SUBVERTING A GENRE CAN BE A BLAST
When I set out to write “Paradise Rot,” I had a few things in mind. First, I wanted to play around with the zombie genre ala “Shaun of the Dead,” and I wanted to create an island escape – much like you’d find in a Jimmy Buffett song. But that wasn’t enough. No, I wanted to take a character and put him through hell. I wanted this character, our hapless protagonist, to feel the burn of hitting rock bottom. Why?
Because it’s only from that position in life that you’d be game for anything.
So that’s when I started thinking about the movie, “The Firm.” If you haven’t seen it, it’s basically about a lawyer who gets his first gig and as it turns out, it’s working for the mob and the only way out is by death. I thought to myself, what if the lawyers were zombies and you provided a service for them only to discover to your dismay that the better you do your job, the worse the moral implication (like working for the mob).
So what would create a moral dilemma working for say, zombies? High functioning zombies who ran a resort in the Caribbean? That’s when I got the idea that if you had zombies on an island there were only a finite number of brains to eat. What to do? How about hire a marketing team to sell cheap vacations to lure people to the island to become dinner?
Ooh. I liked that premise.
Zombies in paradise. Then I started thinking about the practical considerations of zombies in a tropical climate. There was the rot factor to consider. What if these zombies had to, as those involved in the plastic surgery arts would say, have “work” done to them to keep up appearances? Dental implants, cosmetics, foam injections and polymers to reconstruct body parts. Fake tans. Wigs. All that good stuff morticians use.
What if you were a guy who hit rock bottom, with a background in advertising, were to suddenly get a job offer that was too good to be true? You’re in the bottomless pit of despair – best not to ask too many questions. So what if our protagonist, who by this point has had a nervous breakdown and resided in a psych ward, were to catch wind of a cool resort in the Caribbean looking for marketing pros.
If you heard that, you’d assume it was drugs or guns but who cares? It’s the Caribbean. Why not search for that lost shaker of salt? Why not get paid to live a Jimmy Buffett song in exchange for marketing help? But what if once you get there and put together a kick-ass advertising campaign that brings in a shit ton of tourists, you realize you’re ringing the dinner bell for zombies?
That’s about when your moral compass kicks in and you’ve got to figure out a way to stop this madness. You’ll need help.
Here’s the blurb for Paradise Rot:
Kyle Brightman—late of the advertising industry and soon-to-be-late of the 5th floor psych ward—has a job offer he can’t refuse. A new resort in the Caribbean is looking for an art director. Kyle soon finds himself on the Isle of St. Agrippina working alongside a beautiful copywriter with an icy handshake. Questions arise: Why does the resort management team sport spray-on tans in the Bahamas? How can the resort offer such cheap vacation packages? What does one do with vats of Astroglide? To get the answers, Kyle must first navigate a series of wildly unpredictable events with a cast of even more wildly unpredictable characters, including a seductress jungle assassin, her partially paralyzed talking Chihuahua, an Ivy League Rastafarian seaplane captain, Kyle’s ex-psych ward roommate, a former Haliburton mercenary, and a French tavern owner with a fondness for goats, all set to the greatest hits of the 70’s. Pablo Cruise never felt so right.
If you’re thinking I had too much fun writing this novel. You’d be right. In fact, it was such fun that I took the same cast of characters and put them up against vampires (Once Again, With Blood – out now) with the same feeding idea and eventually aliens who don’t want to eat humans – just mate with them to get more alien offspring (Hindu Sex Aliens – coming out in Ocotber).
Subverting a genre can be a blast.
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The stench of frozen flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Winter of Zombie Blog Tour 2015, with 40+ of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of November.
Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser…and pick up some great swag as well!
Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them!
#WinterofZombie is the hashtag for Twitter, too!