Monday, August 25, 2008

Surrounded by Zombies

Strange how I ended up with a zombie trilogy, a zombie novella, and a series of zombie short stories considering my first and foremost love is for the vampire. Though, if I consider my past carefully, I realize that my love for the vampire was born out of my stark fear. They were my childhood bogeymen. They were the things I feared most appearing outside my window. Vampires were my night terror, my personal demon, my greatest fear. The only way I could make peace with that fear was to embrace them, to write about them.

I suppose, in a way, that is what I have now experienced with the zombies. The first time I saw Day of the Dead as a kid, I threw up. It terrified me. I refused to watch anymore zombie movies until an old boyfriend talked me into watching Night of the Living Dead with him. I had such terrible nightmares afterward, again, I swore off watching zombie films.

When my husband and I first started hanging out, we realized quickly we had a lot in common. We were constantly together and never bored, so I suppose it was inevitable we would end up together. For some reason, we decided to watch George A. Romero's Zombie Trilogy. I fell utterly in love with the movies. They scared me to death, but I loved the characters in the stories. I winced for those I cared about when they fell and cheered when ones I hated got their comeuppance. I tried watching a few other zombie movies after I was done with the original trilogy, but none had the feel or the emotional resonance that Romero's did.

I did enjoy the remake of Dawn of the Dead, but again, I only truly cared about whether or not one character lived or died (and he was bitten right before the boat). I feared the zombies, but I just didn't care too much about the characters.

I'm not sure why I wrote that first short story (Tiny Fingers). Maybe it was to gain control over a bad nightmare I had. Or just to try something different. I remember just wanting to get the story into words and posted for people to see. I had read a lot of online zombie fiction before I wrote my own story. And like at lot of the zombie movies, I just didn't really care about the characters or the situations they were in.

As The World Dies: The First Days is exactly what I wanted it to be. A strong zombie story with lots of action, gore and characters you care about. I would never claim to be the master story teller George Romero is in his wonderful tales of the undead, but he definitely inspired me to find the heart of the story and embrace it.

I still love my vampires. I will be returning to them. I admit I was rather snobbish about my vampire novels and treated my zombie story like the red headed stepchild in the beginning. But I have learned to embrace both sets of monsters and the worlds they inhabit.

I'm okay with being not just a writer of vampire fiction, but of zombie fiction as well.

But those's a whole other story...

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