1. Could you tell me a little bit about yourself?
My name is Mitch and I'm 35 years old. I've lived in Arkansas my entire life. As far back as I can remember, I wanted to draw comics to tell a story but never learned how to draw, never devoted enough time to it. I used to tell my younger brother stories at night to get him to go to sleep. Stories filled with magic and monsters (which he really enjoyed). I wrote some short stories over the years but mostly just for me. Now I'm trying to tell those stories to a broader audience.
2. Could you give a brief summary about Z1N1: The Zombie Pandemic?
This book is set in the near future and is basically two separate stories that merge together as one. The crux of the story is that an H1N1 vaccine is created by some well-intentioned researchers (even though they are slightly distracted by real life events). This vaccine is sent throughout the U.S. and other countries. Due to events that unfold in the book, the vaccinated individuals eventually die and return as the undead.
3. How did you get the idea of Z1N1: The Zombie Pandemic?
In late 2008 or early 2009 when there was all the news coverage about the H1N1 virus, I saw a news report where a researcher (I think from the CDC - I could be wrong) was speaking about the expediting of the vaccine delivery. This person said there was no real reason to extensively test the vaccine since that type of vaccine had been tested the same way for the past 60 years. His idea was to rush the vaccine out to those that needed it. I thought to myself...what would happen if that vaccine was bad? That's where the idea for Z1N1 came from.
4. What were the challenges (literary, research, etc) in writing the novel?
To be honest, there isn't a lot of super science detail in this novel and in retrospect, I'm sure I could have included a bit more. However, there were multiple shows on public TV over the course of a few weekends that I watched and took notes on. I used some of those ideas in my book.
Being the first book, I struggled with how to tell the story. Would it be first person, third person or something else? The idea of using my "time/day/place" headings in each chapter help me to keep track of my time line and hopefully helped the readers as well.
5. Why did you decide to choose this genre as your first novel?
Simple. I love me some zombies! I know that there are tons of other zombie fans out there as well.
6. Is this novel part of a series?
When I first wrote this book, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. The original ending (not published) was way more depressing. I rewrote the ending to what it is now currently. I left the ending in such a way that I could go either way - leaving it as a standalone novel or writing more about it. I've chosen to write at least one more novel in the Z1N1 with the main characters from the first book. I'm considering a trilogy depending on how where the story ends up at the end of the second novel.
7. What is your favorite scene to write? (Make it as spoiler-free as possible)
There is a part of the book where two of the protagonists have both been bitten and one of them has just died. They are at a graveyard to bury one of them. As the rest of the group leaves, there is a touching scene that takes place between those two.
8. Where can those interested in this novel get it at?
It can be order online from the following sites:
Outskirts Press (hardback)
Barnes & Noble (hardback/nook version coming soon) http://www.barnesandnoble.com/
9. Do you have any upcoming novels you’d like to talk about and in what genre?
After I finish the Z1N1 books (either just a sequel or a trilogy), I've got a few ideas. One book about vikings, one about a disenfranchised new author that becomes a serial killer and a book about a mysterious island with something buried deep beneath the soil.
Not much more info than that.
10. What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Advice given to me is write, write and write some more! I'm having issues with that now trying to balance writing with work. I wrote the first novel with the downtime I had from being unemployed in 2009. Now it's hard to balance the two.
11. Last question, if you're stranded on an island, which novel would you want with you?
I know everyone might be expecting me to put a scary book and I was going to ("IT" by Stephen King), but I'm going to pull a shocker here. I have a real soft spot for this book: "Where the Red Fern Grows" by Wilson Rawls. I love this story about a boy and his two dogs.
Mr. Mitchell Cook: Thank you for the wonderful questions!!
Me : Thank you for your time.