D: It is my pleasure, nay, my grave pleasure—see what I did there A?
A: (eye roll) Yes, D – I see it. Very clever.
D: You don’t sound very impressed.
A: Sorry, I was saving the ticker-tape for a special occasion.
D: What could be more special than this? Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my grave pleasure to welcome Jack Flacco, author of Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse, to the D/A Dialogues.
D: Jack, give us a quick, spoiler-free overview of Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse.
J: After finding his family had succumbed to the ravages of the zombie apocalypse, Ranger Martin, a shotgun-toting former truck driver, makes a life mission of eradicating as many eaters as he can with the little resources he has at his disposal. Making things complicated are a group of kids tagging along, aiding Ranger on his quest to discovering the truth regarding the zombification of humanity.
D: Why zombies – what is it about them that drove you to write a book?
J: Zombies are fun. They’re Horror’s little Terminators. No matter how much we try to get rid of them, they keep coming. They replicate. They take a beating. They never surrender. Their unrelenting pace brought me to the genre, and I’ve always wanted to read a book where zombies scared me to a cold chill.
D: So many components go into writing and then publishing a book – which was your favorite?
J: I enjoy stepping into the story to experience what the characters are experiencing. The role-playing aspect interests me the most, as it’s a brief opportunity to live someone else’s life. Is there such a thing as method writing?
D: I think so – my presence on this blog may be a side effect of such a phenomena. So, do you have any traditions or rituals you invoke when you complete a draft?
J: Without fail, I’ll take the family out for dinner. It’s a tradition I’ve kept since the very beginning. Funny thing about it, the draft doesn’t come up in conversation. I guess we’re too busy enjoying the sushi to talk about it.
D: Which of your characters character were you rooting for the most?
J: Randy. Here’s a kid who’s stuck in the wrong place at the wrong time with very little to live for and dream. Yet, hooking up with Ranger may have been the best choice of his life—even if at times Ranger dances on the threshold of insanity.
D: The threshold of insanity seems to be a thing with writers. Ranger and A have a lot in common. Speaking of, which of your characters did you enjoy torturing?
J: If you consider zombies as a character, then I think every zombie kill was my idea of fun. I kept track of the kills so I wouldn’t do the same thing twice.
D: Sometimes writers go into a novel with one idea/favorite and come out the other side with a completely different idea or favorite character – did this happen to you, or were you able to remain true to your initial vision?
J: I wrote it with the idea that not everything we see is what it seems. As humans, we have a tendency to make up our mind about things before getting all the facts. It happens to me all the time. For instance, the line at checkout has five shoppers, so I switch to the other line with the two shoppers thinking I’ll get out of the store faster. But I didn’t see the shopper ahead of me having an item needing a price check. Next thing I know, I’m stuck waiting longer than the original line I had stood in. Perception makes for an interesting bedfellow.
D: What’s next for Jack Flacco?
J: I have two other books I’m currently writing at the same time.
D: What is your favorite genre to read?
J: I’m reading John Grisham’s full bibliography in chronological order based on date of publication. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but put it off for a reason or other. I suppose for now, the legal thriller is my favorite genre.
D: You discus movies quite a bit on your blog – do movies play into your creative process at all?
J: I grew up on a staple of Spielberg, Lucas and Cameron movies. As much as I try to avoid adding references to these film titans, something manages to slip in. It then becomes a game for me to find the references. I suppose it happens as my own version of a subconscious homage to these great directors.
D: Provided it’s not a spoiler, what is your favorite name for a zombie – either in your own work or in other works out there?
J: Eaters. I’ve heard this term used before and it describes the zombies perfectly. The undead do nothing other than hunt and eat. If I had my way, though, I’d call them sharks. Then again, confusion would arise whenever a story took place in shark-infested waters. Isn’t there a movie about that?
D: What has been your favorite visual interpretation of the zombie genre?
J: The ability to survive a catastrophic event such as the annihilation of humanity can come in different flavors. By far, AMC’s The Walking Dead is as close to a zombie apocalypse as anyone can get for now. I can’t seem to let go of Season 1’s imagery from my mind. Zombieland is another one of my favorites, even though the electricity still works in that universe. Then again, with so many automated backup systems in place nowadays, who’s to say the lights would go out in an end-of-the-world scenario?
D: Who would you pick to play Ranger Martin in the movie version of your book?
J: I draw a blank whenever asked this question. I left Ranger’s description vague on purpose in order for readers to imagine their own interpretation. I’ll say this though, if Ranger Martin does get optioned for a movie, the actor playing him would have to be strong enough to lift a soldier off his feet.
D: What do you think the odds would be on a time-travelling druid vs. a zombie hoard?
J: I fear for the zombies’ safety.
D: Hear that, A?
A: Of course, with the right equipment, a three-year old could destroy a zombie.
D: A zombie maybe, but we’re talking zombie hoards, A. A swarm, a multitude a veritable throng of zombies.
A: . . .
D: A mob, A.
A: No more reading the thesaurus for you, D. If you want to see if you could pit your wits against Jack’s zombies, pick up his book, Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse at Amazon.com, tomorrow, October 22 (Wait, that’s TODAY – Buy your copy now)! You can also stalk him on his blog, and on Facebook.
D: Also, check out A’s review of Ranger Martin. . . even if it is Druid Free.
A: Ha, Druid Free. I like that – kinda like Gluten Free, but for my sanity instead of my stomach.
D: . . . Ignore the woman behind the curtain. She’ll offer you sawdust and call it brains!
A: Mmmmm . . . Brains. . .
D: And with that, we bid you all good day. Thank you for stopping by the D/A Dialogues.