• Bookbabblers | 26 September 2012 |

    To celebrate the publication of Zom-B, we have an interview with author Darren Shan…


    Please tell us a little about yourself.
    I was born in London but have spent most of my life in Ireland. I wanted to be a writer since I was 5 or 6 years old. And though I read widely, horror was always my first love, so even though I weave in all different types of genres into my books, there’s always a dark undercurrent to my stories.


    Please tell us about Zom-B.
    On the one hand it’s about the brain-munching undead, but on the other it’s a barbed look at racism and the abuse of power. It poses the question — how would having a racist father impact on you? It explores what happens when you don’t make a stand, when you allow injustices to pass without challenge. It’s a call to arms, and a warning that the biggest monsters we have to deal with in life are far scaier and far more of a problem than the walking dead.


    A few of the characters in Zom-B have some pretty strong views. Did you find it difficult or uncomfortable to get into their mindset to write their scenes?
    Not really. I actually enjoy inhabiting the minds of my more foul creations. I think it’s important that we understand the way racists think, otherwise we can’t effectively combat them. I liked getting into that mindset, because it helped me think about the issues in more depth than I normally would. That’s what I love about horror — if it’s done well, the excitement of the story will draw you in, but you can then use it as a springboard to go off in all sorts of other directions.


    There has been a lot of talk recently about slow zombies VS fast zombies. What are your views?
    I prefer them when they can move at a normal speed. Although, to be honest, I had no interest in writing an ordinary zombie story. I wanted to put my own spin on them, and do things with the genre which hadn’t been done before. There are far more fascinating elements to my zombies than the speed at which they move…


    Just how many zombie movies did you watch to prep yourself for writing this book, in the name of research, of course!
    I didn’t look at any specifically for the book, but obviously I’ve seen lots of zombie flicks over the years. My favourite was the original Dawn of the Dead, and that was one of the films which most influenced me too. Yes, it features some nice, gory chunks of brain-munching, but there’s a lot more to it than the action scenes, and I wanted my books to have that same mix of brain-chewing and brain-stimulating material.


    What are you working on now?
    There will be 12 Zom-B books in total, so I’ll be working on the editing process of the series for the next couple of years. I’m also working on a couple of new books for adults — I recently published a one-off novel for older readers called Lady of the Shades.


    Thanks Darren!

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