To go along with my Zindie Review of A Zombie Apocalypse I had the opportunity to do an interview with the author himself, Keith Adam Luethke! We talked about his book, zombies, and some normal aspects of life. Also, the Kindle version of his book is only 99 cents right now. Get it!
First off, tell me about your inspiration for the story. Did the concept come out of nowhere or is there some meaning behind it?
My inspiration for “A Zombie Apocalypse” came to me a long time ago but I never did anything with it. Ten years ago, I was playing Resident Evil One on Playstation and discovered a journal where a man becomes a zombie. His last entry reads, “Itchy . . . Tasty . . .” I loved the concept of a guy writing about becoming a zombie and put it in my writing idea box, then proceeded to forgot all about it until last year. When I pulled out the torn piece of paper I immediately wanted to write the journal of a zombie, everything else just fell into place.
Are any of your characters based on people you know? How about locations in the story; have you been to them?
Rachel Cormac is based on two people I never knew but have seen: a struggling waitress living with her boyfriend and trying to make ends meet, and a guy friend of mine who just wanted to leave everything behind and live in Ohio because it felt like home.
I have driven through the areas described in the book but have never walked their streets.
What was your editing process like? Did you write this and read over it yourself, or did you have anyone look at it?
My editing process starts at the very beginning. I hand write all my books, type them up, and then look over them for errors. Editing is the biggest problem with being self published. I read over the novella myself, as I do with all my work, but I’m too close to the writing and tend to miss things.
Hand write? Very impressive. Back in the day when I had a book up on Kindle, at first I was hurt by the low star reviews. How do you handle them?
I like to take everything into consideration and work harder. Once, I gave Brian Keene a five star review for his novel “Ghoul” but said it reminded me of an Edward Lee book. I then emailed him through Myspace and told him that his book “Ghoul” was one of my favorites. He thought I hated it. I thought it was awesome and when I meet him one day I want to get his autograph on my copy. I think authors will always think negative of their work but it’s up to us to be pleased with what we write and hope others are as well.
What is your plan for the series? Are you going to put them all together to make an epic novel? How many will there be?
“A Zombie Apocalypse” wasn’t meant for a series, it was a novella about a zombie and I didn’t plan on writing another one. But I’ve gotten lots of great feedback and fan letters from people telling me they want more. Currently, I’m writing the third installment and will release it in early March, after that, I’m planning on a fourth. I don’t know if the series will die out after that or if I’ll continue, it all boils down to the fans.
Is being a writer a dream or a side hobby for you?
When I first started writing I wanted to do it for a living. It was my dream job to work from home, have lots of fans, and write horror novels. I’m an older man now and see things much differently. Writing horror will always be a passion but I don’t think it I will ever be able to do it full time. I would love for that to happen but I need a steady paycheck and medical benefits and writing can’t guarantee that. Right now, it’s a hobby. In another ten years maybe something will change.
Why and for how long have you loved zombies?
The first time I saw a zombie was on a late night movie called “The Return of the Night of the Living Dead”. My cousin brought it over to my house and we watched it with the lights off. I was ten. After that movie, I went out in search of the first installment, watched it, found “Dawn of the Dead”, “Day of the Dead”, and rejoiced as both were re-made. I’ve loved zombies for a long time. They take away the structure and reality of our day to day lives and make us focus on survival and the primal fears we carry around and seek to ignore. Our friends and neighbors become the enemies and we’re forced to face the fact that the dead can come back to life. I love it!
…Focus on survival and the primal fears….Man, I love that answer. Well phrased! Hey, you have zombies caused by infection, which makes me think you prefer zombification via virus. Am I right? Or do you like unexplained undead, too?
The first zombie book I wrote was “Shelter from the Dead” and I never explained how the zombies got there. The undead were just there, the world was half destroy, and I ran with it. I enjoy unexplained undead but needed something more for “A Zombie Apocalypse”. I chose a virus because I needed a way for Rachel to inject herself with an antidote and thought that would be the best way.
Favorite zombie book, comic/graphic novel, or TV show?
My favorite zombie book is a toss up between “The Rising” by Brian Keene and the sequel to “Night of the Living Dead” by John Russo. Both books are original and make me cringe. “The Walking Dead” is my favorite comic book. My favorite TV show featuring zombies was an old episode of “Monsters” I saw on the SYFY channel where groups of men and women went out in small bands to hunt the living dead like they were deer.
I haven’t seen it, but I think I’ll look into it. You wake up tomorrow and it’s the apocalypse. The dead have risen and walk the earth! What is your game plan?
Grab the food, guns, kids, and wife, and head for the nearby Smokey Mountains of Tennessee where we would secure the highest peak with other survivors. From our vantage point we could see any zombies approach and dispatch them promptly. I would also make all the necessary phone calls to family and friends, unless of course the cell phones weren’t working. Then, we would be forced to raid small towns for food or hunt for game until things got back to normal. Once the outbreak was finished I’d write about my experiences.
I respect and applaud that plan. It’s similar to my own. So, if you could have an assault rifle, handgun, or shotgun, which would you pick and why?
I would have to choose the shotgun. A shotgun has lots of stopping power and with buckshot I wouldn’t have to aim as much as I would with a handgun. Most people have shotguns so ammunition would also be easier to salvage then an assault rifle, not to mention the shotgun has a nice stock for busting zombies in the skull.
Good choice. Living dead aside, what other hobbies do you have?
I like to go for long hikes in the woods, camp, play old school video games, collect out of print horror novels, and build ROV robots to explore the rivers and lakes nearby. I also like to bake cursed cookies.
Any last words?
Thank you for this interview. I think it’s fantastic that you’re putting the spotlight on independent authors. These are truly the best times to be a writer. Keep your doors locked and the lights off, and when somebody knocks on your door late at night check the peephole.