Friday, October 19, 2012

Virtual Zombie Walk - Author Interview with Dr. Steven Schlozman: The Zombie Autopsies.

As the walking dead rise up throughout the world, a few brave doctors attempt to find a cure by applying forensic techniques to captured zombies.

On a remote island a crack medical team has been sent to explore a radical theory that could uncover a cure for the epidemic. Based on the team's research and the observations of renowned zombie expert Dr. Stanley Blum, THE ZOMBIE AUTOPSIES documents for the first time the unique biology of zombie organisms.

Detailed drawings of the internal organs of actual zombies provide an accurate anatomy of these horrifying creatures. Zombie brains, hearts, lungs, skin, and digestive system are shown, while Dr. Blum's notes reveal shocking insights into how they function--even as Blum and his colleagues themselves begin to succumb to the plague.

No one knows the ultimate fate of Dr. Blum or his researchers. But now that his notebook, THE ZOMBIE AUTOPSIES, has been made available to the UN, the World Health Organization, and the general public, his scientific discoveries may be the last hope for humans on earth.

When I contacted Dr. Steven Schlozman for a speaking engagement over the summer, he accepted immediately.  I was touched by his enthusiasm and friendliness and impressed with his kindess and generosity.  I was intimidated at first (okay I still am a bit, because I mean, look at his credentials below), but Dr. Schlozman (who our organization nicknamed "The Zombie Doctor.") is also extremely down to earth and approachable.  I thought he would be a perfect candidate for an interview for the Blogger Virtual Zombie Walk and he once again eagerly agreed. 

1. How did your interest in zombies come about? Were they always your favorite "monster?"

I don't think zombies were my favorite, but they were "a" favortie. When I was a kid, I watched what they used to call the "Creature Features" on Saturday morning television. I remember they were on the UHF stations, and they were a campy mix of the classics along with the Hammer Horror stuff and some more modern stuff. I loved the wolf man back then, and had that gypsy curse memorized as if it held real power. I started liking zombies a lot with the Evil Dead movies, even those aren't really zombies. They just got called zombies, and that brought me back to watching again as a young adult some of the zombie movies that basically scared the poop out of me when I was a kid. I distinctly remembering sneaking in to see Dawn of the Dead and then not being able to get home on my own from the theater. (I had to call my folks). Now I see zombies as a great proxy for all sorts of difficult questions - how do you define being human, when, or is it ever worth giving up, how can we better understand the marvels of the brain, and so forth.

2. What led you to write The Zombie Autopsies?

Actually, I was sublimating after I found out my wife had Breast Cancer. She's fine now, but at the time I was super-scared, so I stayed up late and watched whatever was on TV. The original Night of the Living Dead was on one night, and I realized that the "zombies" had diagnosable symptoms - in other words, you could assign brain dysfunction to much of their behavior, and you could at the same time examine the way fear makes non-zombie-like characters act with the impuslive rage of the classic zombie. That brought me to a fake medical paper which I presented at the Coolidge Corner Theater before a showing of Night of the Living Dead, then contact with folks in Hollywood, and eventually the book contract. I also had lots of inspiration from Max Brooks, George Romero, and Matt Mgok, all zombie enthusiasts who were kind enough to allow me to befriend them.

3. The Zombie Autopsies is more of a diary, an account...what made you choose this style to tell your story?

I wanted a kind of versimilitude - the sense that the documents were found and had to be pieced together. I wanted the reader to feel just like the protagonist; getting sicker exactly as the mystery is being solved. The most facile way to do this seemed via the first person format.

4. What kind of research did do for it?

Fun Research! I had to bone up (no pun intended) on infectious diseases, epidemiology, religious dogma, and history. I had to see how the UN writes treaties, and I had to better understand that notions by which we define humanity. This brought me to doctors, scientists, philosophers and writers.

5. Did you find anything that surprised you?

I was suprised by how many zombie fans there are! I'd call folks out of the blue and sheepishly explain to them why I was calling and what I was researching, and then we'd spend the next 20 minutes just reliving our favorite zombie films. I also found what I guess I expected but was happy to have confirmed - that fans of the genre are largely non-violent, fascinated by the intellectual questions that the genre evokes, and consistently nice.

6. How did you find the illustrator?

My editor found her. Isn't she awesome? The book wouldn't be the same without Andrea.

7. What do you want people to take away after reading The Zombie Autopsies?

I want them to see how tenuous our definitions are...what makes us sick, what makes us well, what makes us alive, what makes us dead, and how badly we can behave in the face of stress and fear, but how ultimately were pretty special as a species.

8. Does your work as a psychiatrist somehow tie in to your zombie hobby?

I work with kids. To that end, the playfulness of being a child psychiatrist lends itself to taking outlandish concepts and making real use of the ideas they bring.

9. Why do you think there is such a huge trend toward zombie entertainment today? Do you think it will change? Lessen? Go away?

I think fear and uncertainty, just like the shambling body walking towards you in movie that might be your injured grandmother or might be a zombie, lend themselves to this genre. Zombie are so deceptively impersonal...if that grandmother is a zombie, she doesn't know you, though she looks like she should. Sort of like banks...if that bank says it has a loan but really takes your money, then we react badly and frenetically. That seems not a bad way to describe our drift towards impersonal modernity.

