I guess I am not what most people would think of when they think ‘zombie author’.
I am, first of all, a female. Up until recently, you just didn’t see a large number of zombie writers, much less female zombie writers. In addition to that, I am a…mature female. I am over 50. I am a grandmother, for gosh sakes! And, to top it all off, I am visually impaired, legally blind from an early onset version of Macular Degeneration. Not your typical Science Fiction Zombie Genre author. Not your typical grandmother, either.
What can I say? I have always been ‘special’ and a late bloomer.
I had a near obsession with reading since I was in elementary school. I would read two or three books a week, usually with one or two others in process. From very early on, I wanted to write but I could never get past a few chapters before I would lose the thread or totally block. During the process, I would agonize over each sentence, every word, changing them so often that it would become overwhelming and I would give up, pack it away in a file and forget it.
Another thing that deterred me was that I believed the traditional hype. All the naysaying about traditional publishing, that you had to get it by all the red tape to get it to a publisher who would probably reject it. I felt that I would certainly be the one that would be rejected. No real reason, just rejected. Those feelings, added to the others, kept me from writing for many years. I would never push through. Then, I found a book that said I should ‘just write’. It said not to worry about the editing, the grammar, the sentence construction. It said just write and create. It blew my mind. I knew that if I could get past all the mechanics and just get to the story, I could do it. I could write the novel or novels that were trapped in my head.
So…I did it. I just wrote the words. I didn’t stop to worry over the mechanics. I wrote and wrote, and I finished my first book. It was a most gratifying esperience. I had done it. Then, people would ask what type of book? . What is it about? I would gulp and say, “Zombies.” You can only imagine the looks I got, being a woman and a grandmother! (I think they expected a story about cooking or puppies or something along those lines!) Then , they would sort of smile and, usually,f move away. Slowly. Keeping their eyes on me in case I make a sudden move.
I think I felt a bit of the same way about it. How did I end up writing about zombies? I don’t know how it happened, really. In the beginning, I guess it was sort of a whim. It was the momentary idea that appealed to a nervous writer who had no clue about what she should write. My husband, a huge zombie fan, gave me the suggestion at the right moment and my imagination took off. It was, honestly, a bit of a joke, at first.. I never expected to finish the thing, much less publish it, but it fired my creativity engine and took off.
By the time I had finished my first book, ZombieBay, A Dirk Dobbs, Zombie Hunter, Mystery, I was hooked. With what I already knew and what I had learned about the undead in research, I knew that I was in for the long haul. Eved my sister, who has always said that my head was filled with too much ‘useless crap’ has had to admit that it came in handy!
ZombieBay, Death on the Beach, is the first in the series of the Dirk Dobbs, Zombie Hunter, Mysteries. It is set on the fictitious island off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, called DelunaIsland. It is a small island, only eight miles long, that sits between the Florida shores and the Gulf of Mexico. Dirk, our main character, has inadvertently become involved in hunting and destroying zombies. He heads up an organization that goes into areas that have a zombie outbreak and destroys the undead and clears the area. At the time of the story, Dirk has built his dream home on Deluna Island It is his haven, his oasis of calm, his safe place. As far as his friends, neighbors and family members know, he finances his lifestyle by being the author of several best selling mystery novels. The only exception to the rule of secrecy is his best friend, Randall Durham, the Medical Examiner for EmeraldCounty, on DelunaIsland. He knows that Dirk Dobbs is more than meets the eye. He has been involved in a few of Dirk’s zombie engagements, by virtue of being in the wrong place at the right time.
Once more the two friends find themselves facing a living nightmare. A Russian merchant ship has gone down in the Gulf, at the mouth of DelunaBay. The crew on the ship have been infected with the virus in Tampico, Mexico. They have all succumbed to it. When they reanimate, in the ship, under the water, several of the undead have wandered up onto the shores of the pristine island. When bodies start piling up at the Emerald County Morgue. Dr. Randall Durham recognizes what is happening and calls his old friend in to confirm his own fear. After seeing the remains, Dirk and Randall agree that two of the victims as confirmed zombie kills. Dirk’s worst fears are realized. There are zombies on DelunaIsland.
And, maybe more. The third victim at the morgue is a puzzle. It is a young girl, a teenager. She was found, bloody and very dead, on the bayside of the island at a campsite. Was she a zombie kill or was she killed by living human hands? The two friends must find the answer to that question and find out how the zombies got onto the island? Where are they coming from?
Meanwhile, a couple of retired military residents have come across the problem and have started up their own plan to get rid of the infected ship in their waters. They do not understand what they are dealing with. They don’t know the extent of the danger. One of the retired men, Angus Murphy, is a former SAS officer who has deep international ties. He and Captain Jack Jackson, retired Navy SEAL, call in favors from old contacts. One is an international arms dealer in Cairo, Egypt who delivers the fire power they need to blow up the sunken vessel. Dirk’s old friend, Gassim Al-Fayed, Egyptian Military Intelligence Officer, overhears the arms dealer talking about the outbreak while sipping coffee in Cairo and flies in to aid his friend. It was Gassim who took Dirk into his first zombie nest in a village in Egypt. Dirk, Randall, Capt. Jack, Angus Murphy, and Gassimr join forces to quell the infestation and keep it from the islanders.
I think it is a good read. It has a little bit of something for everybody. It covers the globe from tiny DelunaIsland to Tampico, Mexico to Cairo, Egypt. It even has a flashback to the Iranian Hostage Crisis! It has zombie kills, a teenage love triangle and murder. I think you will enjoy reading it. I certainly enjoyed writing it. You can purchase the paperback on Amazon.com and the Kindle version is also available. Just search “IsadoraKatzZombieBay” on Amazon.com.
The sequel to ZombieBay, ‘Zombie Hunter, Voodoo Woman’, is about three quarters done. I hope to have it finished and on the shelves by December 2013.
I want to thank Armand for having me on his blog.
Isadora Katz, Author
Zombie Bay, A Dirk Dobbs, Zombie Hunter, Mystery
Volume One: Death on the Beach