by Bowie Ibarra
I'm really rather envious of people who can tell it like it is and say what they think, whether it's right or wrong. This next interview is with someone who does just that. He's the humorous blogger of 'Billy Knows Best', and the author of the online zombie horror web novel, 'Wasteland of the Dead'. Please welcome Billy Trouson.
Full Name: Professor William von DropTrouson III, Esq.
Code Name: Billy Trouson, AKA Billy AKA BT
Primary Specialty: Writing (or avoiding it) about zombies, blogging about randon shit, eating turkey jerky.
Secondary Specialty: Guessing the celebrity doing the voice work in commercials
Favorite Quote: “Statistics mean nothing to the individual” - Dr. Cox, Scrubs.
ZombieBloodFights.com - Billy, one of the things I enjoy about following you is you drawing a hard line about some crazy topics. For example: Golf not being a sport, Sexually Active but religious people, and Powers Booth being the greatest actor of our time. These, of course, were topics at your blog "Billy Knows Best". What compels you to voice your strong opinion about things in the world people might agree with, but don’t talk about, and will we be seeing more of the blog in 2012?
Billy Trouson - I hope so. Billy Knows Best (billytrouson.blogspot.com) started out as a forum for me to basically bitch about stuff. In the beginning it was called something like “Billy’s Bitching” or something like that. A lot of it is fluff. Is Golf a sport? Absolutely, but people argue it because it’s a different kind of sport from football or baseball, etc. Is Powers Booth the greatest actor of our time? Probably not, but I like him and he’s always good in what he does. I’d say he’s probably one of the better “character actors” out there. Sexually active women who refuse vaginal sex but have NO problem with anal because apparently THAT’S a loophole? Just hilarious. Likewise are the folks who are against abortion but somehow forget the part about premarital sex. Also the guys who refuse condoms for religious purposes but forget the part about banging someone you’re not married to and then turn around and don’t want the abortion because of religious reasons. Is anyone not seeing the double standards peppered around all of that?
Many of the things in the blog are true, but several are opinions or outlandish opinions that are just rants. I took a small hiatus from BKB but I recently posted a new bitchfest and I hope to continue updating on a quasi-regularly basis. You know the hard part about keeping a regular blog about bitching? You’re not always that angry and you can’t force the anger. It has to be natural. Like herpes.
ZBF - I always bug you about trying to sign on with Cracked.com. Is that still something you would consider?
BT - Here’s the thing with writing for Cracked.com, you don’t just apply for a writing position there- they have plenty of in-house writers. Most of the “Top 5, Top 10, etc” Articles are written by average folks (although the staff does write them as well) and in order to do that you have to sign up for their forum, register, propose the idea, wait for them to approve it, write the article, get it approved, let them add whatever clipart they want, etc, etc, and so forth. Thing is- I just randomly get ideas for Top # lists (you can find a few on my blog, BKB), I don’t think about them that much and honestly, I’m kind of lazy and don’t have any interest in signing up for the forum, registering, etc, etc, etc. A few of my fans have E-mailed them asking them to hire me on as a writer, that’s really, truly flattering to me and I think them profusely for it…… and I would do it in a heartbeat to be honest because I seriously love some of the shit on Cracked.com but to go through that process? Ehhhh, maybe when I get a really good idea and some motivation. Until now, they know where to find me if they want me (I doubt they do though- they don‘t know who I am, lol).
ZBF - You’ve also had a blog featuring your own original zombie horror work. Tell us about it.
BT - Wasteland of the Dead (www.deadwaste.com) is my full length Zombie novel in progress that is not only BETTER than Bowie Ibarra’s “Down the Road,” but also much longer.
Haha, I kid……. Or do I?
Seriously, About 5 years ago I went for a sleep study that ultimately diagnosed me with “sleep apnea.” If y’all aren’t familiar with it, just google it or wikipedia it if they’re not still blacked out because of SOPA (Seriously, who hates soup that much?)
I had always been into horror, zombies, etc. But I never really read it. So I figured “well, I need a new book” because, well, I read, and I needed a new book anyway, and also because part of the sleep study is observing you before you go to sleep and you have a ton of time before they turn off the lights and make you go to sleep with 50 wires stuck to your naked boy. I didn’t really know many horror authors at the time except for the big guns. The Kings, Koontz, etc. I never read Stephen King mostly because I didn’t think I’d like it and I think most of the movies made from his work are pretty badly done. Also, it’s not really “HORROR.” Not Jason and Freddy and Zombies tearing you up in life and dreams and wreaking havoc on your life and soul and bowels “HORROR. Can’t say bad things about the master, King, because he’s done so much for the genre and keeping it alive and relevant but it just never was my cup of tea. So I went to Barnes & Nobles and said “let me find something horror related” Cuz I wants to reads me some horror stuff.
