INTERVIEW: David Wellington, author of “Good People”

Tell us a bit about your story. What’s it about?

This is a stripped down zombie story, getting back to the basics.  A bunch of survivors, and what they’re willing to do to make it.  It’s about smart, caring people and the horrible things they have to do after the end of the world.

What was the genesis of the story–what was the inspiration for it, or what prompted you to write it?

This was an idea I had a while back while working on my Monster Island series of books.  The novels focused on smart zombies, and super powers, and the epic battle for the future of humanity… but I never got to explore what the normal people were going through, the ones who had access to nothing but their own wits.

Was this story a particularly challenging one to write? If so, how?

I had to go to some pretty dark places to get inside the heads of these characters.  Then I had to work backwards, to figure out how they became who they are.

Most authors say all their stories are personal.  If that’s true for you, in what way was this story personal to you?

I always think I’m making these things up out of thin air, that I’m imagining a completely fictional world.  It’s only later, sometimes a long time later, that I realize the characters are all facets of my self.  Ask me again in six months!

What kind of research did you have to do for the story?

I like to get the geography right in my stories.  I had to do a lot of map searches to figure out where this story was happening, and what the landscape would look like.  Most of the story, though, is about the people involved, and most of the research I did was internal, into their psychology.

What is the appeal of zombie fiction? Why do so many writers–or you yourself–write about it? Why do readers and film viewers love it so much?

Zombies are contemporary monsters.  They aren’t loaded down with a lot of 19th century values and fears–they appeal to the people of today.

What are some of your favorite examples of zombie fiction, and what makes them your favorites?

Night of the Living Dead is in many ways the ur text of zombie stories, and it’s still my favorite.  Wait–that’s a movie!  As for fiction, I’ve always loved Brian Keene’s stuff.