by Jay Wilburn
James Wallace is the author of the Zombie Theorem series. The two books out so far follow a few key characters that have to go from ordinary to extraordinarily heroic during an outbreak sweeping over San Francisco. In book one and then leading into book two, the characters discover that there is more behind the zombies than a simple virus. The conspiracy goes deep and involves a sinister plot to use zombies as weapons. Book two does a great job with an expanded cast and a goal of getting away from the epicenter of danger. They want to save important people in their lives too, but these goals may prove to be out of their reach even as they uncover more secrets about the zombies and what caused them.
Wallace does a good job of mixing in what I love about zombie stories along with new elements that keep the story fresh and different. He has loved zombies and horror and has been reading both since he was young. I think this appreciation for the genre fuels a great, driven story through both books so far. His inspiration for the story came from him wondering why he had not seen a story where the zombies were used as a tool and that’s what Zombie Theorem became. Dan and Brian became real characters with layers and distinction as they tried to unravel the mystery of the Culling.
He takes influence from a wide range of horror, but he is a great fan of what George Romero created. He likes the work of other authors that have gone in new directions with their zombies. Wallace has kept his undead slow and dumb, choosing to explore the story through other elements of the human characters.
I tried to press him for details of where the story was going to go after book two, the latest release as of the writing of this post. He told me he has an idea of the direction of the story, but not a concrete plan exactly. He likes to let the characters and the story surprise him as he sits behind the keyboard. In my opinion, the first two books of the series show that technique to be working for him.
He wants readers to enjoy characters that find personal and human growth in the face of what would otherwise be viewed as the absolute end. He focuses on the emotional costs paid by his characters and the leaps of faith they must make to fight and to survive. He considers the story successful when he gets a reaction from readers – either happy or upset by what has happened in the story. If a reader feels a connection to a particular character, Wallace feels that means he has done a good job writing those characters. There are more than a few characters worth attaching to as a reader in these stories, I think.
Jay Wilburn lives with his wife and two sons in Conway, South Carolina near the Atlantic coast of the southern United States. He has a Masters Degree in education and he taught public school for sixteen years before becoming a full time writer. He is the author of many short stories including work in Best Horror of the Year volume 5, Zombies More Recent Dead, Shadows Over Mainstreet, and Truth or Dare. He is the author of the Dead Song Legend Dodecology and the music of the five song soundtrack recorded as if by the characters within the world of the novel The Sound May Suffer. He also wrote the novels Loose Ends and Time Eaters. He is one of the four authors behind the Hellmouth trilogy. He cowrote The Enemy Held Near with Armand Rosamilia. Jay Wilburn is a regular columnist with Dark Moon Digest. Follow his many dark thoughts on Twitter, Instagram, and Periscope as @AmongTheZombies, his Facebook author page, and at JayWilburn.com