Jailbait Zombie by Mario Acevedo
Tell us about Jailbait Zombie and why we would want to visit this world.
Reading Jailbait Zombie could save your life. It’s got details that may be useful in the upcoming zombie plague. Fact: Homeland Security and the CIA are funding research to reanimate the dead but, like most government projects, they’ll find a way to screw it up. What else is in the story? Lots of guns. Some kissy face vampire stuff. Imagine a Dirty Harry version of Twilight as directed by George Romero and Sam Peckinpah.
You stated you were “a huge fan of the Creepy-style magazines. [Your] mom and dad used to confiscate them from [you]. [You] also enjoyed the sarcastic apocalyptic vision of Vincent Vaughn Bode’s Cobalt 60 comics and the ribald humor of National Lampoon. Anything with big stop-action monsters (and slave girls in skimpy harem outfits) like in the Sinbad movies was high on [your] must-see list.” How did your love of these forms of media influence you as a writer?
The Creepy magazines haven’t influenced my writing so much. I like National Lampoon because of its satirical attitude and the great writing. What I admired about the Sinbad movies and the wonderful stop action was that ability to make you suspend disbelief and get drawn into the action. If the animation was done well, you wouldn’t think, “This could never happen.” Instead, you’d tell yourself, “This is so cool.” One media inspiration for my books are movies like Pulp Fiction and The Big Lebowski. I love the loopy, hard-boiled dialog and the noir atmosphere. Another source of inspiration comes from weird true tales I read in junior high. Demons. Fantastic inventions. Ghosts. And aliens. In The Undead Kama Sutra, I based my description of the alien gangster on a sighting of an extraterrestrial near Socorro, NM.
There’s a quote that says: “Inspiration knows where to find me. At my desk between 9 and 12 in the morning.” That’s how I approach my writing. I get up very early in the AM and tell myself, “Time to make the donuts.” For the first draft, give yourself permission to write crap. Once you got crap on the page, consider it fertilizer for your many, many revisions. And once you got your manuscript perfect, you send it to your editor and wait for her to run a rotor tiller through your work.
You stated “writing is always a struggle to improve.” Explain what you mean by that statement and how it applies to your work.
I like to think of the analogy of a musician making a hit single. Everybody says, “I love it. Now make another one, only different and better.” That’s the art to writing. To keep it fresh. To challenge yourself and surprise your readers. To keep learning. To never get complacent or you’ll lose your audience. I’m constantly reading and analyzing my favorite authors’ works to see why they’re successful. Steal but don’t plagiarize.
In your story world, “a vampire can never be human again. One of the drawbacks of immortality is that you outlive your family and friends and that you’re doomed to be alone.” How has this knowledge impacted Felix Gomez’s character development?
Felix Gomez is still a new vampire and pre-undead acquaintances are around. Actually, for him, being a vampire detective is a good excuse to stay away from family reunions. Felix’s character development is most affected by his relationships with other vampires. You know, love-in-the-workplace kind of a thing. In the first book, The Nymphos of Rocky Flats, Gilbert Odin was someone Felix knew from his college days. In a future story, I may subject Felix to the most dreaded tribulation known to any undead bloodsucker – a call from his mother.
You are currently working on book five in the Felix Gomez vampire detective series. Give us a bite of what is it about?
In book five – title still undecided – Felix goes to Charleston, SC, to stop a civil war between rival factions of werewolves. Think sex and violence and lots and lots of hair.
It took you 17 years and six manuscripts before you sold your first novel. What was the most difficult aspect of this journey and how did you deal with it?
I dealt with the frustration the way I do with most of the unpleasantness in my life. Denial. What was hard, and humiliating, was going to the same writing conferences year after year and telling people, yeah, I’m still unpublished. But denial kept me going.
What advice would you give to aspiring thriller writers?
Read, read, read. Write, write, write. Find those successful books you’d like to have written and study them. Then write some more. Have faith. Laugh at the odds (the denial thing). And get lucky.
Contributing editor, Janice Gable Bashman, writes for leading publications, including “Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market,” “US Industry Today,” “Food & Drink Quarterly,” “The Wild River Review,” “Bucks,” and others. Her serial feature “Thrill Ride: The Dark World of Mysteries and Thrillers” (co-written with Jonathan Maberry for the “Wild River Review”) includes interviews with Barry Eisler, Lawrence Block, Steve Hamilton, and other thriller and mystery writers. She is working on a thriller, “Vengeance,” and her writing won multiple awards at the 2007 Philadelphia Writer’s Conference.