Interview, R.J. Kennett

Interview with R.J. Kennett, author of Central Outbreak Response: Genesis.

The Bookie Monster was able to nail an interview with R.J. Kennett. Great guy! Read on and get a behind the scenes look at R.J. and his upcoming work.

RJ Kennett is originally from Houston, Texas. He has lived in Virginia, Oklahoma and Colorado at varying times, but is currently back in his home state of Texas. He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma in Norman. In previous lives, he has been a political consultant, a one-man marketing department and a web programmer. He is presently slaving away in retail while writing, with dreams of writing full-time.

First thing’s first…tell us about R.J. Kennett the author. What would you like your readers to know about the Central Outbreak Response series or you in general?

What, more? Okay, I was born in Houston, Texas. I always wanted to write, but lacked any confidence in the publishing industry, so I foolishly pursued other careers – political consultant, one-man marketing department, web programming – before learning about the independent authors. I decided to park myself in any job that would pay the bills and let me write. I’m single with no kids, so I’m able to live on the cheap while I work out my writing career.

I just want to entertain them for a few hours. When it comes to my horror, if I can write something that gives them goosebumps or makes them check under the bed before falling asleep, something that they can’t stop thinking about for days, then I get bonus points. But I also plan to write outside the genre, in historical fiction and perhaps science fiction. But for now, my focus is on horror, and I mean that in a general sense – I’m not going to be exclusive to zombies.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

I’ve connected with a number of readers through Facebook, which I invite all of my readers to do – it’s They can also connect with me through my website at Most say they liked my work. “COR: Genesis” is a fun zombie romp. There are some scenes and elements that may speak to people on a higher or more personal level, but ultimately it’s supposed to be a fun read. I think I achieved that. My short story “Personal Hell” (available on my site, or on WattPad) has drawn more interesting reactions as it has a twist that messes with people’s minds.

What’s the weirdest question you've ever been asked in an interview?

Some lunatic asked if I like to deconstruct Oreos – I assume in milk, because Oreos and beer doesn't sound very good.

You are hosting a dinner party and must invite 3 famous people. Who would you choose and why?

As much as the bodies of dead historical figures would liven up a dinner party, I’m going to assume you mean living celebrities. I’d invite the Pope, the Dalai Lama and Tom Cruise. The conversation would be really weird and interesting, but my money is that Tom Cruise would win at Twister. Hands-down.

I found your zombies loosely similar to David Moody’s Autumn. What was your inspiration with this inert calm before the (second) storm?

I haven’t read “Autumn” yet. It’s on my bookshelf, looking at me, though. I've never liked the handling of rigor in a zombie apocalypse novel. The zombies either have perpetual rigor, which is unrealistic, or it isn't mentioned, which neglects the mechanisms by which bodies decay. I wanted to keep as real to science as possible, through rigor and decomposition. A real zombie apocalypse wouldn't last long as bodies decay quickly. My virus is a bacteriophage, killing bacteria that cause decay, thereby dramatically prolonging the apocalypse. This wasn't touched on in Genesis, but will be in the sequel, Exodus.

In ten words or less: 
  1. Oreo’s…Bite into the entire cookie or deconstruct it?   
    • Deconstruct, but I lack the patience to wait.
  2. Quirk that annoys your spouse/friends? 
    • I've always got a defense for my actions.
  3. Biggest fear?  
    • That I’ll get Alzheimer’s, like my father.
  4. First item on your bucket list? 
    • That I haven’t already done? Skydiving.
  5. If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be? 
    • Flight and mind reading.
  6. The zombie apocalypse has begun. What zombie fighting badass would you want on your team? 
    • Not Daryl Dixon, he'd steal the women. Gimme Michael Talbot.
Tell us about the second installment, Exodus. What plans do you have in store for readers?

Max is framed for murder and flees Central, which is actively hunting him down. It’s a murder mystery wrapped in a zombie apocalypse, with all the inherent dangers that come with that.

Will we ever find out what happened to Max’s girlfriend, Aimee?

No. Well… sort of. Mind you, my horror has, at best, bittersweet endings. I always felt that the standard “protagonist searches for loved one in the mayhem, and AGAINST ALL ODDS is basically guaranteed to find them” subplot was too predictable and unrealistic. It may sound cold, but I want the reader to experience the utter emptiness of Max’s loss, with him. I know that will disappoint more than a few readers, and they may view it as nihilistic, but this was Aimee’s role all along. She vanished in the chaos and Max never learns what happened. He must come to grips with it and move on. In the description of how Max and Aimee met, he accidentally slammed a door in her face. When he and Eva met, she slammed a door in his face. That was a subtle foreshadowing of their budding relationship. I thought about getting Max and Eva hot and heavy, then throwing Aimee back into the mix to complicate things, but decided it would be cliché. When the trilogy is complete, I am likely to go back in “COR: Perspectives” and tell the stories of tangential characters and situations – what happened at the airport when the military landed, which Arthur saw from the rooftop the first night, what happened to Aimee, what happened to Matthew the Cowardly Linebacker from the Battle of the Bate Building, etc. But that would only come about after the trilogy is completed, and I have other writing projects outside the COR universe as well.

Did any specific author(s) motivate you to begin writing?

I really liked Stephen King’s early works. And I’m an H.P. Lovecraft fan. What motivated me to start writing seriously was the constellation of independents. Being broke and unemployed, I sought out free e-books, and found authors like Amanda Hocking, A.R. Wise, Robert DeCoteau and many, many more. Some were good, some were bad – and my ego said I could write as good or better a yarn than any of them. That’s subjective, of course, but the challenge motivated me.

COR: Genesis was impeccably edited. What is your editing process like?

Due to lack of funds, I self-edited Genesis, so I’d say my process was to embrace fear and paranoia, and comb through the manuscript at least eight times before release. I kept editing after releasing the e-book because I found so many problems that snuck by me, which is why Genesis is on its 3rd edition, but I think I finally got it right. My readers aren't my beta readers. They've paid for the book, and they deserve the best product that I can give them.

What's the one question you wish you would get asked but never do?

Do I prefer my Oreos as a whole cookie or deconstructed in milk? Of course, that one’s been covered now. Thanks! It’s much better than “boxers or briefs?”

Who are you reading right now?

Ernest Cline’s “Ready Player One”. It came highly recommended from a close friend. It’s good, and an interesting concept, but I was expecting more after my friend built it up so much.

Next up will be “Rotten Legend” by Sylvan Kills. We've struck up a friendship on Facebook and he’s reading mine; it seems only proper I should read his.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t worry about writing well – worry about re-writing well. Get an editor if at all possible. And spring for a professional cover; they’re worth it! Also, your book is not your brand – YOU are.

Where can readers stalk you?

Be sure to enter below to win your free copy of COR: Genesis!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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