Zombie Author Max Brooks
is the writer behind World War Z
World War Z is now
a major motion picture.
A little while ago, I was offered the opportunity to interview zombie author Max Brooks. The picture that emerged was one of a generous and kind man with plenty of integrity. Here are a few questions from our "conversation."
Describe exactly where you were when you got the first glimmer of an idea for your very first piece of zombie fiction.
I must have been in Graduate School, back in 1996, in Washington DC.
Back then, it was the murder capital of the world. Everyone who lived there had crime in the back of their minds. I was living in a basement apartment with iron bars over the tiny windows and a steel plate welded to my door.
That was a time in my life when I was watching Dawn of the Dead pretty much every day.
One night, as I was trying to sleep (before having a kid I was a crazy insomniac), I started thinking "Well, zombies can't get in, at least not right away, and I've got water from the pipes and air from the chimney, but what else would I need to survive?"
Describe, as best you can, the place where you ordinarily write.
I write in my dad's attic.
I started working there when we moved back to L.A. right after my mom died. I was building a home office next to my house. I figured I'd clear out my parents', now my father's, attic for a temporary office while I was waiting for my real one to be finished. I figured I'd save a ton of money on renting a space.
More importantly, I could keep an eye on my dad who had just turned 80 and just lost his wife. He got so used to me being around (he's never lived alone) that once my home office was complete, he didn't want me to leave.
So I see him every morning for breakfast before he goes to work, and then I head upstairs to my work.
Now, please describe that location five days after the zombie apocalypse.
That depends on who's in the White House.
Well, fine, then. Let's change the question. Perhaps you'll like this one better:
Which three people or events have influenced you the most in the past five years? How or why have they done so?
The first person would have to be Frank Darabont.
We've recently become friends and it's never a wasted moment hanging out with him. I've learned so much from him, about dealing with criticism, about taking time to enjoy the moment, about overcoming setbacks and staying true to your passion.The second person would be my friend who's now a he but used to be a she.
My buddy, whom I've known since high school, has taught me what real courage means and his battle to be the person he is meant to be constantly puts my 'problems' in perspective.The last person is, and has always been, my wife Michelle.
She is my teacher, my best friend, my true other half. Her wisdom, honesty, depth and passion make me feel like I've won the lottery. No matter what the future holds, I know I can face it with her by my side.
Brooks serves as senior advisor for the Zombie Scholars Academy. The academy was developed in partnership with the Zombie Research Society. It is "A Problem-Based Exploration of Science, Literature, and Leadership" that attracts the best and brightest of students to study at the Truman Institute.
The program is run by Dr. Kevin Minch. Visit the Zombie Scholars Facebook Page.