by Jay Wilburn
Lauren M Wilson’s passion for zombies and cooking came together with The Art of Eating through the Zombie Apocalypse. It continued when she was approached to write The Walking Dead: The Official Cookbook and Survival Guide.
She grew up in an Italian family, her mother is Italian, and so food has always been a big part of her family life. She did a marketing degree in college, but wanted to do something more creative and hands on; food was the natural choice.
On a trip home from college, she became hooked on Resident Evil. This progressed into other zombie fiction, media, entertainment, zombie walks, and more. She was hooked on the trope from that point forward.
I asked her if she had ever considered writing a straight cookbook. She said no. It was the idea of marrying the two interests that really excited her. That being said, and now that she has written two apocalypse cookbooks, she is now working on a third cookbook that has nothing to do with zombies or survival.
Insight Editions, the publisher of The Walking Dead: The Official Cookbook and Survival Guide, connected to Wilson on the project because of her first book. They licensed the rights from AMC and then asked her if she was interested in working on the TWD book since she had already written The Art of Eating Through the Zombie Apocalypse.
I asked her about the difference between watching the show as a fan and rewatching it for the purposes of creating the cookbook. The thing she hears most when she is talking to fans and media is that they didn’t realize there was so much food in the series. And she gets it. That makes total sense to her because most people aren’t watching the show for the food moments. But, there are lots and lots of food moments and when she sat down to map out the book, she wanted to make it as true to the universe of the show as possible. So, she rewatched 92 episodes (the manuscript was due during the hiatus between the seventh and eighth seasons) frame by frame to make sure she could get as many food moments from the show as possible. So, she would say 90% of the recipes are foods that the characters eat, or make, or talk about. The rest are inspired by characters, locations, or situations from the show. While she may have noticed food while watching the show before, this process was next level. She really tried to dissect (to be punny) the series as best she could.
I asked her about her feelings as a fan preceding the start of the eighth season of The Walking Dead. She said, we all know it’s going to be chaotic. But her take is based on watching the trailer and the note that they left the show off on at the end of the seventh season, and she reads that feeling as a hopeful one. It’s an empowered one. She thinks we are going to see Rick and his army fight with everything they have and she thinks they are going to win.
She tells me the promotion process has been great. She’s working with the publicist at Insight and also decided to invest in herself and hired her own publicist. The best part of the promotion for her has been nerding out with TWD fans. They are so great, she says. She has connected to some really lovely people in the process. I saw a pitch for the book on a Talking Dead episode. Very exciting.
I hope I have made the case for Lauren M Wilson. Check out The Walking Dead: The Official Cookbook and Survival Guide and check out her first book as well.