Today, Author Emily Goodwin has joined us for an interview about her work, particularly her zombie series, Contagium.
Do you remember your first introduction to zombies? When did you first get hooked?
I’m a fan of the Resident Evil games and movies, and I saw Zombieland in theaters, but that was really the extent of my zombie love until after I wrote Contagious. I had a dream about zombies and woke up knowing that I had to write about them. I actually went into the zombie genre as a total zombie newb. I had no idea about zombie stereotypes, or that female zombie authors aren’t always well received. Luckily, I avoided said stereotypes and I’ve been warmly welcomed into the genre.
Your protagonist Orissa is a carefree, party-like-tomorrow-is-the-apocalypse kind of girl, but when the actual zombie apocalypse occurs, she shifts into another role, one of a fierce warrior. Orissa is well-trained in weaponry. Do you have expertise in archery and firearms or did you spend time researching arms combat?
I’m no expert, but I do know how to handle a variety of guns. I’ve been into shooting since I was a kid, and while normal girls were inside playing with dolls, I laid on our deck shooting targets through my mom’s decorative grass pretending to be a sniper. I’ve used a bow and arrows before, but that is something I am currently working on learning. I spent a lot of time researching weapons and speaking with others well-versed in using those weapons. I also shot a lot of ‘zombie heads’ to see how different weapons exploded zombies brains. That was a lot of fun.
If you could give one piece of advice to Orissa, what would it be?
I would tell her to let go of the past. In the beginning of the series, she is still very angry and hurt from things that happened to her in the past. And she holds onto a lot of guilt from things she did, which she channels into anger. She is a very complex character, and I love that about her.
Uh oh! It’s the zombie apocalypse. Which author, living or dead, do you want by your side?
Don Mann – he’s a former Navy Seal and wrote a survival guide. Who better, right?
After writing apocalyptic fiction, have you made preparations for the end of the world? Are you a prepper like Orissa’s Grandfather?
It’s definitely made me think about the worst possible scenarios. I do like to have enough bottled water and food on hand, and I may or may not always have a weapon on me (there is not a machete in my trunk…). But I’m by no means a crazy prepper. My husband is the voice of reason. If it weren’t for him, I’d have a room full of food, water, ammo, and weapons.
One of my favorite characters in Contagious is the fierce, but lovable Doberman, Argos. As a proud Doberman mama myself, I know that behind the scary exterior lies a total softy. Do you have experience with this breed or a pet that serves as inspiration for Argos?
I have a German Shepherd who is our furry baby. I wanted to pick a dog that was similar in traits, so I went with a Doberman. I worked at a vet office and then a pet store while I was in college, so I do have experience with Dobs. They are wonderful dogs! You are so right too; they are great dogs!
Not all zombies are equal, which was evident in Contagious. Your zombies display unique characteristics that correspond to their individual state of decay. Can you tell us a little bit about them and their fun nicknames?
I tried to make my zombie virus as realistic as possible. I was in nursing school at the time of writing this series, so I had many doctors and nurses around to ask for advice. I also spoke with a neurologist about brain function. In my series, the virus attacks the parts of the brain that control memory and emotion—basically what makes us human. As the virus progresses, it kills off more of the brain, giving the infected that typical zombie stagger. The body starts to slowly die off, and blood flow decreases. The extremities are the first to go, and the skin becomes necrotic, which allows the infected to look like zombies. You find out more about the virus in the final book, and I don’t want to give away spoilers! The virus does progress in three distinct stages: getting infected and going insane, zombie, then really zombied-zombies that are literally falling apart. The characters refer to them as crazies, zombies, and gummies…since the skin and organs get gummy and gooey so close to the end.
What can we expect next from you?
I just started a new series. I don’t have a formal description or blurb written yet. The series has a dystopian setting in modern times, but the US is still set up in colonies. Witchcraft is illegal, and if you are found guilty you are either sentenced to burn at the stake or allow your body to be used for medical testing.
Thank You Emily for taking the time to answer my questions and for your active participation on BOD.
Thank you for the interview! It was fun!
During the Second Great Depression, twenty-four year old Orissa Penwell is forced to drop out of college when she is no longer able to pay for classes. Unable to find a job, she moves in with her aunt in Indianapolis. Down on her luck, Orissa doesn’t think she can go any lower.
She couldn’t be more wrong. A virus breaks out across the country, leaving the infected crazed, aggressive and very hungry.
Orissa is used to only being responsible for herself. When she finds herself a reluctant leader of a group of survivors, she must make a choice: set aside her issues and help the others or go off alone in search of her own family and friends.
ABOUT EMILY GOODWIN
Emily Goodwin is the international best-selling author of the stand-alone novel STAY, The Guardian Legacies Series: UNBOUND, REAPER, MOONLIGHT (releasing 2014), The Beyond the Sea Series: BEYOND THE SEA, RED SKIES AT NIGHT (releasing 2015) and the award-winning Contagium Series: CONTAGIOUS, DEATHLY CONTAGIOUS, CONTAGIOUS CHAOS, THE TRUTH IS CONTAGIOUS (Permuted Press).
Emily lives with her husband, daughter and German Shepherd named Vader. Along with writing, Emily enjoys riding her horse, designing and making costumes and Cosplay.