Winter of Zombie 2015: JL Koszarek

Posted: November 24, 2015 in Uncategorized

You’re reading Books, Beer and BLOGshit! It’s the only blog on the internet that is thorough about nothing. I am your Laissez-faire host, Mr. Frank!

We have a writer for the Winter of Zombie 2015 that is quite thorough. One JL Koszarek. If you want explicit details and full bodied answers you’ve come to the write blog today. JL answers interview questions like Italian wine sates the palletes of the most discerning wine connoisseur.  Did someone say wine? I’m thirst.  Read the interview, I’ll be drunk by the time your done.Winter of Zombie 2015: JL Koszarek


The Blogshit: Let’s cut to the chase, what are you promoting for the Winter of Zombie?
JJ Koszarek:  I’m actively promoting DIVIDE THEN CONQUER, the first book in the ZOMBIE COMPANY CRUSADE series. I am very excited to continue working with Thad David, my collaborator on the series and introduce readers of the Zombie genre to our literary collaborative effort. DIVIDE is the companion reader to Thad David’s ios mobile game app called ZOMBIE COMPANY CRUSADE, which to my way of thinking, separates it from other books in our genre.

DIVIDE opens with Jack Mason, our lone protagonist as he struggles to find his way across country from San Diego to Colorado Springs during the first days of the scourge, the viral outbreak that unleashes the Zombie apocalypse. Jack’s discoveries and the characters he meets along the way introduce the reader to the wide spread nature of the scourge and widens the narrative. DIVIDE introduces the safe zones that bring the reader into the dysfunctional halls of The White House, the secretive cold war era caverns under the mountains in Colorado Springs, civil unrest and search and rescue missions in San Diego, and a southern militia stronghold in Savannah, Georgia. Each setting has its heroes, villains, and colorful characters driven to survive in this new world disorder.

DIVIDE, for the most, part takes place in the United States, and explores human behaviors from heroism to duplicity, and illustrates our overall will to survive within the constraints of various contemporary moral, ethical, and political factions. The most challenging part about writing DIVIDE is the size of our cast of characters, settings, plots, and subplots, but it’s my feeling that Thad and I have done well to maintain continuity that lends itself to plot twists, surprises, and excitement without derailing the theme of the book. It’s my hope that our readers can find parts of themselves reflected in the characters who, in my opinion have come to represent the heart, mind, and spirit of the USA. I’m proud of this thought-provoking work, and believe our readers will enjoy it.

DIVIDE THEN CONQUER, BOOK ONE of the ZOMBIE COMPANY CRUSADE SERIES is available via Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and ibooks in electronic format.

The Blogshit: It’s rarely ever talked about, but how do you envision the outcome of the zombie world you have created? Is there hope? Will humanity succumb to the new world order? What is the outcome of all this horrible zombie business?
JJ Koszarek:  Where there is humanity, there is always hope. Thad has more of an idea of where all this is headed where our project is concerned, considering ZCC is his brain child, so I’m speaking strictly for myself here when I say that adversity promotes harmony and ultimately brings people together, if not only temporarily. I experienced this first hand in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. For a short time, the people in my community came together like never before. Race, economics, politics, and even shared histories and long held grudges (as exist in any small town) were forgotten. It didn’t matter who you were, you were a survivor. Today, ten years later, our community is forever changed by the catastrophe and that short moment of pure equanimity, but those old social patterns are becoming evident again. The survivors are now regular people still struggling with the trauma of the catastrophe, but they’re back to dealing with the everyday trauma of getting along in life. We’re back to being singular members of a community, but a community none-the-less.

In terms of reality, every community lacks equanimity. This is one of the waypoints in the plot of DIVIDE. The work’s lofty goal of attempting to divide a nation to ultimately bring it back together hinges on this moment of catastrophe, survival, brotherhood, sisterhood, coming together to rebuild something. It explores how people who are thrown into an inconceivable situation make decisions. Altruism, power, greed, love, family, religion and spirituality, and the natural need for a new way are the parameters within which the human ability, or inability to make rational decisions occurs.

As a character based writer, the only answer I can give you regarding the outcome of all this horrible zombie business is that it’s up to my characters where this all goes. They have to decide whether to follow their hearts or their minds for the good of all or for the good of a few. The ball is in their court. I hope you’ll read it and discuss it with your friends and family because it can go to hell in a handbasket, or it can be a catalyst for real, lasting, meaningful change.

As an optimist, I vote for real, lasting, meaningful change.

The Blogshit: As a writer of zombie fiction, do you feel you can sustain your career writing about zombies only or do you feel you will need to write outside the sub-genre to continue? What avenues will you branch out to if you do feel a need to expand?
JJ Koszarek:  DIVIDE THEN CONQUER, Book 1 of the ZOMBIE COMPANY CRUSADE SERIES is my third book.  My first manuscript was unfortunately destroyed by hurricane Katrina. Due to extenuating circumstances not limited to the ones already discussed, I was unable to locate or rewrite the story. Maybe someday I’ll rewrite it. Bits and pieces of it are still in my head. Maybe everything I write is somehow akin to it, I don’t know. It was a great story, if I may say so myself; historical romance with a smattering of supernatural/magic/fantasy tossed in. My other book, Twisted Oak: A Sexual Odyssey was published in May of 2014. It’s full-tilt erotica/contemporary romance. It was fun as heck to write and the prequel is bouncing around my head.

There are so many things bouncing around in my head.

