Friday, May 31, 2013

Summer of Zombie Blog Tour - John O'Brien

You're reading Books, Beer and Blogshit! It's the only blog that's daring enough to take on a zombie orgy! We are your bloggers, Mr. Frank and Mr. Jeff.

The second annual Summer of Zombie Blog tour is going to plow through this blog like a horde of zombies. Listeners of the Books, Beer and Bullshit podcast may recall our recent interview with Todd Brown (Episode 16) which ultimately served as the catalyst to relaunch the Summer of Zombie blog tour for 2013. The original SoZ Blog Tour also was how we made our acquaintance with podcast favorite, Armand Rosamilia, who organizes the now annual event.

This summer there are NINE authors featured on the tour. You can count on familiar faces stopping in here at The Blogshit, but there are going to be many great new faces as well. Including our kickoff interview with author John O'Brien who was a veteran of the original SoZ Blog Tour. 

There are nine authors, so there are nine questions.  Each author received the same questions. So without further adieu let's take a look at how each author handles the infamous Books, Beer and Blogshit interview. Take it away John O'Brien!

The Blogshit: Which of your books do we need to be talking about now and what is inside the pages to get excited about it?

John O'Brien: I recently published the seventh book in the series, A New World. A New World: Takedown furthers the adventures of Jack Walker and the small group of survivors as they struggle through their daily survival. The sixth book, A New World: Dissension, left with Lynn going down under a swarm of night runners. Jack is off looking for other remnants of humankind and encounters several strange situations only to return to find out about Lynn. He then sets off to find her. I’ll leave the rest to the reader to find out what happens.

The Blogshit: What is it about zombies that keep you writing in this genre?

John O'Brien: Zombies add an additional level of challenge to a survival situation in a post-apocalyptic world. They are a relentless force that invades the psyche 24/7.

The Blogshit: With the saturation of zombie fiction in the current market, what do you do to keep your writing fresh and relevant?

John O'Brien: For one thing, I generally don’t read anything within the same genre in order not to subconsciously take or use other author’s ideas. While the creatures themselves may introduce anything new, it is the group dynamics, the characters, and the situations which lend itself to a myriad of different scenarios.

For myself, I chose to go outside of the norm for the creatures and created an entirely different sort. Night runners are a genetically altered species of humankind that prowl the night streets in search of prey. So, technically, they aren’t really zombies at all. And, their abilities are growing.

I also think about different scenarios and interactions people in a post-apocalyptic world might face. Zombies, or night runners in this case, aren’t the only dangerous creatures.

The Blogshit: What makes your zombies stand apart from all the others?

John O'Brien: I mentioned in the previous reply, the night runners are a genetically altered species which makes them faster, stronger, and more agile. They hunt in packs during the night hours and communicate in a much different manner – I can’t give away too many spoilers here. They are ferocious and persistent in their endeavor to hunt down prey. Humankind has taken a step down the food chain.

The Blogshit: Do you write (or plan to write) outside the zombie genre?

John O'Brien: I’m not sure whether I will or not. I have a couple of series in mind after A New World eventually concludes. And that may be some time yet as there are several more books planned for the current series.

The Blogshit:  Do you think the mega hype around the movie adaptation of World War Z will have a positive or negative effect on the zombie fiction scene?

John O'Brien: I personally don’t see how World War Z will have anything but a positive effect on the genre. Although it doesn't follow the book and the zombies in the movie are the exact opposite of the one’s depicted in Max’ books, it will be an exciting movie to watch. And it will cross into other genres as well, pulling some of them into the Z genre.

The Blogshit: Is there a need for attrition in the zombie fiction market?

John O'Brien: I’m not sure what you mean by attrition, but I think the advent of indie authoring has brought many talented writers to the forefront and advanced the genre by leads and bounds. It provides the readers with an endless supply of their favorite reading.

The Blogshit: What do you see in the future of zombies, both on the page and off?

John O'Brien: I think the zombie genre will continue to grow. It has already entered the mainstream market from its once niche market place and will continue to fill it. More events, conventions, and other activities will continue to increase. As with any genre, it will reach a peak and plateau but that plateau will continue to be a high one – surpassing the others.

The Blogshit: We are building a menu for a fictional sandwich shop. Typically we ask what to put on the namesake of your sandwich. For the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour we are going to set aside a special menu sub-section so: What do we put on your zombiefied sandwich?

John O'Brien: Dead flesh and lots of it… in this case we’ll have to use our basic substitutes.
First off, bacon is a requirement for any sandwich so you’ll have to pile plenty of it on. After that, anything will work.

This man did NOT write Leaving Las Vegas

There he is the brave John O'Brien! John's work features a sort of alternate creature to the classic zombie. His series, as he said is now seven books in. Definitely take at look at John O'Brien if your looking for something a bit left of center in your zombie fiction. John O'Brien is extremely approachable via the internet. Here is some additional background and a plethora of links to find all things O'Brien...

John O’Brien Biography

John O'Brien is a former Air Force fighter instructor pilot who transitioned to Special Operations for the latter part of his career gathering his campaign ribbon for Desert Storm. Immediately following his military service, John became a firefighter/EMT with a local department. Along with becoming a firefighter, he fell into the Information Technology industry starting two large casinos in Washington as the Information Technology Manager and becoming the Network Manager for the Washington State Legislature, the Northwest Information Technology Manager for the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Network Systems Manager for Hollywood Video.

Currently, John is writing full-time on the series, A New World. As a former marathon runner, John lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and can now be found kayaking out in the waters of Puget Sound, mountain biking in the Capital Forest, hiking in the Olympic Peninsula, or pedaling his road bike along the many scenic roads.

John O’Brien Links


  1. This is a fantastic series, if you haven't read them yet - start!!! Looking forward to the next book ... hurry, John, hurry!!!

  2. Sounds great! I will have to check out the series. :-)

  3. You can't go wrong with this series! Not looking forward to the end.

  4. Treat yourself to a summer of nightrunners - you won't be disappointed with this series. John O'Brien is one of the most approachable authors I have had the pleasure of reading - visit his site and see why he has developed an awesome fanbase.

  5. I can't get enough of night runners and John O'Brien's imagination. This series is super exciting and well thought out. O'Brien will go down as one of the most adventurist writers of this genera. Kudos, applause and hats off, Otter. You are highly revered by this reader.

  6. Sorry about my name being typed in wrong above. It is Pat, (Patricia,) Wilson

  7. I too am a former marathon and ultra-marathon runner and have even more respect for John because of that. No wonder he chose to incorporate that aspect of his life into writing about zombies. Bravo!