Monday, April 2, 2012



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Hi DeAnna, thank you so much for allowing us this interview! it is so great to have this opportunity. My first question for you is, when did you fascination with Zombies first begin?

I've always loved reading about all kinds of disgusting, horrible things, but having stuff jump out at me on the screen makes me crawl the walls, embarrassingly enough, so I didn't really get into zombies until they started to be more popular in fiction. And then Undead (an Australian zombie movie) came out. I'll put up with a lot of things jumping out at me for a good comedy-horror movie, and I loved it. Suddenly, zombies weren't just about things slowly yet inevitably lurching at you, driving you into a corner, and unfailingly infecting the ones you loved (which I would have found tiresome if it weren't for everything jumping out at me): they were about black humor, making fun of people who hang onto "normal" with a death grip, and body parts that won't stop crawling toward you.

I have to ask this being a fan myself of AMC's newest series "The Walking Dead" what is your take on the show and have you read the graphic novels or comics?

I've read the first ten graphic novels and watched the first two episodes of season one.

The graphic novels are superb. The art, the writing, the characters, everything. I think they're masterpieces, and I can't possibly recommend them enough. I had to take a long break, though, because it hurts so bad to read them. It's like eating a ton of salt and vinegar potato chips: the first handful is delicious, but after that you start to get cut up so bad that you have to stop, because hey, you're rubbing MORE salt and vinegar into your wounds with every bite.

The first two episodes of the TV show? I didn't care for the makeup work, for one thing--seeing actors with makeup isn't the same thing as seeing the graphic novels, with the dangling internal musculature and everything, and I couldn't help but feel let down. I think that was my impression of the whole thing: it just couldn't stack up against the graphic novels for me. But I'm a reader, not a watcher, and I don't watch a ton of TV or movies anyway.

Tell us more about your Freeform Games writing in the UK.

I write murder-mystery party games. What you do is, you get like a dozen of your friends together at your house for a party. Everybody but the person in charge gets a character: one (or more) of them is the murderer. Everyone has goals to achieve, most of which include trying to figure out who dunnit (except for the murderer, who tries to figure out how to make someone else look guilty). You can dress up, serve related party foods (like Hawaiian), and act Very Melodramatically. It is a complete and utter hoot. In most of the games, you can kill people off, too, although it's usually only toward the end of the evening, so everyone can have a fun time. The more you get into it, the better it is. I love looking at the pictures of people who have played the game; I feel like I've met them sometimes, because I wrote their characters :)

What I really want to know more about is your childhood and being a farmgirl, I was a farmgirl myself and I can't say I ever threatened skunks with steak knives... though it does sound intriguing. So how many times did you get sprayed again? (LOL)

Never...I always ran away. It didn't help, though, because Everything Stank. For days. I don't know...everything from those days seems larger than life. The snow was deeper (it covered my uncle's van one year, which made for the world's best snow prison after we dug out the back end and he carefully backed out, leaving a giant hole in the snow). The view went on forever. The trees were as tall as mountains. That kind of thing. We went back a couple of years ago; my cousins live on the place now, and it's run down a lot, so it's even spookier-looking than before, and sadder, too. The outbuildings have fallen into piles of trash or are stuffed to the roof with trash.

What are some of the most daring things you did as a kid on a farm?

We were raised to think of them as "stupid" rather than daring. I got kicked by a horse in the shin and had a dent in my leg for years. I almost flipped over a tractor and rake combination by turning too tightly. I was never chased by a bull, though. We jumped off a lot of junk and haystacks and silage piles into thin layers of snow, yet I never broke a bone.

One thing I find seriously creepy is thinking about Zombie's on a farm... now this has nothing to do with what's happening on the AMC show... but I have actually had nightmares before ever having read the books where I'm trapped and the farm is overrun. Tell us about some of your creepiest Zombie thoughts or ideas and how they came about.

Zombie cows? Eh. Zombie sheep, now that's a problem. And I hate chickens, so zombie chickens would about kill me. They already peck each other mercilessly. Why not chickens, after all? Bird flu, zombie edition.

Actually, I used to work on a military base here in Colorado that was surrounded entirely by two layers of fencing, both topped with razor wire; one layer's electric. We'd have lockdowns for the stupidest crap. Once we had a lockdown due to--I kid you not--a bucket of fried chicken that someone had forgotten on top of their car in the parking lot, outside the fence. We also had a problem with plague. No joke, a disease that was related to the Black Plague. We had a lot of prairie dogs out there, and they would get the plague on a regular basis. So I'd scare myself, waiting in line outside for an hour just to get out of work--sometimes in subzero temperatures--by thinking, "So what would happen if the prairie dogs brought the zombie outbreak?" I had no illusions about them letting us go. There were eighteen-year-old kids patrolling the place with machine guns. They'd just lock the gates and mow us down.

What is next on your agenda, what can we expect from you in the near future?

I'm finishing up a zombie/Alice in Wonderland novel. It's not as violent as I thought it would be, but I'm loving on it. I don't know, I'm always writing something new :)

Who are some of your inspirations in the literary world?

Lewis Carroll! I love Stephen King, Jorge Luid Borges, Steven Brust, Terry Pratchett, Carol Berg, Steven R. Donaldson, Piers Anthony, Robert Heinlein, Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, oh, just a ton of people. I always recommend Barry Hughart's Master Li and Number Ten Ox books if you haven't read them, too.

What other genres have you written in or thought about writing in?

Right now, I'm trying to work out how to write epic fantasy. I've pulled off a couple of short stories, but it's hard to be both really epic and short. It will probably secretly involve zombies that I call something else to fit in with the world...but it'll be zombies, really. I thought up the Best Plot Ever the other night as I was falling asleep, woke myself up, jumped out of bed, wrote it down, and realized I'd just reinvented CS Friedman's When Darkness Falls. So clearly I have more thinking to do. I do know that the best books feature great bad guys...who are somehow less than another bad guy with less personality but more power. Darth Vader? Served the Emperor. Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs? Was in jail, while the people-vest guy was on the loose. That way your bad guys can have a personality that you can, to some degree, empathize with, and you can almost justify their actions by saying, "Well, Hannibal was bad, but at least he really only killed people who were worse, right? Right?!?" I think you have to be able to empathize with the main characters in a story, and the villain with the most lines should be considered a main character. What the world needs is more awesome villains. Sorry. I kinda wandered off-topic there.

Do you have any other advice for authors that you'd like to share? Also please leave us your links where we can learn more about you and your writing.

Advice: Write. Read what you want to write. If you don't read books, why write them? (Write TV shows instead, if that's what you love.) Learn your craft! From word choice to grammar to style to characterization to world building to theme, the more you learn the better you will write, and the better you write the more you will learn there's left to learn. Read other people's opinions on what works and what doesn't in writing, but don't believe them 100%: if a tool doesn't work for you, don't bother with it; it might work for you later, but with writing, it's all about what you can do now, and what you need to learn next. Rewriting won't teach you how to write better books: all it can do is help you hand over the clearest, most consistent book you can currently write. If people tell you writing is pointless, blow them off. If a kid says, "I want to be an astronaut," adults are like, "Oh, you're so cute! Of course you can be an astronaut!" How many people become astronauts, though? A lot more people become professional writers than astronauts, and there are 1001 jobs where you can benefit by being able to communicate clearly. So don't let people tell you, "But you need to plan to get a real job." Writing is a real job. You might have to do types of writing that aren't your first choice, but it's still a real job.

Find me at: (my main site, where I post writing and indie publishing tips) (my small-press and writer services site) (my kids' pseudonym site)

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