I recently spoke with Pippa Jay, author of the new novel Restless in Peaceville, about zombies, Pixar, and '80s music. How did she do? Could she handle my hard-hitting expose? Read on to find out...
Restless in Peaceville has a very unique premise for a zombie novel, reminiscent of Warm Bodies and Breathers: A Zombie's Lament. What inspired you to write a zombie novel in this style?
Thank you (and off to look up Breathers now). Well, I have to blame Warm Bodies, Dead By Sunrise, Karen Y. Bynum, Terry Pratchett, Danielle Fine, and YOU (ed. note: AWWWE). And being too curious about the whole zombie mythology after watching Warm Bodies. I wanted to know where the brain-eating came from, because I'd read stories with zombies that weren't like that at all, so it got me thinking, "What is a zombie really like?" The mindless Hollywood, flesh-eating monstrosity or the rather tragic figures I'd read in other books? And then one of my friends mentioned Louisiana voodoo. After I started researching, muse just got hooked on the whole idea and forced me to write it.
Is Restless in Peaceville told in first person? How do you narrate from a zombie POV? Is it kind of like Hodor, only with brains?
Yep, Restless is my first book in first person, lol. I found caffeine and sleep deprivation produce quite a zombie-like state, so I'd just get up really, really stupidly early and write without coffee. And occasionally stumble around the house in that condition so I knew what it felt like. In the book I compare it to having your whole body go to sleep and never wake up again, but unfortunately you can still think, which Luke would rather not do. People with insomnia might have some familiarity with that feeling.
Since you wrote a zombie novel, I'm going to assume you're a big fan of zombie novels. That said, what are some of your favorite novels that involve either: love stories, werewolves, or vampires that don't shine? Also, what's your favorite Pixar movie?
If we're talking vampires, I was a big fan of the Anne Rice novels, especially Pandora and The Body Thief, or Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett (vampires, witches, and a lot of dark humour). Pixar - Wall-E. He's so cute!
You're having a dream involving zombies. You're trapped, about to be bitten/dismembered/eaten up by moldy teeth. Some sexpot shows up to rescue you. Is it Norman Reedus, Brad Pitt, or Simon Pegg? Why?
I've had those kind of dreams frequently, but NOBODY EVER SHOWS UP TO RESCUE ME!! Um, you think Norman Reedus and Simon Pegg classify as sexpots?! *pats Ryan on the head* There, there. If I'm forced to chose one, it would be Brad Pitt. Because the other two are...not so attractive? Yeah, I'm that shallow. (ed. note: Just trying to think outside of the box with names :-D)
What's up with pop music these days? It sounds like over-produced '80s gunk...amirite?
They had music in the '80s? *blinks* Must have missed that. ;)
How do your zombies move? Fast? Slow? Thriller style?
They each have their own style of moving. Luke, my main character, tends to stumble around, because he's always been a bit kind of slow and clumsy, and being a zombie just emphasizes that. He complains how Annabelle moves like a dancer, all graceful like, and he resents that a lot! But when he needs to he can move surprisingly fast. There's a third zombie in the story, which again moves quickly, but there's not much of him left so he's no weight to carry around.
What did you think of the World War Z movie? Did you read the book? What about Peter Jackson's Dead Alive? Isn't it the grossest movie ever made?
Not seen, not read, and not seen. Sorry, I haven't watched the classic zombies much! Do I lose my zombie club membership for that confession? I've seen Warm Bodies, Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland and Deadheads, and read zombies in Terry Pratchett and Piers Anthony books. Other than that I'm a bit of a novice in the zombie department.
Zombies have survived all of sorts of things recently. Sparkling vampires, shitty George Romero movies, even The Forest of Hands and Teeth (don't even get me started on that one). Why do you think zombies are still appealing? What about them appeals to you?
I think they have a wider appeal than some supernaturals because people like to be scared, because zombies are possibly more credible than vampires and werewolves when it comes to the types of undead that could actually exist, and perhaps because people are afraid and yet also fascinated by what might happen to us after death. I guess it's morbid curiosity. After all, a zombie is just a dead version of a person rather than a glamorized blood sucker or shapeshifter. I also think that a lot of people just like to see zombies getting their heads blown off. In my case, I was fascinated by the way Isaac Marion had taken something with a pretty grim reputation--a monster--and yet I empathized with the character and wanted him to get his Happily Ever After in Warm Bodies. Terry Pratchett had done the same with his zombies in Reaperman, Witches Abroad, and the Nightwatch books. Going back to the original Haitian folklore, I learned that zombies are dead souls summoned back and forced to serve the bokor (sorcerer) who raised them. They're quite tragic figures. I wanted to explore that and the idea that zombies aren't just ravening monsters--that they're still the person they were before, and just maybe it's the desperation and horror of their condition that drives them to do the things that give them such a bad reputation.
In haiku format, tell us why people should red/buy Restless in Peaceville.
Two lost undead souls,
seeking a place in your heart
to rest forever.
Purchase links for Restless in Peaceville: