Zombies. Even more zombies. “Why should I care about zombies,” you ask? When you read “Deadlocked”, a novella by A.R. Wise…you won’t be asking yourself that question. Mr. Wise has gotten fantastic reviews and some great success due to his stories, and everything seems to be looking up. I have a chat with him to find out what inspired him and to see what the future holds.
What made you decide to write your novellas? Was it something you always wanted to do, or is it something more recent?
I’ve always dreamed of being a writer, but life has a sneaky way of crushing your aspirations. In October, 2011, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and the urge to write came from a need to get my mind off her illness as well as a desire to make her proud. She always wanted me to follow my dream and become a writer. I figured it was time she got her wish.
What spawned your desire to write your zombie fiction?
Oddly, it came from a conversation with someone about how there is WAY too much zombie fiction out there! I originally started to write a series of articles for Talkingship.com on what would make the perfect zombie video game, and that article ended up morphing into the Deadlocked series.
Deadlocked, and its sequels, are great zombie stories, but what made you choose them as the theme of your stories?
I wanted to take a genre that has been done to death (pun FULLY intended) and challenge myself to do something new and different with it. The first novella is somewhat standard zombie horror, but I punctuated it with something a lot of stories are missing: our fear of death. Most zombie stories (and most horror stories) focus solely on the threat of death, but never delve into how a person deals with it. I wanted the antagonist of Deadlocked to be DEATH, and not zombies. David’s struggle to get home to protect his family is an allegory of a man dying of cancer trying to ensure that his family will be financially secure after he dies.
As you said, zombies being in media are a pretty prevalent thing nowadays. What sets your stories apart from the other zombie media out there?
The Deadlocked series is all about family. Book one details one man’s desire to protect his family; book two follows a mother as she strives to both protect and provide for her family; and book three tells the story of a son trying to make his parents proud. Everything in the books is there to tell a story about a family coming together in a crisis.
Were you expecting the huge surge in popularity your stories received? How have you managed that thus far?
The eBook revolution has opened the doors for a lot of authors, and people are finding out it’s an extremely exciting time to write. I put out Deadlocked without any real idea what sort of attention it would receive, and for the first month it was fairly slow. I saw some downloads, but nothing mind-blowing. Then I posted it on Amazon and got together with some book bloggers to help promote it, and it went absolutely insane. In January alone, Deadlocked was downloaded over 4500 times. It has secured a spot in their top 50 best-selling free horror books since it was first put up and I am ecstatic to see the attention it has received.
You currently have two other stories out now, “Asher Wife” and “A Cold, Cold Death For Thomas Baylor”, both of which seem to be pretty intense sort of thrillers. Where did the inspiration for those come from?
Between each of the Deadlocked books, I took time to write something different as a way to clear my head. Asher Wife and Thomas Baylor were a fun exercise in trying to write something completely different and I think I succeeded. Neither of those (Baylor is a short story and Asher is a bit longer, possibly a novella) can be easily categorized! I guess you could say that Baylor is a ghost story and Asher is a Sci-Fi Psychological Horror story.
Is your goal to continue writing zombie stories and thrillers, or can we expect other genres from you?
I never planned on writing a lot of zombie stories. Truth be told, I never planned on writing HORROR! However, it’s a genre that comes easily to me, so I’ll stick with it for the time being. Deadlocked 4 is the final story in that series, although I might do a compilation book of supplemental characters, but I don’t plan on carrying on with the narrative of the original series. That is all going to get tied up in the 4th book.
Before part 4 is released, I will put out the first book in my next series: Vampire’s Prey. The reason I am tackling that subject is exactly the same as why I went after the zombie genre: it’s horribly overdone! I want to delve into vampires the same way I did zombies. I think it’s going to be a blast!
Thank you very much for lending your time to this interview.
A.R. Wise, when not writing novellas and short stories, can be found at www.talkingship.com, a website he founded with his best friend Tim. Please support Mr. Wise and his writing endeavors and please support our friends and fellow geeks over at TalkingShip.
(Photos used with permission from A.R. Wise)