The Zombie Survival Crew is happy to welcome James Lacey, author of Perseverance: A Zombie Tale today. First we’ll start of with a little bit about the book, and then we’ll get some insight from James on the pending zombiepocalypse.
Publisher: 23 House Publishing
It didn’t happen the way it was supposed to …
I am a teacher. At least, I was before it all happened, before I was forced to survive. I taught social studies at the high school. I was also the coach of the school’s successful debate team. It was a cold Saturday in January when I heard the first rumor of trouble …
You know, pop culture had defined the zombie apocalypse time and time again, all coming from the minds of horror writers, film producers, and video game designers. Who knew that when it really happened, it wouldn’t be anything like they all predicted. Oh sure, the dead reanimated, and they were certainly hungry for living flesh…but what were the mysterious red-eyes, zombies that moved faster than their stumbling counterparts and seemed to not only communicate, but to exert some kind of control over the others.
The Oracle managed to catch up with James on his blog tour and was able to get some valuable insights from someone forecasting about the zombieapocalypse. And you’ll definitely want to check out the video at the bottom of this post.
- When did you first begin writing, and what inspired you to write your first book?
- I began writing when I was very young. I remember handwriting little stories while other kids would color. I remember being really excited when we got our first family computer and I could type them out in a text file and print them on our old dot matrix printer. Writing my first full-length novel was just the natural progression of a life-long passion.
- What books and authors have most influenced your life?
- I was a huge fan of classical literature. Still am. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes is by far my favorite literary character. As far as the zombie lore goes, I have to give a lot of influential credit to Max Brooks, who I think redefined what the genre means by going so in-depth with the individual character stories and different perspectives in World War Z.
- Tell us a little about your main character. How does a social studies teacher develop the necessary skills to survive a zombie apocalypse?
- When the apocalypse comes, you do what you have to do. He adapts quickly and lives in a somewhat rural area at the beginning of the story. People in areas like that have this ingrained rustic quality that will go a long way in the apocalypse. But most importantly, as much as possible, he thinks before he does anything. You have to keep a level head if you want to survive, even if a zombie is about to bite your face off.
- Faced with a world infested with flesh-eating biters, what would be your go-to method of defense and why?
- Right away I’m grabbing my own leather jacket, like the main character wears, and a good sturdy knife. Wearing a leather jacket in the story wasn’t an accident and is something I thought about hard when outfitting my character. Leather is lightweight, usually somewhat waterproof and very tough to bite through. That’s why dog-training gloves are made of leather. You’ll certainly feel pain and a pinch of something biting you, but it takes a lot to gnaw through it. And, leather is easy to find if you don’t have it already. Most people I know have a leather jacket (and some have leather pants, but I won’t judge). Tell me how many people you know own lightweight Kevlar you could take after they turn?
- In this ever-changing world, it behooves us to be prepared for disaster to happen at any moment. The Zombie Survival Crew members have a “go-bag” filled with items essential for their survival should disaster strike and they must flee to survive. What are the most essential items for your go-bag and why?
- My go bag has the following: a clean pair of socks to alternate with the ones I’ll be wearing when it’s time to go. You can’t flee zombies if you develop a nasty fungus infection on your feet. Flint and tinder and dryer lint to start a fire when it’s safe or necessary (I picked that up in the scouts when I was younger). A good multi-tool or swiss army knife probably doesn’t need an explanation. At least six feet of parachute cord can be used for a multitude of things. And lastly, my pistol, because if I have it I’ll use it, but that doesn’t mean I need it.
- How did you come up with the premise for Perseverance? And what do you feel makes your book stand out in the zombie lit world?
- When I sat down a few years ago to write Perseverance I had no intention of writing a full-length novel. It started as a short-story that I was writing one night when I was bored. Just a few pages about the beginning of the apocalypse from a regular guy’s perspective. And then I gave it to a friend who thought it was really good and asked what would happen next, so I wrote the next part. From there it just kept growing and growing and about eight months later the first draft was done. I think it stands out because of the twists to the lore that are in there, and because you never really know what’s going to happen next. Oh and the ending. Everyone tells me the ending is really good and I’ve been getting demands for a sequel already.
- Is there anything you find particularly challenging in writing for a horror audience?
- Real horror fans are not scared by what they are reading. They are curious. Think about it like watching a horror movie, you keep watching because you need to know what’s going to happen next. Horror book fans are the same way, just with a different medium; they want to know just how far a character or antagonist will go to push the human condition. I tried to do that in my book. Yeah, the action is there along with the blood, guts and gore, but they’re never the focus in a really good horror story.
- Tell us a little bit about your work with disabled adults and children.
- My other passion when I’m not writing. My “9 to 5” job is working with disabled adults and trying to teach them job skills to use when they graduate high school. Outside of work I’m a Special Olympic coach for track and field events, as well as basketball. My basketball team has won the county competition 3 years in a row and many of my athletes have come back with medals after the Pennsylvania State Special Olympic Competition at Penn State University. And anyone who has ever seen these competitions know that it is no joke, the athletes are incredibly talented. Two years ago our county program named me “Coach of the Year” and it’s one of the biggest honors I’ve ever received. Working with these individuals has been a huge influence on my life, so much so that I’ve made a pledge on my blog to donate a percentage of my personal royalties from Perseverance back to the program.
- What are you working on now? Can you tell us your latest news?
- A few things, actually. If you’ve been to my website you’ve seen the zombie-themed “Call Me, Maybe” parody that I shot with my friends to help promote the book. We’re working on another one now (Zombie-themed Christmas…all I’m going to say), which should be a lot of fun. Also, I’m writing a new short story that features a special needs individual during the zombie apocalypse because I don’t think that’s been done before. And I have some long-term plans to expand the website and the content there, but that’s a little ways done the road.
- Is there anything you would like to say to your readers?
- Thanks so much for the opportunity to talk to you today. I hope that you check out the website and, if you haven’t already, pick up a copy of Perseverance. Oh, and remember to aim for the head.
About the Author:
James Lacey lives in the Pocono Mountains of Northeastern Pennsylvania. When not writing, he works with disabled adults and children as a paraprofessional and Special Olympics coach. James also enjoys hiking, camping and watching football.
Endorsement: “James Lacey takes the classic zombie story that we all know and love, and then twists it off into the new directions and unexplored territory. Perseverance is fresh, exciting, and edge-of-the-seat spell-binding.”
– Samantha Murphy, 13 Nights of Blood: Legends of the Vampire
Check out the video spoof James did called It’s a Zombie, Baby!