Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I would like to welcome RUSTY FISCHER author of 'ZOMBIES DON'T CRY' , to Novels On The Run and thank him for taking the time to answer some questions for our interview and for writing such a wonderful , original, YA zombie book,  with a lot of heart and soul and lots of fun moments . I highly recommend it and can so see this book making it into school libraries around the world.
Click on left sidebar to read review and Rusty's guest blogspot.


MICHELLE :  YA Zombie genre is a fairly untapped genre compared to e.g Vampire genre.

What in your life drew you to the Zombie genre?

RUSTY: I’d been writing mainstream, young adult coming of age stories for a few years and not having much luck getting them published. After a few years of this, I sat down one day to get pretty serious about getting something published; actually, traditionally published. 

I started looking at what was hot, what was current, something where there might be a demand that I could fit in if I put my mind to it. One walk through the “teen” section of the local bookstore gave me the answer: vampires!

But... that was almost *too* crowded. I knew I wanted to write supernatural, because it was a good way to incorporate a lot of the same themes I dealt with in my earlier novels; life, death, friendship, betrayal, love, etc. But… vampires? How could I compete?

So I looked a little deeper and saw that zombies were relatively untapped. I decided to start there!!

MICHELLE:  How does it feel knowing you have the ability to change non zombie loving readers to zombie loving readers through the power of your words and seeing the positive responses?

RUSTY: Ha! I don’t know if I have that particular power, but… I have been really inspired by the so far mostly positive feedback I’ve been getting from non-zombie readers. I will say, though, I worked very hard to achieve just that; I really wanted this book to appeal to kids who like all the other monsters – vampires, werewolves, ghouls, demons, etc. – but always thought of zombies as “brain lovers” and nothing more.
One of the funner parts of writing ZDC was taking what everyone thinks they know about zombies and turning it on its head!

MICHELLE: I personally think you opened up the Zombie genre to not be all about blood , guts and gore, although it is necessary to the Zombie world, you brought an element I wasn’t expecting from your book. You gave your ‘good’ zombies, heart and soul. Which I thought was very marketable to the YA genre and incredibly original. To be a zombie isn’t necessarily a life of mindless, trolling for your next victim and looking fugly . In Zombies Don’t Cry you gave us that option with Zerkers but you gave us the new, ‘good’ zombie option. What was your thought process that led you to think of adding this new element of ‘good’, zombies to your writing?

RUSTY: That all came from wanting to write a main character who WAS a zombie. She had to be a “good” zombie or, really, what was the point? But then I thought, “Well, if she’s the ONLY good zombie, who will her friends be?” So I gave her Chloe and Dane; two characters I really, really liked! But then, not ALL the zombies could be good because then it would just be a love fest, you know? So the idea for the bad zombies, the Zerkers, took hold.

MICHELLE:  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That was a moral I took from Zombies Don’t Cry. Teenagers are all about having ‘the look’, blending in, having relationships. You managed to give Maddy 2 guys that were interested in her and she was a zombie. Dane has the zombie characteristics, sunken eyes etc but to the reader he is an appealing character. Stamp , human is attracted to Maddy and wants to date her.
Was it accidental or deliberate writing to have this underlining message?

RUSTY: I think just as important to me as the physical appearance of the two boys was having one of the “zombie laws” that kept them apart. I wanted there to be a real conflict between Maddy dating Stamp that went beyond, “Which boy is hotter to me?” or “Which boy should I choose?” I always kind of find the ending bittersweet because she’s leaning toward one guy and kind of attached to another, and I find that a pretty common theme in high school relationships.

MICHELLE: When Zombies Don’t Cry was released , May 1st 2011. Was there a special thing you did on the day of its release?

RUSTY: Actually, I did! When I was a kid, and writing my first books on Bayshore Drive, there was this little convenience store around the corner from our street. I would go there with my allowance and buy the spiral bound notebooks I used to write my books and… okay, a LOT of candy. We lived there for years and I wrote many, many books using notebooks from that store. We moved away when I was in high school but I still pass that store every time I head down to my favorite movie theater (which if you know anything about me is a LOT). But it’s been years since I’ve gone in there and, in fact, it’s been closed for the last few years.

I didn’t do this purposefully, but on the day ZDC came out my wife was working and I went to see a movie and just get out into the world and celebrate. On the way down I stopped into that old convenience store for old time’s sake. It had recently reopened, was under new management and I wandered around, looking for the school supplies section; it wasn’t there.

So I bought a diet soda and some beef jerky and left, but it felt good to be back in a place that had been so important to my writing growing up…

MICHELLE:  Where were you and what were you doing when you first had the idea for Zombies Don’t Cry?

RUSTY: I was at the movies! It was during the previews for some stupid movie and I’d been looking for a good idea to take hold of me and I quit paying attention to the previews and thought: what if instead of fighting zombies my main character was a zombie! And what if she liked this guy before she turned into a zombie, then couldn’t dating him after she was a zombie… and what if there was this other guy who WAS a zombie and she should hate him but doesn’t and… for the rest of the previews, and even during the movie off and on, I just kept adding to that original equation of “main character is a zombie.”

