Favorite city and why?
Cuzco, Peru: Amazing mountains, cool sights, and the friendliest people on earth.
My runner up would be London for the awesome variety of Indian food. And the beer.
Birthday / Age:
Old enough that I remember when Stephen King was still a new writer.
How would you describe yourself physically?
A well-dressed slob.
How would someone else describe you physically?
Body of computer programmer with too much gray in his beard.
The first thing people notice about you is…
Religion, if any?
Are you superstitious at all? Any phobias?
Cockroaches. Hate them. Hate them. Hate them.
Do you smoke / drink? If so, what? Any bad habits?
Smoking – no. Drinking – not very much.
Current occupation / Dream job:
Current: Software engineer.
Dream job: Full time writer or paleontologist.
Why a paleontologist?
Just imagine how cool it would be the first person to discover a dinosaur no one had ever seen before. Nothing would compare.
Plus I think you get to name it if you’re the first person to discover it. If you discovered a new dinosaur, what would you name it? I know it depends on what kind of dinosaur it is and what kind of qualities it has, but if you want to make one up, that’s fine with me.
Greatedaneosaurus. In honor of my dogs.
What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
Write. Ride my bike around Tucson. Hang out with my wife.
What is your zombie outbreak survival plan?
I wish I could say I had a plan, but I think if it really went down I’d be fucked. On the plus side, everyone in Arizona carries a gun, so I’d have no trouble finding a weapon if I survived that long.
I’m not entirely sure that everyone having a weapon is going to be a boon in the event of a zombie outbreak. The only thing more dangerous than the zombies in a zombie outbreak scenario are the other survivors. With tempers raised due to everyone being under unusual stress there’s bound to be some casualties of the non-zombie variety. That’s one of the things that interests me about post-apocalyptic scenarios. I think it’s fascinating how quickly everything falls apart. I have a feeling that Arizona would go “wild west” fairly quickly.
Good point. I’d be screwed. Better to stay away from the local population. I’d probably grab my camping gear and try to get up into the Santa Rita mountains, just south of Tucson. There’s running water year-round and plenty of wildlife to hunt up there. Odds are though, given the number of armed citizens in my state, I’d run across some weapons along the way, dropped by people who turned.
Weapon of choice:
A pry-bar. No need to reload and you can also use it to open doors.
Agreed. Not to flip the focus but I definitely made a crowbar mandatory equipment for a main character in the post-apocalyptic zombie-epidemic boo project I’m working on. A lot of people seem to favor crossbows and samurai swords but I blame The Walking Dead.
Do you have any special skills?
I can root an Android phone in less than five minutes.
Is that good?
Not in the zombie apocalypse, but in real life I’m a bit of tech-geek, and I enjoy knowing how things work.
Did you go to college and, if so, what for?
Yes. I got a B.S. in mountain biking with a minor in Computer Science.
If you went to college, did you manage to pay off your student loans?
Any pets? If so, what are they and what are their names?
Yes. Consuela – a two year old hen. I also have two Great Danes, but they prefer to remain anonymous, as does my cat.
The name Consuela reminds me of the joke about the amputee prostitute.
I don’t think I’ve heard this one.
What is your favorite animal?
Dogs rule, especially big ones.
Speaking of pets, any pet peeves?
Old people driving their mobility scooters in the bike lanes. It’s a Tucson thing. Get out of the damned road and onto the sidewalk before you get run over!
Favorite / Least favorite Food:
Favorite: A tie between Drunken Noodles or Fish Vindaloo.
Least Favorite: Anything with mayonnaise, artichokes, or Brussels sprouts.
What is your favorite quotation / motto / saying?
Stop complaining and just write the damned thing already.
That’s an excellent motto as far as mottos go.
What is the best thing that ever happened to you?
Meeting my wife while rock climbing.
What is the worst thing that ever happened to you?
Taking a job that required traveling to Detroit every week. For a year.
I didn’t know that people actually went to Detroit anymore. I thought these days Detroit was more the kind of place that you had to fight to escape from like in a post-apocalyptic film. I can’t imagine anyone going to Detroit voluntarily.
You’d be surprised at the insane shit you’ll do when you’re up to your eyeballs in student loans. There are no words to describe how glad I am to be past that phase of my life.
What is the best thing you’ve ever done?
I fostered a couple dozen rescue Great Danes.
What is the worst thing you’ve ever done?