Completely judging a book by its cover (another topic over at BKB and something that EVERYONE should absolutely do) I saw a book that had twisted, gnarly hands breaking through wood, grabbing at you. I grabbed it, read the back, knew it was zombies, and knew that was it for me. Now it can be told: Brian Keene single-handedly fucked up my sleep study with “The Rising” because I couldn’t put it down, I kept thinking about it, wanted to pick it up again. I was hooked in and saw how awesome and terrifying, and well-written Zombie fiction can be. I decided then and there that I wanted to write my own. I had always written a little bit, enjoyed writing, but rarely ever embarked on a full length project of any kind.
And so started the story “Dead Storm Rising.” I made it about 40 pages or so into the story when I hit a few brick walls and, most importantly, the bulk of where my story was going to take me (on an old Coast Guard ship up and down the Eastern coast of the United States) and my ending (an abandoned oil platform) basically mirrored exactly Brian Keene's "Dead Sea" which, incidentally is an uber awesome read. I hadn’t read it at the time I formed the story but I picked it up and was in the process of reading it while I was writing and it was amazing how similar our plots were even though I had never read or even heard of the book at the time! I knew I couldn’t keep writing this story as I had planned. Our characters, situations, etc were completely different but there were enough similarities there that I just couldn’t keep going. At the very least- comparisons would be drawn. At most- I’d get sued by Keene for completely ripping off his shit. Tom Clancy might also have sued me over the title alone. I scrapped “Dead Storm Rising” and started working on “Wasteland of the Dead.“ What little I had written of “Dead Storm Rising” up until the point I realized I needed to go in a different direction is posted on www.deadwaste.com if anyone is interested.
Wasteland was always in my mind as the sequel to Storm anyhow so you’ll see a few similarities in the names, ideas, thoughts, characters, etc. I just changed the story a little bit around and utilized the same characters for the story I was planning as the sequel. Instead of starting with the problem, the outbreak, the buildup, etc, I switched gears and started it several months in the future, after the outbreak, showing the aftermath and the world that we know. I realized that Zombie readers know the deal- things got real bad, real quick. I don’t need to show every aspect of how it happened, it’s not all that important. There’s a longish explanation in the first few pages about how it all went to hell and some of the characters talk about it a little bit. And now here we are, 8 months or so after the first outbreak- the world is hell, we used the nuclear option-it didn’t work. The whole world is headed for nuclear winter but there’s still some people out there trying to survive. There’s some zombies with nuclear crud on them that makes them extra special dangerous, there’s some slow zombies, some fast zombies, etc. A little something for everyone I think, and a whole lot of plot, characters, mystery, and intrigue. Who’s doing what? What happened? Who do you trust? These guys? Those guys? A lot of mystery involved.
I hope to have the entire story finished by summer of 2012, at which point I’ll start the editing process, checking continuity, etc. and also looking for publishers. Fingers crossed!
ZBF - With the advent of e-readers, is this project something you would consider putting up on a resource that could make it available to such e-readers as a Kindle or Nook, or does the blog work fine for your needs?
BT - As I said, I would like to have it published in book form. It really represents about 5 years worth of part-time work so I’d like something tangible to have in my hands that I can hold and show and sign and throw at people if I so choose. I hate Kindle and Nook and e-readers, to be honest. I’ve written as much on BKB. I like a BOOK that I can hold, smell, feel, touch. It has personality, cover art, pages. My father bitches all the time about how cars these days lack personality and distinction and that the cars made “back in the day” had all those things. I feel the same way about books. I like holding them, dog-earing pages, wearing the cover thin, etc. I don’t like E-readers but I accept that they’re probably the way of the future but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. I would like at least ONE copy of my book in my hands that I can hold. If it can get published as a “book” that’s great. If it’s one or the other or both- that’s good too. I just want to finish it and I want people to read it and hopefully enjoy it.
ZBF - Zombies are riding a big wave now. What started your interest in zombies?
