Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Interview With Jonathan Maberry

I discovered Jonathan Maberry as I was browsing my local bookstore with a friend. My book shopping method includes hurrying to the YA section and then slowly perusing the shelves for covers that catch my eye. This cover really grabbed my attention, so I read the description and decided to give it a try. (For a thorough explanation of how AWESOME this book really is, check out my review on my Best Reads of 2010 post. It's another chance to win a copy!)

Because this is a satisfyingly long book, I decided to bring it with me on my trip to China. Every afternoon, while Johanna slept, I would sit on the hotel bed and devour this book. The story is compelling, as much for the fact that it's told from the perspective of a fifteen year old boy who SOUNDS like a fifteen year old boy, as for the fact that it's truly a fresh perspective on zombies. I appreciated the humor, the tension, and the complex relationships and found the story lingered with me long after I closed the cover for the last time. When I tweeted about loving this book, Jonathan replied with a gracious thank you and before he knew it, I'd bamboozled convinced him to be on the blog.

I'd usually give a peek at what Rot & Ruin is about here, but the Were-llama himself drags that info out of Jonathan, and I make it a habit to never get in the Were-llama's way. I'm excited to announce that Jonathan is giving away a signed, personalized copy of Rot & Ruin to one lucky commenter. Before I tell you how you can enter the drawing, let me introduce today's guests.


Jonathan Maberry
 Now that you know who's who, let's get to the interview and reveal the amazing cupcake my hubby make in honor of Jonathan's book. (My hubby would just like to say that, while he has nothing against zombies personally, he's a little concerned at the current trend on my blog wherein he's been required to use his cake skillz to portray decay and putrescence. This makes two zombified cupcakes in a row. I call it awesome. He calls it decorating for the dark side and said "All we need is for one of your freaky peeps to ask for a zombie foot and we could put together a frankenzombie." *eyes future interviewees and wonders which one can be coerced into asking for a zombie foot*) With no further ado, let's dive into the interview and reveal the freakishly delicious Zombie Eyeball cupcake my hubby made for Jonathan.

Eat me if you dare

WERE-LLAMA: So, you’re a writer. I’m a super-scary shape-shifter who can command obedience with the awesome power of my glowing red eyes. What do we have in common?

JONATHAN MABERRY: We’re both strikingly handsome and have legions of devoted followers. (I believe it’s the general hairiness that attracts them!)

WERE-LLAMA: I am strikingly handsome, aren't I? I like to spit at my enemies from whichever end is closest to them. Do any of your characters have cool abilities like that?

MABERRY: Nothing quite that cool. Probably the next closest would be Tom Imura from ROT & RUIN, who fights zombies with a katana.

WERE-LLAMA: You're right. It's not as cool as winning a war with the cunning use of bodily fluids. But it's close. If I had a nickname, it would be The Awesome. You?

MABERRY: The Bear. I’m about the same height, build, and general fuzziness of a grizzly (except that I don’t catch my own salmon and I type faster than most bears).

WERE-LLAMA: I hang around this blog because I love stories. What’s your story about? Bonus points if it includes a llama.

MABERRY: ROT & RUIN: It’s been 14 years since First Night, when the dead came back to life. Six billion people have died (and reanimated) since then, and America has collapsed into isolated communities living within the great “Rot and Ruin.” Benny Imura is 15, which means it’s time to get a job or face cut rations, but his general laziness leaves him with only one employment option: join his stuffy, sword-swinging, Japanese half-brother, Tom, as an apprentice bounty hunter. This means heading beyond the gates to slice and dice “zoms,” but Benny quickly begins to see the undead in a new light—as well as realizing that Tom is much more than he ever let on. ROT & RUIN is a story about discovering the value of life and what it means to be ‘human’. No llamas, alas, but that’s one of the things that make this post-apocalyptic world so bleak.

WERE-LLAMA: A world with  no were-llamas is bleak indeed. You’re making me a cake worthy of my awesome Were-llama status and decorating it to represent your story. What does it look like?

MABERRY: It looks like a shrub. Llamas love shrubs. But a-ha! It’s really chocolate inside. Kind of a were-cake motif.

WERE-LLAMA: A chocolate were-cake? *glares at you with Awesome Red Eyes* Bring me a shrubbery! Any Were-llamas in your book?