I once had to cut a chicken’s head off with a shovel. An animal broke into our coop in the middle of the night and by the time I arrived on the scene, one of our girls was on the edge of death. Rather than let her suffer, I did the needful.
If you could kill one person, who would it be, and why?
At the moment, my hit list is empty.
Well here’s hoping they don’t find the bodies.
What do you do?
I write zombie horror, espionage thrillers, and I’m dabbling in SciFi.
Why those genres? What is the attraction of those genres compared to, say, romance or children’s books?
I’ve always enjoyed dark stories where the line between right and wrong is not very well defined. Zombies are the perfect vehicle to explore our collective fears of inevitability and powerlessness in a society we can no longer comprehend. My love of espionage thrillers comes from growing up outside Washington, DC, where you’re bathed in politics and international intrigue 24x7. SciFi, meanwhile, gives me a chance to explore complex issues without the constraints of the modern world. Plus, I like robots and lasers.
How did you get started doing what you do?
I’ve always been a voracious reader. After a string of particularly terrible books, I decided I could do better. It turned out to be a lot harder than I thought.
Coincidentally, that’s why I re-entered the game with my full attention as of late because I had read most of what I wanted to read and couldn’t find the books I wanted to read so I decided to start writing them. I find that the best writers were also avid readers before they decided to try their hand at writing something themselves. Do you find each book getting a little easier to write or is each one just as difficult for you?
On the contrary. I find each book more difficult than the last. My first few books were difficult from a motivational and logistical standpoint, but now that I have that part figured out, I’m focusing on the craft and realizing how much more there is to learn.
What is your advice to other people that want to get started doing what you do?
Read constantly. Write every day. Don’t take no for an answer.
What are some of the projects you’ve worked on/finished in the past?
Give us a little history if you will.
I just wrapped up the fourth episode in my Elements of the Undead series.
At the moment, I’m working on the third book in my espionage thriller series. I also have a temporarily abandoned SciFi series begging for my attention.
What projects are you working on now?
I’m hoping to have book #3 of my espionage thriller series out by mid-summer. I’m also working on a serialized continuation of a SciFi series I started in early 2013.
What are you watching?
Scandal and Downton Abbey. Don’t laugh.
I’m not here to judge.
I also just finished the second season of House of Cards. Such amazing writing. I’m in awe.
What are you listening to?
The Shins and The Wrinkle Necked Mules.
What are you reading?
The n-Body Problem.
Favorite author / book?
Stephen King – The Stand.
That’s a frequent pick. What was it about Stephen King and The Stand that makes them your favorite author and book?
I think it has to do with my age when I first read it (the original, abridged version). I was around thirteen or fourteen years old, the cold war was raging, and the idea of some terrible tragedy befalling the world seemed very real. The book had such an impact on me that when I moved to Boulder, CO in my late twenties, the first thing I did was scout out all the locations mentioned in the book. It was my version of a holy pilgrimage.
Favorite band / song?
There are too many to list.
Least favorite band / song?
Van Morrison. Seriously. Every song of his sounds the same.
If you could do anything other than what you do now, what would you do?
Count my lottery winnings.
If you won the lottery, would you take the smaller lump payment, or would you opt for the larger yearly pay-out?
I would have to consult with my wife on this one. ;)
Who would you want to meet that you haven’t met?
You get three choices: Alive. Dead. Fictional.
Dead: George Orwell.
Alive: Bill Clinton
Fictional: Kate, from Lost.
What’s the best and worst job you’ve ever had?
Best – Managing a really strong group of young engineers. SO much potential!
Worst – Bussing tables at an oyster bar right after college. I still can’t eat oysters.
Are there any questions that I didn’t ask that you wished I had asked that you would like to answer now?
Anyone you recommend I interview that you can put me in touch with?
Keith Blackmore. He wrote a killer zombie series called Mountain Man. But you probably already know that.
I didn’t actually. I’ll have to check him out.
Got any questions for me?
Not at the moment.
Thanks for letting me subject you to being interviewed!
Give me all of your links for things you want to promote. All of them.
About the Interviewee:
William Esmont is the author of the post-apocalyptic Elements of the Undead series. He also writes the Reluctant Hero series of espionage thrillers and sometimes dabbles in science fiction.
He lives in Tucson, Arizona with his wife and their two Great Danes. When not writing, you can find him riding his bike around Tucson or grabbing a bite at his favorite New Mexican diner.