Kate L. Mary is the ghoulish gal behind the hot new zombie release. Broken World is her first stab at horror, but hopefully not her last. Let's dig around in her pretty head and find out what makes her tick...
Ang: When were you first bitten by the zombie affliction? Can you take us back to how the infection began? What’s the most difficult part about sharing this ghoulish love as an indie?
Kate: I’ve always loved zombies, I think. Any time I’d see a B zombie movie on TV, I’d want to watch it. But it wasn’t until The Walking Dead became popular that I really figured out the why of it all. The zombie part is cool, but I love how a post-apocalyptic situation can bring people together. People who never would have met or gotten along in different times have to band together to survive. It really helps you see what a person is made of.
I have one other Indie book out right now. A new adult romantic mystery. To be honest, I’m getting a lot more positive attention from the zombie book. People kind of nod and their eyes glaze over when you say the word romance in your book description. But they get excited about zombies! I anticipate this being a much easier book to promote, simply because the genre is so popular right now.
Ang: If you had to dumb down the plot of your book so a zombie could understand, how would you explain it?
Kate: My book is a journey. My characters are trying to survive and figure out who they are, and it just happens to take place during a zombie apocalypse. Basically, all they’re looking for is safety and security. Of course, that isn’t an easy thing to come by, so they run into quite a few road-blocks along the way.
Ang: Describe the lucky survivors who engage with the festering horde of the dead.
Kate: Vivian, my main character, is a stripper who is traveling across the country to see the daughter she gave up for adoption before a virus wipes out the population. She’s had a hard life. Her mom abandoned her and her dad beat her, and she doesn’t really trust people. When she has car trouble, a pair of redneck brothers offers to give her a lift. Axl and Angus are traveling basically just as something to do. They don’t really have a whole lot going on or the motivation to make something of themselves. All three characters have a lot of baggage. I really love characters who are damaged, because it gives the reader a chance to see what they’re really made of. They’re already down, so they can’t go anywhere but up. In a post-apocalyptic world, it’s nice to have characters who manage to find where they belong while everything around them falls apart.
Ang: What was the most important aspect when writing your non-zombie characters? Realism (losers, assholes, and cowards) or fantasy (Rambo or the guy/gal who has a Rambo hiding inside them)?
Kate: Realism, although I like to think there is a bit of Rambo hiding in them too. These are the kind of people who rise to the challenge and refuse to give up. I love the characters who surprise even themselves when it comes to being able to survive, but I had to make it feel real. I have a hard time swallowing those books where one character knows everything and somehow manages to single-handedly bring everyone else in the group through the apocalypse. They work as a whole, each one using their own set of skills and knowledge to get through it.
Ang: Does your book begin just as the zombies start building their paradise or have zombies already gotten things rocking and rotting?
Kate: My book is unique in the fact that it starts before the zombies come. I like to compare the beginning to The Stand (without the religious themes). When I read zombie books that start right as the outbreak happens, I feel like we’re missing a big chunk of the character’s stories. I wanted to explore that a little more and be there with the characters as the world changes, so we could see how they adjusted.
Ang: Zombies are people too. They come in all shapes, sizes, speeds, and smarts. What types of the walking dead inhabit your novel?
Kate: Mine start off slower, but they evolve with the story. I’m a traditional zombie person. I didn’t love the speed demons in World War Z so much. The rotting, mindless, blood-thirsty zombies are the ones I love.
Ang: Will your infection spread to more books and series? How many blood and guts offerings do you predict in your future? How soon can our zombie and human readers expect to see your next festering contribution?
Kate: Yes! I have three books written already, actually. The second book, Shattered World, will be released on October 4, 2014, and Mad World will be available on January 3, 2015. I started the fourth book as well, and it will definitely not be the last. The thing I love about zombie or post-apocalyptic stories is that it doesn’t have to end after two or three books. The zombies aren’t going to die off, so as long as you have at least one character alive, you can keep writing. I have no idea when I’ll stop.
Ang: What is your favorite way to kill a zombie? Shoot ‘em, hack ‘em, poke ‘em, burn ‘em, or something even more fiendish? ***Zombie readers please turn away to avoid having your putrefied feelings eviscerated.
Kate: There’s a lot of stabbing in my books, mainly because my characters are trying to conserve bullets. I think a blade right in the eye socket is pretty prevalent.
Ang: Do you have a favorite cinematic zombie? Example: My co-blogger Zombie Earl is quite fond of Zombie Roger from the original Dawn of the Dead.
Kate: Well…I’m probably going to have go with Zombie Sophia from The Walking Dead. I’m not sure there was a zombie who made me cry quite like she did. Plus, she’s my four-year-old’s favorite as well.
Ang: Who is your favorite character from The Walking Dead (comics or TV show)?
Kate: I’m going to have to go with the show because I haven’t gotten far into the comics. I’m afraid it’s going to ruin something for me if I read too much!
Daryl is awesome, there’s no way around it. But I do love Glen too. I like how much they both have evolved. Daryl has really learned how to love and value himself over the last few seasons, and Glen has learned how to be a badass. They are both so very different from who they were during the first season, and that’s what makes this genre so great.
Ang: Finally, how prepared are you for the zombie apocalypse that we all know is just around the corner?
Kate: My husband and I joke about it all the time! Not very, I’m afraid. We’d be okay on food for a while because I have four kids and go to Sam’s Club a lot. But, let’s face it, America in general will fare better just because we are so addicted to processed foods. We also have a basement and a pump in our backyard for well water, so that’s a plus. However, we are short on weapons. We have a couple bows, but I’m horrible at archery, and we don’t own any guns. Luckily, we live in Oklahoma, so there are a few gun stores close to us. I’d like to think that I would end up being like Glen and adapt quickly. I would try, that’s for sure.
Tear into Broken World at Amazon.
Interview originally posted on Where Zombies Come to Read.