I am pleased to welcome Jill James with a fun interview, and an intriguing new release….
Where did you get the idea for Love in the Time of Zombies?
I love reading in the zombie apocalypse genre and of course, romance. So I thought, why not combine the two?
Why did you choose this genre (is it something you’ve written in before)?
No, this is my first time. My other books are contemporary and paranormal romance.
Was there anything unusual, any anecdote about this book, the characters, title, process, etc, you’d like to share?
The title is, of course, a play on Love in the Time of Cholera. I wanted to write a very strong female lead and LITTOZ is definitely Emily’s story.
What is the most difficult thing about writing a book?
Butt in chair, Hands on keyboard. Once I’m writing, I’m fine. But that showing up every day is hard for me.
What was the most difficult thing about this one in particular?
This book had my largest cast to date. I had to use index cards on a white board to keep track of people and attributes.
What book have you read that you wish you would have written?
World War Z by Max Brooks. That book started my zombie apocalypse binge reading. He took such a chance writing it as a series of articles and interviews.
What do you love that most people don’t like and wouldn’t understand why you do?
Well, probably the whole zombie apocalypse thing. I love The Walking Dead, Zombieland, and even Shaun of the Dead. I’ve probably read 500 ZA books in the past two years.
What’s your favorite book of all time and why? What’s your favorite childhood book?
Skye O’Malley by Bertrice Small That book is timeless. Skye O’Malley is such a kickbutt heroine. I love her!! My favorite childhood book was the Little House on the Prairie books. It opened my eyes that someone could write a book about their life and people would want to read it.
What actors would you like in the main roles if your book were made into a movie?
I’ve always envisioned Alex O’Loughlin as Seth Ripley in my book. With longer hair and those soulful eyes. Yum! For Emily Gray it has always been Alyssa Milano in my mind. That deceptive fragility she has and the under layer of steel.
What genre have you never written that you’d like to write?
Historical romance. The research necessary scares me.
What is your favorite quote?
Do. Or do not. There is no try. –Yoda
Now Jill has a question for our readers…
Would you survive the zombie apocalypse?
**** Pre-order for Kindle – ONLY 99¢ –
Releases January 15, 2015 – CLICK HERE ****
Influenza swept the planet. In months, two billion were dead. In the decimated United States, President Andrew Thomas signed an Executive Order to spray the national food and water supply with a flu vaccine. It spread and mutated up the food chain. The infected craved the flesh of the living and the undead walked the earth.
Overnight, Emily Gray’s privileged world was ripped away. From pampered trophy wife to sharpshooter zombie hunter. From an elite address in San Francisco to the outskirts of an East Bay farm town. You never know what event will define you. The apocalypse showed Emily what she was truly capable of doing to survive.
Seth Ripley was a truck driver with simple dreams. Pay off his mortgage, not live paycheck to paycheck, and take care of his mom. The end of the world as he knew it stole all that away. His home and livelihood are gone and the only dream he has left is for his mother to awake from her diabetic coma brought on from the trials and tribulations of getting out of Oakland ahead of the horde of undead.
When surviving day to day is all you ask of life, love seems an unrealistic dream. Who would ever think that something as terrible as the zombie apocalypse could bring Seth and Emily something as wonderful as their other half, their soul mate, their true love?
Now all they have to do is survive death, destruction, and a madman who wants to control what is left of the world they knew.
Guess you never know. Who would have thought something as terrible as the zombie apocalypse would bring me something as wonderful as Seth Ripley?
Of course, the zombies got my mother and my father, and my husband, Carl. Pretty much, they got my whole family. Okay, my husband Carl had been an asshole so he was no great loss. Never could keep it in his pants, if I may be so crude. If he could’ve kept it in his pants, he may have kept that appendage altogether. But, it was the early days of the Z virus mutation and how could he know the hooker he took to the cheap by-the-hour motel had the sickness? I’m sure he didn’t realize anything until the woman chewed it off, to be honestly blunt. He never was a great one for paying attention during sex as it was. Oh, maybe in the early days of our marriage, but he’d changed in the last few years, just before the end of the world.
