BricksoftheDead.com: Chris could you give us a bit of background on yourself please.
Chris Wade: I am an English writer, and I always had a love for creating stories and drawing from a young age. I started Wisdom Twins Books back in 2009 to start an outlet for creative ideas. It started with a book I wrote on Hugh Cornwell (who used to be in The Stranglers, the old punk band) which was sold on his tour of the UK that winter. I also started up Hound Dawg Magazine around the same time which I really love and still do, which features articles on the arts with interviews and all kinds of things. I also started writing fiction and have done some few surreal comedy books. One is called Cutey and the Sofaguard and is read by comedy actor Rik Mayall. I basically love getting stuck into a wide range of projects, love creating things and becoming engrossed in it all.
You’ve just released a new book called Promiscuville: Rise of the Dead. Personally my favorite aspect of apocalypse books is the human element. In Promiscuville we have a society that has devolved to the point where they don’t even realize the uprising has started until it’s too late. What led you go with this angle?
This was a really new thing for me to do, seeing as my previous stuff was more surreal and comedic, but I’ve loved zombies since a young age. I always thought they were so interesting and strange, much more to explore than other horror themes I think. But I just thought that a lot of zombie stories don’t really explain what happened, where and why it all began, or they have little satirical subtext to them, save Romero’s films and probably some others too. I wanted to explore the idea that so much evil and badness can actually create a bad force, almost like hell rising from beneath us. It sounds biblical, but in the book it has a more supernatural element to it. I have also really tried to create strong flawed characters you still route for, even though they are bad. I found the people just as interesting as the creatures, in fact more so. I loved considering what they might to just in order to escape.
When did you start writing this and what went into the creative development?
It started around Summer last year and I recently picked it up again a couple of months ago and shaped it into what it is now. I did a lot of work on it solidly for about a month which was literally twelve hours a day, sometimes more, just really honing the dialogue and characterisation. I was knackered but once I start something I find it really hard to shake it off. I also tried to create an atmosphere around the creatures, pondering what makes them tick and what they might be thinking. It was the most enjoyable one yet for me to write if I am honest.
When a reader is done what would you have liked for them to take away from the story?
I am not sure, but aside from really enjoying it, I hope they would think it was thought provoking about society’s flaws. I also would like them to laugh at the bits I meant to be funny and really feel strongly about the characters. I wanted to make an interesting slant on the genre, reflecting the crap side of Britain, now that the conservatives have buggered it up royally again.
Most fans of this genre are fans of Romero but you’ve gone to the point where you wrote an entire book on his works called Speak of the Dead. But on the other side of fandom, do you think fan appreciation has gone to the point where it has damaged evolution and expansion of the Zombie genre in modern times? For instance, sometimes a film will be dismissed or rated poorly simply because a reviewer or fan might say “oh those aren’t like Romero’s zombies so this isn’t a true zombie story.”
Yeah I think you are right. It can get snobby and even I am like that myself. I often say the Dawn of the Dead remake was good, but the zombies ran!! Like it isn’t right. You can get precious about things you really like, but you’ve got to be open minded too, even if you are a Romero purist. I still think he is the man though, no matter who might tackle the genre. Can you really better his take on it? Not in my opinion.
We have a few things in common it seems. Aside from a love of The Velvet Underground and Monster Squad we both saw a Romero film at a very early age , I was 7 and you were 11. How do you think that shaped your interest over your lifetime?
Haha Monster Squad! Classic! I did a full issue of Hound Dawg Magazine on The Velvets, got to interview Moe Tucker which was great. Anyway back to the zombies! I think Romero’s Day of the Dead is the best zombie film ever made, and I think it affected me as much as that if I ever see a zombie film I always compare it to that. In a way it might have made me more of a Romero purist, but it definitely made zombie movies my favourite type of horror films. It might have affected my odd sense of humour too, because I find Joe Pilato hilarious in that film, especially when he calls them “pussf**ks!”
Philosophical question. Are Zombies Evil?
I sort of concluded in my book on Romero’s films that they are not. By Survival, they are like flies being swatted out of the way. they are like animals, sad animals in a way and you kind of get to feel sorry for them. They are driven by an instinct like we are, it’s just a darker and more direct one that’s all. In a way, we are more evil than them.
This is definitely only the first volume of the story of Promiscuville. I’m well into the idea of exploring the meltdown of that seedy little town I created, only from different angles and other character’s perspectives. So look out for more zombie mayhem!