Friday, January 13, 2012
Interview with A.R. Wise @arwisebooks
A.R. Wise is not only an author but also a podcaster. His show is called the Talkingship Flagship. They discuss pop culture and beer. Lots and lots of beer. Deadlocked is Mr. Wise's first novella of many.
The Digital Ink Spot: I just finished Deadlocked and at the end of the book you say your goal was to write a different zombie story than the norm. Looking back, with more zombie stories under your belt, do you feel you accomplished that?
A.R. Wise: Zombies have invaded our media. From books, to television, to video games, they have all but taken over our popular consciousness. The idea for Deadlocked came from a discussion with a friend about how there was no way any zombie story could engage him anymore. I set out to prove him wrong, and I'm happy to say that he has admitted to loving Deadlocked.
To tell the truth, I don't think the first Deadlocked (it is a 4 part series) is dramatically different than other zombie stories. There are elements to it that are unique, but that could be said for most zombie stories out there. I tried to focus in on what makes zombies scary, and in my opinion the answer wasn't that they want to kill you - every nasty monster wants to kill people! Zombies are particularly scary because they represent an inescapable reminder of our own imminent demise. As these lurching corpses charge down the street to consume us, it is as if our own inescapable death is staring at us through a mirror. We will all die, and the decaying skin of a zombie's face reminds us of that. They are, by their very nature, not that different from us.
That's why David's story starts with his concerns about the possibility that he has cancer. I wanted the threat of the zombie attacks to mirror a real life danger. In that respect, I think Deadlocked stands apart from your average zombie tale.
The Digital Ink Spot: In Deadlocked, David's wife Laura shows no fear. Does she continues to kick ass in the books that follow?
A.R. Wise: Part two is all about Laura and is told from her perspective. I want to be careful about giving away any details of the first story, but I will say that Laura definitely kicks ass in part two!
I loved telling Laura's side of things, and the character arc that she experiences in part two is dramatic. Her devotion to her family, and the lengths to which she goes to protect them, will shock readers. I hope that people ask themselves if they'd be willing to do the same things to protect the ones they love.
The Digital Ink Spot: You call A Cold, Cold Death For Thomas Baylor a palette cleanser, will you keep writing zombie stories?
A.R. Wise: Never say never! After part four of Deadlocked is released, I plan on delving into a new novella series in a different genre. My favorite part of creating Deadlocked was taking a popular, arguably overdone genre and picking it apart to tell, what I believe to be, the best story possible. I've picked apart the zombie genre, and now I want to move in to another one. My plan, as of now, is to tell a vampire story. That is another genre that has been done to death, and I love the challenge of jumping in to it and creating a story that will shock people. If I can take a genre that people accuse of being overdone and then breath new life into it, then I've done my job.
Setting out to do a novel worth of writing (all four parts of Deadlocked will add up to be about the size of a standard book) is daunting. Doing it in sections helps me to stay excited about the story and gives me an excuse to take a quick breather here and there. Between writing the different parts of Deadlocked, I took time to write a couple short stories. One was A Cold, Cold Death For Thomas Baylor, which is a ghost story, and the other was Asher Wife, which is a sci-fi horror story. Both of them are very, very different from Deadlocked and gave me a chance to take a short vacation from the world of post-apocalyptic horror.
The Digital Ink Spot: What have you been reading lately as far as authors, novel, short stories that have stood out to you and wouldn't hesitate recommending?
A.R. Wise:I have a standard answer that I like to give to this question, and I always defer to it because it's important to me: Read the classics! Most of us went to public schools, and classic literature was force fed to us with all the passion sapped out of it. There were so many books that I know I had been forced to read, but hardly any of it stuck in my brain. When I was older I went back and reread a lot of the classic literature that I'd hated in my youth. Those books are classics for a reason, and a lot of the intricacies of the stories are lost on juvenile minds. If you haven't read Of Mice And Men or Grapes of Wrath since High School, do yourself a favor and get your hands on them. They will change your life. Harper Lee, Hemmingway, Steinbeck, Vonnegut, Salinger, etc, etc.
The Digital Ink Spot: Would you ever release audio versions of your stories as a podcast?
A.R. Wise: Absolutely! I think podcasts are to radio what ebooks are to the publishing world: a sea change. The internet has opened a new horizon for artistic expression and podcasts are a tremendous example of this. Why would anyone waste their time listening to the radio when there are thousands of excellent podcasts out there to download and enjoy?!
That being said, I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist about audio enterprises, and if I ever do a podcast version of any of my stories, it will be more than just me sitting there reading them. I would want to have them performed, complete with sound effects, like they did in older generation radio dramas. That would be a delight to work on!