Welcome to Wickedly Bookish's stop of the Rotter World Virtual Book Tour brought to you by Innovative Online Tours! I'm pretty stoked to be introducing you all to this crazy awesome author and his captivatingly gritty zombie novel, Rotter World. On This stop Scott sits down and talks zombies, vampires, and answers the ever present question; do you like your vampires sexy or purely monstrous? You can also win a copy of Rotter World not matter where you are in the world! Finally, I do not have a review this stop as I only singed up for an interview, but I loved this book so much that I will be posting a review within the next couple of weeks once things settle down a bit. So... get comfortable and without further ado...
Wicked Interview with Scott M. Baker
First off I wanted to thank you for stopping by Wickedly Bookish on your tour of Rotter World, Scott!
Thank you for hosting me.
Zombie origin lore is so diverse and the readers seem to always be looking for something new and exciting. Would you say you knew right away where your zombies came from or did the origin evolve throughout the writing process?
Once I started developing the initial concept that became Rotter World, I knew right away that the catalyst for the outbreak would be the release of the Revenant Virus, or Zombie Virus. However, I didn’t want to do the typical “U.S. military/big corporate bio-weapon project runs amok” theme because that has been clichéd to death (pun intended). So I created a back story in which the Pentagon is trying to develop a medicine that will regenerate scar tissue to help the recovery of our troops severely burned in IED attacks, with the unfortunate side effect that the formula not only regenerates dead tissue but also kills off the living tissue and reanimates it. The military stops the program, but vampires become aware of the virus, steal it, and release it in the hopes that if humans are busy fighting off the living dead, they won’t be hunting the undead. The plan backfires and the zombies prey on both species. That concept also had the advantage of serving three plot purposes: it makes the character of Dr. Compton, the creator of the virus, more sympathetic; it gives the humans a good reason to distrust and hate the vampires who fight alongside them; and the journey to retrieve the vaccine drives the last two-thirds of the novel.
I really enjoyed the dueling tensions involved in this story. You haven't limited the storyline to the basic humanity vs. zombie, but also included a more internal tension of humans and vampires trying to coexist post-apocalypse. What brought that bit of genius on? Are these the same kind of vampire you write about in your Vampire Hunter Trilogy?
Thanks, but I can’t take credit for the stroke of genius. A literary agent once said to me that she would love to see a novel that contained zombies, vampires, and bio-weapons. Out of the seed of that idea grew Rotter World. Once I decide to include vampires, setting up the tension between them and humans was easy. It’s pretty much the same religious, political or ethnic bigotries that have plagued mankind for millennium, only this time it between species. Distrust is the major theme of the novel.
The only similarities between the vampires in Rotter World and those in The Vampire Hunters trilogy is that they look like humans until they morph into their vampiric form. For Rotter World, I had to give my vampires a sense of humanity in order for them to interact with the other characters. One reviewer pointed out that they liked how the vampires in Rotter World are now the minority species and act that way.
On the other hand, the vampires in The Vampire Hunters trilogy are pure evil. They have a certain code of honor amongst themselves, but regard humans as little more than a source of food and sexual deviancy. Where mine differ from other bad-ass vampires is that I make them three dimensional by giving them back stories, personalities, and motivations. I don’t want my readers to like them, but I do want them to have an emotional involvement. It makes the conflict between the two sides that much more poignant.
Monster fans seem to be divided on how they like their vampires. What is your take on the, "vampires are monsters not sex symbols" debate? I felt your vampires appeared more human in this aspect while still retaining their fear factor.
I see vampires as representing not our fear of death but rather our fear of giving in to our inner passion for lust and violence. Although I’m not a fan of vampires as romantic heroes, there’s a general theme of unbridled passion in all the subgenres. Edward, Lestat, and Angel are trying to make amends for their past. The vampires of True Blood and Charlaine Harris’ world are trying to keep their passions in check in order to fit into society. Then there’s the opposite extreme of the traditional vampires as monsters who don’t care and allow themselves to run wild. There is a sexiness to vampirism, no matter how perverse it may be.
I think one of the fascinations with vampires (and, to an extent, werewolves) is that dichotomy between good and evil, between human and monster. They’re like serial killers who seem charming on the surface until you take one home with you. I’m a history major by training, and I’ve always been intrigued by the SS concentration camp guards who were mass murderers by day but went home at night and were loving fathers and husbands, and could rationalize those two parts of their nature. When you study that twisted aspect of history like I have, writing about vampires is easy.
You've created quite the extensive cast of characters! The unique names really helped me tell everyone apart initially in the story when I didn't know much about them. Was this intentional?
