by Jay Wilburn
Brice Chandler has been a fan of the post-apocalyptic ever since he watched his first Mad Max film as a kid. Zombies have always been his biggest fear as a kid though. The country home he grew up in was within sight of a cemetery. It was secluded and exposed – the perfect place to attract a few zombies for an undead standoff. He had a fear of zombies before he even had a word for them. There was something primal in his being that sensed deep down and early on what there was to fear in this genre. In a way, this connection may be what gives his zombie stories an edge that attracts me as a fan and a reader. He gets the fear that many people don’t see on the surface of the genre. Some potential audience of zombie fiction is jaded and disconnected from that uncanny uneasiness that is inherent to the concept of the zombie. I think Chandler writes that fear back into his stories better than many today because he gets it still from such a core level reaction. I like what he does with that gut level connection.
He always wanted to be a storyteller. The first Whiskey Jack novel began as short story in 2001 while Chandler was on a military deployment. That’s when he made the decision that he wanted to take his love and fear of zombies and put them out there in the world in his own stories.
He made a conscious choice with both Whisky Jack and with his latest Where Fallen Angels Lie to take the zombie concept in completely different directions. Whiskey Jack evolved into novel form from the short story, but the concept was born out of a vivid dream. When Chandler lived in Jacksonville, Florida, as he was driving with his wife, he imagined a giant zombie chasing a character. That became a pivotal and unique aspect of the Whiskey Jack story.
Where Fallen Angels Lie was a long time in the making. It evolved as well from a pure literary piece about a friendship between two kids of different cultural backgrounds to a story that included virtual reality zombies which is what drew this work onto the Winter of Zombie tour as a featured book. That story was heavily influenced by his connections to the zombie genre community thriving on Facebook. Other influences in that story included anime, Sword Art Online, Ready Player One, his own gamer experiences, and more.
Chandler admits to being a bit of a procrastinator in his creative process. He ends up spending a long time letting stories develop in his mind before he begins to commit them to the page. Once he begins writing, they sometimes flow into the first draft fairly quickly. He has also spent time plotting and creating outlines before writing with some projects. With all the twists in turns in Where Fallen Angels Lie, he relied on the outlines pretty heavily for that story. Whiskey Jack was a story that flew onto the page a little more freely.
He has a few stories in development as I write this. He’s working on a co-written dystopian sci fi story that he’s been developing on for a while. That project appears to be the start of a new series that should be available soon. He’s also putting together a fast zombie versus kaiju adventure with survivors caught in the middle. I’m excited to see how that one plays out. He writes satire and is working on turning one of his zombie short stories into a short film. Chandler is also working on television screen plays in a comedic drama category. Ultimately, he is driven to engage the audience with stories in any way he can.