Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Interview with Daniel Waters

1. What inspired you to write about zombies? Here's the thing: I don't really think I'm writing about zombies--I think I'm writing about people! Zombies are really just the device that allows me to write about people in ways that I couldn't if they were "just" people. Zombies work in the Generation Dead series because they underscore the one thing that every person truly has in common on the planet. We don't have the same eye color, or skin tone, or the same beliefs or preferences, language or culture--but we all die. By making that commonality front and center in the stories, it allows me to write about our difference in a way that is interesting to me, and I hope, to readers.
Plus, BRAAAAAIIINS! Zombies are just cool. Even though mine don't eat brains or entrails (except one, maybe?). They do shamble though so maybe that counts.
2. At what point in your life did you decide to be a writer? Very early on in life I was trying to write and draw comic books, and there was a progression of experiences from there that led me down that path. This may sound a bit pretentious, but I think most writers don't "decide" to be a writer--you either are a writer, or you aren't. I was a writer long before I was published.
3. Where do you go to get inspiration? Inspiration is everywhere; I just try and tune in to it. Books, loud music, running and time spent in the pool are very reliable sources for me.
4. Which is your favorite zombie movie/tv show? For more traditional zombie fare, my favorite is Return of the Living Dead. For a broader definition of zombie, I would go with the original movie of Ira Levin's The Stepford Wives. Though I have to mention if the Generation Dead television show actually gets made (it was recently optioned) it will be default become my favorite.
5. Which are your favorite books? I've thousands! Some of the ones that I reread every few years are Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, all of J.D. Salinger including the uncollected work, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, Stephen King's The Shining, Life After God by Douglas Coupland which sounds irreligious but isn't, Hemingway's A Moveable Feast, Orwell's 1984, Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathanael West, all of Raymond Chandler--well, you get the general idea.
6. Can you tell me about any new projects you are working on right now? Break My Heart 1000 Times is a ghost story/thriller and will be released this October, and it is very, very scary.
7. Which is your favorite character in you Generation Dead Series? My usual and truthful answer is that whoever I'm working with at the time is my favorite, but now that I'm not writing any GD stories at the moment I would have to confess great love for Karen and Phoebe. And also Tak. And Margi, and Adam and Tommy and...yeah, I love them all. Just talking about them makes me want to write one of the thousand stories I have for them floating around in my head.
8. If Generation Dead was made into a Tv Show which actors would you chose to be the main characters? Well, I probably wouldn't get any say in the casting, and I have to confess I don't know many young actors, but I'm a big, big fan of Modern Family and Sarah Jane Hyland and she really would be a perfect Phoebe. I also think January Jones would be perfect as Angela Hunter, but beyond that I've no idea.
9. What advice would you give to young writer who are just starting their careers? Write. Write, write, write and then write. Read, and read outside of your usual preferences every so often. Learn how to take a punch--everyone is a critic, and not all criticism is accurate or even well intentioned--and learn not to throw one. Keep ya head up. Not everyone you meet, even friends and family, will understand or be supportive of your efforts. To thine own self be true. Go outside. Take a walk, take a rest, taste the rest. Breathe.