Thursday, 24 January 2013

Timothy W. Long Interview Author of Among the Living series of books

Timothy W. Long Interview

First let’s get to know you a little, Timothy W. Long is the author of the Among the Living series, Zombie Wilson Diaries, Beyond the Barriers. Some fantastic books based in my favourite setting the Zombie apocalypse with a bunch of people you wouldn’t think would go together, in my eyes at least!
Also a bunch of other books that are now winging their way to my book case thanks to amazon, check his name out on there.
Here’s a little about him, I had fully intended to become a fantasy / sci-fi writer until an incident that occurred a few years ago. I was taking a writing class and got a note from my instructor following a writing exercise. It said: Tim, have you ever considered writing horror? Your writing samples were great but each one creeped me out and I mean that in a good way. It was at that point that a light bulb went off. I decided that I could always combine my love of the post-apoc genre and zombies in general, to write a book or two.

I have here a few questions Timothy has graciously agreed to answer for my blog.

Q. Hi Timothy, first off how are you these days?
A. I’m doing great, thanks for asking. I’m actually still enjoying the glow of a new book release in Among the Dead, the long awaited follow up to my bestselling book Among the Living.

Q. Secondly at a guess how long have you been writing for?
A. Not all that long. I have always wanted to be a writer but I didn’t really get started until about 4 years ago. 3 years ago my first book was published (much to my surprise) and I’ve gone on to write 5 books and one co-authored book in that time.

Q. Please give us a little insight into each of your series’ of books please Tim a little overview to let us know about each one
A. My series, Among the Living (Among the Living and Among the Dead) take place during the first few days of a zombie apocalypse in Seattle. The books are a mixture of points of view from a variety of characters. I have worked very hard to make my characters far from run of the mill. I think that you could take the characters out of the apocalyptic situation I have presented and they would still be interesting because they don’t always have the answers. They also don’t know how to pick up guns and start shooting people. In fact my fan favourite character, Kate, is a budding young serial killer that gets to put her unique skills at dealing death to good use but her weapon of choice is a Katana. Other characters in the series are a drug dealer named Lester, and the leader of a heavy metal band who thinks the zombie apocalypse is pretty freaking cool.

Beyond the Barriers is a more focused novel that sees one character dealing with the end of the world nearly half a year after it occurred. This is a more thoughtful zombie book that allows me to do some strong character building. Instead of finding people fending for themselves he finds that the world had now broken up into much smaller groups. Cities are now the size of a group protecting a small neighbourhood--to larger groups living in a massive Wal-Mart. This book also contains a different sort of zombie – ghouls. They have an almost telepathic way of controlling hordes of shamblers.

The other side of Timothy W. Long is in the funny business of writing satire and bizarro. My book The Zombie Wilson Diaries centers around a whiny protagonist stuck on a deserted island with only a female zombie for company. He keeps her alive so he will have a companion and someone to talk to. She just wants him for his body. Literately. It’s a good natured book that has been accused of being relationship satire.

My last book is one that I co-authored with Jonathan Moon called The Apocalypse and Satan’s Glory Hole. This is a very bizarre book about the end of the world gone terribly right. I like to describe it as a dirty tribute to Good Omens. Read this book if you think you cannot be offended and have a sense of humour regarding religion.

Next I have a few questions from my occasional co-writer on this blog Timothy:

Q. when did you realise you wanted to write horror?
A. It was coming across a number of zombie books at a Borders bookstore. I didn’t know that anyone in their right mind wrote and or published such things. That publisher is Permuted Press and I kind of decided that I was going to be published by them. It took a few years but they have now picked up 4 of my books.  As a fan of King, Barker, and all things zombie, it sort of clicked. Shortly after that I began work on my first book, Among the Living.

Q. And one more, in overcrowded genre how do you keep things fresh?
A. I try to balance out the horror with a dose of humour. I also like to ground my characters, no matter how outlandish, with a dose of reality. I read across a lot of genres and like to think that some of those other types of books have an influence on my own work. I like fantasy, sci-fi, thrillers, and even the occasional literary read. I hope that this always keeps my ‘voice’ fresh and people coming back to see just what kind of crazy shit I have dreamed up next.

