#NanoInterview: Travis Adkins

Travis Adkins is returning to zombie fiction with MISTS OF THE DEAD. I've had the pleasure of reading the to-be-published dark fantasy epic and had to have Travis in for a Nano Interview.

DD: Thanks for plugging in, Travis! First off, tell us about your new project, Mists of the Dead.

TA: Hi Dunwoody! Thank you so much for your interest!

Mists of the Dead is my love letter to the zombie genre, Victorian poetry and prose, the fin de si├Ęcle, Ravenloft, and all my favorite things. The setting and theme allow me to pay tribute to the type of zombies rarely utilized in fiction.

DD: Meanwhile, audio versions of Twilight of the Dead and After Twilight: Walking with the Dead came out this summer. Prior to that, it had been a while since we’d seen dead things from you!

TA: Yeah. I disappeared. I got married, lived in Doha, Qatar for two years, and then returned to the Zombie Capital of the World, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where I live now with my wife and four cats, just a stone’s throw from the Monroeville Mall. I couldn’t be happier!

But I wasn’t just idle in my time off. I was reading and learning and experiencing new things. I’m an older, humbler, and (hopefully) slightly wiser Trav now.

DD: What’s your writing process? Do you have a schedule, word count goals, etc., or does it just happen as it happens? Somewhere in between?

TA: Full disclosure: I don’t consider myself a writer, but I do think I’m a doggedly creative person. It can come out in a lot of ways. Editing and designing books for others can satisfy the itch; so can a video game where I have total creative control of the main character. Sometimes, though, only writing down my ideas will do.

As for my process, it’s intense, and probably not the healthiest way to write. (But it’s the only way I know how.) I take extensive notes over years. In fact, Mists of the Dead was fully written in notes before I sat down to write it. Other novels in this universe are mostly fully-formed, too. Then, when I’m ready, I wake up at 3:00 in the morning, sit at my desk in the dark with my laptop open, and start punching those keys. I’ll write until I need to stop to sleep.

DD: Do dreams inspire you? Do you keep track of your dreams?

TA: Hmm. Not really. My dreams are disappointing. The reason being, I think my brain has trained itself to be such a skeptic, that nothing too outlandish can ever happen. Say, for example, I had a dream that started out with me walking through a strange house, exploring, wind gusting through the open windows, dusk approaching, and obviously this is a setup for a haunted house, right? But because I now there’s no such thing as ghosts, instead there’s a little kid stealing pots and pans in the kitchen. And I’m like, “Hey stop that you little bastard,” and he’s smacking my hands with a frying pan.

So, yeah, realism is the reason I couldn’t bring myself to continue the Twilight of the Dead narrative. The mythology of that world just wasn’t tenable. (I was barely twenty I think when I wrote it, and what the hell did I know about anything?) So, with Mists of the Dead, as funny as it sounds, I wanted to write a novel that could actually happen. This might not make sense, but to my nit-picky brain it does.

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

TA: I’ve been gone so long I don’t know if I have a right to criticize. On top of that, I don’t know what all’s out there, but I know there’s a lot! I’m trying to find my place in the community again, so it’s not about me being accepting, it’s about others being accepting of me. See there? Humble.

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