Today it brings the Sheep great pleasure to have Wayne Simmons, author of the zombie books Drop Dead Gorgeous and Flu, stop by to chat with us. We wanted to wrap up Zombie Awareness Month with a BANG! So without further delay we bring some fresh male meat for your reading pleasure.
Ireland. Shady Pub. 2 Sheep and 1 Zombie meet.
Sharon: Hey Wayne, thanks for inviting us to your side of the pond. Is that the right term?
Wayne: Well, I live by a lough. So pond’s close enough, I guess...
(Sharon: pssst…Katie? I’m gonna go google that word…we don’t want to look like ignorant Americans)
(Katie: yeah totally Sharon, good call! *high fives*)
Katie: Can you tell us a bit about your books and how you came up with the ideas for them?
Wayne: Sure. I’ve written two novels thus far, both of them apocalyptic horrors (or apoc-horror for short – it’s a catchy little moniker I’m trying out).
My debut is called DROP DEAD GORGEOUS. It was originally released through Permuted Press (www.permutedpress.com) and has just seen re-release in the UK (as well as re-writing, re-editing) through the wonderful folks over at Snowbooks (www.snowbooks.com). It’s kinda like a fucked-up take on the zombie mythos, with a quirky cast including a tattoo artist, a radio DJ, two awkward teen lovers and an agoraphobic professor. A lot of the book focuses on how the characters try to make sense of a nonsense ie. waking up to find 99% of those around them dead. There’s mystery, horror, action, angst, romance and sex throughout.
FLU is my most popular novel to date. It’s also available in the UK through Snowbooks. It’s a post-Romero zombie story, set in my hometown of Belfast. Again, the main focus is on the characters but the pace is frantic from start to finish, and – unlike DDG – the zombies show up at the prologue and remain prominent all the way through the novel. FLU was a lot of fun to write.
Both books have just been picked up for publication in Spain and Germany. Sequels are due later in the year.
(Sharon: shhhh, it means, bay)
Sharon: What books do you read that are outside of your genre? What are you reading right now?
Wayne: I read a lot of pulp fiction from the 40s and 50s, people like Day Keene and Milton K. Ozaki. I love thrillers with off-beat characters, books like MONEY SHOT by Christa Faust and KATJA FROM THE PUNK BAND by Simon Logan. Right now I’m reading THE RESIDENT by Francis Cottam. It’s an adaptation of the movie of the same name, one of the first releases through the new HAMMER label.
Katie: The zombies in your books seem to have a coughing and phlegm problem. Has anyone ever thought to off them some Mucinex?
Wayne: Mucinex? Is that American? I don’t speak American too good…
Katie: LOL Yes that's an over the counter pill to control your cough and phlegm problems.
Wayne: Ah. I see. *jots down some notes* So, let’s see... Scratch shotgun head explosion scene and replace with... inhaler scene? Hmmm. Are you girls sure about this?
Sharon: Do happy endings belong in zombie stories?
Wayne: George A. Romero’s classic z-flick, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, has the ultimate ending… which ain’t happy! But it’s okay to end on an upbeat note, I guess.
Sharon: that was a trick question Wayne. Everyone has to die!!!!
Wayne: Wellll, not everyone. Not always. Even Romero is known for leaving a couple kicking around at the end. Usually Irish folks. DAY OF THE DEAD, for example. Ends on a lovely beach scene. Almost like a fairytale...
Katie: Would you ever date a zombie IF she was: A. Hott B. Did not infect you C. Had minimal brain function?
B: Who cares – it’s the end of the world!
C: Where do I sign?
Katie: Oh man, you are sooo my kinda guy!
Sharon: I see you have a few tattoos. Do you have a favorite? One you regret?
Wayne: I’ve a few I regret, mostly lazered off and re-tattooed. My favourites? They’re all like children to me…. but I do love my ongoing chest piece by Oz at Sinister Scrawlings. Oz is a fellow horror nut. A trip over to see Oz normally involves, not just more tattooing, but a shed load of horror movies to watch.
