Saturday, April 30, 2011

Be Thankful This Isn't Your Last Zombie Apocalypse [Guest Post from Bethany Maines]

For those of you not yet acquainted -- Bethany Maines just released her second book, COMPACT WITH THE DEVIL, the sequel to the hilarious escapades of Carrie Mae agent Nikki Lanier described in Bulletproof Mascara. Welcome to the Kingdom Books blog, Bethany! 

There’s a question I get asked about my books somewhat frequently. “Where do you get your ideas?” And sometimes there’s a subtle tone that implies that the idea of an at home make-up sales corporation running an international, all female, espionage ring is not something that occurs to normal people.  And I just end up thinking, “Well, thank goodness I didn’t write about my plan for the zombie apocalypse.”

Now, I’m not saying that a zombie apocalypse is imminent; I’m just saying that I have a plan in place. A lack of preparedness is the same as handing a zombie a spoon and marking an X on your skull, I always say.  It’s a relatively simple plan; I would gather with the other students at my karate school and together we would go take over a small island a short distance off the coast from my house (I live in the Puget Sound where coastline and islands abound). I figure within ten years we could have founded karate dynasty and reclaimed most of the Puget Sound area from zombie infestation. Of course, there is some debate about the safety status of the island based on whether or not zombie’s float or can walk under water, but I figure a few brown belt teenagers with katana swords would take care of that problem regardless of zombie floatation status.  The teenage students at the dojo, when I told them the plan, were more than happy to go along with it (promise a teenager sword and you can get them to go almost anywhere – how else do you think Merlin managed it?), but the adults seemed surprised.  Apparently, most of them had not bothered to plan for the zombie apocalypse.  One person rolled their eyes and said “Well, now we know why you’re a writer.”

Is planning for the zombie apocalypse a sign of an overly feverish imagination? Maybe it was the fact that I had my zombie apocalypse thought-out well into the next decade? OK,  so maybe plotting the next generation of zombie fighters was perhaps a little over the top.  But what a great story!  Can’t you just see the passion, the romance, (not to mention the action sequences) of two zombie fighters in a world gone mad, torn apart by rival kung fu/karate families?  (No?  In fact, that never occurred to you?  Huh.)

Bethany Maines, planning ...
But I know what people are saying.  Ideas like that aren’t sensible.  A zombie apocalypse isn’t likely (or so you think), so why waste time on such an idea?  A simple question with a simple answer.  Because art isn’t sensible.  In an age when everyone with a keyboard or cell phone can “write,” we occasionally lose sight of the fact that writing is an art.  And attempting to justify art in “sensible” terms will never work because art does not appeal to us on a sensible level.   It’s my firm belief that we should treasure those who go through the effort of inventing a zombie apocalypse for our reading pleasure.  Without the zombie apocalypse or a few secret organizations, whose main goal is helping women everywhere, but is being run by a cosmetics company, wouldn’t this world be a poorer place?  So don’t ask why, ask why not, and hug your nearest author today.

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