Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Author Interview! JONATHAN MABERRY!

Dead of Night by Jonathan Maberry
Genre: Horror, Zombies
Release: October 25, 2011
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
ISBN-10: 031255219X
ISBN-13: 978-0312552190

Book Summary:
A prison doctor injects a condemned serial killer with a formula designed to keep his consciousness awake while his body rots in the grave.  But all drugs have unforeseen side-effects.  Before he could be buried, the killer wakes up.  Hungry.  Infected.  Contagious.  This is the way the world ends.  Not with a bang…but a bite.  

My Interview with Jonathan Maberry!

Welcome to Rex Robot Reviews, Jonathan! Can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind Dez Fox and JT? 
There are a lot of reasons to write a novel. Some authors groove on the action; some are devotees of a particular genre and each book is another bite; others are attracted by the potential to mold and shape language. With me it always starts with characters. I can’t write a story unless the characters are real people to me. Like most novelists I’m a professional observer of people. I love watching how people interact, listening to how they talk. Often a character comes to life inside my head when the right elements have been cooking long enough. That happened with Dez Fox and her partner, JT. Dez and JT are friends and partners (as cops in the small town of Stebbins, Pennsylvania), but their relationship is deeper and more complex than that. I most ways, JT is a father figure for Dez. Her own father died during the first Gulf War, so she latches onto JT. He’s a rock. He’s the icon of stability in her life –and her life is a damn mess. She rarely follows his advice, but she needs him to be there and for him to give that advice. JT is also the most experienced cop in town, and his skill, calm approach, and professionalism keep her steady. At the same time, JT’s range of experience only extends to small town law enforcement whereas Dez has served in Afghanistan, where she saw combat. The dynamic of their relationship shifts when things turn violent and she takes the lead role. I found it fascinating to explore this dynamic –and I interviewed police officers around the country to get insight into how it all plays out. I get a lot of very positive mail from cops who say that the Dez/JT patrol dynamic is right on the money. A lot of people tell me they know teams just like them. 

If DEAD OF NIGHT had a soundtrack, what songs would you put on it?
I always create a playlist for my iPod when I’m gearing up to write a novel. The mix is generally pretty weird, but in one way or another each of the songs triggers something for me. Either some element of a character’s personality or some aspect of their journey through the book. Some songs relate to scenes (at least in the way my mind constructs them). Some songs show up on most of my playlists; and some are there for reasons I cannot adequately define. 
• 16 Shells from a Thirty-Ought-Six by Tom Waits
• Abattoir Blues by Nick Cave
• All My Tears by Julie Miller
• Allentown by Billy Joel
• Already Gone by the Eagles
• Angel by Sarah McLachlan
• Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival
• Before the Next Teardrop Falls by Freddie Fender
• Black Wings by Tom Waits
• Blue Moon by Billie Holiday
• Blue Valentines by Tom Waits
• Call it Stormy Monday by Albert King & Stevie ray Vaughan
• Cannibal's Hymn by Nick Cave
• Casey's Last Ride by Kris Kristofferson
• Criminal by Fiona Apple
• Damn Right I Got the Blues by Buddy Guy
• Deep as You Go by the October Project
• Don't Take Me Alive by Steely Dan
• For the Good Times by Ray Price
• Friend of the Devil by The Grateful Dead
• Ghost of Tom Joad by Bruce Springsteen
• Graveyard Blues by John Lee Hooker
• Have You Ever Seen the Rain? by Creedence Clearwater Revival
• Hellhound on my Trail by Robert Johnson
• House of the Rising Sun by the Animals
• I Ain't Superstitious by Willie Dixon
• I Shot the Sheriff by Bob Marley
• I Wish it Would Rain Down by Phil Collins
• If I Were a Weapon by Suzanne Vega
• If it Be Your Will by Leonard Cohen
• If Looks Could Kill by Heart
• I'm a Loser by the Beatles
• In the Air Tonight by Phil Collins
• King of Pain by the Police
• Locomotive Breath by Jethro Tull
• Man in Black by Johnny Cash
• Motorpscyho Nitemare by Bob Dylan
• Murder in the Red Barn by Tom Waits
• Name of my Sorrow by Richard Harris
• Potter's Field by Tom Waits
• Rain on the Scarecrow by John Mellencamp
• Rainy Night in Georgia by Brooke Benton
• Redemption Song by Bob Marley
• Seventh Son by Willie Dixon
• Stand by Me by Ben E. King
• The Guns of Brixton by the Clash
• The Last Worthless Evening by Don Henley
• The Stranger Song by Leonard Cohen
• The Wind Cries Mary by Jimi Hendrix
• Trouble in Mind by Roger McGuinn and Josh White Jr
• Trouble's Braids by Tom Waits
• Weary When You Run by Harry Manx and Kevin Breit
• Wicked Game by Chris Isaak • With a Gun by Steely Dan
• You Can't Unring a Bell by Tom Waits
• You Keep Me Hanging on by Rod Stewart
• Youngstown by Bruce Springsteen
• You're No Good by Linda Ronstadt 