BT - I’ll never ever find it but waaaayyyyy back in the day a few buddies and I started a web comic and part of the content of that web comic was us writing articles or blogs or whatnots with top 10 lists, ideas, opinions, commentary, etc. We were actually kinda cutting edge because blogs hadn’t taken off just yet and we were trying something new. A comic plus other stuff. I wrote this long, detailed, thought out article about how no one in the 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead actually dies because of a Zombie bite or attack (except for the little girl but her asshole father is probably to blame), but rather due to their inability to work together, make smart decisions, and coexist. I think that was part of the point. I liked how the zombies were there and they were the constant threat but in many zombie movies- they’re kinda background threats. They’re out there and they COULD get in somehow but most of the time they only do because of people and stupidity. You can get away from them, you can run past them, you can hold up somewhere and they’ll never get in----- if you want to. I also love the bad decisions that are made purely for the point and purpose of furthering the plot. In the original Dawn of the Dead the survivors could have just kept out of it, let the bikers in to loot, and then gone out and cleared the zombies out again like they did before. In the Dawn remake? No reason to leave the mall with a bunch of food, water, clothes, etc to get to a fucking BOAT somewhere and go live on a fucking ISLAND somewhere that DIDN’T have food, water, clothes, etc. Not to mention the fact that the mall had walls, gates, security cameras, etc and the fact that unlike the original Dawn of the Dead- no one as trying to force their way in. Seriously? Is a shopping mall completely secured with all of these things so terrible that we feel the need to leave and go to a random island in a lake? Bullshit.
I saw the 1990 NOTLD remake directed by Tom Savini when I was about 12 or so (I’m 28 now) and I was totally hooked on it. It fueled my interest and I always maintained something of an interest in zombies and horror after that.
Zombies ARE riding a big wave now with a few movies, books, and tv shows bringing them to the forefront. They’ll have their time and it’ll pass and go back to being a subcultural, subgenre deal but for now they’re riding high. Hopefully it keeps going a little bit and hopefully I can get my work in there before it fades away.
ZBF - Considering you enjoy writing, who are some authors you enjoy reading?
BT - I like horror, clearly. If I haven’t stroked Brian Keene enough, I like him. I like Kim Paffenroth, Jonathan Maberry (Joe Ledger series= awesome), Z.A Recht (he was taken from us too soon- a tremendous talent and a great loss to the horror/zombie community), Christopher Moore (hilarious), and Tim Dorsey (also hilarious), and this guy named Bowie whose name makes him sound like some androgynous British pop star from the 70’s but y’all should give him a chance. Seriously I’ll give a lot of books a chance if they’re in the genres I like and there are too many to name. I love to read.
ZBF - What are some books from those authors that you’ve enjoyed?
BT - Hard to choose. Brian Keene’s zombie saga “The Rising,“ and “City of the Dead” is awesome. Really loved it. Maberry’s “Patient Zero” is fantastic. It’s like Tom Clancy decided to write a zombie espionage story. Really good and a good series. Christopher Moore has written so many hilarious, off the wall kinda stories that are so “out there” you can’t help but chuckle but also be engaged. I am seriously sad when I finish a Christopher Moore title and he’s probably one of my favorite authors. Brian Keenes’ “The Conqueror Worms” is probably one of my favorite books of all time. It’s really theat good.
ZBF - What’s a zombie movie you’ve enjoyed?
BT - Just one? I like many of them. All of the original Night, Dawn, Days are good. The Dawn of the Dead Remake was very well done in my opinion. 28 Days Later, though not really about “Zombies” so much as a “virus” (which is kinda where the Zombie genre is going) was also very good. “The Crazies,“ which falls into the virus/kinda zombie genre was rather underrated in my opinion and a really decent film. Shaun of the Dead was hilarious and an instant classic in the genre. The upcoming World War Z movie (if and when we get it) should be good as well, I have faith in the people behind it.
ZBF - I gotta ask? Zombies, Blood, or Fights?
BT - Bloody Zombies Fighting. Have you watched Death Valley? Awesome.
ZBF - If America were to write Billy Trouson in during this election cycle, what radical changes would you initiate for our country?
BT - Do we have enough time for this?
I would instantly freeze government spending and go through it with a fine tooth comb and stop paying out millions of dollars to delinquent contracts. I would do away with lobbyists altogether and imprison any industry or lobby attempting to buy political favor with me or congress on the charge of attempting to bribe a public official. For FAR too long we‘ve been at the mercy of industry and their lobbying- it needs to end now. I would keep some tax cuts available to certain corporations or industries with the explicit caveat that they had to use those available dollars to hire new employees and/or recycle that money back into the company for use towards new products, ideas, etc. No using it for golden parachutes and bonuses for their officers.
No more bailouts. If you fail, you fail.