MABERRY: It’s always possible, but how can you tell? They blend in so easily.

WERE-LLAMA: We are masters of disguise. Except for the glowing red eyes, but by the time you see those, it's too late. Spoiler Alert: We always win. Anyone in your stories who might be a Were-llama and you just haven’t figured it out yet?

MABERRY: I sometimes wonder about The Lost Girl (from ROT & RUIN). She spends a lot of her time alone…or, is she really only a girl some of the time and when we don’t see her that means she’s in her Llama form? Hmm.

WERE-LLAMA: You know a girl were-llama? *tosses head to achieve ultimate Awesome hair-do and spits for good measure* You might make an acceptable minion, but I have to ask: Llamas or camels and why? Think carefully.

MABERRY: Camels are cheap knock-offs of Lllamas.
WERE-LLAMA: So few people realize that. I give you a baby Were-llama as a companion. What do you name her?

MABERRY: LLinda. (It means ‘pretty’)

WERE-LLAMA: My favorite word is “awesome” because, yanno, look at me. What’s yours?

MABERRY: Cool. I say it too much, too often, and seldom at the appropriate time. Which sometimes makes people think I’m onto something they aren’t seeing. Which is cool.

WERE-LLAMA: As a young Were-llama, I dreamt of taking over the eastern seaboard one face full of spit at a time. What did you dream of doing when you were young?

MABERRY: I wanted to grow up to be Richard Matheson, but ultimately I realized that his clothes wouldn’t fit me. I decided to be me instead.

WERE-LLAMA: I see you kept his facial hair, though. Good call. Cake or cookies?

MABERRY: Cake. Chocolate cake with chocolate icing and chocolate on top.

WERE-LLAMA: Is that my shrubbery you're eating?! *gives you Doomy Glare of Death* Do you share chocolate?

MABERRY: Only with my wife because by Pennsylvania commonwealth law she owns half of mine. Otherwise…no. Get away.

WERE-LLAMA: What a coincidence. Neither do I. *takes chocolate shrubbery were-cake and swallows whole* The Zombie Goat invasion is upon us. How will you fight them off?

MABERRY: High caliber baaalistics and hardwood baaatons. Maybe a baaaaseball baaat upside the head.

Jonathan Maberry is the NY Times bestselling author, multiple Bram Stoker Award winner, and Marvel Comics writer.  His recent works include The King of Plagues, Rot & Ruin, Marvel Zombies Return, The Wolfman, Patient Zero, and Wanted Undead or Alive.  Since 1978 he has sold more than 1200 feature articles, thousands of columns, two plays, greeting cards, technical manuals, how-to books, short stories, and more.  His Joe Ledger thrillers have been optioned by Sony Entertainment and are in development for TV.

Thank you, Jonathan, for such an entertaining interview! You were more than a match for the Were-llama. To learn more about Jonathan and his books, head to his website.  And now, for Jonathan's exciting giveaway! He's giving away a signed, personalized copy of Rot & Ruin to one lucky commenter. U.S. entries only, please. Here's how to enter.

1. Earn entries:

*Comment on this post = 1 entry

*Be a follower of this blog = 2 entries

*Tweet the link to this interview = 3 entries (Use @cjredwine or leave url to tweet in your comment so I can see it.)

*Post the contest on your blog or facebook= 3 entries (Include link in your comment.)

2. Tally it up:

Please tally up your entries and leave the total in your comment.

3. Check back:

The contest is open until 8 p.m. (central time) Sunday, February 13th. Please check back to see if you've won and to claim your prize!

Good luck to all, and happy reading!


  1. I also recently read Rot and Ruin, it is a great book.

    comment + twitter = 4 entries

  2. Awesome interview, as always! (why yes, I AM trying to keep the Were-Llama happy by sucking up. Why do you ask? ;-D)

    My link to blogpost:
    Blogpost posts to Facebook automatically:!/writerunleashed

    9 entries

  3. What a fun and clever way to conduct an interview. The eyeball cupcake is great.

  4. This book's on my wish list. Literally, on Amazon. Thanks for interviewing Jonathan. I'm a new follower, so 3 points for me. Do I get bonus points if I toss in some llama treats?