Back to me now:

Q. Tim there’s a lot of Indie writers out there that cater to a very specific crowd of readers now I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing one such man James Cook, how do you feel about these?
A. I think it makes sense that writers would be seen to cater to specific crowds. Writers write for themselves first, and fans second. Having a niche in the genre means that others are probably looking for that specific niche. My book The Apocalypse and Satan’s Glory Hole, for instance, is a very niche title. It’s quasi-bizarro and has a very small appeal. The book is funny and irreverent but my target audience would be folks who find South Park not quite dirty enough. I mention this book because I have read it many times. If I need a laugh, I pick it up and just flip to a page. It’s not a bad thing when you are a fan of your own work.

Q. What influences if any have had an impact on your work?
A. I read a large variety of books, not just horror or post-apocalyptic. I’m a voracious nerd for epic fantasy and I also like well written hard science fiction books. I read thrillers and alternate history. I find that my biggest influences are books that evoke an emotional response. One of my all-time favourite books is the alternate history novel The Children’s War due to the journey the protagonist takes. It’s pretty much a 1,000 page book of him constantly getting his butt kicked and coming out of it, scarred, both mentally and physically but always keeping his humanity.

Q. What information do you think you can give anyone who hasn’t read or would sway them onto reading your books?
A. Though I write horror and zombie books I do sprinkle in a dash of humour. My books are also strongly character driven. My series Among the Living, for example, presents a story of survival from 4 radically different points of view. One is a young serial killer named Kate and another is a drug dealer named Lester who would rather hide in his house and smoke weed than face the reality of the evil outside his door. I try very hard to write real characters. No one in my books  is able to pick up a gun and just start shooting zombies in the head. Chances are that most of the characters have never even handled a gun before, much less know the difference between a ‘magazine’ and a clip.

Q. How popular do you think literature is in the world at moment, as in popular, less popular or on the come back? In my views thanks to kindles/E-readers it’s made a strong comeback (Though a lot of the time I still prefer a good paper or hardback in my hands)
A. I think it’s stronger than ever and it’s due to a few unlikely heroes. Namely Twilight, Harry Potter, and of course 50 Shades of Grey. It’s easy to laugh at but the fact is that ebook readers have made it very easy for people to buy books online and read them without being ashamed of the covers and or titles. Plus, you can’t beat instant gratification. See a book you like on Amazon and with a click it’s on your ereader.

Q. Do you have a favourite book or series of books yourself, if so what is it?
A. I’ve been a fan of epic fantasy for about 35 years. One of my all-time favourites is relatively new and it’s Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen. It’s an epic 10 book series that is staggering in terms of world building and characterization. I’m also a big fan of JL Bourne’s zombie books. I read Day by Day Armageddon 5 or 6 years ago and it was the first time I really thought about writing in the genre.

Q. I am currently trying my hand at writing I find it hard to concentrate on it for any long amount of time though, cooking, eating, something else catching my interest. So I write it bit by bit on a blog, how do you stay focused or what are your tricks for sustained and successful writing?
A. I think writing just needs to be done and treated like a job. You have to set aside time each day, it’s better if you can schedule it, and just get in the habit of writing. As soon as you treat it like a job (as it should be) then you will find that there are less distractions. I’m lucky in that I have a long commute on a commuter train. This provides a solid 1 ½ hours of writing every day. I also have my laptop at hand at all times. It’s a tiny little Macbook air so I can crack it open and jot down notes, ideas, or a hundred words no matter where I am.

Some fun questions now Timothy if you would

Q. Do you have a Zombie Apocalypse plan?
A. I’m the worst at this. I don’t even have a simple plan except to board up the house and hope we make it for a few days. The whole idea of zombies is a bit silly, though, so I think I’m safe… for now <queue ominous music.>. I do believe it’s important to keep a supply of emergency food and water, though. We keep an indoor butane cooker that has gotten us through more than one power outage.

