Your book, Vermont Voodoo, features both zombies AND voodoo. What was
the reasoning behind combining such distinct supernatural concepts and
I knew I wanted to write about zombies from the beginning, but with all
the TV and movie versions out there I knew I'd have to do something
unique. The idea of the zombie originates from stories about voodoo in
the New World, and early cinema used this trope often. Since George
Romero we really haven't seen much of the voodoo zombie, and it was a
lot if fun bringing that monster back to life (heh heh). The problem was
that most portrayals of voodoo are laced with racist stereotype, and it
was a challenge to work against the stereotypes while keeping a light,
Cool. Now let's talk about location. The story takes place in Vermont. Why Vermont? Is there any specific reason why you chose that specific location to tell your story?
I set the story in Vermont for two reasons. First, it was thematically
important to s set the story in a dying industrial city, and you see a
lot of that in New England. Second, I thought it would be a lot of fun
making my heroes flee from the undead in a snowstorm.
Indeed. That does sound pretty fun (and scary). Next question, and it also pertains to location. According to your website, you were born in Upstate New York and studied
at Syracuse for a film degree, but now you live in Texas. What's wrong?
Were you trying to escape the terrible snow storms here on the east
I'm so happy that I'm living in Texas these days, and yes, a big part of
that has to do with the weather. That being said, I've always enjoyed
moving around and seeing different parts of the country. I spent every
summer as a kid traveling up and down the East Coast, and living in
Texas had made it easy to explore the South, especially places like New
Orleans. I get a ton of inspiration by travel. This year I had an
opportunity to go hiking in Nepal, which, let me tell you, was a trip
and a half. Hopefully there will be lots more international travel in my
It's interesting that you got a film degree. Do you also dabble in film?
dabble. I worked at a production company in NYC straight out of college
where my job was to read and evaluate screenplay submissions. After
doing that I got into writing screenplays, and then writing novels. I
still do some video editing on the side, and my screenplays are being
submitted to festivals, so who knows? Maybe you'll see some of my work
on the big screen. My dream job would be to write and produce
independent movies, but whatever happens I hope to stay balanced between
my film life and my literary life.
Nice. Now, back to your book. Where did you get the inspiration for it?
Vermont Voodoo is the first book I've ever written, and going into it I
knew my biggest challenge would be finding the material and the stamina
to write something that long. That's why I choose zombies; there's lots
of material to explore and I could keep myself entertained with my
monsters the whole way through. The fictional city of Frostbite is very
similar to Syracuse, where I grew up. But my biggest inspiration may
have come from my friend Daniel Cailler and his novel, Waking. Also set
in a gritty industrial city, Waking is about a group of vampires and a
hunter on a quest for revenge; I had the pleasure of writing a screen
adaptation of Dan's book, and Vermont Voodoo has plenty of winks and
nudges aimed at Dan. We work pretty well together, and if you like my
book you should check his out, too.
Groovy. Now, can you tell us about National Novel Writing Month and how you're connected to it?
National Novel Writing Month, which is more commonly referred to as
NaNoWriMo, is organized by the nonprofit Office of Letters and Light.
Basically it's a challenge issued every November to write 50,000 words
in one month or less, which is a short novel. You log your word count
into their web site each day and if you reach the 50k goal by the end of
the month you win... Bragging rights! And a novel. Which you wrote.
It's wildly popular for writers and writing enthusiasts and a great
educational tool, as well as a support system for getting that first
draft on the page, as I did with Vermont Voodoo. I love NaNo.
Sounds legit. Okay, two part question. If you could have any super power, what would it be, and with said power, would you be a hero or a villain?
My superpower would be to invent doughnuts without any calories. Wait,
that's not a superpower. Okay, my superpower would be hyper
intelligence, and I would use that power to invent doughnuts and
possibly funnel cake without any calories. That also cures diabetes. The
hero part should go without saying.
Best. Power. Ever! Okay, is there anything else you would like to talk about or plug? Another project?
Of course you can buy my book, Vermont Voodoo, on Amazon in paperback or
kindle format. But you should also follow me on Twitter @knid44 for
updates, giveaways, promos, and general musings. I am working on a new
sci-fi novel titled The Geneticist's Son, which should be out next year.
Excellent! Okay, thanks for the interview.
My pleasure. Thank you.