It has been my pleasure to be a part of a really cool group of horror authors. Over the next few weeks, I hope to highlight each of these fellows and let you the reader get to know a wee bit more about each of them.
Tonight I bring you a short interview I did with none other than Shawn Chesser!
Normally I ask for a short Bio to give the readers a quick primer on who we’re talking with, but come on! This is Shawn Friggin Chesser here people! But, in case you’ve been living under a rock or just arrived from another planet…
Bio: Shawn Chesser, a practicing father, has been a zombie fanatic for decades. He likes his creatures shambling, trudging and moaning. As for fast, agile, screaming specimens… not so much. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife, two kids, and three fish.
If any of you didn’t notice, I got the ‘friggin’ in there, didn’t I? That’s a little joke between the two of us. He’s been having his covers reworked by a really awesome graphics group and I commented that he really needed to have his name BIGGER. He hemmed and hawed a bit until I declared, ‘C’mon man. This is Shawn Friggin Chesser we’re talking about. The name needs to be HUGE!’ Then I used my mad MS Paint skills and totally defaced his cover…but I think the point was made.
Shawn, I want to thank you for dropping by and gracing my humble blog with your presence. As I mentioned, the whole point of this is to get the word out about your latest release and spread the word about you and your awesome writing. How about we start with your Social Media links:
Warpath: Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse on Amazon http://tinyurl.com/n7nvda7
Author Web Page http://www.shawnchesser.com/
FB page https://tinyurl.com/ksr93lg
FB author page https://tinyurl.com/lc36v9g
Amazon author page https://tinyurl.com/k8a7pnv
Twitter handle @sdchess
Sweet. Hopefully we can get more people to stop by these places and experience all of the awesomeness that is Shawn Chesser!
Now, to the bangers and mash. We can rapid fire a few simple Q&A for the folks and get the word out about your zombie series!
Me: What is the title of your latest release?
Shawn: Warpath: Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse
Me: Can you give us a spoiler-free quick description of it?
Warpath: Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse- In the crucible that is the zombie apocalypse, Cade Grayson, father, husband, and former Delta Force operator has forged new friendships and tempered old ones. In those same metaphorical flames, he has seen blood spilled, loved ones perish, and dealt his own brand of justice. Now, three weeks after a world-wide viral outbreak has left the United States in ruins and transformed most of her population into walking corpses hungering for the flesh of the living, he finds himself at an Army Forward Operating Base on the outskirts of Grand Junction, Colorado. With only a set of GPS coordinates to go by, Cade must deliver his small family and a trio of young people from the distant outpost, across hundreds of miles of Utah’s sun-baked high desert, to the promise of safety the random-looking string of numbers represent. Meanwhile, eagerly awaiting their arrival at the Eden compound, Duncan Winters goes about the grim task of burying the recently fallen. With each shovelful of dirt he deposits on the bodies of kin and friends, his insatiable desire to strike back at the people responsible tugs him ever closer to the edge of insanity. With the dead hunting and moving in herds of ever-increasing size, will Cade and his group survive the running of the gauntlet? Will Duncan see the light and accept that he truly needs Cade’s special set of skills in order to find and bring those responsible for the recent murders and abductions to justice? Or will he give in to burning desires, shirk the old adage that revenge is a dish best served cold, and go it alone, charging blindly headlong down the Warpath to certain disaster? Come along and find out who has what it takes to survive the Zombie Apocalypse.
Me: Man, I can’t wait to sink my teeth into this one. I’m still catching up though so I’m really glad you didn’t let any real spoilers slip. So, what (if anything) makes this one unique?
Shawn: Warpath is a post-apocalyptic thriller set in a thoroughly devastated United States. This fast paced romp through Colorado, Utah, and Idaho is unique in that it features not only heavily armed hard-charging soldiers in camouflage and body armor, but also a group of regular citizens who have come together and are doing their best to survive the zombie apocalypse. Thrown into the mix are strong female characters, a group of younger survivors trying to find their place in the new world, and a host of human baddies my readers love to hate.
Me: Ain’t that the truth. And you really do have strong female characters in your stories. I remember you talking about possibly incorporating that into future covers. Anyway, tell us about your zombies? Slow and rotting, but any chance of incorporating the viral fast ones in the future?
Shawn: I’m a Romero purist, Heath. My zombies are slow, plodding, and tend to hunt in packs, usually overwhelming their prey with their strength in numbers. These creatures are infected by the Omega virus which is present in their saliva and blood and spread by introduction of those bodily fluids to the living, mainly via bites. Infection of the Omega virus (so far) has proven one hundred percent fatal, however, the victim’s turn time is determined by a wide variety of factors.
Me: Ah. Staying true to the original. Well, there are a grand majority of folks who think that those are the only true zombies, so I can’t blame you a bit. But tell me this? What was your first experience with zombie media (movie, book, comic, etc)? Was that experience what drew you into writing the genre?
Shawn: When I turned twelve or thirteen my mom let me rent Night of the Living Dead and the original Day of the Dead on Beta or VHS…can’t remember which. I watched them with a couple buddies and have been a fan of the genre ever since. My desire to live vicariously through my characters in a world created in my own imagination is what prompted me to write Trudge. Over the course of a rainy fall and winter I wrote that first novel in small chapters on my iPhone while my son, Cade, played soccer and rode trikes at the indoor park. A friend read the first incarnation, liked it, then turned me on to Smashwords where I eventually self published my short debut novel.
Me: And man, are we ever glad that you did! I think Trudge is my favorite because it introduces us to Cade and his family. It’s raw and gritty and…well. It feels like it COULD happen. Forgive my gushing. I just really liked the story. Okay, now for a goofy question. 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?
Shawn: I know this is kind of a cop-out but, if the dead were to rise today, Heath, I’d want them to be the Romero variety. Frankly, if I had to face the rage infected creatures in 28 Day’s Later or the fast Zs from WWZ or the Dawn of the Dead remake I would have me foraging for Depends undergarments more so than beans, bullets and band aids.
Me: Sorry. I snorted on that one. Here I am thinking you’re gonna call dibs on some fancy assault rifle and you’re worried about Depends. You got me with that one. Okay, how about this one…if you had to give a list of authors who most heavily influenced your work, who would make that list?
Shawn: Stephen King, Tom Clancy, Cormac McCarthy, Dean Koontz, Terry Brooks, Lee Child, Brad Thor, Vince Flynn … to name a few.
Me: I know most of those names, but thanks for giving me a few new ones to check out, hehehehe. Now to get personal. How do you balance your ‘writing time’ with ‘family time’? Do you find your wife encouraging you more now that you have a huge fan base?
Shawn: You know, Heath, my wife wears the pants in the family and I pretty much do whatever the hell she says. (Sound of whip cracking in the background) I find this approach instrumental at reducing domestic friction in our household. All kidding aside actually being able to make a living writing is a definite win-win in that I get to set my own hours, spend those hours doing something that is still very rewarding and then decide when I want to punch the clock and commence that short commute from my upstairs office and go down and hang with my family.
Me: Awesome. And trust me…I think we all can relate with who rules the roost in most homes. Shawn, thank you so much for dropping by and giving us some insight into what’s going on and what’s new with you. I really appreciate it and I’m sure my followers will appreciate the heads up on your series.
Folks, seriously, if you haven’t checked out Shawn’s ‘Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse’ series, you NEED to! You won’t regret it.
Shawn: Thanks for having me, Heath. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you via FB. Perhaps we’ll meet at a future Con or WHC.
Me: I am SO looking forward to that. Take care buddy!