Q. What are your favourite horror films/or series?
A. I really like a lot of foreign horror. Quite frankly, France and Korea are kicking America’s ass when it comes to horror and or disturbing movies. It seems like every horror movie over the last ten years can be classified in 3 categories. Found footage, which I like, but has degenerated into lazy film making (I’m looking at you Paranormal Activity 4), torture porn like the Saw movies, or slashers where teen’s/people act stupid and get killed in droves.

France is putting out movies like Inside (À l'intérieur), Irreversible, and Martyrs. These are movies that are extremely well written, shot, and gory. Martyrs is one of my favourite movies because it is so shocking and over the top, plus the ending MAKES the title. From Korea we have shockers like Oldboy which is one gut-punch twist after another. Plus horror like I Saw the Devil, and A Tale of Two Sisters which got a crappy US remake.

Q. Aside from the obvious zombies what are your favourite classic monsters, Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, Wolfman?
A. Frankenstein – but I prefer the Young Frankenstein version. Peter Boyle was fantastic as the monster. J

Q. What is your favourite non horror works, films TV etc.
A. I get very addicted to TV series and blame it on Lost. I think that was the first series that really got me to take TV shows seriously. I was hooked on that show and loved it all the way until the last episode <grumble grumble>. My daughter and I see most of the super hero and sci-fi movies together. Plus we are both fantasy nerds and we’ve already seen The Hobbit twice on the big screen. As far as favourite series, I keep up with Homeland, Game of Thrones, Dexter, True Blood, American Horror Story, Shameless, and my guilty pleasure, New Girl which consistently makes me giggle like a stoned sixteen year old.

Q. I believe out of the major horror icons or even apocalypse settings that the zombie isn’t too far off in reality with all the chemicals and other types of ways zombies can be created isn’t it just an accident waiting to happen, what’s your views?
A. Zombies are silly. There, I said it. BUT! If someone were to develop a virus or chemical capable of turning people into mindless shambling creatures (like an early morning stroll through a Wal-Mart), then we have a real threat. I think Jonathan Maberry covered this quite well in his book Dead of Night.

Q. On that note what is that your favourite zombie reanimation way or do you like/prefer any of the following and what are your views, God/Supernatural, Chemical, Radiation, Voodoo, Viral or Extra-Terrestrial?

A. I like mine to be grounded in reality. In both of my zombie series the Z’s were created with viruses. The one book that I deviated with was The Zombie Wilson Diaries. In this very silly book a woman ingests a weird plant and it brings her back from the (almost) dead. I used the plant as a plot device so the protagonist would have something to take back to civilization were he ever rescued from his deserted island.

Finally Timothy Something I’m always interested in knowing running a b-movie review blog

Q. Where do see your series’ and writing going in the future, as in more follow ups, new ideas, or any film/TV series plans?
A. I’m finishing up my Among the Living series now and should have book 3, Among the Ashes, out next year. After that I plan to do a sequel to Beyond the Barriers called Beyond the Barriers: Ghouls. I’m also expanding into new territory with a new series of books that revolve around a modern day Necromancer. The first book has been completed so I hope to shop it soon. I’m also working on a sequel to The Zombie Wilson Diaries because that book is just too silly to leave alone. And, assuming I can squeeze it in, Jonathan Moon and I are intent on working on a sequel to The Apocalypse and Satan’s Glory Hole called The Apocalypse Strikes Back!

I’d love to expand into TV or film so if Hollywood is reading, they are welcome to knock down my door.

And is there anything else you would like to say to your readers and viewers of this blog? Please write below

Sure, put me on the spot. Okay, I’ll tell you my motto. If it’s undead, aim for the head!

Thank you Timothy for doing this Interview and giving your dedicated readers a little more insight into one of their favourite authors and what’s going on in their world at the moment

If you enjoyed that interview check the rest of my blog for more authors interviews please follow me on twitter @TheHorrorNation
Also keep an eye out this weekend as i have a competition to win a free audio book of Among the Living graciously donated by the man himself.

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