Crack down on unions. Unions have gotten far too powerful. Back in the day before fair work practices they were necessary. Companies and businesses took advantage of workers, paid them shit, and worked them to the bone. Unions popped up. They were necessary at the time. Now the tables have turned and unions are raping the living hell out of the companies they work for. I have no problem with someone making a living wage, making decent money, and being able to support a family on it. No problem with that at all. In fact, I’d call that the American Dream right there in a nutshell. But every time you drive down the road and see 9 guys doing repairs on the road- 1 guy doing repairs, 2 guys directing traffic, and 6 other guys just randomly sitting around- that’s unions at work for you. Guys getting paid five times what I make or you make to just do nothing. They’ve gotten too powerful and they’re killing industry. The average United Auto Worker employee makes more than a tenured college professor with a doctoral degree. That’s ridiculous. The average UAW employee collects a salary even if he’s not actively working in a plant. That’s ridiculous. Unions have become too powerful, too corrupt, too liable. They need to be stopped. Pay people fair wages for fair work and that’s where it should end. No one deserves a million dollars for pressing a button. Corporations do bad things sometimes- that’s true, but they shouldn’t be raked over the coals to overpay employees 10x what they’re worth. Not every job in the world is a career and not every job should entitle you to ridiculous benefits and pay just because you have the power of a union behind you and you want them. The worst thing we ever did in this country, from that standpoint, was allowing federal employees to unionize. Most of these idiots barely made it out of high school and/or a GED and they’re making double what I make for doing half the work I do. We’re becoming a welfare state, and a state of “I want I want I want because I want.” People who don’t deserve it or warrant it are getting overpaid like goddamn crazy and are suffocating industry and our tax dollars btw. People who haven’t worked in over a decade are still getting paid- is it any wonder the auto industry took a dive?
Keep defense and military spending strong but consolidate some of this spending and make it more coherent and purposeful. We need a strong military though, that’s key. We need to make it more streamlined.
Social programs need a lot of work. I personally know people who are fully capable of working that have been on welfare for a decade or more and don’t look for a job because they’re afraid of losing their welfare. That’s ridiculous. Welfare needs work. Unemployment benefits needs work. We should be giving people fishing rods and not fish. None of these programs were designed to sustain a large population for life. They’re meant to help people get back on their feet- not support them for life. Certain people need the lifelong benefits- others absolutely do not and they need to get off their ass, find a job, and get off the government’s handout. We cannot support everyone for life.
Consolidate government. We have too many “panels” and “offices” and “agencies” doing the same work. Consolidate, streamline, make it effective.
Overturn the healthcare reform. I think it’s dangerous, I think it’s dirty, and I think there’s a lot of things in there that people don’t know about and wouldn’t understand even if they did know about it. Our country has fantastic quality of care but costs are clearly too high and we need to bring those down. We need to bring down malpractice costs, we need to put an end to frivolous lawsuits, we need some judges to step up and say “NO, the doctor wasn’t wrong! You did everything he/she told you NOT to do. It’s not THEIR fault. It’s YOUR fault.” We need to open up insurance law and let people purchase their insurance out of state. Let competition bring the prices down, not government legislation that is going to be hastily enacted, horribly enforced, and mostly ignored. Look at the Veterans Administration- how great has that worked out? I know Vets that would rather got to an actual VETerinarian than a VA hospital. We need to cut the red tape and the lobbying and the backdoor deals OUT of the healthcare industry and out of government as well.
We need to stop BS when it comes to our energy industry. The problem with people who have problems with everything is that they have a problem with everything. “Coal is too dirty!” Well, what about nuclear power? “It’s too dangerous!” Even though it isn’t at all, another point I make in BKB. What about wind power? “We kill birds!” Well, what about hydroelectric dams? “IT DISRUPTS THE FISH!” Okay, you find me that source of power that runs off of pixie dust and unicorn dreams and I’ll sign on. In the meantime we’re losing ground. Let’s build more nuclear plants, more wind farms, and more hydroelectric dams to harness the RAW POWER OF NATURE that we KNOW can supply us with power and energy.
We have a LARGE supply of oil and oil shale. Can we please just drill for it and get it? At the moment the world’s energy and transportation runs off of oil. Maybe in the future it won’t be but you know what? Every other country drills where the oil is. We need to play on the same field and with the same rules as the rest of the world and not some crazy, idealized, “we are above this and so much better” ideal. We only suffer for it. And I know the argument about drilling in ANWR- oh the caribou! BULLSHIT. The same argument was made for the Alaskan pipeline and what happened? Absolutely nothing. In fact we found that many animals enjoyed making their nests next to the pipeline because of the heat generated from it. Life finds a way, people. Life absolutely finds a way.
Keep working toward alternative fuels, stop people bitching about EVERY other alternative fuel out there, and KEEP our COUNTRY CURRENT and COMPETITIVE!
There’s so much more, Bowie, but I think you get the point.
ZBF - Where are some good places for people to follow your zombie works and rants?
ZBF - Thanks, Billy.
BT - No no, Thank YOU.
Bowie Ibarra is the author of the 'Down the Road' zombie horror series from Permuted Press and Simon and Schuster. His lastest zombie story, 'The Fall of Austin', follows the story of policemen, military, and released criminals as the zpoc hits the city of Austin, Texas.
You can read an excerpt from the book and purchase it as a paperback or Kindle here.
Network with Bowie at his official website, ZombieBloodFights.com.