I’m excited to you present to you today my pal Larry Weiner, author of the super funny zombie satire PARADISE ROT (it’s for grownups, sorry kids!) and the subsequent books in the series, ONCE AGAIN, WITH BLOOD, and HINDU SEX ALIENS.
Larry, since this October is all about zombies for me, can you tell my readers a little bit about what PARADISE ROT is about, and what inspired you to write it?
Paradise Rot is essentially a cross between “Shaun of the Dead” and “The Firm.” It’s about a down on his luck guy who gets a job offer that seems too good to be true. Of course this turns out to be the case because ZOMBIES!!!!!
I wrote Paradise Rot because of my desire to get back to what I started out doing originally, which was writing. I went to film school in LA to learn screenwriting and soon found myself pitching projects at various networks.
CUT TO: Larry’s first wife.
L’S FIRST WIFE
If I don’t get out of LA I’ll kill myself.
CUT TO: Blue Honda Prelude crossing Indiana state line.
I’d also written two novels – mysteries – but had to set those things aside in order to make a living, which I found possible in advertising.
CUT TO: Larry 20 years later. Divorced. Working at an ad agency as an art director. We are in a small room with LARRY and COPYWRITER
Fuck this shit. I wanna write.
But you’re an art director.
Fuck it. It’s time to get back to writing. Also, Copywriting’s for suckers.
Hey man, I’m a copywriter.
And you’ve been writing the same headline for 20 years. I’M OUT!
CUT TO: LARRY sitting at his desk. It’s late. He’s typing furiously on a laptop.
PARADISE ROT was so funny that I almost spat out my tea a few times, and then had to re-read some passages out loud to my husband, so he, too, could appreciate the humor. How did you hone your humor writing chops? Or, are you just a naturally funny guy?
I was a fat kid so I had to learn to disarm my enemies with words. Or I sat on them. Being a smart ass came easy to me. I was also a huge fan of sitcoms and SNL. It’s a gift and a curse. I love making people laugh – nothing feels better. But I’ve also found myself in trouble because I had to go for the joke, even in delicate situations (see first marriage).
Ok, so there’s a talking Chihuahua in PARADISE ROT, which, I have to say, is a pretty ballsy move. What inspired to you do it?
My aunt used to have a chihauhua named “Chicky.” Miserable little shit, this Chicky. He was so fat that his stomach extended beyond his legs so he sat on a pillow all day, judging. I often wondered, “What the fuck is that dog thinking about?” Years later, I found out.
Larry, what are your fave zombie movies and books out there, and why do you like them?
Shaun of the Dead is my touchstone. Of course I love the 28 movies and Dawn of the Dead and The Walking Dead. I also loved Dead Snow about Nazi zombies. Book wise – there’s your novel, which kicks ass and I highly reco it. Patient Zero, The Walking Dead graphic novel series which is so much more bloodier!
Awww…thanks for recommending MY novel Larry! You’re a true pal. <high-five>
Okay, everyone’s always fascinated by writers and their rituals. Do you have any strange writing rituals before or while you sit down and plug away at the keyboard? Any fave tunes that keep you motivated?
I have a goal of at least 1k a day, minimum. That hangs over my head like the sword of Damocles all day until I sit down and write. Earlier in the day the better. Writing is really hard for me. I often wonder why I do it. But then I have an idea or a bit of dialogue and then the nightmare begins. I envy writers who talk about how much fun they’re having. For me, the fun is when I read the previous day’s writing and think I’m such a witty lad. I used to write exclusively in coffee shops with noise cancelling headphones blasting anything that doesn’t have lyrics to it. Though with PR I did listen to 70’s pop and reggae because it’s part of the book. I have a pretty sweet set up at home with a standing desk and lots of vinyl to spin. But still, coffee shops when I wanna do the heavy lifting.
Any thoughts for what comes after this series is completed? Is there a new book concept burning in your soul? A genre you want to tackle? Or are you still mulling it over?
I’m currently into my 4th novel that is a bit of a departure in that there are no undead. There is Godzilla, a golem and a floating eyeball. It takes place in a small town two days before the huge annual 4th of July Parade. As of this writing I’m trying to decide if this is a smart move, departing from the zombie genre. We’ll see. I’ve built a tiny following in the undead genre and wonder if it’s wise to abandon that for other stories. I’m also working on a novel idea called Murder Tarp and that’s all you’re gonna get out of me.
Larry, thanks so much for your time today. Readers, please connect with Larry at the following links: