Spotlight On interview with Ricky Fleet
the author of the Hellspawn series
Summer of Zombie tour 2016
Q: What is your name? Tell me!
Q: What is the latest book in your zombie series?
Q: How does this carry on the story from the first book?
The traumatized survivors from the first novel have been forced from their home. The complete collapse of civilization has played across news and social media; no one is coming to save the day. Realization dawns that they need to reach somewhere more secure, so they set out through the zombie wasteland that was once called southern England. The journey will test the limits of their physical and mental fortitude, pitting them against both the living and the dead.
Q: Tell us about the family of characters you put through Hell in your story.
The story revolves around a normal everyday family; Kurt the father, Sarah the mother and their son, Sam. There is nothing spectacular about them, no well-honed survival skills or combat prowess. The unfolding apocalypse also throws some other survivors into the mix; Sam’s bully and their teacher flee the bloodbath at the local high school with the trio.
Q: What is similar and different about your zombies compared to other stories in the genre?
I wish I could say there was something that stands out, but I can’t. The zombies in my book are slow and shambling, summoned not by a virus, but by a pulse of unknown energy. They rise from their tombs, rotting and falling to pieces in their desperation to eat the living.
Q: How does the setting play into your series?
The difficulty with the whole zombie apocalypse genre is how to make it original. The advantage of being set in England is the lack of lawfully owned firearms, so I can be more inventive in ways that the human element can fight back. This theme of using everyday materials to battle the dead legions will be a cornerstone of the Hellspawn series. There will also be some guns and explosions because let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a good headshot or zombie being blown to bits?
Q: Probably the zombies don’t love it, I’m guessing. Who influenced your love of zombies and zombie stories do you think?
Romero, Fulci, Raimi taught me to love the truly dead versions of the zombie. I love the faster type too, but they are mutations instead of true zombies in my opinion.
Q: With the family in the story, the setting in England, and the other elements of your story, are any of these things tributes to aspects of your own life?
My tributes would have to go to my family who supported this crazy endeavor, and Christina Hargis Smith. She was insane enough to respond to my request for opinions on the start of my first book. Her support and belief in me pushed me to believe in myself. The editing she did was also top notch, with tips on my style and ways to improve.
Q: How does this latest book fit into the series and the overall outbreak in your story?
Hellspawn follows the rise of the dead and the first few days of horrific survival as the whole world is devoured screaming. Hellspawn Odyssey, the second in the series, sees the family on the road as they push for a sanctuary that can withstand the hordes of undead.
Q: What warning label should go on this series?
Many humans were harmed in the making of this novel.
Q: What do you hope readers take away from this series?
That family is all that matters. Love them, protect them and be prepared to lay your life on the line to keep them safe.
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