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Q & A #7: Five questions from readers answered
1. The last book of the series kind of freaked me out. What’s the message about life and death going on there?
RCC: Aside from all the scary beasties running around, I suppose one theme that emerges is:
Our Existence is brutal, but we have it in us to make the future great.
2. I thought the atheism was preachy in Book 1. By Book 3, you seem to move beyond that. What do you believe?
RCC: Really? Dad is an atheist and Mom is a Christian. When Jack talked about her faith, did you think that was preachy? I think the parents have discussions that come up naturally when you’re constantly facing mortality. Just like a story, in life, we all want to know what happens next, even after we die. Make that, especially after we die. I explore a lot of ideas in This Plague of Days. I leave it to readers to draw their own conclusions. I think I give all the ideas I explore a fair hearing.
What I believe doesn’t matter, anyway. It’s about what you think as you read. I’m happy to provide stimulation, but if I tell you what side I’m on, somebody will say I’m “preachy.” Instead, consider the last chapter again. There’s optimism, but there’s also a deep questioning of what forces were working against each other. Please, meet me halfway and decide for yourself.
3. When is your next zombie book?
RCC: After TPOD, I’m not sure what’s left for me to say about zombies, at least for a while. My mission is always to do something different and unexpected with all I write. That’s why I consider myself a suspense novelist first. I played with zombies and vampires in TPOD (sort of) but it wouldn’t be fresh if I dragged it out or did more in that world. Never say never, but…no more zombies for now. I do promise all my books will be shorter with a faster pace from here on out. TPOD took years.
4. What book is next?
RCC: I’m committed to three thrillers this year: the autobiographical crime novel, the time travel savant novel and the third instalment of the Hit Man Series. I have plenty of other books in various stages of writing, but I’ve settled on those three next. At least one or two before the end of summer, I hope.
RCC: #3, easily. Despite the weirdness and Jaimie’s unique point of view, I think Season One starts off in a place closer to what people expect in a disaster novel. I allow the crisis to unfold internationally and went deep into how slowly and how quickly civilization’s fall could occur. Many of the expected elements are there, despite the autistic twist and Jaimie Spencer’s other gifts.
#2, I like for the fast change in pace. People who appreciated the literary depth of Season One got a slap across the face with the evolution of the virus and of species. A few readers are uncomfortable with the paranormal turn Season Two takes, but I hope there’s enough going on and enough cool characters that they’ll hang in for the ride. A couple of reviewers have made the connection to Stephen King’s The Stand in a disparaging way. I can’t think of a higher compliment to my work.
Season Three gets crazy meta, metaphysical and a little psychedelic amid the carnage (and several beta readers said it could stand on its own as a book, with or without Seasons One and Two.) I love where things ended up because I always want to defy expectations. If anybody thought this was “just” a zombie novel, surprise! There’s enough action for lovers of Zompoc but jokes and brain tickles, too.
I love to tickle readers to zomgasm & braingasm.
~ The TPOD bargains continue and I’m back in Amazon’s Top 100 horror authors again. Word must be getting around. Thanks so much to everyone who spread the mind infection.