Interview with a Zindie Author- Michelle DePaepe

The question I’m dying to know is, how did you come up with the actual eaters in Eaters?
This story actually started with a dream. One night late last summer, I dreamed that I was holed up in a building with some other people while zombies were running around outside eating every rotten thing or human they could get their grimy hands on. In the dream, someone told me that I should get some sleep and not worry so much because we were safe in that building. My dream-self thought, yeah…right. Prior to this dream, I really hadn’t given zombies much thought. I had all sorts of ghosts, demons, vampires, and witches running around in my little writing brain. Now…I’m quite the zombie fan and have been digesting a lot of other zombie entertainment.

The cancerous genetic root is very unique. Was it a random idea or were you inspired by something?
I work in a field where GMO’s are hugely debated. Big unstoppable corporations are creating genetically modified plants and animals, touting their safety. But, nobody really knows what the long-term effects are going to be. It does not seem out of the realm of possibility that something they’ve created could inadvertently cause people to become sick—in a very bad way—down the line. The genie is out of the bottle now…

Are any of the characters based on people you know?
No. They’re all completely fabricated. There’s probably some of myself in Cheryl as I imagine how she would react to everything thrown at her.

If a zombie apocalypse were actually to happen, what do you think it would be like? Would the government get it under control or would everything spiral out of control?
It would be utter chaos. The government would be helpless to deal with large numbers of roaming ghouls. But, that would be only half the problem. Think about how bad it got in New Orleans during the flood. Some of the lower elements of society holed up in the stadium preyed on the others. During a power outage, you’d better make sure your doors are locked, and you have a weapon handy. Zombies have a good measure of predictability. It’s PEOPLE that are more scary.

What was your editing process like? Did you write this and read over it yourself, or did you have anyone look at it?
There wasn’t a ton of editing, because I knew how it was going to end before I started. I’m not a linear writer, though. I get flashes of scenes and dialogue in my head, jot them down then see if they work in the story line as I go. A couple of my neighbors who are zombie fans read it when I finished the draft. My future writing will have more ‘beta readers’, so I can get more input on details and catch typos before publishing.

Is writing something you’d like to do for a career or just a hobby?
If I click my ruby red slippers together, hold my doggie tight, and work really really hard…I hope that some day I’ll be able to live in the creative writing land of Oz full time some day.

How many novellas will be in the series?
Eaters: The Beginning is the first in a trilogy. Eaters: Dark Journey will be out in March, and I hope to publish Eaters: Destination by early summer.

Are you planning on going into more detail on the virus or will it be focused on Cheryl surviving the new world?
That’s a good question. The theory of how it started is just touched upon in the first two novellas. In the last book, it may be discussed more. Right now…as I’m finishing up Eaters: Dark Journey…it’s all about survival. There’s not a lot of time for the characters to powwow about how it all began.

Besides zombies/infecteds, are there any other monstrous creatures
you’re a fan of?
I’m really into anything paranormal. (Scarily so…as friends and family may attest.) Although I read a lot of dark fiction, it’s the true stories that get me tingly. There’s a lot more evidence (besides what’s on Ghost Hunters) coming forth to prove that there are supernatural beings around…and they’re not all as friendly as Casper.

What’s your favorite zombie book or movie?
I wouldn’t have thought to include this before today, since it’s about bloodsuckers instead of brain-eaters, but I was flipping through a copy of Fangoria at the grocery store and happened on an interview with Richard Matheson that referenced his book, I am Legend in relation to Night of the Living Dead. Matheson’s book could have been about zombies just as well as vampires. It’s a must for any zombie fan.

Here is one of my favorite questions: you wake up tomorrow morning and the apocalypse has begun. Where are you going to go, if anywhere, and who will you be taking with you?
I’m happy to say that, in addition to my own zombie defense preparations, I have heavily armed neighbors. If a herd of zombie elephants invaded…our street would be protected by more firearms than you’d find at a redneck convention. So, the best place to stay would be right here. Eventually, I’d have to find my relatives to see if they were still all right.

Have you written any other stories you’d like to talk about?
Before Eaters, I published The Gardener, a book that was a finalist in the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Contest in 2007. It’s about the ghost of a Victorian murderer that is inadvertently brought back to life, and he’s basically a greedy, lustful jerk who knows how to charm the ladies. I like to say that it is soft horror—the kind your mother and grandmother could read without blushing too much or thinking that you may need an appointment with the head shrink. I have a lot of other abandoned projects that I may return to after I’m done with the Eaters trilogy. But, I’m a fickle sort of bird. The next writing project may start with a blissful dream…or a nightmare.

Any last words?
I really hope readers enjoy Eaters: Dark Journey, even more than the first novella. I’ve been creeping myself out as I write the final chapter. Working on it late at night…I find myself getting a little jumpy as I hear noises around the house. If it has the same effect on everyone else…I’ve done my job.

Read the review of Eaters: The Beginning.


About Eloise J. Knapp

Eloise J. Knapp is an author and designer living in the Pacific Northwest.
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2 Responses to Interview with a Zindie Author- Michelle DePaepe

  1. I love both The Gardener and Eaters. I’m waiting anxiously for the next novella. 🙂

  2. Anya Kelleye says:

    Michelle’s stories are great. I’ve read them both as well and looking forward to the next one.

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