A serial online character driven zombie novel
"When he was twenty-five, Gavin's hometown was put under attack by a disease that turned people into flesh-eating monsters, which he nicknamed "bees," due to their tendency to travel in swarms. Gavin united with a fellow survivor named Benny, and the two planned their escape from River's Edge, which was falling apart before their very eyes. Over numerous journeys Gavin finally escaped the town, only to find that the problem had also spread to the world outside."
Last month I did a feature about Dead Meat. Check out my original post HERE. Now that brothers Patrick & Chris Williams are are in the process of writing the last few chapters I invited them to For What It's Worth to answer a few questions about Dead Meat and to find out what's coming up next for them and to "pick their brains" (HA zombie humor!!...ahem...sorry about that) in surviving a zombie invasion.
* You have said that Dead Meat is an emotionally driven zombie novel. How so?
Chris: Well we try to focus on the struggle for survival and how each character deals with that struggle in his or her personal way. An example is when they are near Lincoln in the house and Benny kills that bee when there was really no need to. Henry got upset and Gavin’s only response was “We have to let him do this. It’s his way.” Then they go on to say “In his mind, he’s saving us.” This is just Benny’s way of dealing with what’s going on around them. For each character, we tried to have them react differently to the situation they’re in.
Patrick: The majority of the story deals with one man internalizing a series of events and trying to interpret them. Our story doesn’t focus on brute strength or a massive kill count, but it does have people who experience various emotions: fear, hope, anger, betrayal, etc. Most of the emotions are portrayed through dialogue and not action, meaning that the characters are trying to interpret their emotions and then relay those emotions to others. We want for readers to be able to identify with some of the characters and how the characters interact. The story is about the characters and their survival, not about the zombie apocalypse.
* What have been some of the challenges in writing Dead Meat as an online serial story?
Chris: The biggest challenge for me at least was that I didn’t want any of the “same ol’ same ol’.” No super badass hero with bad ass weapons blasting away all the zombies while getting the girl and saving the day. I wanted this to almost be a big Debbie downer.
Patrick: Well, obviously, time was an issue for me. Working two jobs and helping raise a child took a lot out of me and made it hard to have the time and energy I like to invest into my writing. It was also hard to collaborate with Chris since my schedule was so random. The good thing, though, is that my classes at one institution have ended, meaning I’ll have more free time to write, collaborate, revise and edit.
*You’re wrapping up the novel soon, what’s next for Dead Meat fans? Are there any future plans to have it published?
Chris: Pat and I have talked about it and thought up a few ideas we’d like to do possibly but for now nothing’s definite.
Patrick: We’ve been in talks with Permuted Press in regards to publishing the book. Once we finish the revisions, we’ll ship it off to Jacob at Permuted and we’ll see what happens. We’ve already started talking about some new stories; we’re not so sure about what to do next. We doubt that we’ll focus on another zombie novel, especially right away. We’ve had one novel titled “The Degenerative Process” that we’ve worked on before and we might pick it back up.
*What changes, if any will you be making to the original story
Chris: Basically we will be adding and subtracting content and linking chapters together. We may be changing a few things around to have the overall story flow better. Pat could probably answer this one better than me.
Patrick: Well, we don’t think we incorporated enough Maverick, and we might even throw in some more Thunderstruck Live. We wanted more outside sources, more objective sources, to help tell the story. People have written us wanting to know about the rest of the world, but since Gavin hasn’t experienced it, we have to find tiny ways to get some more information into the story. We’ll also tighten up some of the descriptions and incorporate some more active wording.
*Do you have a favorite zombie book/books?
Chris: Believe it or not I'm not much of a horror novel fan. I'm more of a visual person. The graphic gore in the movies is what gets me going. I LOVE gore! As far as books go I'm more of a fantasy fan. LOTR and other stuff to that liking. My favorite book for now would be Rant by Chuck Palahniuk.
Patrick: The latest zombie novel I read was Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It was an OK read, great at the start, but the shock factor of slipping zombies into a comedy of manners wore off after a bit. But like Chris, I’m more of a visual person too when it comes to zombies. That’s what we grew up watching: old school zombie, horror, and gore flicks. While writing the book, we haven’t really watched or done anything zombie related, mainly because we didn’t want what’s out there already to influence the outcome of Dead Meat. Because of my line of work, I don’t get too much free time to read a lot of novels, so I guess I wouldn’t have a contemporary favorite zombie novel. I do try to read some of the excerpts and shorts that are put out there just to see what type of stuff is being produced.
Karen: Mine would have to be the Morningstar Strain series by Z.A. Recht. Great story and character development. As for movies it would be 28 Days Later and Shaun of the Dead & Fido for the lighter side of zombies.
*OK – you’re the experts….give us some zombie survival advice.
The zombie apocalypse is upon us………
*Where is the best place to live?
Chris: I’d say up north in the cold. Less populated and frozen zombie don’t move to well.
Patrick: Canada. If I’m going to go out, get eaten or whatever, at least I can do it with good Canadian beer in my hand.
Karen: So basically I'm screwed living in FL! lol
*What weapons should I have on hand?
Chris: Both ranged and melee. Definitely a shotgun and a hunting rifle for long distance shooting. Also something simple like a light axe or bat.
Patrick: Definitely some firearms and melee weapons. The best weapon, though, is your noggin’. With firearms, you need to know what the hell you’re doing in order to be consistently successful. With melee, you need to know what you’re capable of and the most efficient ways to battle with what weapons you have. With your noggin’, you need to know a way out. Always, always use your noggin’ and plan out a strategy. It’s like a game of chess; you need to think at least 2-3 moves ahead.
*Who should I fear more? The zombies, the government or my fellow survivors?
Chris: My gut feeling would be the zombies but I have a feeling survivors could do a lot more harm to you and your family. People can be disgustingly cruel from what I’ve seen.
Patrick: Well, you should fear the government because they probably produced the zombies in lieu of weapons of mass destruction. You should fear the fellow survivors because not only did they help elect those officials to government, they would also probably kill you in a heart beat to save their own asses.
Karen: I would intially be afraid of the government because they will kill you if they think it will contain the problem or worse to cover up any government involvment. Next would be fellow survivors - people get crazy when they're in survival mode...especially if it goes on for any length of time.
I will say that if you're in my group of survivors I WILL chop you're head off if I think you are turning!
OK Thanks Chris and Patrick for stopping by - and good luck with the conclusion and hopefully publishing of Dead Meat!
Read Dead Meat - a serial online zombie novel at http://www.deadmeatnovel.com/ and follow the guys on twitter for chapter updates @DeadMeatNovel