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You’ve written a lot of books, as well as several short stories and comics. Do you have a favorite work (or works)?
When the reader finishes Rot & Ruin, what is one thing you want them to take away from it?
Dystopian fiction is much the same. These are stories that express our fears about society taking dangerous paths. We write these as truly ‘cautionary’ tales, stories in order to warn ourselves and each other about these dangers.
And…on a less complex level, they make darn good stories. They allow use to explore the phenomenon of a hero (often a stand in for our own idealized selves) facing seemingly impossible odds, and then overcoming them.
Benny's story is a coming-of-age saga; did you base any of his emotional and mental growth and change off of your own experience?
I probably have more in common with Tom than Benny. I was a quiet, introspective kid and I’ve been involved with martial arts since I was six. Of course, Tom is better looking and cooler than I ever was…but this is fiction after all.
JM: None, really. I’m a very Big Picture guy when it comes to religion. I more or less believe that everyone is right. My circle of friends range from the most cynical atheists to Right Wing evangelists. That said, if an apocalypse happened, AND if I was inclined to want to assign blame somewhere, I’d probably focus most of my attention on deliberate human action, human error, or human inaction.
So…I doubt my religious beliefs would be affected, but I would be sorely disappointed in my fellow men.
You've written a lot about zombies in the past few years, so you know a lot about them. What precautions do you take in real life against the eventual zombie apocalypse? Do you lock your doors and stockpile automatic weapons, just in case?
JM: I’m not a survivalist, though I have friends who are. I have a close friend who actually has an apocalypse bug-out kit in the trunk of his car. And over the last few years I’ve been a guest on dozens of zombie apocalypse panels at SF and horror conventions.
So, even though I don’t have weapons and a stockpile of canned foods in my trunk…I have worked out escape scenarios. Just for fun. And as a way of getting in the mindset necessary to write these kinds of stories. I’m also an experienced martial artist (46 years and counting), and as a former bodyguard I have extensive experience in real-world violent confrontations. Bottom line: if an apocalypse DID occur, I’m pretty sure I’m getting my family to a safe place. Zombies? Well…there had better be a lot of them, otherwise I’m leaving a trail of parts behind me.
Jonathan Maberry is a New York Times best-selling and multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning author, magazine feature writer, playwright, content creator and writing teacher/lecturer. His books have been sold to more than a dozen countries. His novels include the Pine Deep Trilogy: GHOST
ROAD BLUES (winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel), DEAD MAN’S SONG, and BAD MOON RISING; the Joe Ledger series of action thrillers from St. Martin’s Griffin: PATIENT ZERO (winner of the Black Glove Award for Best Zombie Novel of the Year, and in development for TV), THE DRAGON FACTORY, THE KING OF PLAGUES; THE WOLFMAN; the Benny Imura series of Young Adult dystopian zombie thrillers from Simon & Schuster: ROT & RUIN and DUST & DECAY; and the forthcoming standalone zombie thriller DEAD OF NIGHT. His nonfiction works include: VAMPIRE UNIVERSE, THE CRYPTOPEDIA (winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction; co-authored by David F. Kramer), ZOMBIE CSU: The Forensics of the Living Dead (Winner of the Hinzman and Black Quill Awards and nominated for a Stoker Award), THEY BITE! (with David F. Kramer), and WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE (with Janice Gable Bashman). His work for Marvel includes BLACK PANTHER: POWER, KLAWS OF THE PANTHER, CAPTAIN AMERICA: HAIL HYDRA, DOOMWAR and MARVEL ZOMBIES RETURN. Jonathan has been a popular writing teacher and career counselor for writers for the last two decades. He teaches a highly regard series of classes and workshops including Write Your Novel in Nine Months, Revise & Sell, Experimental Writing for Teens, and others. Many of his students have gone on to publish in short and novel-length fiction, magazine feature writing, nonfiction books, TV, film, and comics. In 2004 Jonathan was inducted into the International Martial Arts Hall of Fame largely because of his extensive writings in that field. Visit his website at http://www.jonathanmaberry.com/ or find him on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, GoodReads, Library Thing, Shefari and Plaxo.