Dez Fox is a unique name - How did you come up with it? 
I have a great love of Shakespeare and around the time I was constructing DEAD OF NIGHT, I was re-reading Othello and re-watched Oliver Parker's brilliant 1995 film version starring Kenneth Branagh, Laurence Fishburne, and Irene Jacob. The name Desdemona always struck me as beautiful. When I was outlining DEAD OF NIGHT and came up with the lead character of a troubled, heart-broken but thorny redneck Pennsylvania cop, the name Desdemona immediately popped into my head. Of course she’d have a nickname version (Dez). The last name of Fox just happened. Dez was an interesting character to write. From a distance she appears harsh, abrasive and mean-spirited, but up close she’s a badly damaged woman who has suffered so much loss that she’d rather chase someone off rather than risk having them leave her. How best to explore the nature of loss than through a tale of a zombie apocalypse? 

If you could choose any other character from another story, who would you choose to help Dez contain the plague? 
I can’t tell you how tough a fight I had with myself not to bring Joe Ledger (from my series of science thrillers) into the mix. Joe is the ultimate go-to guy when things are going bad. But if Joe was in the mix, things in Stebbins County would have gone much better. 

What zombie novels would you recommend to our readers?
There are so many great zombie novels out there. My favorite series is being written by San Antonio homicide detective Joe McKinney. The series started with DEAD CITY and the most recent entry, FLESH EATERS, is up for a Bram Stoker Award as Novel of the Year. But I have a shelf of zombie novels a mile long. There are so many that I love that I’d slight some people by posting even a partial list. So, since Joe’s up for a Stoker this year, I’ll just say that if you start there you’re in great shape. 

Thanks for stopping by! Are there any other releases or works in progress that you're excited about?  
My 4th Joe Ledger thriller debuts in April, ASSASSIN’S CODE. A holy war fought with genetically-engineered vampire assassins. Fun stuff. Then in May, V WARS debuts. It’s a shared-world vampire anthology that I cooked up and edited. It features novellas by Nancy Holder, Scott Nicholson, John Everson, Yvonne Navarro, Gregory Frost, Keith DeCandido, and James A. Moore. The third in my post-apocalyptic zombie series for teens, FLESH & BONE, debuts in September. Plus I have a slew of short stories coming out this year. One just hit stores, “The Death Song of Dwar Guntha”, a John Carter of Mars story in the anthology UNDER THE MOONS OF MARS (in hardcover from Simon & Schuster), and I’ll have a fantasy novelette, “Spellcaster 2.0”, in AN APPLE FOR THE CREATURE, an anthology edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni Kellner (September 4 from Ace). And lots of others. Even a story in an anthology called BEFORE PLAN 9: Plans 1 Through 8 From Outer Space. 

About the Author:
Jonathan Maberry is a NY Times bestselling author, multiple Bram Stoker Award winner, and Marvel Comics writer. He’s the author of many novels including Assassin’s Code, Dead of Night, Patient Zero and Rot & Ruin. His nonfiction books on topics ranging from martial arts to zombie pop-culture. Since 1978 he has sold more than 1200 magazine feature articles, 3000 columns, two plays, greeting cards, song lyrics, poetry, and textbooks. Jonathan continues to teach the celebrated Experimental Writing for Teens class, which he created. He founded the Writers Coffeehouse and co-founded The Liars Club; and is a frequent speaker at schools and libraries, as well as a keynote speaker and guest of honor at major writers and genre conferences. Jonathan lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania with his wife, Sara and their son, Sam. Visit him online at www.jonathanmaberry.com and on Twitter (@jonathanmaberry) and Facebook. 


  1. I've really enjoyed Jonathan Maberry's books, and will need to sample some of the music in that playlist :-)

  2. I love seeing what authors use for "scores/soundtracks" for their works...



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