Kevin David Anderson’s novel Night of the Living Trekkies, which debuted at the San Diego Comic Con, from Quirk Books, is a funny, offbeat Zombie novel that explores the pop culture carnage that ensues when the undead crash a Star Trek Convention. Publishers Weekly gave Night of the Living Trekkies a starred review and the Washington Post listed it as one of the top five Zombie novels not to miss in 2010.
With a lifelong passion for monsters, the walking dead, and all things that go bump in the night, Anderson was a guest at the first ever Zombie Culture convention, ZomBcom held in Seattle 2010, with other Zombie/horror genre icons like George A Romero, Bruce Campbell, and Max Brooks. Anderson was a panellist alongside Pride and Prejudice and Zombie’s sequel and prequel author Steve Hockensmith, discussing with Zombie fans, horror, the undead, and the mash-up genre in literature.
With a background in marketing and media, Anderson has managed national award winning ad and public relation campaigns. He is an active member of the HWA and SFWA. Anderson’s work has been promoted in print, radio, online and in video format (book trailer). Recent interviews include the Los Angeles Times, Star Trek Radio, Total Sci Fi Online, and BuyZombie.com.
- Tell us about ‘Night of the Living Trekkies’.
Night of the Living Trekkies, from Quirk Books, is a funny, offbeat Zombie novel that explores the pop culture carnage that ensues when the undead crash a Star Trek Convention. The idea came to me a few years back while watching one of my favourite documentaries, TREKKIES. Directed by Roger Nygard and staring Denise Crosby, it’s an in-depth and entertaining exploration of the devoted fans of Star Trek and their world, from home life to conventions.
- Why did you write this book, and what do you hope to achieve with it?
I don’t know why I wrote the novel, but I do remember it was one I tried not to write. Even though I loved the idea, it was hard to believe that any publisher would take it on, considering the possible rights issues that might be involved. But about the time I was considering whether or not to write it, I heard about a novel called Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I thought, if there is at least one publisher that was willing to test the limits of public domain, then maybe there were more. So I went forward and coincidentally the same publisher and editor of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies took on Night of the Living Trekkies.
- Is there an underlying message in ‘Night of the Living Trekkies’?
If you happen to be at a Star Trek convention during a Zombie outbreak, whatever you do, don’t get caught wearing a red shirt.
- You worked as a marketing professional managing award winning advertising campaigns. How influential has this expertise been in the creation of this unique work?
Writing advertising copy was my first professional writing opportunity. It allowed me to explore my creative side while earning a living. Eventually I wanted to write about things that interested me, and didn’t involve promoting consumer products. But coming up with good ad copy taught me to be focused, to the point, and when possible, entertaining.
- Of the characters you’ve created, do you have a favourite? If so, why this particular character?
A few of my short stories involve an over night truck driver named, Dale. His past is mysterious and his adventures are surreal. His life is extremely different from mine and through him I can experience many of the choices that I didn’t make in my life.
- What did you find most rewarding in the writing process?
There are many things I enjoy about writing, but I’d have to say that writing the words “THE END” tops the list. Whether a short story or a novel, the feeling of completion is indescribable. Which is very misleading, because writing "THE END" upon finishing a first draft, is by no means, the end of the writing process.
- What did you find most challenging in the writing process, and how did you overcome it?
Writing is a solitary endeavour. There are no bosses hovering, insisting that you produce. You have to find your own reason and motivation to put your butt in the chair and do the work. Being productive only comes from routine, and routine only comes from the writer’s dedication. That was a tough thing to master. It took years to create my routine, but now that it is in place its harder to break then I could have imagined.
- An award-winning trailer was produced for ‘Night of the Living Trekkies’. Tell us about that, and other methods used to promote and market the book.
I had little to do with its production, but I’m extremely pleased at how it turned out. The book gets a fair amount of promotion on its Facebook page, the Quirk Books web site and appearances at conventions like Comic Con and ZomBcon.
- What advice would you give to new authors with regards to marketing?
I have yet to market a book on my own, so the only advice I have is to sell your manuscript to the biggest publisher you can, and let them do all the work.
- Who, do you imagine, would be your ideal reader?
My ideal reader is someone who buys a copy of Night of the Living Trekkies for all their friends, relative, acquaintances, Facebook and Twitter friends, frendamies, enemies, BFFs and or nemesis. But I imagine that any reader who enjoys a good Sci-fi and pop-culture laugh, would love the novel.
- Would you like to see your book adapted for the screen? If so, do you have any aspirations or reservations regarding this?
There have already been a few attempts at acquiring the film rights for Night of the Living Trekkies, and it may actually happen. As far as reservations - as long as Paris Hilton isn’t in it, I’m good.
- What are you doing now?
Currently I have two book proposals out to market. I’m revising a YA novel, which I hope will go out to market in the next few months; and I’m ping-ponging between two other novel projects: a short story collection and a novella I’m co-authoring with a friend, short story author and editor of PodCastle, DK Thompson.
- Describe ‘Night of the Living Trekkies’ in one sentence.
Roddenberry meets Romero.
- Where can we find you and your book?
Me, I’m usually at Starbucks. Not because I enjoy the coffee, I just don’t have an office, so it’s where I write. Night of the Living Trekkies can be found at most bookstores, B&N and Amazon. The German edition just came out (July 2011) and a Spanish edition is on the way.