Award winning author Joe McKinney is one of the names I read early on. He has what I consider a "campfire story" quality about his work. It is presented to you in such a way that you almost feel like Joe is sitting there beside you reading the book...and you just know he is gonna make you jump at least once. He is one of the good guys, and today he steps off of the Summer of Zombie 2013 tour bus for a visit.
Describe your first zombie “experience”?
I think it was the summer of 1983. I was fourteen, hanging out alone in the house, when Night of the Living Dead came on the TV. Very few horror movies have ever truly scared me, but that one did. I was blown away and terrified at the same time. For months afterward I went to bed cradling a baseball bat in my arms.
Favorite Dawn of the Dead (original) moment? Remake?
From the original it has to be the ending, with all those zombies pouring into the mall. You get such a sense of the tide of battle turning at that moment, a feeling that all is truly lost. I loved that part.
What is the last zombie book you read?
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Zombies by Matt Mogk. You know that feeling you get when you meet an author in person before you read any of their work and you really like them, and then you pick up their book and you pray it doesn’t suck? Well, the good news is that Matt Mogk writes a hell of a good book.
What makes your story stand out from the masses?
My upcoming release is called The Savage Dead. It’s part political thriller, part military special ops thriller, part zombie gorefest. I’d say it differs from your run of the mill zombie story because of the emphasis I place on border relations between the U.S. and Mexico. I try, and I hope the public thinks I succeeded, in tackling that complex topic from a number of different angles.
What will you tackle next? (If you are writing a series, what will you write after the series is over?)
My next nine novels are under spec. I have two zombie novels, a new series I’m calling The Deadlands, due for Kensington, and seven non-zombie novels for JournalStone. The next thing I’m going to be working on is horror novella for JournalStone’s Limbus series. My story will be sort of like Jacob’s Ladder meets Joseph Wambaugh.
Worst reaction you have received about your writing?
My favorite worst reaction was a one star review I got on Amazon for my novel Inheritance. It read: “Too much horror. Not what I warned signed up error need new book to read less bizarre desired next time will try again.” I just love negative reviews like that.
And on the flip side, what is the best…the one that almost embarrassed you it was so effusive?
From the great, and to my great sadness, late Rick Hautala, for the same book: “When I started reading Inheritance, my first reaction was one word—WOW! I kept reading, and I was blown away. Police procedural? Yeah. Horror novel? That, too. But most importantly—one helluva novel. Joe tells a roaring good tale, and when you finish it, you’ll have a lot to say, but WOW will be the first word out of your mouth.”
If any of your work was to be made into a film, which piece, and who is THE big star you would love to see in the leading role?
Well, my first novel, Dead City, is in pre-production right now. They have tentative agreements for Jared Padalecki to play the lead role of Eddie Hudson and Danny Glover to play Tiresias Maple. I’ve got my fingers crossed.
What is the scariest movie you have ever seen?
You’ll get a different answer every time you ask me this question. Right now, I’d have to say Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. It’s less scary these days, because I’ve hardened a bit, but when I was teenager that movie scared the ever-loving crap out of me.
What is something about you that would surprise your fans?
I am a damned fine cook. I consider myself something of an adventurer in the kitchen, and if Alton Brown decided to start a cult I think I’d join it. I have written articles on the history of chilli, I’ve even won a few chilli cook-offs, and I am contemplating writing two different cookbooks: one on cooking locally grown Texas foods and the other on the dinner and horror movie theme.
What is in your “to be read” pile right now?
John Updike’s More Matter; Empire of the Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynne; Craig DiLouie’s Suffer the Children; Ramsey Campbell’s Nazareth Hill; and Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, which I reread each year because it is my favorite fucking book of all time, the one and the only American epic in the truest sense of the word.
Joe McKinney’s Bio
Joe McKinney has been a patrol officer for the San Antonio Police Department, a homicide detective, a disaster mitigation specialist, a patrol commander, and a successful novelist. His books include the four part Dead World series, Quarantined, Inheritance, Lost Girl of the Lake, Crooked House and Dodging Bullets. His short fiction has been collected in The Red Empire and Other Stories and Dating in Dead World. In 2011, McKinney received the Horror Writers Association's Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel. For more information go to http://joemckinney.wordpress.com.
My website is:
Just look me up by name. I’m the writer, not the Irish actor.