Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Author Stop: Jonathan Maberry


I'm very thrilled to welcome Jonathan Maberry(in celebration of the paperback release of Fire and Ash) to the blog so that we can pick his brain! Uh...never...mind? Er-- lets just get to the interview! ;)

1. You're a frequent speaker at conferences: If a writer could only go to one conference a year, which would you most highly recommend?


That’s an unfair question. It’s like asking a parent to choose a favorite child. I go to conventions across America and in other countries. I don’t really have a favorite. Each has certain things they do really well. My sentimental favorite, though, is my hometown conference, the Philadelphia Writers Conference. It’s the first one I ever went to, and I’ve been back there many times as a teacher and speaker. I made a lot of friends there.

On a similar note, the very first genre con I ever went to was DragonCon in Atlanta. I’m not a regular guest there and I absolutely love it. In fact I set the big, horrible disaster ending of my latest novel, CODE ZERO, there. (You only hurt the ones you love.)

2. Do zombies fascinate you more than the scare you? (I'm of the scared variety!):

Shocking as it might sound, I’m not scared of zombies. Or vampires and werewolves. I love writing about monsters, and I love reading monster books and comics, and watching horror movies and TV, but it’s been a long time since one actually scared me. I think the last real jolt I got from fiction was the indie ghost movie, BELOW.

What scares me is what zombies represent. They’re metaphorical storytelling constructs, so each writer tends to use them to tell a story about what really scares them. For me, zombies represent science that is either deliberately misused (as in my novels PATIENT ZERO and the ROT & RUIN series) or science that’s been mishandled and therefore ‘gets out’, as in DEAD OF NIGHT. I love science, I geek out about science, but I’m also deeply afraid of how ineffectual we are at managing it safely, and how unethical we can be in employing it. So, yeah, that scares the crap out of me.

Zombies definitely fascinate me. I was first introduced to the Haitian zombie legends by my grandmother when I was seven or eight. She told me about strange belief systems all over the world. Then when I was ten I encountered the cinematic versions when a buddy of mine and I snuck into the Midway Theater in Philadelphia to see the world premier of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. I was infected right away.

What fascinates me most about the monster is that it truly does mean something different to everyone. In a way it’s that stand in for everyone’s personal boogeyman.

3. Donuts or pancakes? And if neither of those float your boat, what do you eat for breakfast?

I’m an egg man. Ideal breakfast is a goat-cheese and mushroom omelet and a whole lotta coffee. There’s a nice little breakfast place called La Champagne near where I live in Del Mar, California. I go there a few mornings a week and start my day’s writing on my iPad while having a leisurely breakfast. Of all the components in a good breakfast, though, coffee is the centerpiece. I’m searching for that restaurant that will hook me up with an IV drip of it to get my day started. And don’t give me any of that decaf sacrilege or I’ll sick my dog on you.

4. If Benny hadn't taken to killing and lived in a normal world(where your fellow beings didn't try to eat you) what kind of job do you think he'd have ended up doing?

Benny would probably work at a Taco Bell or maybe work as busboy in a restaurant. When we first meet him he’s a long way from being ambitious. He’s not looking for a job because he has a fully functioning work ethic –it’s simply a matter of the town having the regulation that if you’re fifteen or older and you don’t have a job, they cut your rations in half. Once Benny begins (reluctantly) apprenticing with his brother, he discovers his calling and that makes him rise to it. He’s an entirely different person at the end of the fourth book, Fire & Ash.

5. Would you mind sharing one of your fav sentences from Fire & Ash?

It’s more than a line. It’s part of a paragraph, and it’s the key to the final step of Benny’s evolution from feckless boy to powerful young man. It’s something the old ranger, Joe Ledger asks him: “So…I guess you have to ask yourself, young samurai, how far would you be willing to go to stop Saint John if he was coming after you and yours? How scary are you willing to be in order to take the heart out of the enemy? Are you willing to be the monster in the dark? Are you willing to be the boogeyman of their nightmares? If you can look inside your own head and see the line that you won’t cross, the limit that’s too far, then I can guarantee you Saint John will win. No question about it.” Benny goes to a very dark place in order to answer that question.

* * *


Benny Imura and his friends have found the jet and Sanctuary—but neither is what they expected. Instead of a refuge, Sanctuary is a hospice, and the soldiers who flew the plane seem to be little more than bureaucrats who have given up hope for civilization’s future. With Chong hovering between life and death, clinging to his humanity by a thread, Benny makes a startling discovery: A scientist may have discovered a cure for the zombie plague. Desperate to save Chong, Benny and his friends mount a search and rescue mission. But they’re not the only ones on the hunt. The reapers are after the cure too, and they want to use it turn all the zombies into superfast shock troops—and wipe humanity off the face of the earth.

In this riveting conclusion to the Rot & Ruin series, the battle to end all battles is just beginning.

