Zombies: Too much or not enough?
When I set out to write CEMETERY CLUB, I never considered it a zombie novel, not in the sense of the Romero-type shambling brain eaters. Personally, I don’t like those types of zombies. I loved Night of the Living Dead, and even Dawn of the Dead. But since then, the genre’s been nothing but remakes and stupid plots, as far as I’m concerned. When you really think about it, those slow-mo zombies wouldn’t really pose much of a threat to the world. They’re too easy to kill.
Now, that’s not to say zombies can’t be really cool monsters. Look at Brian Keene’s zombies – intelligent, fast-moving, and caused by something other than the traditional toxic spill or alien bacteria. I’ve even used various types of zombies in some of my past works – CARNIVAL OF FEAR has a zombie scene, and my short stories The Armies of Anubis, Experimental Subject, Family First, and Home on the Range all feature zombies of the fast-moving, truly dangerous variety. But for me, CEMETERY CLUB was a story of demons and possession.
It wasn’t until I wrote the scene where Marisol is attacked in the coroner’s lab that one of the characters uttered the word zombie and I realized he was right – this was partly a zombie story, although these were probably the most atypical zombies around.
Knowing I’d written a zombie tale threw me for a loop. As I’ve said, I think the genre is rather played out. Zombie books, zombie movies, zombie video games, zombie TV shows, zombie comics – hell, there are even zombie clothing lines. A day doesn’t go by when someone doesn’t post a zombie comment on Facebook or Twitter. So the last thing I wanted to do was write a zombie book. It felt too much like jumping on a bandwagon that was already getting dangerously overcrowded. In fact, I seriously considered rewriting it to get rid of the zombie aspect.
Then I came to my senses. Sitting at my desk, I remembered some advice a good friend and famous writer had once given me: You don’t write the stories, the stories write themselves. You simply translate them and put them on paper. In other words, if CEMETERY CLUB worked best as a zombie story, then it should stay as a zombie story.
And so it did. And I’m glad. During the editing process, when I had to go back and read the book all over again, I felt happy with what I’d done. CEMETERY CLUB is partly a zombie tale, partly possession, and 100% a story about ordinary people struggling to survive in extraordinary circumstances. My zombies aren’t like anyone else’s (that I know of), so rather than jumping on the bandwagon I feel like maybe I opened a new path for the wagon to take. At least, I hope I did. That’s something for the readers to decide.
In the end, it comes down to something another writer once said: If you think your story is too clichéd, or too typical, take the damn thing and turn it upside down, shake it around, and change things up. It’s what I tried to do with my ghost novella, THE COLD SPOT, which also comes out this month. A new type of ghost than what people are used to.
JG Faherty has had a varied background that includes working as a laboratory manager, accident scene photographer, zoo keeper, research scientist, and resume writer. Growing up in the haunted Hudson Valley region of New York, some of his favorite playgrounds were abandoned houses and Revolutionary War cemeteries. His hobbies include urban exploring, photography, exotic animal rehabilitation, and playing the guitar. 2012 will see three new books published, CEMETERY CLUB, THE COLD SPOT, and HE WAITS. His past novels include CARNIVAL OF FEAR and GHOSTS OF CORONADO BAY.
Synopsis: 20 years ago four friends awoke an ancient evil, and only the Cemetery Club can stop it before the whole town ends up dead. Or worse.
Rocky Point is a small town with a violent history – mass graves, illegal medical experiments and brutal murders dating back centuries. Of course, when Cory, Marisol, John and Todd form the Cemetery Club, they know none of this. They’ve found the coolest place to party after school – an old crypt. But then things start to go bad. People get killed and the Cemetery Club knows the cause: malevolent creatures that turn people into zombies. When no one believes them, they descend into the infested tunnels below the town and somehow manage to stop the cannibalistic deaths.
Now, twenty years later, the horror is beginning again. The Cemetery Club must reunite to defeat the menace once and for all. The problem is they can’t remember how they did it the first time.
It’s a race against time to find the true source of evil infesting Rocky Point, as the Cemetery Club ventures into the cryptic maze, to face their demons in a final showdown.