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Monday, April 18, 2011

ZOMBIES/BLOOD - Wayne Simmons slings his brand of zombie horror from the Emerald Isle

"An it harm none, do what ye wilt"

Wayne Simmons

Vital Stats
Full Name: Wayne Simmons (I was never given a middle-name. Maybe I should make one up - how does 'Zaltor' sound?)
Code Name/Alter Ego: Zaltor... Zaltor of the Zaltans!
Primary Specialty: Ruler of Zaltania!
Secondary Specialty: Well, I guess I should mention those books I write...

Q – Wayne, as a writer far and away from my good old Texas countryside, where exactly are you located across the pond?
 I'm just outside Belfast in Northern Ireland. It's the place you might have seen in the news over the years, where folks can't get on so well and so bomb and shoot each other. Apart from that, it's a great place to live!
Q – They tell me Smithwick’s is a true Irish beer. Is that true? What are some other beers you would recommend I seek out?
"Even zombies need to bust open a cold one every now and then."

Smithwicks? Is that a stout? Not sure. I'm a very bad Irishman when it comes to drinking. I don't like Guiness. I do like Smithwicks, mind. Harp is a rather tasty Belfast brew - esepcially the new 'Ice Cold' Harp. To be honest, my favourite beer is Becks, which I think is either Dutch or German? 

"Beck's.  It's good."

Q – You are very active with Tell us about your work there?
 DCS is a community of writers, all working within horror or urban fantasy. We have Thomas Emson, Sean Cummings and myself (all Snowbooks authors), Christina Henry and Nancy Holzner (Ace/ Roc), Erin Kellison (Kensington Books) and Gary MacMahon (Abaddon Books/ Solaris/ Angry robot). We're all very different writers, appealing to a rather diverse audience. We blog together on common themes. Last week, we all donated for and blogged about the GENRE FOR JAPAN eathquake appeal.

Q - Along with writing, you also have a great interest in tattoos. Tell us about that.

"Gorgons Rock!"
Tattoos are a passion. An addiction, even. The whole process appeals to me: from choosing the artist; working together on the design, right through to actually getting the tattoo. I like how colourful my tattoos are. I like how they represent things I have enjoyed throughout my life, things that represent me - like horror. I seem to collect Medusa tattoos in particular, so far having three of them. My ghoulfiend and I travel to tattoo conventions (where I often do book signings), regularly attending Liverpool's convention but also having vistied the Cardiff and Amsterdam cons. I've loads more plans for tattoo - finding the time and money's a thing!    


Q – Are bookstores seeing the same kind of decline in the UK that we are seeing here in America?
 Unfortunately yes. Our largest chain, Waterstone's, are experiencing difficulties. They've closed stores and are currently up for sale. Independent stores are struggling, too, unable to compete with the likes of Amazon and supermarkets that can undercut them significantly. Oh, and then there we have e-books....
 I think the challenge to book stores is to adapt, to change with the market and find something unique to offer the customer in order to survive. E-books aren't going to go away, but neither is the demand for print. There's room for all types of book selling on the market - as long as each service offered brings something
unique to the table.

"Find it now.  Then, read it."
Q – Your book “Drop Dead Gorgeous” was drop dead glorious! The pacing was fantastic, and the climb to the finish, steady. The payoff was amazing. Tell us about the story, especially what inspired it and if there is a sequel on the way.
   Thanks, Bowie! glad you enjoyed it man!
 It's an odd tale, revolving around a ragtag group of people left scratching their heads after 99% of those around them drop dead. Like my zombie horror novel, FLU, DDG is set in my home city of Belfast, Northern Ireland. Yet, it's not a trad zombie story at all. Most of the focus remains on the people, on how they deal with the shock and grief of their situation, how they get on with each other (or not!). 
 The supernatural threat builds throughout the book, only reaching fruition in the last third of the novel. In many ways, therefore, it's easy to spot the influence of Asian horror cinema in DDG.
 It's still pulpy, but isn't just as fast-paced as FLU. In fact, I would almost describe DDG as a cross between a ghost story and a zombie story.
 I'm very proud of it. The sequel, DOLL PARTS, is due out from Snowbooks in 2012.

Q – Tell us a little bit about “Flu”.

"This is a flu you actually want to get."

FLU is a fast-paced, pulp horror tale about a mutated flu virus that turns the infected into zombies. It's a traditional, post-Romero tale with z-action from the prologue right through to the epilogue. There's still a lot of character development: readers are encouraged to invest in the survivors' plights, to love or hate them, and grieve the death of those they were cheering on. The sequel to FLU, to be called FEVER, should be out through Snowbooks on Halloween. It picks up from where FLU left off, introducing more characters as well as continuing the story of those left alive from the first book. I'm very pleased with it.
Q – I really enjoyed the Euro vibe from your work. Do you think placing the Z-Poc in regional segments of the world is a good idea?
I think the setting of FLU and DDG offers something fresh. Lots of z-novels follow Romero's formula very closely, even in their setting, and while that's cool, I think there's room for alternative locations for z-stories. We've seen some fantastic z-flicks from France (MUTANTS, THE HORDE) and Spain (REC). This is particularly exciting for me, as the Spanish language version of FLU sees release through Dolmen Editorial in October.

Q - When you’re writing, what do you do to keep your focus? How do you keep moving forward?
 I put my headphones on and disappear into my own world, regardless of where I am or what's happening around me. I have learned to write on trains and buses, in airports, on the beach or sitting next to my ghoulfiend at home. I try not to isolate myself when writing. Activity inspires me.      
"I'm with the CDC.  No, really.  I am."

Q – So, Zombies, Fights, or Blood?
 All three in equal measure, I say! :)

Q – If you could date a celebrity, who would it be?
 Probably Vampirella. Or Elvira. Or both of them.   

"Elvira, Mistress of the Dark"

The answer is yum!

Q – Which of your titles would you like to see turned into a movie?
 God, all of them! Hah! I would often find myself daydreaming, thinking of soundtracks, or actors and actresses who might play the characters within DDG or FLU. I tend to write in a fairly visual way, so hopefully it might happen some day. Who knows?

Q – What would you like to tell all your fellow writers?
 Keep writing. I love a lot of the work my peers do: David Moody, Brian Keene, Andre Duza, Joe McKinney, your good self, Bowie - I write z-horror because I'm a fan of z-horror. So, please guys, keep writing!

Q – What are things you look forward to in a good book?
Day Keene said that plot and characterisation is what folks pay their dime for and I absolutely 100% agree. I want a story where I can invest in the characters and get immersed in the plot. I don't read books for the fancy word-play. In fact, the less of that the better: so murder your darlings, writers!!

Q – Where can people check out all that you have to offer online?
 Probably the best place is via my website: You'll also find me on facebook, twitter and over at DARK CENTRAL STATION ( Please drop by and say hallo! I answer every e-mail and message I am sent.

Q – Any shout outs to your fans?

"That dog can read."



Need superheros vs. zombies?  Peter Clines delivers.

Bowie Ibarra is the author of the zombie horror series "Down the Road".  You can find out about him and his books at

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  1. oh yeah I get to be the FIRST to leave a comment! Go me!

    Very nice interview, enjoyed it loads. I agree that it's really sad how all the bookstores are dying. I went to Borders to get a few new reads, but then I see they want 7.99 for a paperback. Why would I pay that when I can walk right across the street to Target and get the same book for 5.99! It's time they change with the world or they will turn into another Blockbuster.

    Just my little rant. :)

    Vampy lady out.

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