Interview with author Rick Pipito about Flesh And Leftovers
When the great news came to me that my first novel was going to be published I was ecstatic. I had so many plans for the book and future works, that I had no anticipation of how many questions and comments I would be getting from readers. This thrilled me when it began to happen. I have compiled a list of questions I have been asked about my book for my own entertainment. By posting it publicly I hope that you will find it not only enjoyable, but informative as well. Anonymity has been maintained, so I will not list anyone’s names with the questions. Finally, if you have not read the book then I must warn you. There are slight spoilers, though I have kept it as small as possible. Enjoy and please continue to send your questions and feedback.
Q1: What kind of reader is your book geared toward?
A: It is mainly for the horror fan, but I included elements from all genres in the hopes that it will appeal to anyone who also may not be the most avid horror reader. Action, comedy, religion, history, mystery and romance are all included. That is the beauty of doing multiple stories in one book. I can include a little of everything.
Q2: What made you write about zombies?
A: I am a huge fan of books, movies and video games. No matter how many times I have seen a zombie story there were always parts that made me go, “it would be cool if they did this…” or “Why hasn’t anyone addressed this…” Eventually it got to a point where I said, “I’m writing a zombie story, but I want ALL parts of zombie lore covered.” I figured if I had one story tying together ten shorter stories, I’d have free reign to do whatever I wanted. I just wanted it to be the ultimate zombie novel.
Q3: So, what kinds of zombies do you cover in your book?
A: There are so many stories with different origins of how the people became zombies. I touched on them all: Rabid ones that pretty much have an uncontrollable anger fueled by hunger; Viral and vaccine created zombies that shuffle mindlessly toward their prey; Radioactive zombies; Parasitic alien zombies; Dead rising from the grave; Demonic zombies; Cannibals (though they aren’t zombies, they still eat flesh); and Voodoo zombies.
Q4: Do you have any favorite zombie stories that aren’t your own?
A: I am a huge fan of the George Romero “…Of The Dead” movies; The book “Dead City” by Joe McKinney; and especially the “Resident Evil” games, movies and books. I also met Jonathan Mayberry in person, and his “Dust and Decay,” and “Dead Of Night” are amazing as well.
Q5: What about your own stories? Do you have a favorite or least favorite?
A: I love them all. I can’t really pick a favorite or least favorite because each story appeals to me in a different way. It is the characters in the stories that I’ve grown attached to, and fallen in love with.
Q6: Then who is your favorite character/least favorite character?
A: Favorite male character has to be Johnny Chong. He is funny, smart and a bad ass when he wants to be. Favorite female character would have to be Moira Donatelli based on not just her sexiness, but the inner turmoil she deals with. If I had to pick a least favorite character I couldn’t, so the best I can do is say that Cain is the character I love to hate. Not so much in “Flesh and Leftovers” but definitely in the future books.
Q7: There are other books coming in this series? How many do you plan on?
A: There are going to be nine books in the series, and a tenth standalone that will be a sequel and prequel in one. Each book deals with a different type of threat, so book one will be the only one dealing primarily with zombies. Book two and the ones following will all be something unique to that book, but still keeping with the continuity of the overall plot. There will also be a graphic novel spinoff with my company sCrypt Comics, for each book.
Q8: There were some hints that point at book 2 being about vampires.
A: Book 2 is called “Blood, The Second Helping”. Yes, it involves vampires, and it is like the first in that there are multiple stories all tied together by the underlying one.
Q9: Who would win in a fight, a zombie or a vampire?
A: It depends. One on one a vampire definitely, but I don’t want to give too much away. It is all explained in the chapter/story called “Zombie Origins.”
Q10: Aren’t zombies actually the same thing as vampires because they feed on us?
A: No. Zombies are mindless and have only one instinct: To feed. Vampires are very much like humans, though faster and stronger. They need to feed as well, but on blood instead of flesh.
Q11: Where did you come up with the stories and characters?
A: The stories just come to me sometimes in dreams or I’ll be just thinking and something will pop in there. When a plot begins to develop though it takes a few months for me to hash out how it is going to happen and trying to make it feel real or believable. I was toying with a story idea for nine years that was going to be a sci fi book, and I ended up scrapping it to use plot elements in this series. There are plans though for me to revamp that original idea and make it work in this continuity as a potential prequel / sequel tenth book. The characters on the other hand I can relate to. Although they aren’t based on any one person in particular I take traits and experiences of people I know or have met and try to base a character around that. I want the reader to say, “Damn, I know someone just like that.”
Q12: What made you pick certain places in your stories? Aside from the United States, what gave you inspiration for: Brazil, England, Jim Thorpe, and Canada?
A: My wife was born in Brazil. I’ve gotten to know the culture a great deal and have been there. The part of Brazil I included in the story is no way near where I was, but the culture is definitely consistent. With England it was that I love the James Bond movies and am lucky enough to know a few people who have lived or currently live there. My uncle and aunt own the “Times Jim Thorpe” bed and breakfast in Jim Thorpe, PA. I’ve visited the town many times and stayed overnight which allowed me to get a feel for how unique and nice it is there. Canada felt like a natural choice since it was the first place I had ever been outside the United States when I was 10 years old. A lot of places I picked in the U.S. itself were either places I’ve been to or know people who live there.
Q13: How did you go about the researching process for the book?
A: That is the least fun part. I researched each town and how the people acted in each real place. The hard part came in especially with things I related to the bible and historical facts. I wanted history to play an important part, but I didn’t want it to be from one perspective, so in the case of religious references I read stories that were present in multiple Christian and non Christian beliefs and cross referenced them for a more concrete tale. The series gets more involved with research as I go. I find from reviews that people really enjoy what they can relate to, so I am currently working on really extensive historical and mytholgical aspects for the sequels.
Q14: Are there plans for the big screen? And who would you want to play your characters?
A: Funny you ask. I have a cousin, Hollis Sherman Pepe, who is an actress in Hollywood. She floated a copy of my book around out there, and a studio chose to do a short movie based on my incident “The Freak In Me.” It got shot down last minute because the directors felt that it would take away from the whole purpose of my novel. They said that it is something that should be made into a television series. I’d prefer that anyway! As far as who? At this point, I’d love to see anyone act out the parts who has talent.
Q15: Who did the artwork for the cover?
A: My brother, Dan Pipito. He also did the mug shot sketch for the “Dead In Muncie” short story found in the book.
Q16: Do you think a zombie invasion could be a possibility?
A: You mean other than the jerks you see in the media? Who knows? I mean anything is possible I guess, so it is hard to say, but I will tell you this… I am prepared if there is one, and anyone that reads “Flesh and Leftovers” will be one step closer to surviving the zombie apocalypse.