A prison doctor injects a condemned serial killer with a formula designed to keep his consciousness awake while his body rots in the grave. But all drugs have unforeseen side-effects. Before he could be buried, the killer wakes up. Hungry. Infected. Contagious. This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang…but a bite.
Now for the interview:
His first question is:
QUESTION: Would you ever take on an apprentice?
JONATHAN MABERRY: I’m a writing teacher and I teach a weekly ‘Experimental Writing’ class for teens, so I suppose I already have a dozen apprentices. They keep me jumping. One of the teens in my class already has a literary agent, and three more have agents waiting for their work.
QUESTION: What advice do you have for kids his age who like to write?
JONATHAN: Write every day. Don’t let anything keep you from completing your daily writing. To do that, set a writing goal you can easily meet every day, even if that’s only a page. And, complete what you write. And…most importantly…have fun with it.
QUESTION: What is your favourite book that you have written and why?
JONATHAN: I change my mind all the time about which book is my favorite. Right now I’m listening to the audio production of my latest novel, DEAD OF NIGHT, so that’s my current favorite. But last week it was FLESH & BONE, the 3rd novel in the Rot & Ruin series, which I just finished editing. I don’t have a permanent favorite.
QUESTION: What is your favourite book that you've read and why?
JONATHAN: I’m such a reading geek that I have favorites in many categories. However if I had to pick one over all the others….I guess I’d have to say SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES by Ray Bradbury. I met Ray for the first time when I was thirteen and the next time I met him he gave me a signed copy of that book. I read it every Halloween.
QUESTION: Why are you fascinated with zombies?
JONATHAN: When I was ten years old, I snuck into the Midway Theater in Kensington on October 2, 1968, the official release of Night of the Living Dead. Absolutely freaked me out and scared the bejesus out of me. So, I stayed to see it again. And snuck in again the next day. And the next. I was a devoted fan of the genre from then on.
QUESTION: What is the best part of being a writer?
JONATHAN: I get to play in my imagination all day long and get paid for it. Also, because I’m a professional and moderately successful, I’ve gotten to meet just about every author whose books I read. I have the best job in the world.
QUESTION: How did you get started writing?
JONATHAN: I’ve always told stories. Before I could write I told stories with toys. All through school I wrote stories for myself and for school newspapers and journals. However when I went to college I majored in journalism and back then I planned to become a newspaper reporter. Midway through college I sold my first article –not to a newspaper but to a magazine. I spent the next twenty-five years writing magazine articles as a part-time job. In 2005 I wrote my first novel, GHOST ROAD BLUES, and that was not only a satisfying experience, it was also a successful and award-winning book. That gave me a real taste for writing fiction, and now I’m writing my thirteenth novel, EXTINCTION MACHINE.
QUESTION: What challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?
JONATHAN: There are a lot of people who go out of their way to tell you that creative people are not likely to be good at business. Like most up and coming writers I believed it….and it’s crap. It’s not true at all. I learned the hard way by being so negative about my own potential success that I was sabotaging myself. Then I changed that around. After one particularly bad career blunder I decided to change things around, so I went out and learned everything I could about the publishing business. I read books, I subscribed to industry newsletters, I talked to everyone I could. That’s when I realized that writing is an art but publishing is a business. You have to know both. Once I learned both, my career took off like a rocket.
QUESTION: What do you do when you are not writing?
JONATHAN: My wife and I travel, we explore art and science. We love movies. And we spend a lot of time with our family. And I make sure to go to the gym every day.
QUESTION: How do you incorporate writing into your everyday life?
JONATHAN: Writing is my job. I get up in the morning, eat a good breakfast, and then I write at least eight hours a day. I learn good work habits in journalism school, and I learned discipline from having studied martial arts my whole life.
QUESTION: How do you fuel your writing?
JONATHAN: I love writing and everywhere I look there are story ideas. I have so many ideas that if I live to be a thousand years old I’ll never run out of stories I want to tell. And that makes me happy.
QUESTION: Is there anything you want to tell us about your new book?
JONATHAN: My two latest novels are similar and different. They’re similar in that they are both zombie novels. They’re different in that DUST & DECAY is the second in my series of post-apocalyptic zombie thrillers for teens (following ROT & RUIN); while DEAD OF NIGHT is definitely NOT for teens. That’s strictly for my adult readers.
DUST & DECAY continues the story of fifteen year-old Benny Imura and his friends, who are grow-ing up fourteen years after a zombie plague wiped out virtually all of mankind. Benny is learning how to be a zombie hunter like his older brother, Tom. There will be two more books in that series, FLESH & BONE (August) and then FIRE & ASH (August of 20130. In the meantime, there are thirteen pages of free prequel scenes for ROT & RUIN available on the Simon & Schuster webpage for the book. http://books.simonandschuster.com/Rot-Ruin/Jonathan-Maberry/9781442402324 And there are twenty-five pages of free scenes set between ROT & RUIN and DUST & DECAY. Here’s a link to the main page; access the scenes by clicking on the banner that reads: READ BONUS MATERIAL BY JONATHAN MABERRY: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Dust-Decay/Jonathan-Maberry/9781442402355
DEAD OF NIGHT on the other hand, deals with a zombie plague from the very first infected vic-tim…and the very first bite.
QUESTION: What new projects are you working on or are excited about right now?
JONATHAN: I’m editing my first anthology, V-WARS, which is a ‘shared world’ project, meaning that all of the stories are set in the same world, often using some of the same characters. I created that world and invited seven other writers to contribute stories. It’s a scary combination of weird science and scary vampires. That launches in April. I also have the fourth installment of my Joe Ledger thriller series, EXTINCTION MACHINE, due out in April.
I also have short stories coming out in a number of anthologies, including one tied to the upcoming movie, JOHN CARTER OF MARS. Fun stuff.
Thank you so much for answering our questions. It has been so much fun to have you on my blog today.
Here is the book trailer for Dead of Night, keep in mind this is an adult book:
Jonathan Maberry is a NY Times bestselling author, multiple Bram Stoker Award winner, and Marvel Comics writer. He’s the author of many novels including Assassin’s Code, Dead of Night, Patient Zero and Rot & Ruin. His nonfiction books on topics ranging from martial arts to zombie pop-culture. Since 1978 he has sold more than 1200 magazine feature articles, 3000 columns, two plays, greeting cards, song lyrics, poetry, and textbooks. Jonathan continues to teach the celebrated Experimental Writing for Teens class, which he created. He founded the Writers Coffeehouse and co-founded The Liars Club; and is a frequent speaker at schools and libraries, as well as a skeynote speaker and guest of honor at major writers and genre conferences. Jonathan lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania with his wife, Sara and their son, Sam. Visit him online at www.jonathanmaberry.com and on Twitter (@jonathanmaberry) and Facebook.