Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A confession from the author of Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator.

KARINA FABIAN: I have a confession to make.  I am not a big fan of zombies.
Yes, I did write Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator, and I do sport t-shirts that say "Napalm sticks to zombies" and "I (grenade) zombies."  But that's about the extent of my fandom.
So what possessed me to write a zombie novel?  Simple, I was asked.  I actually put it off for awhile, too, but a couple of lovely friends kept at me--first to write a zombie story for The Zombie Cookbook, then to write a zombie novel for Damnation Books.

  Both turned out to be great fun and are doing well, plus I learned a few things that have helped me in writing other books.  Overall, it's been a great experience, even if I still don't much care for zombies.  I definitely recommend to authors that if someone challenges you to venture into a topic you're not especially fond of, keep an open mind and try it out.  You might surprise yourself.
I don't much care for zombie stories or movies because it's pretty much about the hack-and-slash, which isn't especially interesting to me.  Or the book takes another angle and makes zombies the new "misunderstood" species, like sparkly vampires.  Not my style, unless I'm going to parody, as I did in "My Big, Fat Zombie Wedding." (The Zombie Cookbook:  http://amzn.to/qfdtiK)  So I wanted to keep the zombies the usual shambling undead while doing something that would entertain me.
"Wokking Dead" really was intended to be a pun fest involving zombies.  I had a cynical exterminator taking out an infestation of zombies in a Korean restaurant.  However, Neeta stole the show with her wit and style and chainsaw, so the publisher asked me to write a book.
Piers Anthony has already done the novel-sized pun fest, so I needed to develop the world and give Neeta a more interesting challenge than just hacking off heads.  So I thought hard about how the world would react to a real zombie threat.  First off, we wouldn't run around like ninnies.
We'd fight, and not just with shotguns.  Napalm sticks to zombies.  We'd also find a way to stop the contagion, or prevent the zombies from digging their way out.
Spine severing laws cover that for my world.  And, since America loves nothing more than an underdog, unless it's entertainment, there would be zombie rights groups and television shows.  Toss in some academia and politics, and I had a terrific playground for Neeta's stories.
Do I still dislike zombies?  Of themselves, they aren't especially interesting to me, though I did finally watch Zombieland and thought it good for a few chuckles.  However, I found a way to work something I didn't enjoy into other things that I did--satire, irony, political commentary, and some terrific characters who are doing a horrific job.  As long as I like that, I'll keep writing zombie books.

Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator
The Zombie Apocalypse Meets Reality TV!

By the 2040s, the shambling dead have become and international problem.
While governments and special interest groups vie for the most environmentally-friendly way to rid the world of zombies, a new breed of exterminator has risen: The Zombie Exterminator.

When zombie exterminator Neeta Lyffe gets sued because a zombie she set afire stumbles onto a lawyer's back porch, she needs money, fast. 
So she agrees to train apprentice exterminators in a reality TV show that makes Survivor look like a game of tag.
But that's nothing compared to having to deal with crazy directors, bickering contestants and paparazzi.
Can she keep her ratings up, her bills paid and her apprentices alive and still keep her sanity?

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Byline: The Zombie Apocalypse Meets Reality TV!


The workout room had a weights set and an elliptical in one corner, but Neeta ignored them. She needed more vigorous exercise than that if she wanted to burn off her emotional funk.
None of the plebes had done the routine she'd just set for herself. It didn't really reflect the reality of zombie movements, either. Although the crew had designed the targets to look much like actual undead, they moved too quickly, changed direction too suddenly, lunged and retreated in ways zombies couldn't imitate. They zigged and zaggged, dropped from the ceiling to zoom back up, flung themselves from the ground to trip the unwary. For once, this wasn't about training. 
Neeta steeled herself, found an opening and dove in with a roar. She swung high, tagging the first zombie with the edge of her blade just as it got within her reach.
This was about reflexes,
She jumped over the arm that sprung up in front of her, doing the splits as she brought down her chainsaw to slice the hand off at the wrist.
 …about burning aggression,
She spun a full circle, moving the saw in a sine wave. She took one target out at the knees, sliced another sideways across the chest, beheaded a third.
 …about moving beyond thought and planning and negotiations with writers and directors and people who cared more for ratings than lives,
She lunged, spun, kicked and swung, her battle cries a perfect accompaniment to the pounding music. 
A buzzer sounded, and the lights brightened and steadied. The targets stopped their frenetic motions and presented themselves for her to examine. She dropped the saw where she stood and braced her hands against her knees to catch her breath. Her arms felt like lead. A good feeling. She moved among the grimacing targets, noting the strikes that would have severed limbs, the ones that would have beheaded... 

When she came to the long-haired one with the pot belly, she gave a feral grin.
She's landed the blade in perfect position to slice Dave's manic smile right off his face.

Author Bio: From zombie exterminators to dragon detectives to nuns in space, Karina Fabian's universes make readers laugh, cry and think. Winner of the 2007 EPPIE Award for best sci-fi and the 2010 INDIE Award for best fantasy, she lets her characters take her where they will and is never disappointed. Karina Fabian is married to Colonel Robert Fabian. They and their four kids call home wherever the Air Force sends them. Learn more at www.fabianspace.com

Tour Schedule


Interview for Frightliner & Neeta Lyffe


guest post

Why I wrote a Zombie Book when I Don’t Like Zombies

guest post

how to put on zombie make-up



roscoe's workout


guest post


review, guest post


Reviewer comments:
"At long last, a zombie book with some life in it!" humorist Walt Staples

From zombie exterminators to dragon detectives to nuns in space, Karina Fabian likes to create stories that make readers laugh, cry and think. 
She enjoys her more mundane adventures as wife to Col. 
Rob Fabian, USAF and mother of four.

Title: Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator
Author: Karina Fabian
Category: horror, humor, science fiction
ISBN-13: 978-1-61572-273-0 (print) 978-1-61572-272-3 (e-book)
Format: Trade paperback, e-book
Publication Date: December 1, 2010
Pages: 246
Price: $19.00 US/Canada, $14.38 EUR, $12.18 GBP (print) $5.95 (e-book)
Available from: Damnation Books, www.damnationbooks.com
More Info: www.fabianspace.com

Order the Zombie Cookbook directly from Baker & Taylor, Ingram, or the publisher, Damnation Books, P.O. Box 3931, Santa Rosa, CA 95402-9998; or via the Internet at http://www.damnationbooks.com. Also on www.amazon.com and www.fictionwise.com.


Penny Ehrenkranz said...

I had the good fortune to be Karina's line editor on Neeta Lyfe. This is a fun, fun book, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good read and an escape from the humdrum of reality.

Rosalie Skinner said...

It's very fast, witty and full of zombies. I love Karina's writing voice. So energetic. Not so keen on zombies myself, but Neeta Lyffe is a great character.
Thanks for dropping in Penny.

Karina Fabian said...

Thanks for hosting me today, Rosalie, and thanks to you and Penny for the kind words about the book. I had great fun writing it.