Monday, July 2, 2012

Justin Robinson comes for a visit

Hi Justin and thanks for visiting with me @ Penny’s Tales.  Let's get this show on the road!
1.                  Tell us all about Justin.
Justin is a mammal and approximately man-sized.  He can be placated with gifts of chocolate or pictures of sasquatch.

2.                  Give us the low-down on your story.
Low-down is a really good way to put it.  Undead on Arrival is noir, so pretty much every character is ruled by their basest instincts.  It’s also a zombie book, so an already tiny moral code is further reduced by the demands of living in a post-apocalyptic hellscape.  And then there’s the hordes of cannibal corpses who want to chow down on all of the main characters.

The entire book takes place over the course of a single day.  Glen Novak, our hero, gets bitten by a severed zombie head in the beginning, and has twenty-four hours to figure out who engineered his death to return the favor.  After that, he’s worse than dead.  He becomes one of those aforementioned cannibal corpses.

Novak is sort of a Mike Hammer style anti-hero.  Not necessarily a bad guy by the standards of his community, but pretty far from a good guy.  As he goes after his killer, he finds little shreds of humanity he thought he lost, but it’s too late to do much about it.

3.                  How did you come up with the idea for your story?
It’s a riff on the noir classic D.O.A.  The concept of solving your own murder is fascinating to me, especially because, at the end of the day, you’re dead.  The only motivation is entirely principled.  There is no practical benefit to finding out.  And when someone is living their final day, they tend to be a little more extreme and honest in their actions and words, which makes for good drama.

Zombies are like bacon: you can pretty much add them to anything.  Like every member of my generation, I have elaborate zombie-based contingency plans.  I thought it might be fun to create an anti-zombie town and see how that shook out.  It also added another layer to the desperation.  The fate you’re fighting is quite literally worse than death, and by not ending it all immediately, you’re endangering others.  If you die, you rise again and can hurt people you care about.

I wanted to meld the genre conventions of noir with those of survival horror and see what happened.  The answer is violence.  Lots and lots of violence.

4.                  How long have you been writing?
In one form or another, all my life.  I got serious about it around ten years ago when I decided I should probably do something I enjoyed.

5.                  Tell the world the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you?  Now if you hate that question, tell us something that scared the wits out of you!
Like many horror writers I’m just a collection of phobias and neuroses, so almost every moment of every day is simultaneously the most embarrassing and frightening thing that’s ever happened to me.  It’s exhausting.

6.                  What was your favorite, all time, movie?
John Carpenter’s The Thing.  I saw it when I was far too young and obsessively drew the head with the insect legs over and over again.  That’s how you raise a horror writer, I guess.

7.                  Do you have a special go-to person you send your stories to, just to see what they think?
I have a whole group of them.  Some are really good on character consistency, others are all about realism, some can spot a plot hole from a mile off.  They’re kind of like a really nerdy A-Team.

8.                  Can you give us a hint of what your next story is about?
I’m working on something that’s a little like The Big Lebowski if David Huddleston was a giant, tentacled eyeball.

9.                  With all the promoting that is just as important as writing the story, do you have a schedule you try     to stick with when trying to get a story finished?
I have no idea what I’m doing.  I’m grateful to folks like you, Penny, who help me out of the goodness of your heart.  I’m kind of puzzling through all of this.  As near as I can tell, being a writer is basically about shouting “Judge me!” at anyone who will listen. 

10.              Have you ever thought of just hanging it up because of rejections or a too demanding schedule?
Yes.  Definitely yes.  I kept telling myself that I could get a million “no”s but only needed one “yes.”  Still, on that nine hundred thousandth no, you start to wonder if you’re tilting at windmills.  The only difference between confidence and insanity is success, I suppose.

11.              What is your favorite thing to do when not writing?
I’m a big movie guy, especially horror.  The wife and I have been going to lots of concerts lately.  She took me to Vegas for my birthday to see Tiger Army and The Blasters.  I’m also a big fan of the zoo, because no matter how bad your day is, otters will make it better.  That’s just science.

12.              And, of course, the most important question, where can we find you and your books?
You can follow me on twitter @JustinSRobinson.  I blog every Friday here:
Undead on Arrival is available from Solstice Publishing and Amazon, and you can find the first two parts of my science fiction novel Subspace in the pages of Phase 5 Review.

Thanks so much for stopping by Justin - very entertaining!  I am wishing you tons of luck with this book and it sounds like you will have much success!