Author Interview: Ryan Hill

Today I sat down with Ryan Hill, author of Book of Bart, to talk about his new zombie thriller: Dead New World. It comes out on October 13th, but I'll let Ryan tell you all about it and why it's worth a buy:

Conversation Key: This font is Drew / This one is Ryan

Dead New World seems to be about more than just a different kind of zombie; it’s about a different kind of zombie apocalypse. Without going too far into spoilers, can you talk about some of the things that make this different from the other works that have touched on this topic?


DNW is absolutely a different kind of zombie story. Everybody kind of has their own spin on the zombie apocalypse, and this is mine. Long story made short, I wanted to create a zombie story full of things I’d always wanted to see in a zombie story but never had. The biggest difference between DNW and every other zombie story, or at least the ones I’ve come across, is that people can survive infection. I consider it a virus, and no virus has a 100% kill rate, so in DNW, the kill rate is…99%. Sounds like a cop-out, but that provided me with the opportunity to have people who’ve survived zombie infection. In DNW, those survivors become sort of human-zombie hybrids. Their skin is a mixture of living and dead, and they have the ability to not only communicate with zombies, but control them.


Okay, look, I’ll be honest with you: I only have it me to produce, one, maybe two serious questions in any given interview. So, I really hope you enjoyed that on point opportunity to talk about the piece, because we’re off the reservation on the ADHD express. Buckle in. Would you like a beer?


I’ll take two. This is actually the part of the interview I’ve been waiting for. I’m so excited, in fact, I’m doing the rest of this interview in the nude.


Glad you said yes, or ignoring you if you said no. Anyway, Ryan, you’re fairly new to the book world, with Book of Bart debuting a few months back. What made you decide to take the plunge and start publishing?


I’d always wanted to be a writer of some sort, and even spent several months in Los Angeles with dreams of being a screenwriter. Needless to say, that didn’t work out, but I still write. As far as taking the plunge, it’s not so much a decision I made. It was more I found a publisher who liked my work enough to start publishing it. If I had my way, I’d have been a published author for several years, kissed a day job good bye, and did nothing but write for the rest of my life.


As an author, which historical figure would you most like to fist-fight (gentleman’s challenge or outright brawl, your call) and why?


The generic answer would be Hitler, so I’ll pass on that. I’m not really a violent person, so this is harder than you’d think. I’m going to go with Charles Ponzi. Because few things are lower than scamming people out of their hard-earned money. If that answer doesn’t work, then I’ll change my answer to Drew Hayes.


You’re going to be trapped on a deserted island for the rest of your life, what two books do you bring along? (Bear in mind, these could be used for information, food, bathroom utility, whatever you need)


One would be The Foxfire Book, because it’s a survival book. My dad has it. The other would be Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. It’s not my favorite book (that’s a tie between Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity and Rowling’s Harry Potter series), but I it, and it’s very long, providing more entertainment value.


To write about zombies, we’ve got to assume you have some love for the source material. Who or what are some of your favorite zombie writers/books/stories/interpretative dances?


The best interpretative zombie dance, hands down, is the Thriller dance. My favorite zombie book is Max Brooks’ World War Z. They should’ve made that a 13 episode HBO miniseries, not a movie where Brad Pitt runs around in a scarf. Isaac Marion’s Warm Bodies is also fantastic. Jonathan Maberry’s Rot & Ruin novels are also pretty good.


Oooh! Something relevant! Told you I could do two. For those out there who really like Dead New World, can you tell us if it’s part of a series, or if this a stand-alone work?


For those out there? You mean for EVERYONE out there, right? Right? RIGHT?


Yes, it’s the first in a trilogy (of terror). The next one will be called Dark New World, and the finale is just…wait for it…The New World. Also, not only do I realize it’s a shameless rip-off of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, I don’t care. So take that.


Okay, I apologize, but you had to know this was coming. As established, Dead New World clearly takes place in a different sort of zombie apocalypse than most people are used to, but no interview on the subject would be complete if I didn’t ask what your Zombie Apocalypse Survival Plan was.


My plan is to find a secluded house on a lake, far away from everything, to reduce the chances of running into a zombie or two. I’d fish for food, have a garden, and build a big fence (or three) (or five) around my place. I’d make occasional trips into civilization if necessary, but I would make sure to cover myself in something a zombie couldn’t bite through. Maberry’s Rot & Ruin novels use the ingenious idea of making jackets out of carpet, because you can’t bite through it.


Last one: Give everyone the release date, price point, and one line spiel about why they should buy Dead New World. (They should, duh, but let’s hear it in your own witty words).


Dead New World will be released on Monday, Oct. 13, the day after the new season of The Walking Dead premieres. It’ll be $4.99 on ebook, and probably $10.99 or $11.99 in paperback. People should buy it because not only is it chock-full of zombie action and horror, complete with some of the coolest zombie deaths of all time, but each copy of the book (or my other one, The Book of Bart) gets me one step closer to realizing my dream of being a full-time writer. I’d really like to make that happen.