Welcome, Char Robinson, to BOD’s author spotlight. I am so pleased to be interviewing you for your book series, Zombified Book One: Hudson Place and Zombiefied Book Two: Shady Oaks.
Thank you for taking the time to ask me about the Zombified Series!
In reading your bio, you’ve got a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Public Relations. How has that influenced you in your pursuit of fictional writing?
I've been writing all my life, but my degree gave me the training and the confidence I needed to pursue a writing career once my children were grown.
While zombies are not my preferred choice in dystopian fiction, I was intrigued to find out how you would spin this story. Can you tell me what influenced your choice in writing about zombies?
I originally asked my kids what they'd like to see me write, and since we're all big fans of everything zombie, it was kind of the logical choice. Even though shows such as The Walking Dead weren't out when I wrote the first novel, zombies were still very popular. I planned to write just one book for the kids only, but after I finished it, they encouraged me to publish it and that led to the second book.
Your story begins at the beginning, the start of the infection. How much research did you have to do to ensure that your zombies were biologically authentic in their development?
The source of the infection in my novels is actually based on a real occurrence that happened just north of where I live. Just as in the first novel, a boy scout was digging for selenite crystals at the Great Salt Plains State Park (http://www.stateparks.com/great_salt_plains.html) and he found several glass vials full of an unknown liquid and some broke. The Army came in and closed the area down for about two years, apparently at one time they used the salt plains for training. The scout and anyone else who came into contact or breathed the fumes became the first victims of my zombie plague. News story: Army team cleans up chemicals vials that were found at Great Salt Plains helped train soldiers http://newsok.com/article/3046796
I found it interesting that you had a character who was, for lack of a better term, a prepper, and played an integral part in the survival of the characters. Do you feel like this could be used as a sort of guide for those who want to plan for an inevitable end of the world scenario?
Funny you should mention that, because I've discovered my novels are indeed available at some online prepping sites. The first novel was written when there was a lot of talk about avian, or bird flu, and the possibility of it mutating and causing a pandemic. I did a ton of research on prepping at that time and so yes, there's prepping info interlaced into both books.
While book one primarily takes place in a large city, book two is set in a small suburb. These settings provided two very different sets of challenges for the main group of characters. What made you choose these complicated settings?
The first one made sense because I needed a safe haven for the survivors and wanted to do something a little different than having them stuck inside a school or mall. They had a place to go to that was tailor-made for a crisis situation, or even a zombie apocalypse. As for the second location, at the end of the first novel you see the main family leaving and the sequel picks up with them in the small town of Shady Oaks. Everything in that novel occurs within a 24-hour time frame and was actually a lot of fun to write.
Your zombies change, grow, and evolve throughout the books. I know, as an author, that sometimes the characters do something unexpected. Was their evolution the plan from the begging, or did they surprise you?
They evolved basically on their own, lol. I began to think about all that emptiness in their heads after death, and I let them fill that space on their own. I was thrilled with how they evolved, especially how one in particular rises up to become a type of zombie king.
I see you were working on a project of zombie-themed short stories. Have you completed that project, or has it been shelved for a later time?
The book of short stories will be completed, it's just been shelved temporarily. I'm planning to publish it around Halloween. Great timing, eh?
It was a pleasure reading your books, and interviewing you. Thanks so much for joining us for our author spotlight.
Thank you again for the interview and for reading the books! I love sharing my stories!
About Char Robinson
She is currently working on a zombie-themed book of short stories.