Interview: Kirk Allmond

The Bookie Monster Interviews Kirk Allmond, author of What Zombies Fear.

Kirk Allmond started writing the first bestselling What Zombies Fear novel in 2010 as an online story as part of his website The Zombie Preparedness Initiative. When the idea to write a novel struck him, he took his own "Zombie Apocalypse" plan and turned it into a story. That story has now spawned six novels and two short stories, and is showing no sign of letting up.
In addition to books set in the What Zombies Fear 'universe', Kirk is also working on two other (non) zombie novels, and several short stories.

The Zombie Preparedness Initiative is a global project aimed at readying the world for the inevitable zombie apocalypse, or whatever disaster may occur. He is commonly quoted as saying, "If you're ready for zombies, you're ready for anything." The site focuses on modern preparedness, survival techniques, and also features reviews of survival gear and weapons of zombie destruction. As a world renown expert on zombies and post-apocalyptic survival, Kirk Allmond has been featured on television and major market radio programs and he has spoken at numerous conventions on the topic. Allmond has consulted on major network television programs and two zombie themed motion pictures.

When he's not writing or talking about zombies, the Michigan born writer holds firmly to the southern roots of his family. He grew up in Chicago IL, and Roswell, GA. Kirk has an amazing little boy who was born in 2007, who is the basis for the character Max in his novels. His time growing up in the south with his grandparents taught him the value and skills to live off the land. He is an avid outdoorsman, loves hunting, fishing and backpacking. When he's not honing his survival skills, Allmond is often found sitting at a role-playing game table, either as the GM of his own Zombie Apocalypse role playing game or as a participant in games run by one of the members of Grown as Gamers, the premier podcast for all things geek and pop culture.

Tell us a little about yourself, your work and how you got into writing.

I started writing as an outgrowth of creating my own zombie preparedness plan. The first part of What Zombies Fear: A Father's Quest is my actual zombie bug out plan.
It's changed a little since I wrote the book, I've moved, my son is a little older than Max and goes to "big kid school" now. But at the time, and still essentially, WZF is my plan. Leave wherever I am, get to my son, gather my loved ones, and get the hell out of dodge.

What five words best describe you?

Father: There are two parts of my life, the part of me that is a writer and a partner to my beautiful co-author Laura Bretz, and the half that revolves around my amazing little boy. Becoming a dad was life-changing for me. And he's an amazing kid.

Family: I am very close with my family. My brother was the inspiration for Marshall in What Zombies Fear. My sister is absolutely Renee. My mother is a lot like sharon, and our family home place is exactly as described in the books.

Fun: I love fun. Life is too short to not be having fun.

Frank: Keeping with the "F-words to describe Kirk" Theme, I have a tendency towards telling it like it is. I think that shows in my writing. There isn't a lot of long, drawn out description or overly emotional scenes. I'm a guy that stuffs his emotions in a box and deals with them later. Victor Tookes is a lot like me.

Friendly: I believe that life is about the people you encounter. It's a much happier life if you're friendly with the people you meet.

Are there any critiques in particular that you just can’t seem to shake?

There have been a couple that got under my skin. Usually the ones that start off "I didn't finish this book." I feel like you should at least read the whole book before giving me a 1 star review because I didn't answer all your questions in the first chapter. (It would be a short book if I did!)
That being said, everyone is entitled to have their opinion, and I'm grateful for all feedback and for everyone who has invested their time and money in buying and reading my work.
I have the best readers in the world.

If you were to create a writing soundtrack, what artists would be on it?

It totally depends on the scene I'm working on. Many people have said I have a really visual style of writing. They can really see the scenes playing out in front of them. I try to listen to music that fits the scene, almost as if I'm creating a sound-track.
For instance, I just wrote a HUGE battle scene for the upcoming What Zombies Fear 6: The Incarnation. I listened to a lot of Hans Zimmer scores, from movies like Transformers, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc. When I'm writing Max, who is now a teenager in book six, I often listen to older 80's hair bands, because that's what I listened to when I was a teenager.
If I'm writing a love scene, I often listen to hip-hop or R&B. WZF doesn't have very many love scenes though. Who's got time for boot-knocking when there are all those zombie heads to knock!

How do you come up with the character names in your books?

In What Zombies Fear, the names are all similar to people who inspired the characters. Marshall and Renee are the middle names of my siblings. John is actually based on an Australian friend of mine named John. Leo is named after an Aussie girl I used to know named Leo.
Not very original, I know.

How many people have you killed off over your career as a writer? Ever offed someone off then
kicked yourself for it?

Thousands. And, yes, but only once... I killed off a character named Charlie that I really loved, and was forced to bring him back as a zombie, because I couldn't let him go.

Have you ever written yourself or people you know as a character in one of your books?

Absolutely. Please see above questions :)

Do you laugh at your own jokes as you write them?

I'm ashamed to admit that I do. 

When did you decide to make a career of writing?

The second I published my first book, I knew it was something I wanted. It took almost two years to work out all the pieces of it, but I love being a full time writer.
How long does it take you to write a book?

I wrote The Evolution of Vaughn in 20 days. I wrote the first What Zombies Fear over the course of 3 months, and I've been working on WZF 6 for almost a year now.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?

Write what you know! don't spend hours researching some topic you know nothing about. Change the story to include things you know about.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write every day, even if it's for 30 minutes. Writing is a muscle and it needs exercise.

Who are you reading right now?

Jackie Druga's FLU series is AMAZING!

OK, so, what’s next, do you already have a new project in the works?

I'm currently finishing What Zombies Fear 6: The Incarnation. After that, I'll write the two books after my upcoming release "Remnants".

At some point, I'll finish up What Zombies Fear: LEGION, which is kind of a new 1st book in the What Zombies Fear series, following a new hero (In this case, Heroine) from the start of the outbreak.

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

Mark Clodi! 

In ten words or less:
·        Are you a morning person or a night owl?
o   Night own
·        Biggest fear?
o   Zombies getting to my son before me.
·        Favorite TV Show?
o   Arrow
·        First item on your bucket list?
o   Skydive
·        Happiest moment in your life to date?
o   Reading books to my son
·        If you were a Star Trek® character, which one would it be? Why?
o   Captain Kirk. My namesake!
·        If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
o   Teleportation
·        If you could choose your last meal, what would it be?
o   Fried Chicken
·        If you could meet anybody in history, past or present, who would it be?
o   Thomas Jefferson
·        If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
o   Pizza
·        If you realized that you got a free item by accident after leaving a store, would you go back and pay for it?
o   Yes.
·        How would your friends describe you in 3 words?
o   nerd, jerk, asshole :)
·        Last thing you dressed up as for Halloween?
o   Victor Tookes
·        Mac or PC?
o   PC
·        Oreo’s…Bite into the entire cookie or deconstruct it?
o   reconstruct into sextuple-stuffed oreos
·        Pie or cake?
o   Pie. The cake is a lie
·        The zombie apocalypse has begun. What zombie fighting badass would you want on your team?
o   Yoda
·        What is one thing that you can’t live without?
o   Mountain Dew
·        Who is the most famous person you have met?
o   John Candy
·        Who’s your favorite blogger? (cough)
o   Shana!

Where can readers stalk you?
Goodreads: Yeah.. that