Five years of him spreading it far and wide to prove his virility and all I was left with was a one-sheet police report and a blurred photo of Carl with one between the opaque, dead eyes. The police had stopped trying to take sickies to the hospital a couple of weeks before. By the time Carl was attacked it was kill ‘em, identify ‘em, and burn ‘em in a pile. KIB was the order of the day. A few weeks after that and they skipped the identify part of the acronym too. A few weeks more and there weren’t enough police or bullets for the killing part either.
Six months had passed and the police were all gone, along with the military. Now it was survival of the fittest. Never in a million years would I have pictured myself; neglected society, trophy-wife, Emily Gray, in that category. Guess you never know.
Your day could start so shitty and end so… well, not great, because there weren’t too many great days anymore. The only definition to divide the monotony of the days were get bitten by a zombie day and not get bitten by a zombie day. But that day would turn out better than most. At least it would with a great deal of hindsight and distance from the event. Adding a whole hell of a lot of seeing a silver-lining after the fact helped too.
As with most days, I had zombie patrol for the morning, which was so not my best time of the day. But zombies don’t have an off switch so we had to hunt first thing in the morning to clear the perimeter around the giant mall.
Did you know shopping centers are the best defense against zombies? Me neither, until I got shipped out of what was left of San Francisco to the middle of nowhere—Brentwood. I’d never even heard of the town before I got sent there. Shopping centers are like medieval castles. Brick up the front doors and small back doors and the roof is like the battlements of a castle. Zombies can’t climb. Thank God for any small favor we could get. It’s about the only advantage we have. Because we have to sleep and the zombies don’t.
We were the last escapees of the city by the bay. Pre-Z the city had a population of more than 850, 000. In the end, San Francisco had 5,000 living beings to round up and ship to other communities to the east. The lieutenant governor (the governor had turned on live television and been put down) declared San Francisco the land of the undead, and blew up the bridges connecting it to the rest of the state and collapsed the Caldecott Tunnel for good measure. A bunch of massive explosions of entire city blocks to the south and San Francisco was pretty much an island of zombies.
My skin had burned lobster-red my first week of roof living here. San Francisco is more known for fog and chilly days than for getting a suntan. Once I tanned, it was the burnished copper of my ancestors—Native Americans of some unknown tribe, according to my mother. Way back in our ancestry, she had always been sure to add. The long hair my husband had insisted on was gone—happily. Long hair and zombies did not mix. My first day there I’d seen a young, blonde girl pulled back by her long braid and devoured in a dirt field. Long hair gone. Also happily gone, the extra thirty pounds I had carried through my unhappy marriage years. Running from zombies was the best aerobic exercise around. The penalty for missing a day of exercise was death—or nondeath in our case.
No one knew for sure back then if the animals were susceptible to the mutation, and what eating them would do to us, so breakfast was lots of fruits, vegetables, and soy patties. After six months of eating the food and drinking the water, either we were going to turn undead or not as far as I was concerned. I looked at it like this, if we were going to turn, we would have already done so. Scientific types were still testing cows and pigs to see if they just had the flu vaccine in them or if it would mutate in them too. Hadn’t seen any pigs or cows running amok yet.
Jill James is a published author with The Wild Rose Press and now self-published. Her books are contemporary romance, paranormal romance, and urban fantasy romance. She lives in Northern California with her husband who is the inspiration behind all her romance novel heroes.
Jill has been a member of Romance Writers of America since 2004. She started her work career as an accountant but soon realized that books and writing were her passion. Her first published book, Tempting Adam with The Wild Rose Press was a combination of her love of romance novels and the golden era of Hollywood movies.
Her hobbies are writing and reading, not necessarily in that order.