We are kicking off Vamp vs Zombie month with an interview from Em Garner, author of Contaminated [read my review]! The lovely folks at Egmont USA have also supplied us a 2 signed copies of Em’s book for a couple lucky winners! (US/CA only)
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TABS: Thank you so much for joining us at My Shelf Confessions! I’m a bit of a zaney one so I hope you don’t mind me poking your brain a bit!
Contaminated sounds like a very zombie-esque book. I’m confident that’s what you were going for. Are there any particular reasons you decided to write in that genre? (yes I think zombie fiction is one all it’s own!)
EM: Well…first of all, I love zombies. I’ve been a zombie fan for a long time, since the first time I saw Night of the Living Dead way back in the olden days! And I’ve written other zombie fiction, so when the idea came to me for the first line, “They keep them in cages,” I just went with it.
TABS: The part in the book description that talks about shock collars – it instantly made me think of the movie Shaun of the Dead. You know that last scene…if you haven’t seen it you must! Hilarious! What are some of your favorite zombie flicks? (or zombie books for that matter!)
EM: I loved Shaun of the Dead. Fido is another excellent zombie movie that uses shock collars — which I found wildly coincidental after writing Contaminated, but then realized, it makes sense, doesn’t it? 28 Days Later is one of my favorites, though the zombies in that movie aren’t undead (much like the ones in Contaminated.) And of course, I love, love, LOVE The Walking Dead, both the television show and the books.
TABS: Now all the madness in Contaminated breaks out because of this trendy diet drink ThinPro. Were you trying to make a statement with that? Personally that gave me a good Ms. Piggy snort when I read that part.
EM: I wasn’t making a conscious statement, but I do think it’s an interesting concept, what people will do and subject their bodies to in the name of being “beautiful.” All the pressure we put on ourselves, and the risks we’ll take to seek satisfaction in our appearance.
TABS: When you were writing your character Velvet – do you feel you took some of her characteristics from anyone you know? Or how closely to you identify with her?
EM: There’s a little bit of me in every character I write, male or female. A lot of Velvet’s personality is taken from what I wished I might’ve been as a teenager. I spent a lot of time taking care of my younger sister when I was about Velvet’s age, so there’s a lot of that relationship in the book — so much that my daughter, who also influenced Velvet’s character, said she thought of me and my sister when she read about Velvet and Opal.
TABS: Do you have any authors that you absolutely love and have read practically all of their books? Or some top picks for fiction books that you would recommend to us? I do so love growing my leaning tower or To Be Read.
EM: I love Stephen King. Robert McCammon has written some amazing books, Swan Song and Boy’s Life to name two as well as his more recent book, The Five. I love Clive Barker and would recommend Imajica. Jacqueline Carey. I’ve enjoyed Jonathan Maberry’s Rot and Ruin series, too. I’m reading N0S4A2 right now by Joe Hill and really enjoying that.
TABS: So yes, Cover…creepy. Lets NOT stick our fingers in there shall we? Do tell us – what was your first reaction when you saw your cover?
EM: I gasped aloud!
TABS: What is your current WIP, (Work in Progress) if you have one? I will of course blab about it to anyone who’ll listen…no no I’m not a gossip. *evil grin*
EM: Ha! Well I just finished writing the sequel to Contaminated!
TABS: Alright – so here it is – the MOST important question you will ever be asked! Ok so maybe not the most important – that would be what magical creature would you compare yourself to? But really now: Do you take sugar with your tea? If you’re a loon that doesn’t drink tea…well then I’m afraid we can’t be friends.
EM: I take sugar with my tea. Three!
TABS: But finally – Do you have any oddball confessions for us that you wouldn’t mind sharing? Honesty now, Love, is the best policy! For instance… I am a yarn hoarder…I could fill an entire vehicle packed to the ceiling with the amount of yarn I have in my craft room.
EM: I can’t stand the feeling of corduroy. It makes my hands feel dry, I can’t explain it any other way but that. So I can’t stand that! Also, this is weird, but sometimes I associate smells and tastes or sounds with other things — for example, sometimes things will taste the way something else smells or vice versa. So that’s my weirdness!
After the Contamination—an epidemic caused by the super-trendy diet drink ThinPro that turned ordinary citizens into violent, uncontrollable creatures—the government rounded up the “Connies” to protect the remaining population. Now, two years later, the rehabilitated are being allowed home, complete with shock collars that will either control, or kill, them.
Velvet Ellis has struggled to care for her ten-year-old sister since her parents were taken in the round up. When she finds her mother in one of the “Kennels,” Velvet resolves to do whatever it takes to put her family back together. But the danger isn’t over. It’s beginning all over again…
Gritty and grabbing, Velvet is a harrowing, emotionally charged novel for fans of Carrie Ryan and The Walking Dead.
Em Garner writes books. She began writing at a very young age, always preferring the stories about what goes bump in the night. An avid reader of horror, science-fiction and fantasy, she first turned her hand to short stories about the sorts of things that hide under the bed…and she kept right on going. WEBSITE | TWITTER