After years of Weenies and superheroes, David Lubar finally settles down to write his first long-term narrative series — starring a 10-year-old half-dead zombie — in My Rotten Life (Nathan Abercrombie, Accidental Zombie #1).
An interview with David about this, wherein he — exploiting the editorial "we" — interviews him(self).
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Q. Your name seems vaguely familiar. Have we met?
A. If you have kids, I'm probably on their summer reading list, saving them from a date with Johnny Tremain.
Q. No, I believe it has something to do with food.
A. You're thinking of my Weenies story collections. Those actually have little to do with food, except for certain stories where some of the less fortunate characters get eaten by a monster. This happens surprisingly often.
Q. That's horrifying.
Q. Let's move away from the Weenies. We're actually here to discuss your new series, Nathan Abercrombie, Accidental Zombie. Why did you choose to tackle zombies?
A. Have you ever tackled one? Their leg bones make this awesome snapping sound. Sort of like a really thick pretzel stick.
Q. I hope there's more to your interest than that. Seriously, why zombies?
A. Well, I was in this Chinese restaurant —
Q. Is this going to be some sort of tasteless, xenophobic anecdote involving strange foods?
A. Not at all. I was having dinner with my publisher in November of 2007. We were discussing ideas for a series when she mentioned that zombies were going to be popular. I liked the idea. I've written lots of short stories and books about various monsters. But I wasn't sure I wanted to go in that direction for a whole series.
Q. What changed your mind?
A. The next day, I was in the shower —
Q. Please — keep it clean.
A. Given the location, that seems inescapable. Anyhow, I was in the shower when I was hit by the image of a kid plucking out his eye and rolling it down a hallway so he could spy on someone. That got me thinking about the possibilities of a zombie spy. From there, the train of thought ran smack into fifth-grader Nathan Abercrombie.
Q. Please tell me he doesn't really pluck out his eye.
A. Not so far. But I'm only on book three. Still, I think it's safe to say book four won't be titled Oedipus Zombie.
Q. You seem to be enjoying yourself with all of this. Was it fun to write My Rotten Life?
A. Definitely. I don't belong to the angst-and-whining school of writing. I'm having a ball with this series. I enjoyed creating a lovable zombie hero. A couple of wonderful sidekicks showed up right away (though it's bad form to kick a zombie in the side), and I got to craft some scenes that are so over the top, I'm still grinning. I'd share a couple of details, but there's a chance some of the folks out there are reading this during a meal.
Q. Speaking of meals, does Nathan crave brains?
A. Nope. He's not a mindless, limb-munching monster. He's actually only half-dead. He can walk, talk, and think. But he has no heartbeat. He doesn't breathe or feel physical pain. It's sort of like he became a teenager several years ahead of schedule.
Q. Last question. Weenie-versus-zombie death match. Who wins?
A. Stupid question. The zombie's already dead.
Q. Sorry. I'm new at this. Any final words?
A. Check out my rotten new book. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll gag a little. Nice job with the questions. I hope we meet again.