#NanoInterview: Michelle Suhar

As described on its official Facebook page, the SBC Zombie Walk is "a means to raise awareness of global hunger issues as well as collecting nonperishable goods for the Food Bank of Northwest Louisiana in Shreveport." This year's event (Saturday, October see the FB page for location and times) will also feature the grand opening of the Necro Manor haunted house.

Zombie walk founder & friend Michelle Suhar plugs in for tonight's Nano Interview:

DD: You began this event in 2008. What has the response and growth been since then?

MS: It has been 8 years since the first walk, which was then the Shreveport Zombie Walk. The last official Shreveport Zombie Walk was held in 2012. Those five years saw nothing but growth and success. The number of attendees and the amount of food we raised for the local food bank just kept going up! After a 3 year hiatus, we are back this year and ready to shamble and groan for a 3 good causes: Food Bank of NWLA, LifeShare Blood Centers, and Renzi Education & Art Center. These are all local organizations that benefit, so we are directly helping the Shreveport-Bossier City community.

DD: What other madness can attendees expect?

MS: Not only are we having costume & tattoo contests, a kids area, numerous door prize drawing, live music, and food/merchandise vendors on hand, we are also having some special guests! Casey Orr AKA “Beefcake the Mighty” of the band GWAR is a featured guest, as well as artist Brian Steward of Fangoria Magazine. Local artist Nicole Woods of VooDeaux Tattoo is our featured local artist, and the Twin City Knockers Roller Derby team will be out to meet with fans and lend their support, as they have since 2011. Since we are working in conjunction with NecroManor – the BEST local haunted house around – we are helping to promote their grand opening, which will take place during the zombie walk event! Since the haunt is attached directly to the event center where the walk is being held, attendees can purchase tickets to be of the first people to experience the haunt this year, all while enjoying the zombie walk events.

DD: Describe some of the coolest zombies you've seen shambling by.

MS: There have been SO MANY amazing zombies at our walks over the years! I will never forget Little Orphan Annie Zombie and her poor little Sandy dog. That was an amazing piece of work – it looked like her spine was falling out of her back. Of course, one year a whole group showed up as the cast of The Walking Dead, and that just blew everyone away! Probably one of my favorites, however, was in 2011 when Zombie Gallagher made an appearance and smashed a pumpkin in the street!

DD: You played Barbara in a stage performance of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. Do you get into an undead character for the zombie walk?

MS: I played Barbara on stage in 2009 & 2010 at the East Bank Theatre in Bossier City. That was my first time to ever be in a play. It was so much fun! As far as getting into undead character for the zombie walk…I always want to go all out and do a really cool zombie costume, but sometimes I stay so busy planning the walk event and I just throw something together last minute. Whatever I look like, whenever it’s time to zombie walk I get into brain-dead mode, drag my leg and moan for brainssssss!

DD: Tell us about your work in the world of zombie fiction.

MS: I have a few short stories published in the Zombology and Zombology 2 anthologies, as well as in Dead Set: A Zombie Anthology, which I co-edited with best-selling horror author Joe McKinney. I am proud to say that Dead Set won Bronze in Best Horror Category of the 2010 IPPY Awards. As for now, I am working on my Bachelor Degree in Psychology, so I write more school papers than anything! I still write for fun on my website DianePrince.com. I have so many horror story ideas in my head. I write down notes in my writer’s journal so that when the day comes that I can write for fun more often, I will already have several bits of inspiration to draw from.

DD: Is there anything you'd like to see more (or less) of in zombiedom?

MS: The world of zombiedom is immense. I know so many people who like zombies now just because of The Walking Dead television series, and I think that is so great! I myself am an avid reader of the comics and watcher of the show! For those who really enjoy The Walking Dead – or a newbie to the zombie genre – I would suggest going back and watching all of the old, original zombie movies. Start with “I Walked with a Zombie,” and then watch Romero’s films in order. Papa George’s movies are social commentaries. A zombie apocalypse may seem corny - yes it will most likely never happen - but if you put that aside and really think about the underlying message, then you can fully appreciate the genius in Romero’s work. Then I would say watch Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland - 2 of the best zombie films ever made. In the world of zombiedom, we need more diversity of ideas and the best place to start is in books! People should definitely check out all of the wonderful zombie authors that helped open my eyes to the genre, like David Dunwoody himself and Kim Paffenroth, just to name a few. There are so many good books out there that are about nothing but zombies! As far of what zombiedom needs less of, I would simply advise that people NOT watch the World War Z film…just go read the book instead, it is WAY better!

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