Nerys Wheatley Gets Jack’d

SDC12176We’re back and we’re sexy as all hell. And when we’re sexy, it is time to get Jack’d! I have the pleausre of introducing you to another collaborator in league with the Facebook group All Things Zombie – this time around it’s Nerys Wheatley!

Let’s not waste daylight … the zombies are near and we’ve gotta hide.

JW: Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. Yeah … I went a creepin’. That little movie defines everything that should be right in the world. What am I talking about? Not taking oneself too seriously. I’m a writer of fiction – some of which, if taken too seriously, just might send me down the catwalk in my best straight-jacket fashion. I would imagine the apocalypse wouldn’t change that rule o’ thumb for me. Besides, when it happens, imagine the opportunity for mad scientists everywhere? There’ll be bwahahas rising in a chorus to the heavens!

Sometimes, I don’t make sense to those around me. Allow me a dance of digression.

When the apocalypse finally strikes at our hearts, humanity will get the chance to reboot. Imagine that very moment when “stupid” can finally be fixed. How precious a thing to finally rid the world of ignorance and, as I would hope it would follow, hatred (and all things that go along with that bitter blackness).

NW: You mentioned Joss Whedon (in a roundabout way) so as far as I’m concerned you can dance all you like!

Coincidentally, I wrote a line about this yesterday, when my hero sees two people looting a TV when there are zombies roaming the streets – “At least for now, they no longer lived in a society where stupidity wasn’t a handicap.” It’s an interesting thought, zombies (et al) that only target the stupid and the ignorant. I could also include those who do take themselves too seriously, but that might be a bit harsh. Bigots? Rude people? Those who don’t like kittens? People who wear tracksuits when not doing any form of legitimate exercise? But I’m guessing what you would end up with would be a load of very confused zombies.

Can we eat him? Are we doing levels of stupidity here, because I’d give him a four. Is that high enough?”

No, Jeff, we said five was the cut-off point.”

When did we say five? I don’t remember anything about five.”

“We had a vote.”

“I don’t remember a vote.”

“You were busy eating that three day old traffic warden’s corpse. Which was gross, by the way.”

“I was hungry.”

“There were maggots.”

Okay, I’m getting carried away! But I’m reminded of the episode of The X-Files with the genie and I think it was Mulder who wished for peace on earth, and all the people disappeared. If it’s only the really good, intelligent, selfless, kitten-loving people who get to survive, it’s going to be a pretty small gene pool we’re left with! Besides, I suspect the zombies (or aliens, or mutant viruses) won’t be so civically minded. But still, nice thought.

JW: I would have to wonder, what would a Joss Whedon apocalypse look like? Of course, it’d be snaky as hell and filled with whatever applicable pop culture references that remained. Regardless, it would be an apocalypse for which I’d like to gather my own personal Scooby Gang!

The idea of zombies choosing targets is quite interesting. I would venture to say that most purists would say “nay nay” to the idea, based simply on the standard definition of a zombie lacking any higher functioning. But, I would counter that by saying there are viruses and bacteria that can target and, if that’s the case, why can’t zombies?

It makes one ponder.

Of course, this is the twenty-first century. If some madman or collective of madmen/women are going to use the zombie as a terrorist weapon, you can be damn sure they’ll do everything they can to target humans based on one or more criteria.

Now we’re talking X Files. That truth is out there somewhere.

NW: I watched Alien Resurrection again a few days ago, which is a little more obviously violent than most of Joss Whedon’s other stuff (although the Reavers are pretty dark and violent!), and could be regarded as a very small scale apocalypse (for the people on the space station), so if we go on that, it would be funny, dark and twisted. With a lot of mucus.

When it comes to a zombie’s right to choose, in the book I’m writing at the moment, the virus that turns people into flesh eating monsters also enhances their sense of smell so that they aren’t interested in biting those who have already been infected. They can smell the virus, a bit like dogs can smell some types of cancer. So that’s a small scale bit of choice without the zombies having to think about it.

Did The X-Files ever do zombies? I can’t remember.

JW: There was an interesting episode (named “Millennium”) of X-Files that enlisted the help of Frank Black (played by Lance Henrickson – who wound up taking that character to a really awesome show called Millennium). I was a big fan of both shows (X-Files and Millennium). I felt like the latter was way ahead of its time. There was also the first X-Files spinoff – The Lone Gunmen – which I adored. Another show that didn’t get enough of a chance.

The book you’re writing now, was it a result of being included in the All Things Zombie: The Gathering Horde? Or were you already writing prior to that? For many included in that collection, it was their first approach at writing the genre. I hope the “infection” spreads and creates even more fanaticism in the genre!

If ATZ wasn’t the catalyst for your diving into zombie fiction, what was?

NW: Millennium, yes! I haven’t seen it since, but I did like it a lot. And The Lone Gunmen was brilliant; funny, imaginative. TV history is littered with so many great shows that were stopped almost before they ever got going. And, indeed, so many shows that go on and on when they never should have begun. Thank goodness we still have The Walking Dead!

I had the idea for Twenty-Five Percent, which is the title of the book I’m writing now as well as my story in All Things Zombie: The Gathering Horde, before they put out the call for submissions. I’ve published a novella and four novels since March 2014, all romances, under the pen name Nerika Parke. I do read romance, but more often it’s SF/fantasy/horror that’s active on my Kindle. For a long time I’d been considering writing something in one of those genres, but eventually decided I definitely WASN’T going to do zombies because so many others have done it so well. And then the next day, when I wasn’t even thinking about it, a concept, a lead character and an opening scene just popped into my mind and wouldn’t go away. And here I am, writing about zombies!

So when ATZ asked for stories for their anthology, I thought I’d try it as a practice run for my lead character, the events in the short story taking place a couple of years before the book begins. The word count limit proved a challenge (I have another story I started first, but which became too long, that will probably appear somewhere at some point), but it was fun and produced another character who makes an appearance in the book. I also have a story in the second ATZ anthology, A Very Zombie Christmas, but that one is unrelated to the book.

You can never have too many zombies! Unless they’re trying to eat you, obviously.


When UK born Nerys Wheatley decided to turn her writing hobby into something more serious, it came as a bit of a surprise to her that she seemed to be a natural romance writer because her favourite TV shows usually involve zombies and spaceships (although not necessarily together). But after writing five contemporary and paranormal romances under the pen name Nerika Parke, she decided it was time for something different.

And because her imagination has a split personality, she is now delving into her darker side to write about people turning into flesh eating monsters. Her first full length zombie thriller, Twenty-Five Percent, will be published in 2015. There will be lots of action. People will get eaten. And absolutely no-one will fall in love.

Stalk Nerys on Facebook