Please give a glorious warm welcome to our next Zombie-a-thon author for their interview, R.G Westerman…
Question 1 – So hello and welcome to the Zombie-a-thon, please start by telling us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
Hi! Thank you so much for having me on your blog. I am super excited to share with all of your readers here. To answer your question, I did write full-time for a while, but for about a year now I have a day job. Gotta pay the bills, right? In the meantime, I’m writing as much as I can focusing on my own stuff. In this respect, it’s kind of nice not to have client work. I’d love to return to writing full-time though.
I’ve lived quite a few places, but right now I live in East Tennessee with my hubs and kids, plunking away at my keyboard whenever I get the chance. In addition to my current project, Rising Ash, I also have a few short stories available through anthologies on Amazon.
Question 2 – I guess the BIG question is… Why do you personally write about Zombies and the genre of the Apocalypse? What gives you your inspiration and love for the gory genre?
I think what draws me to the zombie-genre is the raw brutality of it. While every zombie story is pretty straightforward, there is so much potential for nuance within this world. Placing characters in a world where survival is the only motivation, and many are just doing what they have to get through the day alive. I think a lot of people right now can kind of identify with that.
Not to mention, the symbolism of having this antagonistic creature who is focused on nothing but mindless consumption. They’re not evil, necessarily, they just want to eat your brain. It’s very timely.
Question 3 – What books have you currently written and tell us a little about them?
I’m releasing Rising Ash in paperback format hopefully on October 10th. Stay tuned! Haha! This is a story about a fifteen-year-old girl who has lived for quite some time in this world. She has amnesia of her childhood, so she carries no recollection of the world prior to the zombie apocalypse. Many of the zombie stories so far focus on how the survivors react at the time of the global infection, in whatever form that might take. I wanted to place readers further into the timeline. I asked myself what would people be like if this is the only world they have ever known?
I have already released one version of the story in serial format for Kindle, but the paperback has some revisions and expansions which hopefully makes for a better story. So even if you’ve already read them, check out the paperback too.
Question 4 – Did you choose to self-publish or go traditional and why?
I chose to self-publish for this one. I am open to submitting for traditional publishing, but for this one, I wanted to go it alone. This was kind of an experiment just to get myself past that scary hesitation one gets just before someone else reads my work.
Question 5 – Do you like to listen to music when you write?
Sometimes. I’m more about ambient sound. Honestly, my favorite thing to have on while I’m writing is some kind of cooking show on the television. Chopped, Worst Cooks in America, and The Great British Baking Show are my go-tos for background noise while writing.
Question 6 – What is your most favourite Zombie film of all time and why?
Oooh, that’s a tough one! I think the movie that first opened my eyes to the potential of the genre was Night of the Living Dead. I won’t spoil it for the five people out there who haven’t seen it, but the ending just slayed me. (No pun intended.) But I really love all the cheesy movies spawned from it, and how the genre has evolved since that time. I don’t need social commentary to enjoy a movie or TV show.
Another good one is Dead Alive. (Which is directed by Peter Jackson weirdly enough…). There is absolutely nothing socially redeemable about this movie. It’s gory and nonsensical, and I mean that in the highest of compliments. (True story: I once recommended Dead Alive to a group of friends for movie night. Two hours later when the credits rolled someone said, “Rebecca gets to pick the movies from now on.”)
Question 7 – What is your most favourite Zombie novel of all time and why?
Sadly, I haven’t read many zombie novels. It makes no sense, I know.
Question 8 – How long do you think you would survive if a Zombie outbreak occurred?
Who are we kidding? I’d be dead in the first week.
Question 9 – What would your weapon of choice be in a Zombie Apocalypse?
I’ve always been a fan of the spiked baseball bat, as per Addy from Z Nation.
Question 10 – If you were turned into a Zombie what author would you bite to be Zombie buddies with?
Neil Gaiman and Anne Rice.
Question 11 – Do you watch ‘The Walking Dead’? If yes who is your favourite character?
Yes, though I watch it on Netflix so I’m perpetually a year behind everyone else. I really like Michonne and Carol. Both super badasses, but in different ways. Michonne because she doesn’t shrink away from anything. She is so fierce and honest and I just know we would be best friends in real life and she would teach me how to use the Katana.
Carol is like a chameleon, hiding in plain sight. She comes across as this Betty Homemaker type, but she’ll kill you in your sleep if she thinks it what’s needs to be done. (And she makes a killer casserole, too!)
Question 12 – And finally any advice for any budding Zombie wannabe authors out there?
Don’t be afraid of it. If the scene calls for blood, guts, and mutilation, then write it. This is a great genre to dig in and really flex one’s writing muscles. Really get inside the characters heads as you write. Here is a world full of fear and adrenaline. Let your readers feel that. Have fun with it!
No matter what genre in which you write, don’t hesitate to go for it. There will always be critics, but there will always be an audience too. No matter what you do or what your goals are, keep writing!
Thank you Rebecca for taking part and we wish you all the best with your books for the future.