by Jay Wilburn
Thomas Malafarina is the author of a wide range of horror and zombie stories in both short story form as well as novels. For the Summer of Zombie 2016 blog tour he was promoting book 2 in his Dead Kill series … Dead Kill Book 2: The Ridge of Change. As I spoke with him before and during the tour, I found out that he was working on book 3 and was working on ideas for a spin off that could potentially produce a series of books as well. Sometimes he feels like he has more ideas than life, time, and money will allow.
Malafarina largely thinks of himself as a horror writer and that is the mindset with which he approaches most writing projects. I got that sense reading his work both within the zombie sub genre and in his other work. It turns out though that he has a slightly different focus when he is writing specifically for the zombie trope. Still, I can see his horror mindset in that work as well, speaking as a reader.
He is a bit of a pantser at heart, it turns out. He waits for inspiration to hit and then runs with the ideas that motivate him in the moment. You can see that in the “on the edge” nature of his stories. The characters are dealing with a world where anything can happen because Malafarina lets the story unfold in whichever direction it might take him.
There is a certain dark edge to his work that I don’t think you get with every writer – not every horror writer and not even every zombie writer. I have long sensed that push in him toward the darker side. I think he’s trying to get somewhere with the stories, the characters, and the readers. He told me that he figures if he is going to write, he should do so with the intent of stimulating emotion. That emotion might be terror, but it could also be depression, anger, or even disgust. As long as he’s stirring some emotion, he feels he has done his job.
One thing I notice about Malafarina’s work in particular is that even though his stories are action packed, he is not afraid to give good, rich description. He builds scenes and develops mood in his stories. The payoff of those visual paintings with words is that shot of emotion he’s reaching for as an author.
He likes to write about bad things happening to regular people. The fear of bad things happening in an otherwise non-threatening environment is a big component in Malafarina’s stories. He brings the true heart of a horror writer to all his work including his zombie stories.
At the end of his story, he most wants readers to have a desire to read more horror – his and other horror authors as well. A neutral reaction to finishing his story would be unacceptable to him. He once wrote in an earlier post that horror is sometimes viewed as the ugly three-headed step child of literature. He thinks it is frowned upon far too often. If his story gets some kind of rise from a reader, he feels like he has been successful at the work of horror.
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