It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Julianne Snow, author of the new book, ‘Days with the Undead: Book One.’
JP: Okay, Julianne, straight out of the gate: why zombies?
JS: Why not Zombies? They’re fun (in a weird sort of way). However, on a more serious note, I find Zombies to be remarkably more terrifying than any of the other supernatural creatures that are in literary and cinematic existence today. Zombies are the monsters that characterize the aspects of humanity to the greatest degree. By chance or design, the monster’s face that looks back at you is one that is so similar to your own. That sends chills down my spine.
JP: I see that you pen an online blog by the same title. Is there a difference between book and blog? Is the blog meant to be a companion to the book, and is there additional insight to be gained by reading it?
JS: I wrote Days with the Undead as a book initially. Not knowing what to do with it as a new author who had never self-published, I decided to try it out as an online serial novel. I edited out parts of the first draft that didn’t belong and started publishing one chapter (or day) each night. Once I reached the end of where the first draft left off, I continued the story. Book One only contains a portion of the story that is currently on the web but also has additional material that I didn’t have time to add into the serial or aspects that looking back on it six months after it was first made available, I wanted to add. Book One ends on the thirty-first day of their struggle but the web serial has one hundred and sixty-nine days (though there are gaps built into the timeline for a reason). As for added material, when I went back into Book One, with the additions there was approximately thirty percent more moments with the Undead mixed with stories of survival.
JP: So your book is “A Journey of Survival.” Are you one? (a survivalist, that is!) Am I correct in assuming you enjoy writing that aspect of the zombie horror genre as opposed to the blood and guts?
JS: I’m not sure that I would call myself specifically a survivalist but I have learned quite a lot about it. I live within thirty kilometers of a nuclear power plant (that’s just outside the blast zone radius). Most people that live close to them don’t think much about it since they feel that power plants are safe. The reason that it makes me worry is that Toronto was built on top of a fault line, not an active one like the ones under California but we feel a rumble every once in a while. Is there a possibility that an apocalyptic event could happen close to home? Heck yes! I have my plan just in case anything happens and the first thing I plan on doing is getting out at the first whisper that something is going down. No need to wait around until it gets really bad.
I wouldn’t say that I enjoy writing the survival aspect more than the blood and guts. I’ve found that the psychological aspect is something that is missing in a lot of the works in the genre I’ve read so I admit to wanting to tackle that myself a little more in-depth. Don’t get me wrong there are some moments in Days with the Undead that are gruesome, but at times I prefer the less is more approach. You miss out on the impact of a well-placed gruesome moment if they’re all gruesome.
JP: Zombie apocalypse starts in 3…2…1… What are you hitting the road with and share with my readers, while you still have your sanity intact, what your plan is.
JS: I’d be hitting the road with a few protein bars and some water, duct tape and some waterproof matches. I don’t have a weapon like a gun but I do have some gardening implements that I would be packing into the car. It’s light I know, but I’d prefer to get out of the city before people start to panic. Once out of the city, I’d make a stop in one of the smaller communities and stock up with items that I feel would be useful. If I move fast enough, people in the outlying areas are less likely to be panicked. After I load myself up a little more, I’m going to head north and find an area with a low population density. Most people are not going to escape the cities and if they do, they’re likely to go east or west, not north; or not as far north as I’m prepared to go. As for my sanity, I think that’s the one thing I’ll retain. I might not like what is going on around me but my brain works from an analytical perspective and that may mean the difference between survival and death.
JP: So you’re out there in the thick of the zombie apocalypse…do you think our medical and military agencies will be as prepared as you?
JS: That’s a hard question to answer as they will be travelling into the fray and I’ll be travelling out of it. The military works on a specific model of authority with orders being given by superior officers. If there is even one non-believer at the top, it could translate into the deaths of increasingly large numbers of innocent people. This is an enemy that they would never have faced before and while the world does have suicide bombers and kamikaze pilots, there is nothing akin to the Undead as they push ever forward. They’re not going to be scared by the guns trained on them; they don’t carry the emotion of fear anymore. If, and it’s a big if, the military gives the front lines the ability to think for themselves and make decisions based on the situation they are facing, they might have a chance to get things under control. What are the odds of that happening? Slim to none and with that being said, they may be prepared to fight, but they will be ineffective. The medical staff are going to have a very hard time of it should the Undead rise. You cannot be on the front lines in a war such as that, treating possibly infected people and not end up dead. The best bet for medical personnel is to head for the hills like the rest of us. The situation is going to be hard to control and could go south at any time; medical personnel are only going to clog things up and likely join the army of the Undead themselves.
