Friday, June 27, 2014

Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2014: Stephen Kozeniewski

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We are down to the final two interviews. Not only of double header week but the entire Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2014. What a long, interesting journey its been. But before we reflect, let's get the show on the road, there is a little more work to be done.

Author Stephen Kozeniewski faces the hangmans noose today.  Kozeniewski is a rarity in the zombie fiction realms, he wrote a stand along zombie novel. A beast more rare than bigfoot! Fret not, his latest work appears poised to continue on in serial format.

I've bothered you enough with my endless prattling. Ladies and Gentlemen... Stephen Kozeniewski.

Books, Beer and Blogshit: Are you a survivor or one of the undead?

Stephen Kozeniewski:  Well, statistically I’m all but certain to be dead, right?  According to “Day of the Dead” the ratio of dead to living is 400,000:1.  I don’t like those odds.

The Blogshit:  What is your latest piece of zombie fiction we should be concerning ourselves with?

Stephen Kozeniewski:  THE GHOUL ARCHIPELAGO

The Blogshit:   Do you feel you are a classic or progressive type of zombie fiction writer?

Stephen Kozeniewski:  I know my roots.  The Holy Trilogy above all.  ROTLD, Dead Alive, Cemetery Man, Keene, Brooks, all that good stuff.  I try to make sure all my work acknowledges the classics, but breaks free on its own.  I know “both” is a cheap answer, but that’s how I feel.

The Blogshit:   What makes your zombies different from all others?

Stephen Kozeniewski:  In THE GHOUL ARCHIPELAGO, except for the unusual green hue of their eyes, they are classic Romero zombies, and purposefully so.  I do feature a different kind of undead in my debut novel, BRAINEATER JONES.  Jones and his ilk are thinking zombies who must consume alcohol to prevent themselves from degenerating into the classic flesh-munching stereotype.

The Blogshit:   What makes your living different from all the others?

Stephen Kozeniewski:  THE GHOUL ARCHIPELAGO takes place on the high seas of the South Pacific, which afforded me the opportunity to feature some character types not normally seen in zombie fiction: pirates, smugglers, sailors, and the like.  In this piece I’m particularly proud of my three main antagonists: a missionary, a warlord, and a robber baron who form a triumvirate of over-the-top, scene-chewing villainy which is hard to top.

The Blogshit:   Do you think it's important, in this climate, to run with the pack or really try to reinvent the wheel in zombie fiction?

Stephen Kozeniewski:  Oh, God, reinvent the wheel.  I’ve read so many Chicken Little stories lately about how the zombie genre is played out.  The truth is just that a certain specific variety of urban survival apocalypse stories are overdone.  There are a million kinds of stories that can be spiced up with the walking dead.

The Blogshit:   Zombie fiction seems heavily dependent upon working within the construct of a series. Do you feel that is the way that makes it work best for you or do you think there is still room for standalone stories?

Stephen Kozeniewski:  Well, my debut, BRAINEATER JONES, is a standalone.  I think it’s important in any genre to write self-contained stories but leave yourself room for a sequel.  You shouldn’t force a sequel, but you shouldn’t close the door on one, either.

The Blogshit:   Are you ever afraid of being pigeon-holed in this zombie fiction genre?

Stephen Kozeniewski:  Oh, no worries there.  I’ve already sold a political satire, a space opera, and a vampire story to Permuted Press.

The Blogshit:  For your next zombie story, standalone or series, do you think you will need to go sicker or smarter to keep it going?

Stephen Kozeniewski:  I think both are important.  I pride myself on my transgressiveness and judging by the reader reviews for THE GHOUL ARCHIPELAGO, I’ve succeeded in making the average reader lose his or her lunch.  Still, Romero set a big benchmark all the way back at the dawn of the genre in 1968 that we must always use our undead not just for cheap gore and laughs, but to shed light on social ills.  I take that responsibility very seriously, and try to make all my work at least somewhat thought-provoking.

The Blogshit:   On last year's tour, we asked about what to put on your zombie sandwich. This year, we want to know: What special ingredients would you use to pickle the pickles on your zombie sandwich?

Stephen Kozeniewski:  Ether?

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