Welcome to the blog, Kim! Could you tell us a little bit about History is Dead: A Zombie Anthology?
It’s an anthology I edited a couple years ago, in which I asked contributors to set their stories before the Twentieth Century. So we ended up with lots of stories with zombies in unusual settings and living humans employing quite different tactics than we see when they’re fighting the undead in a contemporary setting.
What led you to write this book?
I wanted to see how people imagined fighting zombies in a world with much less firepower and mobility. I also wanted to see zombies as a more primal monster and not just a product of the late Twentieth Century. The results were a great range of stories, both in their particulars, and in their tone (some are hilarious, some are truly tragic).
You’re a professor of religious studies. How does your knowledge of the Bible and theology affect your writing?
I try to restrain myself from having a “message” as it were – but at the same time, I know I have a particular perspective, and it’s good for me to express it (subtly and not overtly). So I don’t want to be known as the “Christian zombie guy,” but I know that my outlook should come through in subtle ways, so people can have a deeper aesthetic experience of my work.
Why do you think zombies are so popular right now? Are there any underrated horror themes you’d like to see become more popular?
Zombies are a potent mix – primal fears that everyone has always had about death, dying, and the dead; expressed in a monster that embodies some uniquely modern fears of alienation, lack of individuality, being “lost in the crowd,” of not having meaning or purpose in one’s life; exacerbated by a contemporary fear of bio-terrorism, plagues, and genetic manipulation.
I always wondered why aliens never got more scary than in the original Alien movie. They seem more comical or a more vague threat to me now, whereas the original was a movie that truly scared me to death. I think something more should be done with them.
What is your best writing advice?
Read a lot. Even if you don’t end up writing something, your time’s been well spent.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Kim!
Entirely my pleasure, thanks!
Please write a short bio that includes any other writing or upcoming books. Any length from a few sentences to an average paragraph is fine.
Kim Paffenroth is Professor of Religious Studies at Iona College. He is the author of several books on the Bible and theology. His books in the horror genre include Gospel of the Living Dead: George Romero’s Visions of Hell on Earth (Baylor, 2006), which won the Bram Stoker Award; the Dying to Live series (Permuted Press, 2007-2011); and Valley of the Dead (Permuted Press, 2010). He lives in upstate New York with his wife and two children.
Kim Paffenroth can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and his blog at http://gotld.blogspot.com. (That’s the acronym for GOSPEL OF THE LIVING DEAD!)
History is Dead: A Zombie Anthology is available at Amazon, B&N, and any other online book retailer; it can be specially ordered at “regular,” brick and mortar bookstores.