What are your published works, and what are you working on?
Six years ago I started writing my version of the Great American Horror story. After three years of evenings and weekends at a certain coffee bean establishment, Day Zero was published. Almost immediately after that I found that I had a ‘need’ to get back into that universe I had created and so I wrote the follow-up, Day Zero: Gaunt Man. I am currently 200+ pages into the first draft of the third installment of the series, day Zero: Bad Company.
If someone was just hearing about you for the first time what 1 thing would you want them to know?
I guess I would want any prospective reader to know that I’m just like everyone else. If someone has a story in their head or heart that they are struggling to put on a laptop or on paper, just know that it only takes a bit of discipline to get that message out to the world. Also, I love to laugh, love spending time with my dog and my girlfriend, and love anything zombie!
Did you always want to be a writer?
I always loved to read. Stephen King and Dean Koontz were my authors of choice from as early as I could remember. My sister was the aspiring author of the family and gave me a copy of Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ to help inspire me. In fact, it did inspire me enough to spend every day during the summer between high school and my freshman year at college writing three pages a day in an effort to complete a story. Unfortunately, the summer wasn’t long enough and LIFE happened. Flash-forward 20 years and finally I got the drive to try again – this time a zombie story that was based on my love for comics, sci-fi and everything undead (Romero’s Dead universe, Zack Snyder’s ‘Dawn of the Dead’, Danny Boyle’s ‘28 Days Later‘, and Kirkman’s ‘The Walking Dead’).
What has been the biggest adventure of your life?
My biggest adventure? I don’t really see myself having big adventures… they’re just adventures. From firearm shooting at the range, cosplay at New York Comic Con, NYZ Apocalypse experiences, traveling with my girlfriend Judy and the lovable mutt, Holly (who is in each of the Day Zero books), to discovering what happens to my characters as the words are typed onto the screen, every day holds its own adventure.
If zombie apocalypse were to happen tomorrow would you be prepared?
Nope! I have no weapons. Our pantry is typically empty after a week. We live on Long Island, NY where escape by tunnel or bridge to any part of upstate New York or New Jersey would be nearly impossible. We have no boat to get across the Long Island Sound to Connecticut. No go-bags. No exit strategy. All we do have is our wits and a belief that the zombies would pass by our dead-end street.
What 3 things do you feel everyone should have to be ready for a survival situation?
See all the things I said I didn’t have ready or available to question #5!! lol
The three things you need… 1) a kick-ass heavy-duty max-cab pick-up truck complete with a wench, floodlights and plenty of fuel, 2) plenty of ammo… you can always find food in this excess-driven American countryside, and 3) someone with you to give you hope.
Who would you want with you if civilized society fell apart?
My girlfriend, of course… but if that is too pat an answer, I would have to go with Bruce Lee! He’s inspirational, a martial arts and weapons master, and he’s tiny so he could get into tight quarters, if need be.
What 2 books would be in your bug out bag, knowing you would have to read them over and over?
Oh, that’s too easy… Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’ (unabridged, of course) and Max Brook’s ‘World War Z’. ‘The Stand’ was one of those books that fueled my imagination as a kid and was the first book of its length that I couldn’t put down. ‘World War Z’ proved that a zombie story could be uber-intelligent and as close to real-world practicality as possible.
If we were thrown into the dark ages what would you miss most?
Technology, I guess. I mean, I do all my writing on my laptop, listen to my Sia, Live, and Linkin Park on Pandora, I publish through Amazon CreateSpace, and love my DVR. No movies… no television series to binge-watch on Netflix… I might just let the zombies take a chunk out of my neck on the first day of the outbreak.
What is the most surprising fact about you?
The most surprising fact is that my girlfriend and I rock comic-con cosplay costumes and, more surprising, the costumes are never zombie-centric! Oh the irony!!
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Valerie Lioudis is the co-author of Aftershock: A Collection of Survivors Tales available on Amazon.