We interview Adam Baker, author of KILLCHAIN (Year of the Zombie #1) about all things zombie and ask him what advice he would give to entrants of our YOZ PITCH & PAGE comp.
Who are you?
That’s a pretty deep question. I mean, do any of us really have a continuous, unified self? Is our backstory, the elaborate persona that loads each morning when we wake, simply an encumbering fiction?
Anyway, existential angst aside, here are some random factoids:
I am the son of a Gloucestershire priest.
I’ve worked as a gravedigger and cinema projectionist. I also spent a summer fixing slot machines in an Atlantic City casino.
I do karate. Badly.
Tell us a little about Killchain.
Well, here’s the blurb:
‘Elize arrives in Mogadishu with instructions to assassinate a Russian embassy official. She has tactical command of a US kill-team, CIA operatives, rookies and veterans of a dozen war zones. It should be a straightforward hit but her luck is about to run out. She will soon find herself trapped in a city gone to hell, struggling to complete her mission in the face of betrayal, a spreading pandemic and a population hungry for flesh…’
The inspiration for the novella came from a conversation I had with my doctor. I went for a routine blood test and got side-tracked into a debate as to whether it would be possible for a suicide bomber to hide explosives inside their own torso. I have a pretty cool doctor.
Favourite zombie book.
Tempted to pick Matherson’s I am Legend because, despite featuring vampires, scenes in which the protagonist barricades himself in his home as a hoard of monstrous creatures try to force their way inside established a lot of the core tropes of zombie fiction. (If you watch the first – and best – film adaptation Last Man on Earth starring Vincent Price it is very obvious one is watching a precursor to Romero’s Night of the Living Dead.) But instead I’ll pick HP Lovecraft’s Herbert West ‘reanimator’ short stories because they are gloriously icky and pre-date almost all landmark zombie stories with the debatable exception of Frankenstein.
Favourite zombie movie.
My instinct is to say Dawn of the Dead (original) because it’s the big-daddy of zombie flicks and established a lot of the staple genre tropes. But instead I’m going to recommend a movie called Pontypool, because not many people have seen it and it deserves a wider audience. It’s a no-budget Canadian flick in that unfolds in real-time as a DJ called Grant Mazzy begins his early morning radio show and starts to receive reports of folks going crazy and attacking friends and relatives. There’s very little on-screen violence, not much in the way of action, but the film is wonderfully tense nevertheless.
We’re running a ‘pitch and page’ comp as part of YOZ, the winner becoming our 12th novella author. What advice would you give to those submitting to such?
I suppose Elmore Leonard’s rules for fiction are a good place to start for anyone about to start a story.
My most important rule is the one that sums up all ten: if it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.
Grab KILLCHAIN right now for only 99p/ 99c.
Find out more about Adam Baker right here.