Unless you live under a rock, you should be familiar with John O’Brien. I’m proud to be able to call this guy a friend. He’s always willing to give advice or help out, or just offer encouragement whenever I get discouraged. Isn’t that what a friend does?
So, if you live under a rock, it’s time to crawl out and get with the times. If you don’t live under a rock, you need to know what all the cool kids are talking about. And buddy, they’re talking about John’s zombie series!
So, who is this guy? Let me tell ya. John is a former Air Force fighter instructor pilot who transitioned to Special Operations in the latter part of his career gathering his campaign ribbon for Desert Storm. Immediately following his military service, he became a firefighter/EMT with a local department. Along with becoming a firefighter, he fell into the Information Technology industry in corporate management. Currently, John is writing full-time on the series, A New World.
As a former marathon runner, he lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and can now be found kayaking out in the waters of Puget Sound, mountain biking in the Capital Forest, hiking in the Olympic Peninsula, or pedaling his road bike along the many scenic roads. In other words, far more active then I’ll ever be!
So let’s kick this thing off. I want to welcome John O’Brien to my humble blog. And he’s got something new to spread the word on.
Me: John, welcome to the blog. Please disregard the mess. We have some new construction going on. Anyway, let’s get down to business. Tell us what the title of your latest release is?
John: Thanks for having me. I don’t mind the mess so much, but I think I stepped in something. Do you have a cat? Oh, the title is A New World: Untold Stories.
Me: Um, no. No cats. I don’t know what that is…anyway. Can you give us a spoiler-free quick description of it? The book I mean. I have no idea what that is on your shoe.
John: The sun touches the horizon…
A hush before the storm…
The sun set as it had every other day. Then night fell and the world ended. For many, it was a long, slow, lingering death. For others, it came quickly, full of terror and agony. Few survived. The ones that did watched the setting sun with a rising panic. Out of the ashes of humankind’s demise rose the night runners. They were death loping down darkened streets, their shrieks echoing off empty buildings.
Untold Stories is a series of short stories depicting the experiences of some who faced the fall of civilization as we know it.
A scream in the night…
And terror poured forth…
Me: That sounds AWESOME! I can’t wait to read it. So tell me, can this one be read as a ‘stand-alone’ novel of short stories or does one need to be caught up in your A New World series in order to know what is going on?
John: It can but it would be better if the first two of the series were read first.
Me: So, what (if anything) makes this one unique?
John: This is a set of short stories based on the world created with the series, A New World. It shows the short glimpses into the lives of some who went through the first days of humankind’s downfall. The last section are fan fiction stories.
Me: Dude! Are you serious?? You let fans contribute to this? How unique? How in the world did you come up with something like that? I mean…I don’t think I’ve ever heard of somebody doing that before.
John: I don’t know. I just thought it would be cool if the fans were given a chance to write some fan fiction if they felt so inclined. I received a lot of messages saying this or that would be cool, so I thought it would be a neat thing if they wanted to include those.
Me: Okay, but I have to ask…didn’t you get a bit apprehensive? I mean…was there anything negative that you went through in that aspect? Like, maybe some fan fiction that was just so poor that it didn’t make muster? Or maybe somebody got upset because their piece of fiction wasn’t used?
John: Honestly, I was worried about something like that when I thought about it and almost decided not to on account of it. But, everything worked out well. And since I didn’t receive anything negative and all of the stories were great, I’ll more than likely be putting out a second edition. But don’t tell anybody. That’s just between us, okay?
Me: Oh, sure. My lips are sealed. I won’t tell a soul. Pfft. I’m telling anybody who will listen! You’re on the hook now pal!
Okay, back to the regular question. For those two or three people who haven’t read your books, tell us about your nightrunner zombies? Slow and rotting or fast and viral? And more importantly, if the dead were to rise, do you think you’d stand a chance against yours vs others?
John: Definitely fast and agile. They aren’t technically zombies but more of mutated human’s that have formed a new species. And their intelligence grows as time goes on.
Me: True. Intelligent zombies scare me. I was going to make a joke about them voting, but…how about your chances of survival?
John: I know that I wouldn’t want to face any kind of zombies and certainly wouldn’t want to run up against night runners. I’ll just stay in my cozy abode out in the country and venture forth only if necessary…and I would definitely avoid being out at night.
Me: I hear ya. I’d rather stay in the country, too. So, what was your first experience with zombie media (movie, book, comic, etc)? Was that experience what drew you into writing the genre?
John: I would say the first zombie books I read were World War Z and Bourne’s series. I don’t read much in the genre in order that I don’t inadvertently take someone else’s ideas.
Me: Oh man. I hadn’t thought of that. And you know, now that you say that, I can honestly say that there are a lot of times I’ll read something in somebody’s book and think, “Oh, crap! That’s a heckuva idea!” or worse, “Dammit! I was going to do that!” then I check their publication date to see if they might have stolen the idea from my draft…they never do. They’re just smarter and faster than I am. Okay, so Pop Quiz: The dead rise now and you can choose ONE weapon as your only weapon during the Zombie Apocalypse. What is it and what do you think are your chances at survival are?
John: 6.8mm carbine although .223 rounds are more prolific and would be much easier to locate. I would place my chances of survival around the mid-range. Shit happens. The early days would be the most difficult with a lot of variables.
Me: Good choices. I’d have a hard time choosing a SINGLE weapon. But I like your choices. Okay, last question and I’ll let you go. If you had to give a list of authors who most heavily influenced your work, who would be your top picks?
John: Easy. Robert Jordan, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Stephen King.
Me: Yeah. I notice my name wasn’t listed there, but…oh yeah. You’ve been writing a lot longer than I have. So…I guess that’s a given. Hey…where are you going? I was only kidding…oh. Yeah, you can wipe that off your shoe there. That’s fine. Thanks for dropping by John!
For those of you who are just chomping at the bit, here’s the myriad of ways you can reach him:
Author page: http://www.amazon.com/John-OBrien/e/B005IDEPP0/
Web site: http://anewworldseries.com/