WHERE TO FIND RICK CHESLER:
WHERE TO FIND DAVID SAKMYSTER:
Holy Crap, 3.5 readers. Holy Freaking Crap.
I’m so excited I’m about to plotz.
Since the beginning of time, there have been two badass varieties of monster:
- Zombies who ravenously devour any humans in their way.
- Dinosaurs who ravenously devoured any other dinosaurs who got in their way.
Zombies, as far as I know, are fictional. At least I think they are. Maybe that’s just what “The Man” wants me to believe.
Dinosaurs, on the other hand, were very real. Long ago, they walked the Earth, stomping and chomping along, ruling all they surveyed like a bunch of gruesome lizard kings.
My next two guests have taken the sheer awesomeness of zombies and the raw power of dinosaurs to create two novels about….drumroll please…ZOMBIE DINOSAURS!
Oh my God I’m so excited I’ve got to pop a Xanax. (Kids, that’s just a joke. Say no to drugs.)
Rick Chesler and David Sakmyster are the co-authors of Jurassic Dead.
When a research team uncovers fully preserved dinosaur corpses buried underneath the surface of Antarctica, what begins as a major scientific discovery turns into a deadly race to save the world from zombie dinosaurs run amuck.
The zombie-saur madness continues in Jurassic Dead 2 – Z-Volution. A maniacal villain attempts to conquer the world, starting with Washington, D.C., with an army of zombie dinosaurs!
I…I can’t even begin to describe how cool this all is. I need to sit down.
NOTE: BOLD = BQB; ITALICS = Rick and/or David
Q. Rick and David. Thanks for joining me for this interview. Can we just get right down to it? Do you dudes realize how epically fabulous this idea is? How did you come up with it in the first place?
A. RICK: Thanks very much for having us! We’re glad you like the concept. I’d always been interested in dinosaurs and am a Brontosaurus-sized fan of Jurassic Park (and now Jurassic World). So decades after that book came out, when my 4-year old kid was playing with plastic dinosaurs on the floor the night after The Walking Dead was on TV, and he started having the dinos attack imaginary zombies, a little light bulb flicked on for me and I thought, “Now that would be interesting, how could that happen…”
BQB EDITORIAL NOTE: I hope you buy that kid all the toys he wants. Totally earned it.
Q. Listen, I have zero pull in Hollywood, but I have to say, these books seem made for the big screen. I would surely be in the front row on opening day stuffing my pie hole full of popcorn. On the off chance that Steven Spielberg stops by this blog on accident, please give him a pitch as to why we need Jurassic Dead: The Movie.
A. DAVID: “Hey Steve, listen… You know that Jurassic Park thing you were involved with? How about this? Similar feel and style, yet instead of cloning the things, we make them zombies. Yep, they’re even hungrier, nastier and oh a heck of a lot harder to kill. What do you say?”
Q. Without delving too far into spoilers, can you give my 3.5 readers the lowdown on the science behind how a zombie dinosaur, in theory, might be possible?
A. RICK: The way it is presented in JURASSIC DEAD, without giving any plot spoilers, is that dinosaurs have been found frozen whole in an Antarctic underground lake (real life Lake Vostok). This means that their blood, and whatever it had been infected with before they died, is still in their veins, frozen solid. So suppose that all the dinosaurs on Earth were actually wiped out by some type of microbial infection as opposed to, say, a meteor…Well, these frozen ones would be thawed out with that infection still in their blood. In the novel it is suggested that the infectious agent could be a prion, a type of protein well-known in real life for causing mad cow disease.
Q. Zombie-saurs. Dastardly villains. Heroes. Are you guys students of the action/thriller genre? Because it seems to me that you’ve packed all the elements an action movie fan would be looking for into these books.
A. DAVID: Of course being a fan of the genre(s), we made sure to pack this book with not only a lot of our favorite action tropes, but also tried to keep it fresh and exciting and take the action in different dimensions than what you’d expect. That carries true in the next two books as well. With a subject like this, there’s the danger of having it perceived as being too obvious and SyFy-movie-of-the-week, but we tried to elevate everything to keep readers on their toes, to shock and surprise, and make you think too in new ways about everything you thought you expected.
