The Next Big Thing: Zombie-saurus Rex
I’ve been very bad. I was tagged by the very talented David M. Brown, author of the Elenchera Chronicles series, to make make the a post for The Next Big Thing, where authors answer questions about their next book underway. I was supposed to post on Wednesday. Things got hectic, and here it is Friday. Better late than never.
What is the working title of your book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I wanted to do a zombie story and a Young Adult story, but not the typical zombie or YA. I didn’t want a mindless monster for my main character. I wanted a sympathetic character who would be the natural victim of prejudice yet someone readers could side with and root for. And unlike much of YA, I didn’t want this to be a boy-girl romance (though their is an element of that), or a super powers thrill ride. I want there to be a message social of consequence.
What genre does your book fall under?
Zombie-saurus Rex is Young Adult-Horror-Comedy cross genre stew. Primarily it is Young Adult. The horror is a natural product of the protagonist being a zombie. As Zombie-saurus Rex highlights bigotry, bullying and the high school caste system, all elements of tragedy, humor was needed to keep it from being a totally dark and depressing read.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
You know, I’ve been asking myself the same question. The issue is that Zombie-saurus Rex is YA with primarily teenaged characters. That means for most roles, it may be the actor’s first movie role. The four major roles are Rex, the teenage zombie, Cecilia, his single mother, Ariella, Rex’s love interest, and Howie Kojima, Rex’s nerdy friend.
For Rex, I would want a young Josh Hartnett type. Rex is a big tall kid, stable and not prone to outbursts of emotion. He’s just trying to fit in.
Ariella is goth, rebellious, fiery, emotional and quirky. She doesn’t want to fit in, hates the small town she grew up in, and doesn’t want to be ordinary. For her, I imagine someone like a young Christina Ricci, Emma Stone, or Winona Ryder.
Howie Kojima is small and frail, and constantly picked on. Once Rex arrives, he is a human remora and latches onto the new shark in school for protection (Rex looks imposing, but he’s really a pussycat unless he gets hungry),. Howie is funny, quick witted, observant, resourceful, and loyal, and likes the idea of having a giant zombie as a friend and protector. He knows the lay of the land and every wrinkle in the social fabric of Cherry Hill High. He has the appearance of Milhouse Van Houten, and the personality of Bart Simpson. I have no idea who to cast for him – ideally someone like a teenage David Faustino or Seth Green, only Asian.
Cecilia Morton is a bit easier since she is in her late thirties. But unfortunately the actresses that come to mind now will likely be too old if and when Zombie-saurus Rex is filmed. Cecilia is a nurse and extremely protective of her son. She is a tiger mom. She is a woman of action that won’t take no for an answer. I would want someone like Jane Kaczmarek or Patricia Heaton.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A zombie boy tries to fit in at a small prairie town high school.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I am taking a rather convoluted and unconventional route with Zombie-saurus Rex. I am writing it initially as a screenplay. I know a few people and can at least get it read in Hollywood. When finished, I will use the screenplay as an outline to complete the novel. Once the novel is finished, I will query a handful of select agents. And if nothing happens there, I will self publish.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I’ll tell you once I’m done. I’m about two months in, and close to done on the first draft. I should be further along, but am experiencing a period of lethargy and laziness after completing my last novel, Robyn’s Egg. Once the screenplay is done, I expect to take another six to nine months to finish the novel version. If forced to look into the crystal ball, I would say Zobie-saurus Rex the novel will be done late next year.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
The closest matches are movies: Zombieland, Shaun of the Dead, and Idle Hands. The difference is that the protagonist in Zombie-saurus Rex is a zombie. In the aforementioned examples, the protagonists were human and zombies were an evil menace to be overcome. In Zombie-saurus Rex, it’s just the opposite.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
My youngest daughter is in high school at the moment. She is very bright and funny, but doesn’t quite fit in. High school can be a cruel and brutal place if you are a bit too bright, if you don’t wear the right clothes, or display any trait that doesn’t conform to a very rigid norm. Seeing her bear the brunt of bullying while managing maintaining her sense of humor is very inspiring. Yet there are days I can see in her face she is close to breaking and it is soul crushing. I would do anything to make it stop.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I made the decision with my novels that I don’t just want to write entertaining diversions. I would like to highlight social problems and raise awareness while still delivering an entertaining story. I don’t know if I will change the world, but I would like to try in any small way I can.
Tag, You’re It (Next Week’s “Next Big Thing” authors)
***Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (Work In Progress) ***
Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them, and link back to this page. It’s that simple.
Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing
- What is the working title of your book?
- Where did the idea come from for the book?
- What genre does your book fall under?
- Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
- What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
- Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
- How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
- What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
- Who or What inspired you to write this book?
- What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?