The Month of Permuted: Round Four with David Houchins!

Today, we continue with the Month of Permuted fest here on my site, and as part of that, I present to you David Houchins, one of the two-member writing team (alongside Scot Thomas) to bring you Zombie Apocalypse Preparation: How to Survive in an Undead World and Have Fun Doing It!.

I rather like the whole concept of a guide to the zombie apocalypse, and while I enjoyed Max Brooks’ Zombie Survival Guide, it was missing a certain element that to keep my attention for longer than a few minutes at a time: humor. Any guide that starts off with references to genetically altered pigs and bacon is pretty tops on my list too!

My readers might not be very familiar with you. Can you take a few moments to tell them about yourself? What do you do when you’re not writing?

I’d have to say that my best known quasi-regular work would be on our facebook page Zombie Apocalypse Preparation. I’m known as the Practical admin, while the other writers cover humorous (Non-Practical) and tactical (ZAP-Tac) informational bits. We’re all aimed at being funny and informative at the same time, which is where the whole idea for our book came from. Aside from my contributions there, I work the boring 9-5, throw some discs on the weekends, and yell random nonsense from my windows at anyone passing by. I’m just trying to keep everyone on their toes.

How did you decide that the horror genre was the ideal genre for you? Have you written in other genres? Which ones? If not, is it something you would consider doing?

Well, this is my first book, and it’s more in the humor and/or parody genre, but it won’t be the last guide and I don’t plan on personally stopping with that particular format. I want to do more in the horror fiction area, and I have a few ideas that I think could develop into a truly great story. We’ll just have to see what happens down the road.

I first heard of you via your recent release with Permuted Press, Zombie Apocalypse Preparation: How to Survive in an Undead World and Have Fun Doing It!, but my blog visitors might not yet be familiar with the book. Can you tell them what it’s about?

Well I think the title kind of gives it all away, really. It isn’t for everyone, but it should be. I mean, to my mind, the one thing these books never talk about is the necessity to bolster to human spirit and that is where laughter is the best medicine. Granted, some people may not find humor in the idea of nailing a zombie’s feet to a plank of wood and trying to forcibly remove its head with a baseball bat in the name of competition, but it’s amusing to me. Seriously, the undead aren’t serving any useful significant purpose, so why not use them as a means of entertainment. People are known to find amusement and enjoyment from reality TV; this is just like that, only interactive. Think of the reality television shows of today as Beta testing. You’ve already set the framework, and that’s where our book comes in handy. All the things you should be doing, but never thought of, we can guide you.

There are quite a few zombie survival guides out there. What do you think sets Zombie Apocalypse Preparation apart from all the other books in the subgenre of zombie lit?

We cover all the basics of survival. Gear, bags, personal care, stealth, weapons, protection, all the good and simple basic stuff. What we provide that others don’t or can’t, is laughter and nourishment of the human spirit. Or homicidal tendencies, one or the other. Possibly both. I’d like to think that once you read this book, you’ll know why it was needed and that it has its own place apart from any other.

Is there a particular author or book that you find influential or inspirational? Who are your favorite authors or, barring that, what are your favorite books?

My mother used to read to me when I was young, and it probably continued until well beyond a healthy age, but she would read Stephen King to me, and there were nights when I wouldn’t sleep, but it drew me in. I have read just about everything he’s put out enough times to warrant buying a new copy and some people say he’s too wordy, well yes, he’s an author. Why else do you read? Aside from King, I’m a huge fan of Tim Robbins, I liked Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series a lot, and the Dragonlance series. I’m also a Star Wars geek, and yes, I read those books as well. Most recently, I’ve discovered some new folks, notably Peter Clines, who drew me in with the Ex books, and Craig DiLouie’s works. I keep re-reading Ex-Heroes, Ex-Patriots, Tooth and Nail, and The Infection lately. Of course, now that you’ve asked this, I’m probably going to break out the Dark Tower series again.

I have a lot of writers who follow my blog, so I occasionally ask writing-related questions. That said, what do you feel are the most difficult aspects of writing? And what advice would you give those who want to publish in the genre?

I haven’t encountered much in the way of difficulty when putting together our work. The most difficult part is trying to keep everything at the same tone and pace. It’s easy to allow outside influences dictate your writing style in subtle ways. Trying to describe something simple can turn into a hate-filled rant pretty easily if you don’t keep an eye on yourself.

You co-wrote the book with Scot Thomas. What was it like working with a co-writer? What sort of process did you use? And is it something you would recommend to other writers and would do again?

Well the main problem was distance. I was in Colorado, he was in Texas, and we couldn’t sit down and hash out an idea for a chapter or section, it was pretty much sending emails back and forth saying “This is what I got” and then cobbling it together. It’s a big mishmash of ugly, but it can turn out beautifully. We’ll be working on the second guide together, for certain. I can say though, that I can’t possibly see it working for everyone, but if you each recognize each other’s strengths and weaknesses when it comes to painting the literary picture, you can put out some awesome material.

How do you market your work? What avenues have you found that work best for not only marketing in general but for the horror genre in particular?

For the present time, we’re utilizing what’s gained us 64,000 followers on facebook, which is putting out good material, relying on word of mouth, and spamming our link like it’s dirty dirty email. I’m currently considering the mad-scientist route of abducting people and replacing their hands with laminated copies of the book, but I’m a bit busy this weekend, so I’ll have to see when I can make time for that.

Besides Zombie Apocalypse Preparation, do you have any other works available for purchase? If so, can you tell us about them?

Nothing published, but you can find us on facebook.

What are you currently working on right now?

Working title: Zombie Apocalypse Preparation 2: The Indepthitude. Pretty much everything we forgot to put in the first book, or have thought of since. It’s like an expansion pack of evil/awesome.

What can we expect to see next from you?

A “leaked” celebrity sex tape. Also, depending on how our sales go, it’s possible you’ll be able to see me on the news having torn up a hotel room, killed a hooker, and will be engaged in a standoff with local and state police. I’ll be known as “an unidentified white male, heavily armed and only wearing an eyepatch, likely high on drugs.”

And lastly, where can readers find you online?

Probably on the Playstation network playing MW3, but work-wise, we post daily at facebook.com/ZombieApocalypsePreparation and we can be found at www.ZombieApocalypsePreparation.com, which is still being properly constructed.

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, David!

You can check out David’s Amazon author page, where all of his currently available works are listed right here.

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