Q. Rick, you hold a Bachelor of Science in marine biology and have long been interested in the ocean and the mysteries locked in its depths. You’re even a master scuba diver. As a scientist/ocean explorer, do you draw on any of your experience in your writing? How did you do so with Jurassic Dead?
A. RICK: Many of my novels are set in and around the ocean or have threats born directly from the ocean that the main characters must deal with (HOTEL MEGALODON, WIRED KINGDOM, OUTCAST Ops: The Poseidon Initiative). While JURASSIC DEAD is not an “ocean novel” or sea monster novel per se, there are definitely significant story elements involving the sea that I had a lot of fun with.
For starters, the opening Antarctic scenes and the ice-breaker ship to transport the dinosaurs. The ocean voyage through a storm and ultimate shipwreck to reach the tropical volcanic island the bad guy has set up as his mad scientist base of operations. And in JURASSIC DEAD 2: Z-volution, there are actually a few prehistoric sea monsters swimming amok in modern times, which of course is great fun while scary at the same time.
Q. Similar question for David. Your Morpheus Initiative series has been described as a mashup of the archaeological adventure and paranormal genres, or in other words “Indiana Jones meets the X-Files.” On your blog, you discuss how when other kids were checking out Disney tales, your father was reading you Edgar Allen Poe’s greatest hits, and that you dreamed of becoming an author at a young age. Can you tell my 3.5 readers and I how you drew on your interest in archaeology and the paranormal to create zombie dinosaurs?
A. DAVID: Historical mysteries are my favorite obsession, and pairing that interest with the paranormal made for a thrilling combination with the Morpheus Initiative books. When the opportunity to write about zombie dinosaurs came along, naturally I gravitated toward speculation—what would have made them turn into zombies back then (and allow for their continued existence in the present day? That line of thinking led to some interesting alternative theories about what did the dinosaurs in back then, and allowed us to play with some really intriguing ideas.
Q. How did you two find each other? One or two of my 3.5 readers are aspiring authors. Any advice for finding and working with a writing partner?
A. RICK: David and I were (and are) both members of the same writer’s “support group,” where a small number of us discuss the business of writing from time to time. We had also both been separately published by the same small press a few years earlier, and in fact both had short stories appear in an anthology called THE GAME, which featured stories based on the classic adventure-thriller, The Most Dangerous Game, where big game hunters track humans for sport. So when I decided to seek a co-author on JURASSIC DEAD, I wanted someone with significant horror novel experience whom I also trusted to get the job done. David was enthusiastic about the book and the rest, as they say, is history.
As for working with writing partners, first ask yourself, “Why do I need a co-author on this—why can’t I just write it myself? What is the other person ideally bringing to the table?”
It can be that you would like to work on two stories at once—co-authoring can allow you to do that. Or it can be that each author brings complimentary experience to the project. It can be both of those things. It can absolutely be a learning experience for each writer, both in terms of craft, where you’re seeing how other writers approach the creation of the same material, and in terms of project workflow and business, seeing firsthand how other writers get things done. I have worked with many different co-authors now and it has taught me a lot about the writing and book creation process.
Q. What’s next for you guys? Are more zombie-saurs coming our way in the future?
A. DAVID: I wouldn’t rule out anything, but for sure Jurassic Dead 3 will be out this year, where we wrap up things in a true trilogy fashion. Although as with any venture, this is such fun that it’s not one we may find easy to leave. I could see revisiting the world again—either in another novel or spin off stories (ala Fear the Jurassic Dead!?). We’ve created a fascinating and wildly open-world situation where there are any number of side stories that could be told. How about a story about extracting the dinosaurs or the behind-the-scenes madness that went into the villain’s plans? Stories of various rebel adventures or individual stories of everyday people (besides our main characters) fighting for survival.
Q. Thanks Rick and Dave. This was a lot of fun. Before I go, do you have any advice that might help my friends and I survive the East Randomtown Zombie Apocalypse?
A. RICK: Gear up and read a lot of zombie novels.