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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Interview with Ryan Mecum, author of the Zombie Haiku, et al.

Because he is awesome, and had nothing better to do (I kid!), author Ryan Mecum has agreed to an interview with Book Rat (yay!).  So here, in all it's deep, hard-hitting (weird, completely absurd) awesomeness is that interview; enjoy! 
Book Rat: When I started reading Zombie Haiku, there came a point where I realized that the idea was brilliant for the simple reason that it was haiku -- the form just seemed to suited to a zombie thought process. How did the idea come about, and how easy/hard was it to work with?
Ryan Mecum: I have no idea where ideas come from, but I have always enjoyed both zombies and poetry.  Those two don't initially seem like a good mix, but after I wrote one haiku in the voice of a zombie, I was surprised by how well the two complement each other.  Regarding the difficulty of telling a story in haiku, it can be challenging.  I would like to think it is becoming easier for me, but it can still be quite a riddle.

BR: How was working in haiku as a vampire, and then as a werewolf, different from as a zombie?
RM: Vampires and werewolves tend to have a richer vocabulary, so their haiku are harder to write in a distinct voice.  However, I see a lot of these haiku as simple snapshots of the daily life of these monsters.  So as long as I can focus on the smaller day to day things that these monsters go through, writing haiku about them isn't too different.

BR: Any other creatures coming up?  Ghoul Haiku?  Cthulu Haiku?  (<--- dooooo iiiiittt!)
RM: I have toyed around with cthulhu haiku before, and it was a lot of fun.  I have a Twitter account where I post a few haiku a day, and I posted some cthulhu haiku about a year ago.  I'm not sure if my publisher would be interested in a book of cthulhu haiku, but I would be interested in writing it.

I am currently working on a new book of zombie haiku called Dawn Of Zombie Haiku.  It is about a girl named Dawn who turns into a zombie, but continues to write about her life in a haiku journal.  It will be adorably disgusting.  

BR: Adorably disgusting -- I'm sold!  What about haiku is it that appeals to you, and are there any plans to tackle other poetic styles? Scary sonnets, maybe?  ;p
RM: I love the simplicity of trying to capture one image in a haiku, and I love the forced 5,7,5 syllable structure of it.  I want nothing to do with sonnets.  Haiku are tricky enough for me.  Thanks for not mentioning limericks. 

BR: Limericks!  Hmm...  Moving on, the artwork and design of the books is a huge part (and very well done) -- is it ever nerve-racking to write up your haiku and hand it off, not really knowing what the final product's going to look like?  Do you get any say in that side of the process?
And now, the moment you've all been waiting for: some quickfire random ~
RM: I am lucky enough to have a good friend of mine as the designer, so I have a lot of say into the final product.  The majority of the photographs are all taken by me.  A lot of my friends and family have made it into the books.  Lisa Kuhn is my book packager, and she's amazing at her job.  She's just about as girly girl as they come, so it is always fun for me to know she spent an afternoon picking up dead spiders and flies off of windowsills and then placed them on her scanner for one of these books.

BR: Random Quickfire fun!!!
Zombie name? 
RM: Ryan

BR: Best Halloween costume?
 RM: Edward Scissorhands.

BR: Worst Halloween costume?
 RM: Freddy Kruger for 4 years in a row.

BR: Best way to eat humans?
RM: With some A-1 sauce in the Andes with my fellow rugby players.

BR: Where would you go to wait out the zombocalypse?
RM: I'm stealing this from Max Brooks, but I would try my hardest to get to an off shore oil rig, although what could go wrong at a mall?

BR: If you knew you were going to be turned into one of your Horror Haiku characters,
what would you do with your last day as a human?

RM: I've never beaten the first Super Mario Brothers.  I can warp over to level 8, but I could never get past those annoying hammer brothers.  I have to beat that stupid game before I die.  So, I'd try to split my time between my family, God, and trying to run under the hopping hammer brothers.

BR: Which makes for the worst house guest, a zombie, a vampire or a werewolf?  Why?
RM: Depending on the time of month, a werewolf could be the worst.  If the vampire is hungry, you're in trouble.  A zombie you could just lock in the basement and keep on with your day.  I think I'd chance a zombie or a werewolf over a vampire. 

Would you rather...
 -- be a zombie, vampire, or werewolf?
A werewolf would help out my embarrassingly hairless legs. 

 -- umm, ahem, do a zombie, vampire, or werewolf?
Depends on which of these three monsters my wife has turned into, unless said monster is a zombie.

 -- have someone eat your brains or suck your blood?
If somebody is sucking my blood, I've still got a good chance to keep on truckin'.  Mosquitoes have sucked my blood.  I've sucked my blood.  Blood sucking is nothing.  If somebody is eating my brains, I've got a serious problem.  So, I'll go with brain eating just because I'd like to try something new.

BR: Reader Q: Giada wants to know: What is the first book you remember reading, and has there ever been a book that changed your life?
RM: Super Fudge by Judy Bloom is the first chapter book I can remember reading.  A few books that have really influenced me are The Bible, The Stand, Moby-Dick, The Dark Knight Returns, After The Lost War, and The Road.

Thanks for joining us for Helluva Halloween, Ryan!

Bonus Shenanigans: 
Check out my review of Zombie Haiku!
Or, if you can handle it, my zombie teaser!
And for the bravest (ie most foolish) among you, make sure to stop by the Horror Haiku Challenge, part of the Helluva Halloween Tricks and Treats Grab Bag!


  1. Great and fun interview! Thank you! :D I have The Zombie Haiku on my wishlist and I'm so curious to read it!

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