I had the pleasure of interviewing Jake Bible, a local author. He has recently released his latest book, the first in a new zombie series. Z-Burbia has all the facets of a good zombie read you could ask for: zombies, shotguns, people armed to the teeth, and home owner’s associations. This is Jake’s first book set in Asheville, and he took the time out to tell us more about it.
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself:
A: I am a full time writer living here in Asheville with my wife and two kids. I have been a professional writer since 2009. I have a proven record of innovation, invention and creativity. Novelist, short story writer, independent screenwriter, podcaster, and inventor of the Drabble Novel, I’m able to switch between or mash-up genres with ease to create new and exciting storyscapes that have captivated and built an audience of thousands.
A successful and popular podcaster with over 8,000 subscribers to my original fiction podcast (the serialization of DEAD MECH alone having nearly 400,000 downloads through iTunes and Podiobooks.com), I have an established fan base that not only includes the US, but also the UK, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Germany, China, New Zealand, and a dozen other countries. I’m active on Twitter and Facebook and keep my fan base happy with continual and genuine interaction.
I love storytelling in all forms. I have years of experience in theatre, film making, and am now starting in game design. I don’t believe in creative boundaries and tend to go wherever I am inspired to go, instead of staying in the prescribed box for writers.
Q: What gave you the idea for your new book, Z-Burbia?
A: My publisher was looking for a Romero-esque zombie series. George Romero (Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead) used his films as social commentary. I decided that I would do the same with Z-Burbia and set it in a classic representation of Americana: the subdivision.
Q: Is Z-Burbia the first book you’ve set in Asheville?
A: Yes. I have set a lot of my stories in Oregon, which is where I grew up, but am now using Asheville as my setting for this series. Write what you know!
Q: Every good author has some favorites of their own. Tell us some of your writers.
A: My absolute favorite is Roger Zelazny. Followed closely by Robert McCammon, Cormac McCarthy, Edgar Alan Poe, HP Lovecraft, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Henry Miller, Neil Gaiman, Jonathan Maberry, Stephen King and a ton more.
Q: I took a look at your publisher, Severed Press, and saw they are located in Australia. How did you connect with them and what made you decide to go the e-book route?
A: I have a writing colleague that said Severed Press was looking for military scifi novels. My first series, the Apex Trilogy, is a zombie/mech mash-up and fit perfectly with what they were looking for. I emailed them and they jumped at signing me and re-releasing that series under their press. I am now contracting to write all kinds of books for them. In the digital age, having a publisher based in Australia is not a problem. There is the time difference, but that’s easily worked around with email. We respond to each other when we can. As for ebooks, it isn’t a decision anymore. If you want to sell books then you have to make sure they are released as ebooks, especially in a genre like horror. There really aren’t any large presses doing horror anymore. Sure, you have your Stephen Kings and Peter Straubs, but they are a throwback to the old days. Go to Barnes & Noble and look for the horror section. You won’t find it because it no longer exists; it has been absorbed into the general fiction or scifi/fantasy sections. Really, only small presses like Severed Press publish horror and all small presses have to be ebook heavy to survive.
Q: What was your favorite part of Z-Burbia to write?
A: I wrote it in first person, so really the whole thing was a blast. I do have a penchant to write about cannibals, though. I don’t know, there’s something scarier about humans that eat humans than zombies that eat humans. I love writing cannibal scenes and getting super gory. I’d say that was my favorite part to write. That and the general sarcasm of the narrator. Especially when he ends up dressed in pink yoga pants.
Q: In the Z-Burbia synopsis there are some tongue in cheek pecks at HOA’s and suburban living – care to share what inspired these scenarios?
A: I live in a subdivision. We picked it because of price and location, and in spite of the HOA, do like it here. HOAs are a joke in my opinion. They end up being run by self-important boobs that believe the bylaws are more important than people. It gets really silly sometimes. And subdivisions are just this strange microcosm of American personalities. We have retirees, young families, ex-military, gay and lesbian couples, singles, immigrants, everyone! And lots of dogs. Unfortunately, due to survival issues, there are no dogs left in Whispering Pines in the novel. I kinda regret making that decision since dealing with the ever present random piles of dog crap would have made a great scene!
Q: Z-Burbia is the first of an open ended series – how many more are you planning to write? How can fans keep up with your work?
A: I plan on writing Z-Burbia until I run out of viable ideas. Could be five or six, could be twelve. Hell, if it works out well, I could do them the rest of my life. As long as I have something to say, as long as there is fuel for my satiric horror fire, then I’ll write these novels. The more the merrier! And folks can always keep up with me at jakebible.com, on Twitter at @jakebible, or on my Facebook author page at Jake Bible’s Wasteland. I post and tweet all the time.
Also, on a side note, it is Halloween time and kids get to experience horror in a safe, culturally acceptable way. If anyone is looking for some good young adult horror then be sure and check out my YA zombie novel, Little Dead Man! It is a great book and I have yet to find anyone that has read it and not loved it.
So – go grab yourself a copy of Z-Burbia. Support a local author! This e-book is available on amazon.com