by Jay Wilburn
Dane Hatchell has a well-established career in horror and zombies in particular. Much of his work has a sci fi flare to it that I associate with my favorite adventure stories. His style is deep and thought provoking too though. The premises he tackles and the twists he puts on the genre create unique stories and characters for readers.
What draws me to his work beyond the great storytelling and excellent character development is the sometimes wild angles he takes into the story. A common question for a lot of zombie authors in particular is what makes their stories different. You’d be surprised by how many authors answer that question by telling something you have heard or seen before. Dane Hatchell really does come up with something very different every time even when he is utilizing classic, Romero zombies. He is not afraid to take the zombie virus in a crazy new direction though, so watch out any time you pick up a Hatchell book. Resurrection X really expanded the paradigm, if you ever start to believe all zombie stories are the same. The Dark Times he cowrote with PA Douglas uses the old school zombie survival story, but hits the characters in waves in a way that changes the entire dynamic. That work is a great introduction to this writing team and what they are capable of doing with a story.
Hatchell teamed up with PA Douglas again in writing The End. With The Dark Times, Hatchell tackled the story first and then put it into Douglas’s hands. They brought that story to a conclusion they both agreed upon. Together, they took that story into some unexpected places. They set the stage to collaborate again on The End and amped up their storytelling to give readers and genre fans something worth sinking their teeth into.
Hatchell and Douglas had been associates for many years before they decided to write together. This gave them plenty of time to establish their voices and build their strengths as writers before they joined forces to create incredible work together. Hatchell had the opportunity to proofread works by Douglas and got a good feel for his capabilities and the kind of stories he could tell.
Hatchell learned a lot about writing and the business from watching the careers of Joe McKinney and Jonathan Maberry. They have both blurbed his work before which was quite an honor for him. Hatchell also took their lead in finding ways to give back of himself to the industry and others authors.
There will be more co-writing in the future for Hatchell, but he will be delivering some great work on his own too before that. He’s working on a zombie novel about some good ol’ boys from West Virginia. It will be characters that stocked up on weapons and ammo just waiting for the apocalypse to happen. There will be a lot of wild fun in it and if I know Hatchell’s work, he’ll surprise us with where the story goes.