Zombies on the Rock: An interview with Paul Carberry
Today we are joined by Author Paul Carberry, probably best known for the Zombies On the Rock (ZOTR) series.
Good morning Paul. Thanks for coming in to discuss your work with us. So getting right into this, for those who don’t know, tell us a bit about yourself.
I grew up in Corner Brook, Newfoundland but am currently living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I’m married to my wonderful wife Leah, and we have two amazing children, Dana and Rick. I am a Logistics Officer in the Royal Canadian Navy. I’m also a huge zombie and horror fan.
Who is your favorite horror writer?
My favorite horror writer is probably Steven King because he is such a huge voice in the genre and has so many amazing stories. I would also add Steve Alten (the Meg series) and Dan Simmons (The Terror).
I had no idea The Meg was a series. Looks like I have some more reading to do.
Horror writers are notoriously brave people, sort of. There are stories of Steven King writing as much as he could before getting so scared he had to run down the hall and dive in bed with his wife. Any stories like that in your life? What scares you most?
I used to work in a pharmacy when I wrote my first novel. So one night, right before close a woman came into the pharmacy and i was actually afraid she may become a zombie. Her skin was pale, covered in sweat and a giant rash. Her eyes were bloodshot, lips cracked, and she had a bite mark on her arm. I was afraid to serve her but it turned out the bite mark wasn’t related to the other symptoms but it still freaked me out for days.
She just wanted your BRAINS! And as a polite Canadian, I assume you obliged. *Laughs all around.
You’re in the Canadian Military? When do you find time to write?
Finding time to write is extremely difficult due to my busy schedule. Since April I’ve only been home for about 4 weeks, but I manage to find time early in the morning before the kids get up or in the evening’s when they go to bed, if I don’t fall asleep first.
That sounds really tough. I was also in the military and couldn’t imagine trying to write and balance that. Good on you for being a great dad and patriot.
Tell us a bit about the ZOTR series.
So the ZOTR series takes place in Newfoundland, but the zombie apocalypse is a worldwide event. It’s set in the very near future where the government has gone bankrupt and big businesses have been able to pay government officials in exchange for privacy. A pharmaceutical company, Pharmakon, has created the zombie virus and disguised the virus as free flu shots. The story begins as a murder mystery and quickly evolves into a story about a zombie apocalypse and how a group of people survive in Newfoundland.
It’s great to see a series like this based somewhere other than the U.S. How did you settle on Newfoundland?
I settled on Newfoundland for two reasons. It’s a unique setting that has never really been explored in the zombie apocalypse and the terrain and weather offer their own unique set of challenges. It’s also extremely isolated from the rest of the world, even in today’s society. The population isnt very high and the people living there are used to living at their cabins. Most people keep their shelves stocked with canned foods anyways, so it would be a great place to survive in a zombie apocalypse.
Now there are a lot of zombie books out there. Why did you choose to write zombies? What sets your series apart from others?
I based my zombies off George A. Romero’s Night of the living dead, the same “rules” apply to my zombies. I often leave Easter eggs in all of my books related to his movies actually because his series is such an influence over all zombies. What sets mine apart is the uniqueness of Newfoundland and my personal writing style. I like to think I’m good at changing pace between horror and action without losing pace.
I like your decision to follow Romero’s zombie rules. I detest zombies that run fast. Though the thought of being run down by either one is horrific. Supposing the zombie apocalypse came, where would you hide? The mountains, an island?
I would move back to Newfoundland because it is an island, covered with Mountains and there are cabins deep in the woods where you could isolate yourself from everyone else.
I remember the scene in Romero’s Land of the Dead where the zombies walk under water. You best hope they don’t do that in your apocalypse! *I can see the concern in your face, Paul…
I love that you pay homage to Romero by referencing parts of his work. Do you have a favorite Romero movie/scene?
My favorite Romero moment would be the opening scene from Night of the Living Dead in the cemetery. I love the line “they’re coming to get you Barbara.”
That whole scene was crazy. I love when Barbara stabs the zombie with the flower holder and he runs around with it on like a giant boutonniere.
Now as of the publication of this story there are two ZOTR books and you have a third coming out soon? When is that and what can readers expect to see in this book?
So far the ZOTR series has two books, Outbreak and The Viking Trail. The Republic of Newfoundland releases on September 6th and readers can expect a lot more gory, zombie-goodness but also a much more character driven story then before. The characters in this story have to make some important decisions and learn how to live with the consequences. The entire story builds up to a really intense encounter that leads into book 4
Four books in a series is a milestone not a lot of authors hit. Is there a planned end for your series? I’m not asking you to share the winner but do you know which side wins between zombies and humans?
Book 4 is currently in the early stages and I haven’t come up with a title yet. It is not the end of the series, more of a conclusion to Eric Jones’ story. The humans would be the winners for a brief period but it’s a continuous battle. I wrote a short story, The Island of the Dammed, which is actually the beginning of book 5 which will take place in the future. The world is a very different place when we get back, with some returning characters and new characters as the center of the story.
That sounds intense. It’s one of my favorite things when authors continue in the same world but with new characters. It still familiar enough to feel like home. I can’t wait to read it.
What is your favorite zombie novel/series?
My favorite zombie series would a series of books written by Joe McKinney. They are all written in the same universe but the characters change. His first novel, Dead City, is amongst my favorite books ever written.
I hear that you are working on a graphic novel. Is it related to this series? What details can you give us? Who is the artist? Being that the mediums are vastly different, are you writing it yourself or is someone doing the translation for you?
I am currently working on a graphic novel that will be more of a mix between Breaking Bad and military sci-fi. It’s going to work as a tribute to my first unit, The Royal Newfoundland Regiment, and the people I worked with there in the army. I am a story driven person, so I am still perfecting the story before I start looking for an artist. The concept of script writing is very foreign to me, but I am getting a lot of help from the immensely talented Peter Breau.
Last but not least. One final question that I hear nearly every time I’m in a group of writers. Mac or Windows; Word or Scrivener?
I am a Mac user and I wouldn’t work with anything else but Scrivener. That program is amazing and such a great help.
Fantastic Paul! I just want to say thank you for taking time out of your busy life to sit down with me. The ZOTR series is fantastic and I know it will do well for you. I look forward to seeing book three out on September 6th and I wish you all the best. Until next time!
For more on author Paul Carberry please visit Paul Carberry
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