We all know that zombies are reanimated corpses, brought back to life by whatever means, but it’s a lot harder to define why they are so popular. People love reading and writing about them. Is it because of a general fascination with dead things? A terror management tactic (overcoming death by killing it in the form of zombies)? Is it Freudian – allowing our inner zombie to express itself?
It doesn’t really matter. Zombies provide us with a lot of entertainment and particularly in Apocalypse Z and Uncommon Ground, two zombie novels by indie author G. E. Swanson. These two fast-paced books follow the adventures of a group of youngsters attempting to survive after the United States has been stricken by a deadly zombie virus. The core characters are brothers Mark and Jeff, sisters Lisa and Dedee and their friend Jet, and nurses Tami and Sheryl. Others join them in the two adventures – some survive, and others don’t. In Apocalypse Z the group are trying to get to Mark and Jeff’s family’s remote cabin which has been prepared as a survival centre with weapons, food and energy supplies. The youngsters face goon squads as well as zombies, not to mention their own fears.
In Uncommon Ground the group need supplies so have to run the gauntlet of the zombies again. They pick up some more survivors and meet with the mysterious Smith. They also encounter a very different type of zombie who looks like becoming quite a force to reckon with in the future. They also learn that the government isn’t worried about killing off groups of survivors in their drastic attempts to keep zombie numbers contained. Yet another threat to cope with.
Both novels are exciting, unpredictable, full of action and the work of a very imaginative, energetic writer.
So time to here from the author. Over to Greg.
1. Tell us briefly about Apocalypse Z and Uncommon Ground.
Apocalypse Z and Uncommon Ground are the first two books of the series. It’s about a group of young adults that were brought together through a twist of fate shortly after an outbreak of a deadly zombie virus. Their first goal was to get to a safe place and ride it out; hoping things would go back to normal soon. When they discover that things may never be what they once were, they start work on a safe haven for the living to give humankind a chance to start over.
2. What’s the story behind the stories? Why did you write the book?
When I sat down I knew that there were scads of zombie books already out there, so I wanted to something a little different. Almost all the ones that I’ve read have adult heroes, but there were little to none with young adults/teens as the hero. Teens are smarter than what some people give them credit for, they can quickly adapt to new situations, and are willing to extend a hand to others in need. The parents were removed, making them orphans with only each other to rely on for protection and support.
3. What do you enjoy most about writing about zombies? Do you ever scare yourself?
The zombies, smash, bash, guts and gore. I have been a big zombie fan since the 1980s and can’t get enough of them. Though I haven’t scared myself with zombies, there are a few other creatures I have in mind for future books that had me looking over my shoulder at times.
4. Which of the main characters are you most like? Mark? Jeff? Lisa? Jet?
In one way or another, most of them have a tiny little sliver of me in them, but not enough to say they are like me. However, I would have to say that Mark has a few more slivers than the others.
5. Did you design your covers yourself? What was your aim in the designs?
I have a basic idea before I get with a friend of mine who is a very talented artist. I’ll select a few characters from the story to be on the cover, give him a little information on the story line, and what I had in mind. Zach is really amazing; he’ll take that, fill in any gaps and make it all come together. The cover has to reflect a little on the genre; it must be exciting and graphic.
6. When did you first realize you wanted to be an author?
Actually, it was something that happened over time. When I was in the fourth grade I had a teacher that had us do quite a bit of writing. Once there was a contest between three classes (fourth through sixth grade) to write a poem and a short essay. I got first place for my essay and third place for the poem. This is what first inspired me, plus my mother always told me I have and over active imagination. Later in Junior High I tried finding books about writing, but they always seemed to be checked out by others. Fast forward about twenty years and the internet came along and shortly after that was news groups, some of the very first social networking. I would jot down short stories and post a couple paragraphs a day through them, but that was as far as it went. Over the next several years I checked into it a couple of times without success. Unless you had just the right connections, or the money to do it yourself, it wasn’t going to happen. I had neither. Then eBooks came along and evolved to a point where book sellers like Amazon made it possible, so I went for it.
7. What one snippet of advice would you give to aspiring self-published authors?
Don’t just aspire, do it. Put your fingers to the keys and start typing. Book sellers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble has made it possible to get published without an agent or publishing house.
8. How do you feel about ebooks vs. print books and self vs. conventional publishing?
I like printed books, but they aren’t that convenient. I would usually have several with me and it got tiresome having to lug them around. When I decided to self-publish, I went to Amazon and bought a Kindle Touch just so I could see what eBooks had evolved into. Once I saw how convenient it was to carry not just a few, but hundreds of books, I was sold. Also, it seems that everything is going mobile and people can have all their stuff on one device, music, movies, and now books. Cost is another factor. A person can get two or three eBooks books for the same price as one printed book.
I’ve only self-published, so I can’t really compare the two. All I can say is that I’ve talked to a few authors that have gone that way, and they weren’t completely happy with the results. Something else that must be kept in mind is that with self-publishing comes self marketing and promotion. I would say to try it as an independent first; if it isn’t working, check into publishers that can help you with it.
9. How do you keep sane as an indie author?
I write and have fun doing it. I’ll start typing and get so focused on the story that anything that might have been bothering me is forgotten.
10. Do you have any writing rituals?
No, I clear my mind and start typing.
11. Anything else our readers need to know about you?
I’m an adrenaline junkie of sorts and used to take things to the extreme for the rush. But I don’t bounce as well as I did twenty years ago and the healing process takes longer, so I’ve had to slow down.
12. And finally, would you secretly like to be a zombie?
I don’t think so. It would be really boring walking around all the time with nothing to do, wearing the same torn and dirty clothes every day, and the stench of rotting meat would get pretty gnarly after a week.
Visit Greg’s Facebook page here.
Buy the books here: