build your defenses around fighting zombies you will die at the hands of hostile humans. Humans are the biggest threat.

Katie: In the nursery rhyme Five Little Ducks, it tells of 5 little ducks going out for a stroll one day but after being called home by their Mommy, only 4 came back! What do you think happened to the missing duck?
Matt: My guess is it either got hit by a car, or scooped up by the local butcher and turned into pâté. Unlikely that it was zombie related.
Katie: Poor little ducky….

Katie: Now it's time for the every growing Rapid Fire Round. Sit back and clear you mind, answer with the first thing that pops in your head. Ready? Set…..GO!

Katie: Knight or Samurai
Matt: Isn’t that the same thing?
Katie: No. One is like an English guy and the other not. lol Just answer it!
Ben: If you must know, knights and samurai were basically the same thing in medieval Europe and Japan respectively. At the end of the day it comes down to do you like Europe or Japan?
Matt: I would go for Knights, only because there is such a ridiculous obsession with the Japanese katana for zombie defense in certain circles. Drives me crazy.

Ben: Peanuts or Pretzels
Matt: Pretzels, except at baseball games.

Katie: Pink or Purple
Matt: Pink. It’s one of my favorite colors.
Katie: Wow really?! Ok..moving on…lol
Matt: I’m a big bald guy who used to be in the French Foreign Legion, so I can get away with a pink shirt every now and then.

Katie: Data or The Terminator
Matt: ED-209 for the win!

Katie: Battering Ram or Catapult
Matt: Catapult with a cow in it. Guess the movie!
Ben: We're the Knights of the Round Table, we dance when 'ere we're able. We do routines with chorus scenes and footwork impeccable. We dine well here in Camelot, we eat ham and jam and spam a lot.
We're the Knights of the Round Table, our shows are formidable. But many times we're given rhymes which are quite un-singable. We're opera mad in Camelot, we sing from the diaphragm a lot!
musical interlude
In war we're tough and able. Quite indefatigable. Between our quests we sequin vests and impersonate Clark Gable. It's a busy life in Camelot, I have to push the pram a lot!

On second thought, let's not go there. Tis a silly place.
Katie: See, I am usually the crazy one lol

Katie: Manga or Graphic Novels
Matt: Graphic novels, if for no other reason than The Walking Dead.

Ben: Mars or Ganymede
Matt: Mars, because Ganymede Bars taste like crap.

Katie: Chili or Stew
Matt: Chili by a nose.

Ben: Tank or Attack Helicopter
Matt: Tank. Helicopters are dangerous.

Katie: Coke or Pepsi
Matt: Neither. Sugary drinks will kill you!
Katie: Judges will we except that answer? *looks at Ben* No sorry we DO need a response. We have are having a Coke vs Pepsi war going on here.
Ben: To be honest, Arizona Green Tea isn't much better.
Katie: *gives Ben the evil eye*
Matt: I don’t drink caffeinated drinks, so probably can’t help you out on this one. But I guess I would have to say Pepsi because it’s the underdog. Always got to root for the underdog.
Katie: Okay let's all pretend he never answered that question and just leave it at that. NEXT!

Katie: My Little Pony or Care Bares
Matt: My Little Pony. I don’t trust those damn bears.

Ben: Cobra Commander or Skeletor
Matt: Skeletor, because Cobra looks like a giant penis.
Ben: Well...that was...interesting.

Katie: Toxic Slime or Nerve Gas
Matt: Toxic Slime, especially when Chevy Chase is involved. What movie?
Katie: Modern Problems! I know that one!

Ben: Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us today. We highly encourage all of you to purchase your own copy of this highly informative book which can be found here: Amazon

To win your copy of That's Not Your Mommy Anymore PLUS the Zombie gift pack including a brain lollipop, zombie breath mints and fun sheep swag items be sure to enter both things below to ensure your valid entry. AND followers of our blog will double there chances!

1. Your Email Address.
2. Describe your ideal safe house.

Contest will run until May 22nd at Midnight.
Good Luck!


  1. My safe house would be in a BIG boat out in the ocean. My guess is zombies can't swim very well so I would be out at sea with my pina colada and lounge chair.

  2. Bastian Balthazar BluxMay 9, 2011 at 12:40 PM

    lolz loved monty python! we r the nites who say ni!

    gr8 interview guys!

  3. why couldn't the 4th little duck have hoped a bus to Hollywood and become the new Aflac spokes duck? Why did the ducky have to die? ;)

    funny interview. My masters thesis was on the presence of heat shock proteins in a turkey trachea after infection with Bordetella Avium. (we gave turkeys a cough )

  4. I think maybe the duck ran off with a vampire duck and they had vamuck babies. :) Yes, yes this is very true.

  5. Oh it would have to be a house on a small island with no land in site, a boat landing with a stocked boat and heli! Of course enough fire power for world war 3!(Would totally fly inland just for target practice)

    Jadenrilei @ Hotmail dot Com

  6. How could I have missed this interview!!
    And I tell you: left 4 dead zombies are nothing to laugh about! They're evil!

    My dream safe house would be a library, so I could read up on zombies and learn more about them.


  7. My ideal safe house would be filled with snack and lots of books. Some cable tv channels wouldn't hurt either.

    lizzi0915 at aol dot com

  8. By random selection our winner for this round is *opens envelope* Svi? Sulieman? Katie I can't read your handwriting. Oh! Sullivan! Okay, our random winner this time is Sullivan. Congratulations and I hope you enjoy your book.