Yes, it was intentional. I had a very large cast of characters in Rotter World, all of whom have an important part to play in the story. I didn’t want them all to become a bunch of red shirts whose only role was to die anonymously. It was very important to me that the readers had an emotional stake in each of the characters otherwise the battle scenes would lose a lot of their tension. That especially holds true for the Angels. Their final confrontation with the living dead would have fallen flat if the reader didn’t care about each of them.
I have to say I'm a big fan of "The Angels of Death." You've managed to create a gang of women who worked hard to overcome their dark pasts, and well... kick some serious ass! Did anything in particular inspire you to create this rag-tag band of women?
Thanks. I loved writing about the Angels. I’m a huge fan of women as heroes, with my two favorite characters being Sigourney Weaver as Ripley in the Aliens saga and Milla Jovovich as Alice in Resident Evil. Because there are a lot of men in Rotter World, I wanted to balance that out with an equal number of strong women, and creating an all-female band of zombie killers was the perfect way to do so. The Angels are loosely based on several strong, independent women I’ve worked with over the years. Dressing them all in leather was just me giving in to my fantasies.
On Wickedly Bookish we have a little interview segment where we ask our guest to divulge a bit about their nerdy side as we believe everyone has one.
My nerdy confession this time around is that I've wanted to marry Luke Skywalker since I was 4 years old. My dad says I was pretty adamant about it at the time.
So Scott, all zombies and vampires aside, what other nerdy tendencies do you have?
I’m a complete nerd/geek. I love Godzilla, giant monsters, big bugs, steampunk, Dr. Who, Star Trek (all variations except Voyager), The Walking Dead, Warehouse 13, and Fringe. My study is filled with autographed photos of horror celebrities/authors and action figures. Once a month I get together with close friends to play zombie board games. My idols are the guys from Comic Book Men. And my brother-in-law and I are kicking around the idea of opening up a zombie laser tag range in New England someday. One of my favorite TV shows is The Big Bang Theory because those guys made geek chic (and yes, I get most if the jokes on that show, which validates my geek credentials).
Again, thank you so much for taking the time to interview with me, I enjoyed your book immensely!
Thank you for having me. I look forward to coming back someday.
You are welcome back anytime! Keep up the great work!
You are welcome back anytime! Keep up the great work!
Eight months have passed since vampires released the Revenant Virus on mankind, nearly wiping out both species. For Mike Robson, the situation could be far worse. He has joined up with a small band of humans and the last coven of vampires who are riding out the zombie apocalypse in an old fort along the coast of southern Maine. But the uneasy alliance between humans and vampires is strained with the arrival of the creator of the Revenant Virus. He claims to have a vaccine that will make them immune and allow mankind to take civilization back from the living dead. However, the vaccine is located in a secure underground facility five hundred miles away.
To retrieve it, Robson leads a raiding party of humans and vampires down the East Coast, which has been devastated by the outbreak and overrun by zombies and rape gangs. Yet none of the horrors he deals with on the road can prepare him for what he will find in the underground facility. Robson will encounter the greatest threat his group has faced to date, not only from zombies but from betrayal within his own ranks.
About the Author:
Born and raised in Everett, Massachusetts (just outside of Boston), Scott M. Baker has spent the last twenty-two years living in northern Virginia. He has authored several short stories, including the e-chapbook “Dead Water” by D’Ink Well Publications; “Rednecks Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things,” which appeared in the autumn 2008 edition of the e-zine Necrotic Tissue; “Cruise of the Living Dead,” which appeared in Living Dead Press’ Dead Worlds: Volume 3 anthology (August 2009); “Deck the Malls with Bowels of Holly,” which appeared in Living Dead Press‘ Christmas Is Dead anthology (October 2009); and “Denizens,” which appeared in Living Dead Press’ The Book of Horror anthology (March 2010).
Scott’s first zombie novel, Rotter World, which details the struggle between humans and vampires during a zombie apocalypse, was released by Permuted Press in April 2012. He has also authored The Vampire Hunters trilogy, which has been published by Pill Hill Press and received excellent reviews from Famous Monsters of Filmland and Fangoria, among others. Scott has finished his fifth novel, Yeitso, a homage to the monster movies of the 1950s set in northern New Mexico, which is currently with a publisher, and has begun his next novel, Hell Gates, the first in a series of young adult novels set in a world in which the realms of Hell and earth have merged.
When he is not busy writing, Scott can either be found relaxing on his back deck with a good cigar and a cup of iced coffee, or doting on the four house rabbits that live with him.
Don't miss out on all the stops!
Don't miss out on all the stops!
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05/14 Wonderland Reviews Interview
05/15 Ramblings of an Amateur Author Bio/Excerpt/Synopsis
05/16 Rea's Reading and Reviews Guest Blog
0/5/17 Wickedly Bookish Interview
05/18 Good Choice Reading Review
05/19 I just wanna Sit Here and Read! Bio/Excerpt/Synopsis