Jonathan Maberry - May 2009

Jonathan Maberry

 

Let's face it... we here at the Little Professor are somewhat fond of zombies.  And by somewhat, I mean we have an official Zombie Preparedness Officer.  Therefore, we are very critical of new zombie books.  And I have to say, we didn't see this coming.
Jonathan Maberry has taken terrorism to the next level with his novel Patient Zero just out from St. Martin's Griffin.  The terrorists have a bio-weapon that will turn it's victims into zombies.  What do you do?  You call Joe Ledger.  You may not know his name, but for the non-brain eating populace he is the thin line between us and un-death.  Kudos to you Jonathan Maberry.  You wrote an original zombie story and we love it! 
Jonathan Maberry when not writing about scary, scary zombie-making diseases can be found on his Big Scary Blog (no, seriously, that's what it's called).  He has three previous novels and seems to do a bit of everything; fiction, non-fiction, plays, teaching, and even comics.  What can we say?  He keeps busy, but not (perhaps) out of trouble.
 
 
Drew:
What did you buy with your first royalty check?
 
JONATHAN MABERRY:
First purchase…flowers and some jewelry for my very, very patient wife, Sara Jo.   After that…a whole lotta books.

 

Drew:
 Isn't the cover design for Patient Zero crazy awesome?
 
JONATHAN MABERRY:
It’s my favorite book cover (of my own stuff) so far.  Creepy, evocative and powerful.

 

Drew
Lager or stout?  Alternatively: Pepsi or Coke?
 
JONATHAN MABERRY:
Yuengling Lager.  Though…I did knock back a few Dead Guy Ales (Rogue Brewery) during the writing of PATIENT ZERO.  As far as soda goes…I seldom drink it….though when I do, I’ll probably grab a Coke.  It reminds me of being a kid and buying a cold bottle of Coke and a stack of comics with my allowance.

 

Drew
Is it easier to start writing a book, or to finish one?
 
JONATHAN MABERRY:
Easier to start, but much more fun to finish it.  I love that race against the clock (both in terms of story and deadline!).

 

Drew
 Are prions really that scary, or did you lie to me?
 
JONATHAN MABERRY:
Well, they scare the bejeezus out of the world-class epidemiologists I tapped during my research.  If those guys are scared, then I’m a short step away from running for the hills.

 

Drew:
 Patient Zero is something of a mash-up of two genres: military adventure and, well, zombies.  What's wrong, one genre just not enough for you?
 
JONATHAN MABERRY:
Nah.  I love thrillers –always have, and I’m a science geek.  And as far as I see it, most of the better zombie stories are actually science fiction rather than horror.  Zombies are a metaphor for other kinds of threats, like the very real threat of a global pandemic.  They work well in a thriller.  And, let’s face it, they’re cool…in a dead, rotting, going-to-eat-you kinda way.


Drew:
What makes a good sandwich?
 
JONATHAN MABERRY:
 Lots of turkey, Swiss cheese, a hint of lettuce and nothing else.  I’m a sandwich minimalist and I don’t like messy food unless I’m eating Middle Eastern-style.  Oh…and a sandwich is only as good as the Kosher dills that accompany it.  Any sandwich shop that doesn’t give you at least one fat slice of pickle is probably operated by terrorists and should be on a watch list.

 

Drew:
  St. Martin's seems to have a lot of confidence in Joe Ledger as an ongoing series anchor.  Are you planning to go a different direction with any possible sequels, or are you sticking to zombies?
 
JONATHAN MABERRY:
The next two books are zombie-free.  This isn’t a horror series –these are techno-thrillers.  Or science thrillers.  I grew up reading reprints of the old Doc Savage pulps in which a smart hero used cutting edge science against seemingly overwhelming threats. 
I jumped aboard the ‘thriller’ train when Michael Crichton released THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN, and I read just about anything that pits an inventive and intelligent hero against an equally inventive and intelligent villain.

            That said, the second Joe Ledger novel, THE DRAGON FACTORY, deals with a cabal of scientists using cutting-edge genetics to create a program of global ethnic cleansing and to restart the Nazi Eugenics program.  That one’s done and delivered and my editor at St. Martins says it’s even better than PATIENT ZERO.

            I’m currently researching and writing THE KING OF PLAGUES, in which Joe Ledger squares off against a madman who has discovered that the Tenth Plague of Egypt was a pathogen, and he’s weaponizing it for use in terrorism.

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