What inspired you to create ‘Dead New World’?
I love a well-told zombie story, be it in book form (World War Z) or film (Shaun of the Dead). Whenever I’m immersed in a zombie story, my overactive brain tends to imagine what I would do differently, or what kind of zombie action I’d put in the story. After writing a fun, silly manuscript that I later abandoned (though parts were retooled for use in my first novel, The Book of Bart), I wanted to stretch my muscles and write something dark, scary, and action-packed. It felt like a good a time as any to write Dead New World, and finally create “my very own zombie book,” complete with all the things I’d ever wanted to see in a zombie story.
Who is your favorite character and what makes them special?
I love all of my characters, even the villains, who to me are more misguided than anything else. I love the main character, Holt, because he’s willing to go to the ends of the earth for love. My favorite character, or at least the most complex, is Holt’s best friend, Ambrose. The wrinkle in zombie mythology for Dead New World is that some people who are infected survive, and go on to become human/zombie hybrids. There’s a terrific psychology involved in that. How can someone stuck between two worlds belong in one or the other? How can they live a normal life? Be happy? Is the pull of one world greater than the other? Ambrose is going through all of these things in Dead New World, and I’m going to explore all of this in greater detail in the next book in the series, Dark New World.
Why do you think we have such a fascination with zombies?
Several reasons. Zombies can easily stand in for almost any metaphor, from consumers (original Dawn of the Dead) to people walking through everyday life (Shaun of the Dead). Also, what isn’t terrifying about losing control of your body as it becomes a decaying, mindless thing that craves human flesh/brains?
What initially drew you to writing in the horror genre and what has kept you in it?
I like to write a little of everything, and hope to go through my writing career without being shoehorned into one particular genre. A lot of my writing is in the silly/paranormal vein, but I’ve always loved a good horror. A good horror, with great jump scares, to me can be as funny as some of the best comedies out there. I always envision the writer or director giggling with sadistic glee as they put the audience through the ringer. It’s hilarious, and I love being a part of it, mostly because I get that same sadistic glee when writing a scary scene.
How has your real life experiences factored into your writing?
Very much so. My main characters tend to take on some facet of my personality, be it sarcasm, loyalty, etc. Writing also helps me work through problems I face in real life, like wanting to fit in, nobody believing in me, or fighting off anxiety. It’s sort of therapeutic to help a character work through those issues that I myself have.
Do you have any advice for other writers who are writing in or who want to write in the genre?
The best advice for any aspiring writer, as cliched as it sounds, is to KEEP WRITING. Solicit feedback from people who will be honest with you. Learn how to take that criticism. Apply it to your next work. Learn the craft, With each thing you write, make sure you learn something new about yourself or your writing. It’s the only way you’ll improve.
As for writing in the horror genre, read horror books and watch horror films. Study them. Find out what works and what doesn’t. Try to find articles by writers about how to build suspense. Again, it’s all about learning the craft.
Who are your three favorite authors or books that you would recommend to readers of your work?
My favorite author is Christopher Moore, who wrote Fool, You Suck, and some other great, silly paranormal novels. The Book of Bart, my debut, is very much in this vain. I’d also recommend Max Brooks’s World War Z, because it’s quite simply the best zombie book ever written. Why Brad Pitt turned it into an unfaithful (though still decent) adaptation instead of making it a faithful HBO miniseries is beyond me.
What is the next project that you plan to be working on?
I’m revising a manuscript called The Conch Shell of Doom, which is kind of like The Goonies with a paranormal slant. I’m also writing the sequel to The Book of Bart, and after that most likely diving into the Dead New World sequel, Dark New World.
Do you have any other information for my readers who may be interested in finding out more about you or your writing?
When the the leader of a powerful cult kidnaps the woman Holt loves, he teams up with his best friend to save her from a fate worse than death.
Fans of Jonathan Maberry’s ROT & RUIN and AMC’s hit series, The Walking Dead will devour Hill’s action packed take on the Zombie genre. DEAD NEW WORLD is now available at Amazon and Curiosity Quills. Get to know more about Ryan in this exclusive letter to readers
Zombies aren’t mindless anymore.
Before the world fell into chaos, the undead existed only in the imagination. Now, more of them walk the earth than living. Zombies move about freely, while humans entomb themselves inside concrete barricades to stay alive.
All that, while the leader of a powerful cult – known only as Reverend – becomes the next threat to the rebuilding United States. Believing zombies to be God’s latest creation, making humanity obsolete, he wants to give every man, woman, and child the chance to become one. With his combined army of humans and zombies, he may well get his wish.
Best friends Holt and Ambrose went up against the Reverend once. Holt lost a foot and a zombie bit Ambrose…though he survived the virus, only to become a human-zombie hybrid, reviled by the living and unwelcome among the dead. When the Reverend kidnaps the woman Holt loves, the race is on to save her from a fate worse than death.
Growing up, Ryan Hill used to spend his time reading and writing instead of doing homework. This resulted in an obsession with becoming a writer, but also a gross incompetence in the fields of science and mathematics. A graduate of North Carolina State University, Ryan has been a film critic for over five years. He lives in Raleigh, NC, with his dog/shadow Maggie. Ryan also feels strange about referring to himself in the third person.
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