Monday, May 19, 2008

The Beginning part 1.... how I learned to love zombies

So, after my recent post on how much an author should share about their writing, life, etc., it occurred to me that there really is a whole lot I can share that doesn't involve word counts and plot points. And, since I have to start coming up with website content anyways, I might as well start out with a little bit about how I came to write The Forest of Hands and Teeth (that link will take you to my post with the PM announcement for those of you who don't know what my book is about).

I think I've always been afraid to write this story down because I'm afraid of getting it wrong. Or rather, not getting it right. So why not use y'all as guinea pigs!?

For the life of me, I cannot figure out how JP was able to convince me to go with him to see the premiere of Dawn of the Dead (the remake, the one with fast zombies). I am (or was) definitively against horror movies. They scared the blank out me, I didn't like them, I didn't watch them, and I didn't understand them. See, way back when I was a kid, a babysitter came over and my parents went out (and my sisters I guess, all I know is I was home alone with this teen girl). I don't know how old I was, but my parents sold that house when I was 5 so I had to have been younger than that.

Anyway, the babysitter decides to watch a movie, and to convince me to go along she says, "oh, the girl in this movie is just like you! Her name is Caroline, she has long blond hair and is your age. Oh, and she has a walk-in closet full of toys just like yours!" And then she promised me that if I got scared, we could turn it off and go into the other room. As you may have guessed, the movie was Poltergeist and I got scared quick. The babysitter said I could leave the room if I wanted, but the rest of the house was dark and the only way to turn on the lights was to go through that darkness. No way.

So I suffer through. And then my parents come home right at the climax -- right when everything goes to hell. And they turn off the TV and take the babysitter home without pay, and I spend the next however weeks unable to fall asleep in my bed. I sometimes wonder if I'd seen the end of the movie, if I'd seen the resolution, if I'd have been able to get over it. But I didn't and I haven't. Hence my very strong aversion to horror movies and my utter surprise that JP was able to talk me into going to one.

The theater was packed and it was packed with the type of people who love to yell at the screen. To this day I swear I checked the clock on my cell phone every five minutes, mentally calculating when the movie had started, how long it might be, and when it might end. I was terrified. More than anything else, I was stressed -- how were these people going to be able to survive against ever increasing odds?

But it got me thinking... how would you survive something like that? How far would you go? Could you do it? Could I do it? JP and I spent the rest of the night talking about it, it was just fascinating to me. JP suggested other zombie-esque movies like 28 Days Later (and I made him tell me when the scary parts were so I could prepare myself, that's how I made it through.)

A few weeks later we were in the bookstore and JP found
The Zombie Survival Guide. It was a total joke at the time, but he bought it and would read aloud from it (we were 3Ls in law school, we had a lot of time and a lot of booze). It too was fascinating because it went beyond the zombie apocalypse dealing with things that hadn't occurred to me before (I know, I know, sounds crazy). But suddenly, the mental game of how to survive became more complicated. And honestly, I started having dreams about zombies.

Over the next few years, JP continued to introduce me to zombie movies and we were both hooked. We'd watch anything with zombies (and there are truly some horribly terrible zombie movies out there).

... to be continued...

4 comments:

JenWriter said...

Braaaaaaiiiiins! Big zombie lover here. :) Can't wait to hear the rest of the story.

I assume you've seen "Land of the Dead" as well? One of my favorites.

Patrick said...

You know, I still haven't seen the whole poltergeist movie. And I am thankful for discovering World War Z, because at least now I am preparing for the zombie war yet to come.

Buffy said...

Have you seen Shaun of the Dead...

Erica Ridley said...

Love it! And am a zombie fan, too. Fave movies are Shaun of the Dead (as Buffy said) and Planet Terror (Robert Rodriguez's contribution to Grindhouse). Can't wait to hear the rest of the story...