I have been asked to help promote author T.W. Brown’s newest book in the Dead series which is called Dead: Snapshot Portland. There are only two books left in the series and I have been a huge fan of Todd’s work since reading Zomblog, so of course, I agreed to help him in any way I could.
Over the next couple of days, I will be posting some promotional material to help him promote the book and first up is a very entertaining interview. Enjoy learning a little more about the man behind That Ghoul Ava and Zomblog.
Welcome to the “Bring-the-zombie-apocalypse-to-my-town” tour…2015 edition.
When did the whole “zombie thing” start for you?
At age 14, I saw the original Dawn of the Dead in its theatrical release. When the girl two rows ahead of me blew chunks into her popcorn during the opening scene at the low-rent apartments…I was hooked. Seriously, what could be cooler when you are a fourteen-year-old boy than to see some Farrah wanna-be let loose with the liquid laughter? But as the movie went on, I was just sucked into that entire world. I had yet to see Night of the Living Dead at that point.
What is the last zombie book that you read?
I just wrapped up Contamination (Books 0-3) by T. W. Piperbrook. I am a firm believer in knowing what is out there in the genre. I hear some people (when asked if they wouldn’t mind giving my books a read) say that they don’t want to read it and then steal an idea. I have so many problems with that answer. For one, we are all standing on the shoulders of Romero for the most part. And if you don’t read, then you WILL become stagnant as a writer. I’ve read plenty of stories and never once “stolen” an idea. Now, I will say that I have been inspired by some as well as seen things that I felt did not work and, thus, should be avoided. However, my stories are my own, and despite any outside inspiration, it is me putting the words down.
What makes your story stand out from the masses?
I believe that it is the depth of characters. The zombies are really just part of the backdrop. I think that I introduce real people who live with the consequences of their actions. There is no reset button, no do-overs. That is also why none of my characters are safe. More than one of my primary characters has fallen over the course of the story. I believe that gives the reader a sense of hanging on to the edge of their seat simply because they understand that nobody is safe.
What will you tackle next? (If you are writing a series, what will you write after the series is over?)
Well, this is actually the spin-off from my DEAD series (which only has two books left in the series proper).
Worst reaction you have received about your writing?
Besides the death threats and hate mail that I receive due to the Garrett McCormick character? I have heard it all. I am a hack, unoriginal, Max Brooks, Robert Kirkman, or Mark Tufo do it better. Blah-blah-blah. I would say that for me, it is not the negative reviews or fans of other writers that strikes me as the worst reaction. People like what they like and loyalty is a funny thing. My issue comes from my fellow writers who pound the pavement asking for readers and reviewers (of which I can say that I have been one for many of them) and the lack of reciprocation. That bothers me a bit. It is a toss-up between that and having somebody ask what I do for a living or find out that I am a writer and then have them ask what I write. When I say that I have a couple of zombie series out, they sort of look away and utter, “Oh…m’kay, well see ya.” Or something to that effect.
And on the flip side, what is the best…the one that almost embarrassed you it was so effusive?
I have a reader who is on her death bed, she is in treatment and has a short prognosis, survives day to day on morphine. Let me share a portion of her first email (there have been others since, but this first one dropped me):
“Dear Todd Brown,
Just to say thanks – your Zomblog has got me through the first two weeks of living with my new best friends – morphine patches.
I’ve got a life-limiting condition with a side order of physical disability – that’s the hand I’ve been dealt, and fortunately, I’ve got the disposition to cope with it.
I’ve got great family & friends & the NHS & voluntary work in my community (I’m Jewish) – we should all be so lucky.
Your writing – how ordinary people deal with a 24/7 nightmare – has been a great comfort.
Morphine has left a vacuum where my fizz & whizz used to be – I thought I was prepared for ‘feeling weird’.
But I didn’t expect to feel MIA.
Reading has always been my lifeline – distracting me from pain, when nothing else can.
Some writers sweep me up into their world and onto their timeline –
You’re one of those writers.
Thank you for your words.”
What do you say to that? Thank you? That feels so inadequate!
If any of your work was to be made into a film, which piece, and who is THE big star I would love to see in the leading role?
I honestly think that the DEAD series is too epic for a decent screen treatment. Zomblog might go over well, and I would really dig seeing it brought to cable. That Ghoul Ava is actually where I have my screen dreams pinned. And I would love to see Famke Janssen as Ava. That would be sweet. Also, I have no idea where she would fit…maybe as Morgan, but Alyson Hannigan is probably my biggest Hollywood crush…her and Jennifer Anniston, but Jen seems to crash and burn in every single relationship…that is a warning flag. I hate high maintenance women. I am high maintenance enough and don’t need the hassle.
What is the scariest movie you have ever seen?
I saw The Exorcist when I was supposed to be in seeing a certain Disney movie about a baby deer. I was just a wee tyke and that movie scared me silly. To this day, despite desensitization and everything else, that movie still chills my blood. The “Captain Howdy” flash image makes me nearly pee.
What is something about you that would surprise your fans?
Besides that last bit? Maybe that my wife calls me “The Animal Whisperer”. I seem to have a way with our furry and feathered friends. I have a rescue Umbrella Cockatoo as our newest family member and am slowly coaxing him out of his shell so that he can be the loud and loving bird that ‘Toos are known to be. That is in addition to my two Border Collies, the African Grey that adores my wife and sees me as the parent…in other words, no fun. (Although she does love to play this game where she creeps up on me and as soon as I notice her, she scoots away.)
What is in your “to be read” pile right now?
Too many titles to list, but I always look for suggestions from other lovers of the genre.