JP: Your journalistic style of writing is a very calm outlook on the situation. Do you think the public falls into shambles and turns against its fellow man?
JS: I wouldn’t say that it’s an entirely calm outlook as there are moments that are stressful. The difference is that you only have the perspective of one person and that person comes from an analytical background. She is used to dealing with violence and has developed a coping mechanism that helps her to detach and get things done. I do think that the public is going to panic and do crazy things – there are many moments where that is evident throughout Days with the Undead. In the days that continue after the first book ends, you begin to see just how much society has fallen and how quickly those that are still alive want to retain some normalcy. control and could go south at any time; medical personnel are only going to clog things up and likely join the army of the Undead themselves.
JP: Zombies are everywhere, baby! What’s the most important thing you personally need? Anything sentimental in case you survive?
JS: The most important thing that you need to survive is the mindset to do so. If you keep yourself and your mind in the game, not letting anyone or anything get in your way, you’ve got a good chance. As for a personal memento – I have my memories; those are all that I can afford to take with me.
Playing devil’s advocate here: you become a zombie. Have you taken any precautionary measures in case you become one of the Undead? Maybe you’ve told a loved one shoot to kill, no questions asked?
JS: If I was bitten and had the strength to do so, I would put myself out of the misery that was going to follow. If I couldn’t do it myself, I would have someone else do it for me prior to me returning as one of the Undead. No way am I walking the earth as a Zombie!
JP: Listen Julianne, it’s been a treat sharing my blog with you. But I’m going to push the envelope a little. Any chance offering an excerpt to tease my readers with?
JS: Sure thing! Just a little something to whet your appetite:
“The pirates were smart, I’ll give them that. Instead of staying together, they split up and tried to box us in. It probably would have worked except for the fact that they had no idea who they were dealing with. As we came up on C Street, one of the men was waiting for us. Just standing in the middle of the road. He probably thought we’d stop like last time…
A word of advice. Don’t play chicken during an Apocalypse. Chances are, you’ll end up dead.
One down, six idiots still in play.
A second outlaw came running into the intersection at William Street. When he saw us he started throwing out fire, still running forward. Now I realize that there may not have been a course on how to use these weapons properly but at some point common sense had to prevail. The only thing this dimwit succeeding in doing was running into his own flame and setting himself on fire.
Two down, five left.”
Days with the Undead: Book One:
It’s a journal of survival…
Five people set out to escape the Undead who have risen too close to home. Join the emotional and physical struggle as they began on the third day after the awakening of Brooks VanReit, as they are recorded from the point of view of Julie, a former pathologist and part-time survivalist.
Each entry is geared toward helping those who want to help themselves and maybe give a few that don’t a swift kick in the ass. Join our group of survivors on their journey through these Days with the Undead.
Available in both print and digital formats.
About the Author
It was watching Romero’s Night of the Living Dead at the tender age of six that solidified Julianne Snow’s respect of the Undead. Since that day, she has been preparing herself for the (inevitable) Zombie Apocalypse. While classically trained in all of the ways to defend herself, she took up writing in order to process the desire she now covets; to bestow a second and final death upon the Undead. As the only girl growing up in a family with four children in the Canadian countryside, Julianne needed some form of escape. Her choice was the imaginations of others which only fostered the vibrancy of her own.
Days with the Undead: Book One is her first full-length book, the basis of which can be found in her popular web serial of the same name. You can find Julianne’s The Living Dead of Penderghast Manor in the anthology Women of the Living Dead and stories in upcoming anthologies called Childhood Nightmares: Under The Bed and Twisted Realities: Of Myth and Monstrosity from Sirens Call Publications.