Interview with Author Joseph Tatner

Posted 19 October, 2014 by Paige in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Hey y’all! Today I’m going to be interviewing the author of the laugh out loud funny zombie book, Floyd and Mikki: Zombie Hunters, Joseph Tatner. So, without further ado I’ll go ahead and cut to the chase!

Hey Joseph, thank you so much for agreeing to this interview to talk about your exciting new book,Floyd and Mikki: Zombie Hunters! I must say from what I read, the warning on the front of the book(May induce uncontrollable laughter), is spot on. Would you mind introducing yourself and telling us a bit about the book?

I have been fortunate enough to make my living as a writer for years. I am also a computer geek, so I have written a large number of technical documents and user manuals, in addition to countless magazine and Web articles. I did my time as a cubicle dweller, so I have a unique insight into the mind of a soulless drone, which makes writing about zombies semi-autobiographical.

1.) I have to ask, what started your, shall we call it a writing journey? I think that works. What started your writing journey? Have you always wanted to be an author, or is writing something relatively new for you?

I have been writing stories since I was a kid. I think it’s the right-brain/left-brain thing. I stunk at math but did well in English. At least I can balance my checkbook. My BA was in Communications, and it was primarily in Theater Arts, which is why I can get into the mind of a character and tell a good story. I have written a variety of other novels in the past with far more literary panache, but this is the first novel to be published.

Great book to start with! I absolutely loved it. 

2.) So Joseph, when writing do you stick to a set schedule, or do you just sort of write when the mood strikes you?
Neither, really. Since I make my living as a writer, I have to take care of my clients first. Then I write my novels when I have time. However, I keep a little notebook with me at all times to write down ideas when they strike me. Many of the chapters in this book started out as a one-line note. I get most creative at night, so most of the book was written late at night or early in the morning. Many a time I would almost be asleep when I had a wacky idea and had to reach over to get my notebook to jot it down.

I do the same thing! I keep composition books on my side table so that whenever the idea strikes, I’m ready! 

3.) Let’s get back to Floyd and Mikki, what prompted you to write this book in particular? I have to say, your take on zombies is quite a bit different than books I’ve read about them before!
I deliberately wrote this to be different from any other zombie story out there. It actually started out as a joke in an airport. My fiancee and I had seen World War Z several weeks before and she loves zombies, so I said, “I should write a book. ‘Floyd & Wanda: Zombie Hunters.'” She didn’t like the name “Wanda” so I changed it to “Mikki.” I thought of changing her name several times, but I kept it the way it was. Less than a minute later, I had the ending, and I knew I had to write the rest of the book. I had the first couple of chapters written that night and finished the first draft about 6 weeks later, writing in my spare time. I hadn’t ever written a zombie book before, and I had only seen a few zombie movies, so I deliberately avoided anything zombie until I was finished so I could create something entirely new, from my own little warped brain.

It definitely shows! Truly unique. 

4.) So, we know what you write, but what do you yourself read? What are some of your favorite books to curl up with, you know, inbetween fighting zombies and all?
When I read for fun, I tend to like Science Fiction and Fantasy. I read “The Lord of the Rings,” but I skipped through most of the songs. I appreciated the level of detail, but I felt it was overly ponderous. You know every second of every minute of every day, day after day, as Frodo trudges along his journey. I try to leave a little more to the reader’s imagination and keep the story moving.

5.) How about a bit of a fun question?The Zombie Apocalypse really is upon us, how do you think you will fare?
If the Zombie Apocalypse happened, I would be Floyd. I’m not good at all with machinery, with I would plan and plan and have backup plans for my backup plans. You aren’t paranoid if the world is really out to kill you (or worse). However, like Floyd, I would find a way to survive. And I actually do like MREs.

6.) I’ve been talking with a few of my author friends lately, and some of them admit to having a few, well, quirks when writing. I’ve heard of people still typing manuscripts on the old typewriter, or only writing on Tuesdays. Do you have any interesting writing quirks you’d like to share?
Yeah, I wear my lucky socks and dance naked in a circle rubbing a potato on top of my head. Just kidding. Other writers hate me because I just write and stories come out. When I was in college, I had one of the original Dungeons and Dragons sets and I created all kinds of stories. I was actually a paid Dungeon Master in a local comic store, charging 25 cents an hour from each person. I always had at least 20 people and rand each game for several hours, but I made it all up as I sent along. I love telling stories and I have a warped sense of humor.

Yeah, I totally believe you were kidding about the first option

7.) Why don’t you tell us a little bit about the main characters in your book? What’s something interesting you’d like readers to know about them?
Floyd and Mikki are total opposites. They absolutely hate each other at first. If Mikki hadn’t been a girl, and if Floyd hadn’t been so even tempered, he would have shot her in the head within 5 minutes of meeting her. But Fate plays her own funny games. They are thrown together, they are stuck together, and they drive each other absolutely crazy, but they come to respect and even love each other. Floyd is methodical and plans everything in detail. Mikki flies by the seat of her pants and has gotten herself into trouble more than once, but she survives out of sheer determination and grit. She’s highly emotional while Floyd keeps control. Floyd makes plans, and Mikki blows them all to hell (sometimes literally). Yet throughout the book (and in the next two books) they grow more and more like each other, learning from each other, growing together, as people do. Their relationship is very real in very unreal circumstances. So is their sense of humor. That’s what makes the book so much fun.