10. If there was a zombie apocalypse what would be the first thing you would do?

Write stories. That's how Homer stayed alive!

11. Can you share your exciting news about The Zombie Autopsies?

Well, it's been optioned by George Romero and the first part of the script is done. Fingers crossed that it'll make it to the big screen. I'm currently working on the sequel.

Steven Schlozman, M.D., is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Lecturer in Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He earned his Medical Degree at the Brown-Dartmouth Program in Medicine, and completed his training in general psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and his Child Psychiatry Residency at the MGH/McLean Program in Child Psychiatry.

He is currently the Associate Director of Training for the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residency Program at the MGH/McLean Program in Child Psychiatry, and Co-Director of Medical Student Education in Psychiatry for Harvard Medical School. Clinically, he works with children, adolescents and adults in both psychotherapeutic and psychopharmacologic treatment settings, and he serves as the pediatric psychiatry consultant to the pediatric transplant unit at the MGH Hospital for Children. His academic work focuses on curriculum reform and educational endeavors at the medical student and post graduate levels, as well as on the psychiatric treatment of medically ill children. His first novel, The Zombie Autopsies, was published by Grand Central Publishing in March 2011

For another terrific article that delves a little deeper into Dr. Schlozman's research, check out this post by Mark Strauss HERE.

To purchase The Zombie Autopsies, click HERE.

~I am giving away three (3) copies of The Zombie Autopsies to three (3) different winners.

~Leave your name (use what I can announce on the blog if you win) and e-mail address on the Rafflecopter form.
~Leave a meaningful comment below about something from this interview.
~That's it! No need to follow, tweet, or like unless you want extra entries.

~Winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter.
~This contest is international!  As long as Amazon or Book Depository delivers to your address.
~Winner may choose Hardcover, paperback, kindle or audio edition.  (Price not to exceed $16.00)(Audio edition from Amazon only).

~Please see my contest policy HERE.
~This contest ends on October 25, 2012 at 12:01am.
~If winner does not contact me within 72 hours (3 days) of my first e-mail, unfortunately another winner will be chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A huge thanks to Zombies Everywhere for organizing this Zombie Walk. Don't forget to visit all the other blogs that are participating!

Zombies Everywhere
Halloween Blues
The Southern Northerner
Martha's Journey
Annie Walls
GingerRead Review
App'y Talk
Kweeny Todd
Jenny's House of Horrors
Bubba's Place
Fictional Candy
herding cats & burning soup
Author Sherry Soule Blog
Paranormal research Group Blog
Adult Urban Fantasy by Sherry Soule
Moonlight Publishing Blog
Candid Canine
Ghost Hunting Theories
Above the Norm
A Dust Bunny In The Wind
Faith McKay
Zombob's Zombie News & Movie Reviews
Flesh From The Morgue
The Living Dark
Some One Else's Cook
Stumptown Horror
Forget About TV, Grab a Book
Zombie Dating Guide
Strange State
The Paranormalist - Renae Rude
Idée Fixe
Random Game Crafts
WhiteRoseBud's Tumblr
Book Me!
Carmen Jenner Author
Sarasota Zombie Pub Crawl
Not Now...Mommy's Reading
Love is a Many Flavored Thing
Its On Random
Ellie Potts
Attention Earthlings!
Horror Shock LoliPOP
The Spooky Vegan
The Story In...
DarkSide Detectives Blog
Something wicKED this way comes....
Julie Jansen: science fiction and horror writer
Author/screenwriter James Schannep
The Zombie Lab
Creepy Glowbugg
Sharing Links and Wisdom
Midnyte Reader
This Blog Has A.D.D.
Carol's Creations
Jeremy Bates


Karen said...

I loved the Creature Double Feature! It brings back so many great memories of when my mom and I watched when I was a kid.

Best of luck with the movie because I love this interesting new take on the zombie genre.

Vanessa Morgan said...

Here from the zombie walk. Great interview! I would love to have your thoughts on my zombie post. It's about the Top 10 best zombie movies ever

Pickleope said...

Great interview. I love hearing about a writer's inspiration. The fact that he is a child psychologist adds an interesting wrinkle. I never thought of zombies as having a diagnosable problem. Very cool idea.

Na said...

I like the scientifc aspect of this zombie story. It's interesting and I would think believable in soem areas as well. I can see why the research could be fun!

Sherry Soule said...

Great post. Thanks for the giveaway and for sharing the zombie love.

Please Check out My Books!

Idee Fixe said...

Very interesting post! I love the scientific aspects (something I'm always trying to figure out without the benefit of a medical education) so I will be looking into the book, and film when it happens! Have fun on the zombie walk! Jet
PS I still have my Creature Feature tee from when I was a kid... falling to bits but maybe I can wear it during the zombie apocalypse to fool the zombies into thinking I'm one of them?

Matteo said...

Wow, that was an interesting interview! Thanks for spreading the zombie infec-, ooops! I wanted to say "passion", around the blogosphere! :D
I'm so curious to read this book, especially for the scientific aspects... I'm a big fan of zombie world!
Thanks for the giveaway, it's amazing! :)

iluvhallow33n said...

I find it interesting that being a child psychiatrist seems to give him a better grip on the playful side of the fear as well as reaching into the scientific side of the issue of zombieism. This sounds like a very interesting book and possible film.

tataseigh said...

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