Friday, 20 January 2012

20 Questions with Adam Millard

Life for Adam Millard revolves around writing.  If he isn't writing, then he is usually found with a book in his hand.  He is also a true Metal-head who loves to play the guitar and has an overwhelming collection of music that make his wife’s ears bleed. 

Adam Millard - Zombie Horror Author.
He is a self-professed connoisseur of all films but with a disturbing enthusiasm for everything horror under his skin, quite literally, thanks to his other passion of tattoos and tattooing. Adam’s body boasts over 50 tattoos (some of which were inked by himself) with his back being a showcase for all the modern classic horror characters thanks to his brother, Clint’s, tattoo skills.*

In this town, dead ain't dead enough.
We had the chance to catch up with Adam at the 2011 Festival of Zombie Culture and here's what he had to say.

1 Why zombies and how did they come to be the cornerstone of your work? To me, zombies are the only creatures in literature without restrictions. Vampires and werewolves have rules, weaknesses. The only way to kill a zombie is by decapitation or severing the spinal cord. I love that about them, which is why I write so much post-apocalyptic zombie fiction.

2 Do you mostly write in the morning, daytime or the witching hour? I used to write in the morning, but things have changed a lot since my son, Phoenix, came along. Now I write when I can, which might be after everyone else has gone to bed. As long as I hit my word count, though, it doesn't matter at what time of day I write.  I still go to bed happy.

3 Name one writer who has been a major influence on your work and why? I would have to say Stephen King. I grew up reading everything I could by King, and he is still one of the only authors that I pre-order months in advance, regardless of the book. I love the style, the way he can paint a vivid image so successfully.  I think that might be why there are so many poor movie adaptions.  People have their own ideas of what his characters are about, and it's difficult to make that leap from page to screen.  Apart from a few adaptions, of course: Misery, Carrie, The Green Mile.

4 One book you think everyone should read. Going back to King, here, but I would have to say The Stand. It's one of the greatest books ever written, and one that, should I be marooned on a desert-island with nothing but the clothes on my back, I could read over and over, or until I ran out of coconuts.

5 Do you think genre fiction has finally got the recognition it deserves? I think these last two years have been amazing for genre fiction. There are more genre-writers successfully hitting the stores than ever before, and I am glad to be a part of it. The introduction of the Kindle, of course, has made a massive difference to how books are received, and that has a part to play in how well genre-fiction is currently doing.

6 Zombies - slow or fast and is there room for both? There is room for both, but I prefer slow zombies. Romero had the right idea, with his slow, shambling, couldn't catch a cold zombies. What people forget is that the faster creatures, like the ones in 28 Days Later, are not even zombies.  They are infected, but not dead.  I love that movie, but it does piss me off when people refer to them as zombies.

7 Blunt instrument, firearm or blade? I'm a massive fan of the Remington shotgun. It'll do the job every time, provided you're pointing it at the head. Failing that, though (as they are quite difficult to come by in my hometown of Wolverhampton) a machete and any decent .22 pistol.  You have to get up close and personal with a machete, but the kills would be so much sweeter.  Just keep your mouth closed at all times.

8 If you could save just one luxury, what would it be? Well, I've been sober now for almost a year, so missing drink would not be a problem. I smoke, so I would have to say cigarettes, or a few pouches of tobacco. I think, with all of the carnage going on around you, a nice smoke would take the edge off.

9 What do you think is most likely to cause an actual zombie outbreak? The government. Not David Cameron, directly, but certainly some government-funded laboratory taking an experiment a little too far. We saw it this year, when a group of foolish scientists decided to mutate the H1N1 virus so that it would pass more easily from human to human.  How ridiculous is that?  Let's create a more viral strand of Ebola, while we're at it.

10 What is your number one piece of advice for surviving a zombie apocalypse? Stay away from populated areas.  The mall might have looked inviting in Dawn Of The Dead, but it's the last place you should go. Don't wander into the city and expect to make it out uninfected.  What you need to do is get yourself as far out into the countryside as possible, somewhere quiet, secluded.  Find a nice farmhouse, fortify it, and see what happens from there.

Life doesn't always mean life.

11 If you were a character in one of your books, what would be your opening line? “I bet she was as fit as fuck when she was alive!”

12 How much has music played a part in your work? I have a writing soundtrack, which mainly consists of Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold, Atreyu, Bullet For My Valentine. I think it sets the tone for the story. If I had been listening to Avril Lavigne at the time I wrote Dead West it would be a completely different book.

13 If you had to live in a clichéd alternate reality would you choose medieval fantasy or futuristic sci-fi? Fantasy, without a doubt. I've always seen myself chopping heads off things wearing nothing but a facecloth and tribal paint. I know I could do that in the future, too, but I think it would be more fun in a medieval fantasy.

14 If you had a super power, what would it be? Invisibility. You can keep your flying and controlling fire. I would just love to be able to go anywhere without being seen. I'd probably do it naked, too, just for shits and giggles.

15 Star wars, Star Trek or Sci-Fi curious? I was never really into Star Wars as a kid, so I would have to say Star Trek. I loved the original series, and then Next Generations, but after that I lost track.  DS9 never really did it for me. I recently re-watched the original Star Wars trilogy and loved it.  Just wish the second trilogy could be wiped from existence, somehow.

16 Has Gary Gygax (creator of Dungeons & Dragons), and the phenomenon he spawned, influenced you in any way? I think he's influence almost everybody in the genre in some way. I used to watch the D&D cartoon series as a kid; it was great, though probably not so thrilling if I were to watch it again now. He was the King of Role-Playing games, and that is still a title that he holds to this day.

17 Do you see the influx in zombies in entertainment as good thing and do you think we are headed the right way for the genre? It's about time, too.  AMCs The Walking Dead has introduced a whole generation to zombies, which is good for authors like myself.  There's a lot of terrible stuff out there too, though, and you have to sift through all of that to find a decent novel or movie.  Personally, I think it's a great time to be in the genre.  As long as people find new ways to approach the undead, it will remain fresh.

18 Dead Island, Dead Rising, Left 4 Dead, Call of Duty Zombies or 'They just haven't made one quite right yet'?
Dead Rising. It was like being in Dawn Of The Dead, and the fact that you could pick up any object and use it as a weapon was amazing. I had hours of fun, and many sleepless nights, with that game.

19 Do you have a guilty pleasure you are willing to share? An interest completely unrelated to the genre? I bake cakes. My wife runs a small bakery, and when I'm not writing about post-apocalyptic hordes of flesh-eating undead, I'm knocking up batches of vanilla sponge.

20 What's next for Adam Millard? Dead Frost is launching at the Cardiff Comic and Animation Expo on the 25th February, which I am very excited about. I am already working on the fourth book in the series, but in the meantime I have a bunch of short stories that I need to write for various anthologies.  It's going to be a great year.

Dead Frost. Due for release on 25th February 2012

Find out more about his other work and latest news at Adam Millard's website.

*Opening paragraph text taken from