It definitely is fun! I agree, they were very real characters, and had me laughing on almost every page!

8.) So, something I’m always curious about, did you plot or outline, or did you just see where your ideas took you?

For me, writing the story was like everyone else reading it. I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next as I wrote it. I don’t write an outline or try to plot anything in detail. I had snippets of scenes I knew I had to include, but some of the best scenes came when I had no idea what to write next. That’s usually when Floyd and Mikki have their deep, personal conversations.

So awesome to hear that! Cool how even you didn’t know what was coming. 

9.) What was the hardest part about writing Floyd and Mikki: Zombie Hunters?
Working on other projects until I could get back to writing it. I loved the characters and had fun with the story. I knew I had something special and I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next. By the time I finally finished the first book, which is its own complete story, I already had two more books plotted out in my mind, as well as the fourth in the trilogy, which spoofs itself. Stay tuned!

Can’t wait to read the next book!

10.) If your book was going to be a movie, who would you like to act in it if given the option?
I have thought about this because everyone says it would be a great movie. Mikki is easy. It would have been Christina Applegate back in the “Married with Children” days. now it would have to be Chloë Grace Moretz. I need an actress who can be tough as nails and cut your throat in a moment, yet who can also portray innocence and vulnerability. Mikki didn’t choose to be a Zombie Hunter. Life made that choice for her. She has the mind of a serial killer trapped in a teenage body, but she is a fiercely loyal friend and when push comes to shove, she always does the noble thing. Floyd is much harder. He is a cross between Bruce Willis and Bruce Campbell, but neither one would be exactly right. He is the straight man to Mikki’s wackiness. He has to be played absolutely straight and usually deadpan. Any suggestions?

If Liam Neeson could take a time machine back to his younger days he would be perfect! If Mikki was British Tom Mison would be even better!

11.) What would you say is your intended audience for Floyd and Mikki?
Anyone who loves zombies and anyone who hates zombies. This book is like the movie “Galaxy Quest.” Whether you love Star Trek or hate Star Trek, you have to love “Galaxy Quest.” So although this is definitely a zombie book that zombie lovers will love to love, it also appeals to people who would never read a zombie novel in their life (like me). I presume the book will be most popular with college-age readers. On the other hand, one of my friends is an older, retired gentleman who read the chapters as I was writing them just because I wrote it, but he really got into the story and kept bugging me more more. That’s when I knew the book had a broader appeal than one would expect. I added a character similar to him in the book. Since then, adults of all ages have read it and everyone has said they really love the book — even if they were surprised that they loved it.

I agree, I’m college age but I feel like people of most all ages will find something to love. 

12.) Are you currently working on anything else? Can we expect another book from you sometime in the near future?
“Floyd & Mikki: Zombie Hunters” is its own, self-contained story with a great, quirky ending. However, I couldn’t end it there, so I have already completed book two, “Floyd & Mikki: Zombie Slayers,” and have completed about a third of book three, “Floyd & Mikki: Zombie Destroyers” (once again, I had the ending before I started writing the book). The fourth book will be completely off the wall. I know the title, but I am keeping that a secret for now. In the meantime, I have several other unpublished novels that I had completed years ago. One of those may be released sometime soon as well.

Can’t wait! 

13.) Since it’s October, I have to ask, do you like Halloween? It’s one of my favorite holidays!

I love Halloween. It’s one of my favorite holidays, too. I don’t know whether to laugh or be annoyed when someone calls it a “Satanic Holiday.” I have a friend who thinks that. It is good for humans to laugh at death once in a while and dress up in costume and get scared out of their wits once in a while. The Mexicans celebrate La Dia de la Muerte. It’s the same kind of thing, but they also celebrate their ancestors and pray for their dead relatives. In the end, laughing at death is a way to celebrate life, and Floyd & Mikki, in the midst of a world populated by the undead, is really all about celebrating life.

14.) Expanding on that question, what would you say your favorite costume was when you were a child? Did you ever dress up as a zombie?
I never dressed up as a zombie, but Dracula was (and is) a favorite). He might be a blood-sucking monster, but he dressed with class. Everyone loves a good cape. Of course, I also dressed up as a mummy with toilet paper that invariably unraveled not long after I left the house, but it was still fun.

15.) Joseph, it has been an absolute pleasure reading your book and interviewing you, I’m so happy you happened upon Electively Paige! Is there anything else you’d like to say to possible readers of your book? “The floor” is all yours!

I’m grateful to you and to all the people who have loved reading this book as much as I loved writing it. Of course, I encourage everyone to buy the book and blog about it. I even have Floyd & Mikki stickers and patches for bloggers who help spread the word. I’m also very open to fans and try to answer all my email personally when I can. People can find out more at www.fmzombies.com.

Night night!
Sleep tight!
Don’t let the zombies bite!

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