  5. I cannot wait for Dust and Decay!

    +1 comment
    +2 follower

    total 3

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  6. I really liked this book. I also think it has an amazing title!

    +1 comment
    +2 follower
    thegirlonfire27 at gmail dot com

  7. This book is on my TBR list!

    +1 for a comment
    +2 for being a follower

    Total: 3

  8. I think my head just exploded. The only way to make this even more awesome would be to wrap it all up in a shiny, steampunk shell and coat it in chocolate, but I think that may come too close to over-awesome, rendering the awesomeness void.

    In short, I love me some zombies. Zombie YA from a male perspective? You know, it may not get any better than that. CJ, you always have the best interviews. Jonathan, way to hold your own against the were-llama (I hear he spits).

    comment - 1
    follower - 2
    tweet - 3
    Facebook - 3
    Total - 9 entries

    I'm doing everything possible to win. Even if I don't, I'll still quietly fangirl Mr Maberry from afar ;)

    (Oh, CJ. My current WIP is a cyberpunk zombie story that - you guessed it - has a scene involving a zombie foot. Mwahaha!)

  9. Ahahaha! Gretchen, you must get it published and return to the blog so we can have our frankenzombie! (Or Cakenstein? Frankencake?) *she says as if finishing a novel AND getting it published are as easy as acknowledging the Were-llama's awesomeness*

  10. Rock! Someone who fights zombies with a katana. I'm in. :D

    Thankfully my mom is coming up this weekend, maybe I can convince her to buy me a book!


  11. Haha, true true. But I'm happy with this story (blasphemy! I must hate everything I write always!) and I'm getting close to making the final polishing touches. I'm really hoping to start querying by the end of the month. *Fingers crossed*

  12. Awesome and fun interview! I really enjoyed reading this post :)

    +1 comment
    +2 follower

    Total: 3

    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

  13. I've never heard of this book, but it looks really interesting.

    Comment=1 entry

  14. I love zombies! (Shaun of the Dead should've been up for an Oscar)

    Please enter me in this contest because I want this book: 5 points

    1 point for a comment
    2 points for following this blog
    3 points for a FB post (!/)


  15. 6 points, yo!

    Actually, I'm fond of this book already b/c I believe I was THERE with you when you got it! Sweet, sweet memories.

    *waves at Jonathan*

    Can't wait to dive into this one!

  16. I about fell out of my chair laoughing over this interview (WERE-LLAMA, hehehe). Nice interview.

    +1 comment
    +2 GFC follower
    +3 Tweeted

    hauntingorchid (at) aol (dot) com

  17. Great interview and awesome cupcake.

  18. AWESOME!!! Why didn't you get me this book yet? Don't you know I rely on you to send me all of the awesome, must reads?

    6 entries.

  19. My zombie-apocalypse obsessed son proclaimed Jonathan's picture with the brain Cool & also the fact that JM writes for Marvel comics. Thank you Were-llama for another great interview. I'm always interested to read books with male protags in YA.

    Comment (1) + twitter (3) = 4.

    Thank you CJ!!! Your blog is awesome (full of awesomesauce).

  20. LOL! I'm definitely gonna have to check this one out. An author who has a sense of humor and writes about zombies sounds like somethig I'd like.

  21. I loved this book and would love to win a signed copy. I blogged, tweeted, face booked and followed. I even put your blog on it's own app button on my iPad homepage. :)

    The blog I posted you on was:
    Twitter: dana19018
    Facebook Dana Wright

    If I get creative and add three points each for blogging and facebook, will you hand me over to the Zombie Goats? I hope not.

    Comment (1)+ facebook (3)+'twitter (3)+blogging (3)=10

    Your blog is awesome!!! I love that sassy zombie llama.


    Dana @
    Email is :

  22. Gah! I forgot to say I was a follower. That makes 12!

    Dana :)

  23. Great interview! Loved this book.
    1 entry.

  24. I'm bummed that I missed out on the giveaway because Rot & Ruin was fantastic! But, I just wanted to say that this is quite possible the best author interview I've read. EVER.

  25. Thanks, Jackie and Dana! Each Wednesday, one of this blog's Usual Suspects (Were-llama, Captain Jack Sparrow, & Spork of Doom) interviews an author or editor. It's fun!


People who comment are made of awesomesauce with a side of WIN!

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