I had the chance to ask a few questions of James Marshall, author of Ninja Versus Pirate Featuring Zombies and the newest novel in his How to End Human Suffering series, Zombie Versus Fairy Featuring Albinos. Enjoy!
Gef: I'm guessing that like "Ninja Versus Pirate Featuring Zombies," the second book in your How To End Human Suffering series delivers what it advertises. Namely Zombies, Fairies, and Albinos. Aside from the obvious, what's the books about?
James: The first book in the series is NINJA VERSUS PIRATE FEATURING ZOMBIES. It's an outrageously fun and darkly satirical novel about a sixteen-year-old pirate and spiritual leader named Guy Boy Man. He's the only living human who can see zombies everywhere, controlling everything. While he rallies others to his cause, which is to end human suffering worldwide and in his high school, Guy struggles to maintain a relationship with a cute, pink-haired girl named Baby Doll15 who has a unicorn that follows her everywhere.
The second book in the series is ZOMBIE VERSUS FAIRY FEATURING ALBINOS. It's about a depressed zombie named Buck Burger. With his marriage crumbling and a prescription for an anti-depressant in hand, Buck meets a beautiful green-haired pharmacist fairy named Fairy_26. He quickly becomes a pawn in a cold war between zombies and supernatural creatures.
Gef: In the pantheon of dream matches, zombie versus fairy doesn't rank high with me, I must admit. Serendipitous discovery in your writing or calculated move to boost the profile of fairies?
James: You've made a common, but fatal, mistake. The reason you underestimate fairies is because fairies are generally considered feminine and slender. (I.e./ You don't see a lot of shirtless fat dude fairies.) But it's only crass sexism that makes us think that women aren't super dangerous. If it weren't for our narrow-mindedness, we'd recognize that women are a menace. And while it's true that overweight women are very frightening, skinny chicks are scary, too. Fairies are even more dangerous, because they can fly.
Think about it. You're walking along and you're like, “Oh, look, there's a fairy! How delightful! I think I'll try to bat it out of the sky with this stick.” The next thing you know, the fairy is buzzing around you, doing all kinds of angry fairy things, and you're like, “I've made a terrible mistake! The fairy is harassing me! I must seek shelter under this tree. Oh no! The tree provides no protection. And now the fairy is sprinkling me with some sort of sparkling dust. What's this? I'm having a horrible hallucination! Perhaps it would help if I hurled myself off this cliff.”
Gef: Rather than a straight-up sequel--and how could it be, I suppose--the protagonist from the first book, Guy Boy Man, takes a back seat while you introduce Buck Burger, a zombie with a bit of a crisis of conscience by the sounds of it. What drew you to Buck Burger's story?
The world is full of zombies: unthinking, unfeeling people who accept the status quo. Some zombies don't give too much thought to their horrible plight. They work their zombie jobs. Deposit their money in zombie banks. Raise their kids to be zombies. They're mindless. Heartless. But then there's Buck Burger. He doesn't like being a zombie. What's the point? Why destroy everything? Why eat human flesh? I was drawn to Buck's story because I like the big questions. Why are we here?
Gef: Chizine has a knack for publishing the work of not just talented authors, but authors who walk the road less traveled. At first blush, your work may have the distinction of walking the road least traveled among the Chizine library. How did the relationship come about?
James: A friend recommended ChiZine to me and I think it's a great fit. I come from a literary background and, while my How To End Human Suffering series is outrageous, it's dark satire in the style of Jonathan Swift's “A Modest Proposal.” To learn more about it, please visit www.howtoendhumansuffering.com and to connect with me, please follow me on twitter @james_marshall or friend me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorjamesmarshall
Gef: Given zombies have made the marquee for the first two books in this series, do we dare expect them for the third, or are the albinos out to steal the spotlight?
James: Zombies will be back in the third book but, as you predict, the albinos will take center stage. They're the puppet masters. But they're not quite what they appear to be.
Gef: I knew it. Well, thanks a lot for stopping by the blog, James. As for the rest of you, be on the lookout for James' new novel, as well as his earlier works.
A little more about James Marshall: A collection of James Marshall's short stories, LET'S NOT LET A LITTLE THING LIKE THE END OF THE WORLD COME BETWEEN US, was published by Thistledown Press in 2004, and it was shortlisted for both the 2005 Commonwealth Writers�Prize (Caribbean and Canada Region) in the Best First Book category, and the ReLit Award for short fiction. His first novel, NINJA VERSUS PIRATE FEATURING ZOMBIES, was published by ChiZine Publications in 2012; it is the first book in the How To End Human Suffering Series. The second book, ZOMBIE VERSUS FAIRY FEATURING ALBINOS, is available now.