B&N | Amazon


* * * 

JONATHAN MABERRY is a New York Times best-selling and multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning horror and thriller author, editor, comic book writer, magazine feature writer, playwright, content creator and writing teacher/lecturer. He was named one of the Today’s Top Ten Horror Writers. His books have been sold to more than two-dozen countries.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

If you'd like to be entered to win a $5 Amazon gift card, please leave a comment(it doesn't have to be about brains) and follow Jonathan at one or more of his social media sites. Winner will be announced via Twitter on 8/29. Congrats to Jonathan on Fire and Ash's paperback debut!

28 comments:

  1. Ooh, I have a copy of Rot and Ruin that I got at BEA. Looking forward to reading it.

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  2. I love the Benny Imura series, and I can totally see Benny ending up at Taco Bell if First Night had not happened!

    I wish I'd had the chance to meet Jonathan when he lived in Pennsylvania. I will never forget that he was the first writer to email me and congratulate me when I signed with Sara Crowe. He said I had found the best agent in the business. :)

    And since one of my goals, now that I've retired from teaching, is to attend a conference in 2015, I might just have to check out the Philadelphia Writers Conference.

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  3. Great interview, Jonathan and Leandra! I don't know what it is about zombies, but they creep the heck out of me. I don't know if it's because, like Jonathan mentions, with misused science the existence of zombie-like creatures seems like it could be in the realm of possibilites, or if it's just because of how they become a vacant, unthinking vessel. Yeah, creepy. lol

    I'll have to check out the Rot and Ruin series. Can't watch Zombie movies very much, but reading about them I can handle. :)

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  4. I've seen those covers around - they certainly grab your attention!

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  5. I enjoyed reading your interview, Leandra and Jonathan! I had to laugh about the coffee IV drip—too funny. Sounds like a compelling book! Congrats to Jonathan!

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  6. Jonathan's an awesome guy. I got to meet him at Zenkaikon in Lancaster. So I think his answer to question 1 was supposed to be, "Zenkaikon, it's where I got to meet Steve."

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  7. What an awesome interview and photo! I have a Maberry signed book (Extinction Machine) from BEA that I will never part with. Ya hear that Steve?

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  8. Great interview!!! That whole bit about what zombies represent was like going into my brain and pulling out my fears too. I don't know who said it, but I'm still not ready to write about what scares me most. Baby steps, right?

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  9. I agree with Jonathan about the unethicalness (if that's a word) of many current science projects being scary. It seems like the money to be made is all that matters, even if the planet is destroyed before it can be spent.

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  10. My scientist side is having a good chuckle to the answer to question 2 :) It's much more regulated than people think.... Anyhow, great interview!! I've heard of this series before, but I don't do zombies (unless I know the author, so I actually read a lot about them, but whatever, I'm rambling).

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  11. Very nice to meet you Mr. Maberry! And wonderful interview Leandra :)

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  12. Brains!!! Ha ha, kidding. Great interview! And like the others, I appreciated the answer to question 2. :D

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  13. great interview!! and in response to #3--I have been craving pancakes for about 10 months. I believe this is a sign that it's time for me to enjoy a stack! ;)

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  14. Great stuff! I am very impressed with the interview questions. We usually hear questions like, "Why do you write?" or "Who is your favorite author?" Good job.

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  15. Mmm... Goat cheese... Yes, please. *high five* I applaud all monster writers, everywhere.

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  16. I really do go to one conference a year--the SCBWI conference here in Nashville every September. That's enough for me!

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  17. I'm not too sure about zombies, but fun interview!

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  18. Great interview. I like eggs too.

    Those are awesome covers. I love the series look to them.

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  19. Jonathan, I love what you said about zombies (and vampires, werewolves, etc) being a metaphor for what terrifies us. It's the core of truth behind most horror, I think; that thread of reality that scares us to death. I never thought about zombies representing misused or mishandled science, but that makes perfect sense. Thank you both for a thoughtful, interesting interview!

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  20. And the winner of the $5 Amazon gift card is...Stephanie Faris! Congrats! And thanks for all your wonderful thoughts everyone!

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  21. What a great, FUN interview, Leandra! I have not read any of Jonathan's books, but I will now! = )

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  22. Whoa, whoa, WOW. That cover, and that photo! Hah! Love it. :)

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  23. "Pick your brains," hehe. Fun interview,

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  24. I haven't read any of Jonathan's books yet but I'm very curious about them now. That paragraph shared is awesome and those covers are ... well, scary. (The mention of a goat-cheese and mushroom omlette is making me hungry even though it's an hour away from midnight over here.)

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  25. There is something common between him and me. I too am an egg man.

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  26. I must confess, I was never sure if I wanted to read this series. After this interview, I am sure- I need to read it! The author sounds so fun, and Benny sounds like a real piece of work (I loved the Taco Bell part). Thanks for sharing this awesome interview :)

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