I’ve sold/ signed books at Liverpool Tattoo convention for the last three years (in fact I’m just back from there!). All of my books to date have featured tattoos in some way.
In short: I love tattoo culture and I love tattoos.
Katie: If your best friend or *does air quotes* mate became infected with the zombie flu would you lop off their head for the greater good?
Wayne: Yes, and then I would eat them. I would eat the brains of a braineater. Oh yeaaaah…
Katie: Mmm Brains. I also wondered what Brains would taste like…food for thought I guess. *winks*
Wayne: *scratches head*
*sniffs finger then licks it*
Sharon: You have mentioned working on Flu 2. Can you tell us anything about that yet? Does it take place after the events of Flu?
Wayne: Interestingly, it’s both a prequel and a sequel. The surviving cast from FLU all return, but we also have some new faces onboard. It’s an action-packed horror-thriller like FLU, with much zombie mayhem throughout (including some interesting twists on popular mutation tropes!). There’s also a mystery element to the book: we find out what started the virus. Or should that be who…
Katie: So let's talk a bit about your undying love obsession with Wham! lol Spill all the details right now! Why on earth did you posted a video of yourself dancing to those tunes on Facebook?!
Wayne: It was at the SFX Weekender and I was pissed (that’s Norn Irish for drunk, by the way). WHAM were playing and I thought I’d throw some moves. Of course, being pissed, I thought I was dancing like a demon! Alas, as the video shows, I was dancing more like a castrated donkey…
Ah, beer! How thou doth mock me!
Katie: Well I have quite a few of those memories as also, but you won’t find me making a video. Yet...
Sharon: trying to figure out how you know what a castrated donkey dance looks like, nope, don’t think I want to go there….
Wayne: *Weird whining sounds from kitchen*
Geez, would you ever shut up, Tessie...?!
Sharon: Have you given any thought to this years Halloween costume?
Wayne: Oh yes. I’ll be a zombie, signing books somewhere. That’s a given.
Katie: What should I do if I ever encountered the zombies from your book, if of course I wanted to survive?
Wayne: Run. Hide. Be selfish. That’s the best way to survive, unfortunately. But that’s not what we want to read about, is it? We want to read about the monsters, about the heroes and villains and those we can’t pigeon-hole, the unpredictable ones who may pleasantly surprise us or bitterly disappoint us. We want to read about drama. And I love writing drama.
Sharon: When you burn out and need to recharge the soul, what do you do or where do you go?
Wayne: I go for a run with my Jack Russel Terrier (she’s called Dita) and some face-crunching sleaze metal on the boom box. Can’t beat that for unwinding!
Katie: Where can fans find you in the coming months? Any book tours or signings?
Wayne: The best places to keep track of me are facebook and my weblog (www.waynesimmons.org). I also contribute regularly to an author’s blog called DARK CENTRAL STATION (www.darkcentralstation.com).
Sharon: An idea or scene pops into your head in the middle of the night! What do you do?
Wayne: Sometimes I write it down – but it doesn’t happen often. I enjoy my sleep too much!
Katie: I am a huge Vamp lover so I must know, will the zombies and vamps ever team up against the humans? Or oh oh better yet will there ever be a zombie/vamp love scene?!
Wayne: Zombie/ vamp love scene?! Are you insane?! *spits out bad taste in mouth*
There have been several books written that pit zombies against vamps, but none – to my knowledge – where they team up.
Katie: Now just wait one sec buster! A zombie/vamp love story is a VERY good idea. *Pats self on the back* How bout this…they team up AND fall in love?
Wayne: It gives new meaning to the phrase ‘Love tears us apart’. I mean, one too many rolls in the hay and Lil’ Miss Zombie might just... break in... two...
Sharon: Have you noticed Katie has a one way mind?
Wayne: There are websites for that sort of thing. Or so I hear.
Katie: Yeah I'm in them already. Sorry guys no cure for the everlasting love I hold in my undead heart for vamps. *big smile*
Katie: Ok last question before we move into the funnest game ever! lol Anyway, in the nursery rhyme Rock-a-bye Baby it tells about the wind blowing this poor child's cradle so hard it falls from a tree top! I really am curious to know who in their right mind would put a baby in a tree top?!
