Thankfully we're not the only ones who feel this way. Elizabeth Powell is a primary school teacher whose first novel, King of the Zombies, is a fast paced adventure for children aged 9 and up, a tale of an ordinary boy and girl who must face unimaginable challenges in a world over-run by flesh-eating undead.
Why Zombies and why in particular as the subject of a children’s book?
I have always enjoyed writing stories since I was very young and I am always on the lookout for inspiration. One morning my son, who was then 6 years old, told me about a nightmare he had suffered the night before. In this nightmare there were zombies but they were no ordinary zombies – they were pretending to be human. I thought this was a great premise for a story and that is where it all began. I have always been fascinated by horror and I was a prolific author of werewolf fiction as a child! My over active imagination has meant I scare easily and I am always putting myself in nightmare scenarios and thinking about how I would react. Why children’s fictions? Well, as a Primary School teacher children are often my audience.
Do you mostly write in the morning, daytime or the witching hour?
I do most of my writing at night when my two children are in bed and I have more time. I also usually write in the school holidays which is why it has taken me four years to finish it.
Name one writer who has been a major influence on your work and why?
I don’t think there is one writer who has influenced me – well not knowingly anyway.
One book you think everyone should read.
Can I give you two books? ‘The Road’ by Cormac McCarthy and ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ by Khaled Hosseini. These two books have had a profound and lasting impact on me and they live with me. Some books are forgotten as soon as they are finished but I will never forget these two books.
Do you think genre fiction is finally getting the recognition it deserves?
No – but I hope it might soon.
Zombies – slow or fast and is there room for both?
There are both of these at different times in my book – they are both frightening in different ways. I think there is room for both.
Blunt instrument, firearm or blade?
If you could save just one luxury, what would it be?
My children – does that count as a luxury? Certainly I would choose them over anything else.
What do you think is most likely to cause an outbreak of the undead?
Is it too unimaginative to say a virus? In truth I think the cause is less important than the cure!
What is your number one piece of advice for surviving a zombie apocalypse?
Well in light of my book it would have to be disguise, infiltration and then … attack!
If you were a character in one of your books, what would be your opening line?
How much has music played a part in your work?
Music is important to me and it inspires different moods which can prompt writing at different times but I have never felt it has played a huge part in my work.
If you had to live in a clichéd alternate reality would you choose medieval fantasy or futuristic sci-fi?
Definitely medieval fantasy!
If you had a super power, what would it be?
Invisibility – hiding is underrated!
Star wars, Star Trek or Sci-Fi curious?
Star Wars every time!
Has Gary Gygax (creator of Dungeons & Dragons), and the phenomenon he spawned, influenced you in any way?
No I am afraid not. I always wanted to be involved in Dungeons and Dragons as a child at school but it was the domain of the geeky boys – girls weren’t allowed. It fascinated me from afar.
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 is definitely a good thing – zombies are the new vampire – I hope!
Dead Island, Dead Rising, Left 4 Dead, Call of Duty Zombies or ‘They just haven’t made one quite right yet’?
I don’t play video games really. Sorry.
Do you have a guilty pleasure you are willing to share? An interest completely unrelated to the genre?
Phil Collins – my husband would kill me for writing that but I had to say it. There goes any credibility I might have built up!
What’s next for Elizabeth Powell?
The next book – I have an exciting sequel planned. Years into the future after a complete and successful reintegration of the zombie human into normal society things start to go awry!
King of the Zombies is available for download now on Amazon.