Variety is the spice of life. As a freelance writer, I pride myself on being able to adapt to any genre; fiction or nonfiction; academic, informative, fun; whatever. Sadly, I am the worst poet in the world, though. I read everything I can get a hold of, so I feel as if I am well versed in a wide variety of genres, but my preference is historical fiction because I believe history is where every good story starts. History is what produces the what, how, why, who we are. Stories don’t just fall out of the sky. They are created histrionically on both the micro and macro levels. History creates my characters, and as a character driven author, my characters draw from their history to create their stories that somehow end up on the computer screen.

Zombie fiction offers a unique opportunity for me to incorporate the many genres I enjoy into the story. Sure, DIVIDE is zombie fiction, but you’ll also find history, romance, sociology, psychology, science, political intrigue, military and wartime history, along with contemporary issues we find in our newsfeeds every day. DIVIDE is a spicy gumbo, a real intellectual thrill ride. I am enjoying the process more than I thought I would at the onset.

I plan to continue work on the ZCC series because I believe in it. It’s a great story. It’s a joy to write, and I believe our readers will find it a joy to read. As such, zombie fiction will continue to be an important element of my career. So will erotica. So will historical fiction. So will blogging. I’m a writer. Period. Will zombie fiction sustain my career? That remains to be seen. I’m not even certain this whole writing thing is sustainable at all at this point. I want it to be, so I keep writing. It’s up to my readers to decide whether or not it’s sustainable. I keep keeping on. It’s what I have to do…

If writing is a career, it’s a strange one. It’s more like a compulsion than a career, I think. Whether or not I make a penny (I really hope I do because eating is a good thing), I’ll keep at it because Jack Mason and the rest of my ZCC characters keep me awake at night. If I don’t write their stories, they will drive me insane. I invite you all to join my insanity and see where it leads.

The Blogshit: What is more important to the story: A sympathetic human survivor or a zombie with an interesting storyline?
JJ Koszarek:  They say to write what you know, so humans are always central to my stories. My degree is in Behavioral Science because I like to think about what makes people do the things they do. Without drowning in minutia here, the process of how humans make decisions and their associated behaviors fascinates me. Inner conflict, cognitive dissonance, we all experience it. It’s part of the human condition and makes for excellent fiction.

Zombies are also important to the story because they are the impetus that propels my characters toward their destiny. Like humans, zombies also have a history, but as of yet, theirs is unknown to this writer. Rest assured, zombies will settle into their important role as our story unfolds. Their destiny, however is a dark one because they are imprisoned in a diseased body, therefore have no influence over it. The only hope for zombies lies in the hands of the humans. Isn’t this where all of our destinies lay?

The Blogshit: For you, who are the most important writers in zombie fiction at this moment?
JL Koszarek:  Zombies having fell out of interest for me since the 1980’s, I was and still am not as well-versed as I’d like to be in the contemporary zombie fiction world. I am heavily influenced by Max Brooks. Alex Garland also comes to the forefront. Both authors are revolutionary in that they reinvented their zombies to reflect today’s world, today’s technology, dysfunction and swiftness. I am terrified by their zombies!

Writing has been such a singular activity for me; just me and my computer, but now having collaborated with Thad, I have found value in the voices of other authors in this genre and beyond. I am encouraged by and can’t wait to get to know the other authors involved in the Winter of Zombie Blog Tour. For me, the new, and not-so-new zombie authors are an aspiring group. Learning from them through this experience will prove to be invaluable for this author moving forward.

The Blogshit: Is there room for sex in the zombie apocalypse?
JL Koszarek:  Of course! How will the human race survive without sex? Humans are sexual beings. Faced with the idea of extinction, I can only imagine the evolutionary instinct to procreate will become even more acute. Parents will protect their children with a vigilance that we may not have experienced before. Our human tribal nature will take hold again, which brings me to the previous question about hope. Herein through the creation of new human lives, the sexual act, is where humans will find hope for security, love, acceptance, and survival. Sex is very nearly always at the center of it, but as DIVIDE is a young adult novel, this element will be introduced with taste and will be age appropriate.

Most of the characters in DIVIDE haven’t had time to explore sexual relations yet. They’re still concentrating on surviving the day, however there is chemistry. Sparks fly between characters, and some are…well, some are just into sex for all the wrong reasons.

The Blogshit:  How much consideration do you give to the seasons in your zombie stories?

JL Koszarek:  Seasons have not played a large role in DIVIDE yet, but they will in Book Two. Surviving the zombie apocalypse in warm weather is difficult, but winter is coming and with it will come challenges specific to freezing temperatures and precipitation. The cold and snow will affect the zombies, too. In the apocalyptic world, the weather has a direct influence on our chances of survival.

The change of seasons is also a great literary tool to convey the passage of time. The ZCC series will span months, and possibly even years. It is my feeling that the change of seasons will come into play in this way going forward.

Thad and I are gearing up for our first Winter of Zombies in the ZCC series. As I sit here today, I wonder which character(s) aren’t ready. I wonder who will be alive in the springtime.

The Blogshit: Our final question always revolves around zombie themed food. This Winter of Zombie, Books, Beer and BLOGshit wants you to consider setting up a food truck to cater to a zombie clientele. What would you name your Zombie Food Truck?

Roadkill!

Zombie Gastronomy Go-Go.

We got guts, glory, and gravy.

JJ Koszarek on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/J.L.-Koszarek/e/B00QFN6ERE/

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