Wayne: Er… *looks at watch* is that the time?
Katie: LOL Somehow that does not surprise me.
Katie: And now we movie into our ever famously known around the world Rapid Fire Round! [Sharon and Katie clap like crazy ladies] I want you to sit back Wayne, clear your mind. Answer with the first thing that pops up. Okay? Ready…….set………GO!
Katie: Care Bears or My Little Pony
Wayne: My ghoulfiend loves My Little Pony. So it has to be the damn nags.
Sharon: City or Country
Katie: Ka D'Argo or Worf
Wayne: D’Agro for sure. LOVE Farscape.
Katie: I knew I loved you for a reason! That show ended WAY before it's time. *sighs*
Wayne: Alas, yes. I’ve got a thing for girls with blue skin. I’m dying to pick up the box set and rewatch it all. Next book deal I get, that’s in the cart for sure...
Sharon: Llamas or Alpacas
Wayne: Llamas. I don’t know why…
Katie: Shaun of the Dead or The Walking Dead
Wayne: Preferably both. But if I had to choose one, I’d go for THE WALKING DEAD. Best TV in, like, forever…
Sharon: Moonlight or Sunlight
(but not in the literal sense, if you get my meaning…)
Sharon: Er… no, I don’t…am I really that old (wanders off wondering if I turned off the stove..)
Wayne: Oh, you know. Those shiny nice vampires all the kids are into. Give me Spike (a la Buffy) any day to that inspid bloke with the forehead.
Katie: Catapult or Battering Ram
Wayne: Ram it up your arse!
*swallows some pills*
Okay… what was I saying?
Katie: This soooo must be an Irish thing. lol Moving on!
Wayne: DRINK! FECK! GIRLS!
*bangs walking stick*
Sharon: Pepsi or Coke
Wayne: I’m going to go for Tesco’s own brand. Just to be awkward.
Katie: *loud buzzer sound* Oh, sorry about that. Looks like the judges will not accept that as an answer. We have Pepsi vs Coke wars going on and will need you to pick one. *coughCOKEcough*
Sharon: you wouldn’t be choking if you were drinking the smooth perfection of Pepsi ;)
Katie: Oh har har. Pick one Wayne….
Wayne: I’ve got at t-shirt with Coca-Cola written in Japanese, so...
Katie: I'll take that as a win for Team Coke!
Katie: Easter Island or Roswell
Wayne: Roswell. They had that dodgy TV series with the funny looking bloke who never spoke much…
Sharon: Toilet Paper hangs from the front or Back of the Roll
Sharon: Did you check next time you went to the bathroom?
Katie: Sir Mix-A-Lot or Tone Loc
(especially when WHAM Are playing)
Katie: You and your passion for WHAM it's admirable lol
Wayne: Can’t beat a good bouffant...
Sharon: Slow Meandering Zombies or Fast Agile Ones
Wayne: Burning mutha-fukka zombies!
*takes another pill*
Sharon: Got any extra pills? For Katie, or course.
Katie: No worries, mine are better.
Katie: Hello Kitty or Keroppi
Wayne: Hello nurse!
Katie: Uhh….lol Ok! Hello Kitty it is!
Katie: Thank you so much Wayne for taking the time to chat with us. Would you like to add anything before we close?
Wayne: Just a hearty thanks to both you lovely ladies for taking an interest in my work, and for a fun interview!
*pets nearest sheep*
Katie: Smells nice right? *evil laugh*
While Sharon and I continue to debate over which soda is better we will move on to the Flu Prize Giveaway. In the comments below please make sure to list both things to be automatically entered to win: signed copy of FLU, zombie brain lollipop, zombie breath mints, Hello Kitty stickers and notepad and other sheep swag items!
1. Your Email Address
2. What would you need to kill a zombie with?
Contest ends June 12th 2011 at Midnight. Open to US and International.
Double your chances to win by following our blog.