I had already bought my ticket for a second movie and I was too cheap to waste it, so instead I went to the bookstore near the theater and bought some overpriced notebook and a way too expensive pen and sat somewhere until the next movie started, fleshing out the basic storyline for what was then called Have a Nice Afterlife. I won’t say it was exactly the way Zombies Don’t Cry turned out, but the main idea was there and has never really changed…

MICHELLE: Who has been the biggest inspiration in your life for following your dreams?

RUSTY: There have been many; Judy Blue, my Mom, Beverly Cleary, my wife, Stephen King from age 11 on, more recently Amanda Hocking, but I have to say at the end of the day… I have quietly and silently and alone tried to nurture and hold on and grow my dreams from a very young age. I’m 43 now and if I started writing at 9, that means I’ve been doing this for 34 years! Thousands of pages and just as many rejections later, I’m still dreaming and still have goals to reach but, at the end of the day, you have to be the one to set your goals and set about making them come true.

MICHELLE: Name 5 authors whose work you enjoy reading.


 E. Van Lowe.
Amanda Ashby.
Adam Selzer.
Stacey Jay.
Brian James.

PS: Bonus points if you notice the running theme between all five of these authors!!!

MICHELLE: Err.... Zombie's? ....( I just googled the authors) , yay, I get bonus points . * whispers* Rusty, I'm saving those for when 'Vamplayers' is released.... back to interview....

MICHELLE:  What is your recipe for a great YA book that you would personally enjoy devouring?

RUSTY: For me, Voice + Story + Details = A GREAT YA Story! And I actually would list them in that order. I enjoy a character’s voice who sucks me in from page one with the way he or she talks/thinks. It’s hard for me to enjoy a story, no matter how great, if I don’t care about the main character. And, lastly, I need a feast of details to keep me locked in time and place. What the MC’s room looks like, her locker, her spaceship, what she’s wearing or the color of her hair. I can fill in that stuff myself if they’re not there, but my imagination isn’t as good as my favorite authors so I love it when they give me something to hang my hat on!

MICHELLE: Now for a fun question. Have you ever eaten brains, if so would you recommend them? I laughed at the ‘Spice Helmet’ .

RUSTY: Ha! No one’s ever asked me that before! I would say the closest I’ve gotten is chicken livers. My Mom used to make an appetizer called “rumaki” growing up. It’s chicken liver and water chestnuts wrapped in bacon and marinated in soy sauce and baked. I never really enjoyed it growing up but now it’s a really special treat my wife and I make once or twice a year. So, no brains but plenty of chicken livers!!! (PS: I like the “spice helmet” phrase, too; it just kind of came to me!)

MICHELLE:  How does it feel seeing blogs around the world, reading, reviewing, chatting about Zombies Don’t Cry with enthusiasm?

RUSTY: It’s been the greatest, most unexpected pleasure of ZDC coming out. Not just because they’re all over the world or popular or whatnot, but because so MANY of them are run by actual kids, young adults, themselves. I love it when grownups like ZDC because I, like they, read YA as well; but it’s even more meaningful when actual young adults get caught up in the story and don’t think the language or characters or plot or whatnot is “phony.” I worked hard to create a world that would seem as realistic to modern kids as possible, even if it was dealing with… zombies. So when young adult bloggers get the book, read it and review it, it really makes all the hard work and effort worth it in the end!!!

I hope you all enjoyed the interview as much as I enjoyed interviewing Rusty. He is a lovely guy. We wish Rusty all the success with his book.

Pop over to his blog and say hello, he has loads of fun short reads you can click on.
Also watch out for his next book 'Vamplayers' due for release 1st February 2012.

At the Afterlife Academy of Exceptionally Dark Arts, Lily Fielding is a measly trainee who dreams of one day becoming a Savior—those who visit vampire-infested high schools and put down the undead with their deadly crossbows. When Lily and her classmates Alice and Cara begin their latest assignment, it seems like just another run-of-the-mill gig: they’re to simply spot the Vamplayer—part vampire, part player—identify the popular girl he’s set his sights on, and befriend her before the Vamplayer can turn her to do his bidding. Before long, however, the Vamplayer sets his sights on Lily's friends, and she is left to face the threat alone while protecting her friends from the dark forces she has sworn to resist. ( Book Blurb : Taken From Goodreads )

P.S. I do love the cover of this book:D



  1. Great interview Michelle! I've read a heap of Rusty's short stories and have really enjoyed them. My copy of Zombies Don't Cry is in the mail at the moment. I can't wait til it arrives! :)

  2. Thanks Jess * waves*

    You will enjoy it:D


  3. This is a great interview! Rusty is one of my favorite people. Very wise and very supportive.

    I think it's awesome you went back to the convenient store the day ZDC was released. That sounds like something I would do; I'm very nostalgic like that!

  4. Hi Paul,

    Thanks!! Rusty is wonderful to interview and chat to. I thought the same about the convenience store. I like to ask that question of authors , "Did you do something special on the day your book was released?" , as I think it is interesting to hear.



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