Friday, 24 September 2010

Jesse Petersen - Author Interview




It’s a zomedy (a zombie comedy) about a couple on the verge of divorce who have to use their dead therapist’s advice to escape the zombie apocalypse. Someone called it “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” meets “Zombieland”. Which works for me!

What drew you to writing about zombies?

I’ve always been a zombie fan, especially zombie movies with a funny twist. After we went to see “Zombieland” with our friends the idea for MARRIED WITH ZOMBIES came to me. It was outside the genre I usually write, but I was driven to write it, mostly just to entertain myself. But then my agent got ahold of what I had so far and really encouraged me to finish it.

Where do you think the division between humour and horror is?

I think horror serves a purpose because we love to be scared. It’s the thrill of it, I guess. But we also like to deal with scary things or uncomfortable things by laughing at them. Which is why horror mixes with humor so beautifully in so many books and movies.

What made you want to be a writer?

I have always had stories in my head and enjoyed writing them down. In fact, I wanted to be a writer from the time I was a little girl, though I didn’t think that would be possible. But it still comes down to having that voice in my head and wanting to hear where it goes and what it ends up saying.

If you could, would you change places with any of your characters?

From MARRIED WITH ZOMBIES, probably not. Getting chased by the zombie horde is not good. LOL. But I think I am somewhat like Sarah. We share a snarky sense of humor, though I hope I’m a little nicer to my husband.

What was the hardest scene for you to write?

Honestly, this book was a dream for me! It stretched out ahead of me like a movie (which normally doesn’t happen) and was really fun to write! The second book in the series was harder since I started second guessing myself. LOL

If you still have one, what’s your day job? If you don’t, how long did it take before you could support yourself only on your writing?

I don’t have a day job. Actually when I left college my husband really encouraged me to follow my dream and write full time. I couldn’t have supported myself on my income until the last couple of years, but it’s slowly but surely becoming a more lucrative profession for me. You definitely can’t write for the money, the industry is just too unpredictable. And it will break your heart.

What is your university degree in and does it help with your writing?

I actually have a degree in psychology and intended to get a Masters in counseling. So I think in this book it definitely helps, though I’m not sure what it means that my main characters kill the thing I intended to be right off the bat. I’m sure some other psychologist would have something to say about that.

When and where do you write?

I have a home office and I write there mostly (though I do occasionally break out with the laptop if I’m traveling). I write every day, five days a week and try to meet a certain number of pages each day to get to my final goal.

What’s the best/worst thing about writing?

The best thing is being able to share those stories with readers. There’s nothing better than having a reader contact you to say they loved your book or it made them laugh or made them cry. It’s an amazing feeling. The worst part? Well, most of publishing is out of the hands of the authors. You can do everything right and a book just won’t “hit”, which is frustrating. Or someone will just hate the book and lambast it everywhere. All these things, I cannot control.

Do you have any advice for hopeful authors?

Write something you love and your enthusiasm will come through. Also, realize that publishing is a marathon, not a sprint. For most people, a first sale or success doesn’t happen overnight. Write because you love to write.

How do you discipline yourself to write?

I just know I have to do it every day. People are depending on me to deliver a manuscript on a certain date and I know I have to write X pages every day to get to that date. So I do it. I don’t wait for a “muse” or “the mood” to strike me. I sit down and I write. And I know I can edit later and make the words I’ve put down perfect. Or closer to perfect anyway.

How many rejection letters did you get for your first novel or story?

Before I sold my first book, which was in a different genre, I stopped counting rejections after 100. For the zombie books, I was lucky to have an auction for my book, which meant multiple publishers were bidding on the work. There were a few passes, but the publishers were very supportive and excited about the book. So I can’t complain.

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