Generation Dead: Book Review and Author Interview by Daniel Waters

February 15, 2010
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When a teenager dies, typically he or she does not come back to life, but lately, that doesn’t seem to be true. At Oakvale High, there are the jocks, the cheerleaders, the Goths and then, there are the zombies. . .

Phoebe, known as Scarypants to some, has always been mocked because of her eccentric ways and deathly-Goth appearance. She goes through life, listening to The Misfits, writing dark poetry and playing Frisbee with her best friend, Adam Layman. But then, the real dead kids begin appearing at school, causing a vast degree of controversy. The “living impaired” teens amble sluggishly, don’t eat, barely talk and all the schoolmates are scared stiff by them.

But when Phoebe meets Tommy Williams, the most articulate and often dubbed leader of the “living impaired” teenagers, she involuntarily gets overly involved in the world of insane bigotry, sadistic violence and a whole lot of trouble. Tommy helps Phoebe understand the isolation and the perks of being a zombie minus the brain munching. With the aid of Phoebe and a “differently biotic” support group, Tommy tries to prove to the world that he is still a person and that everyone should get a second chance at a life taken from them.

After reading this remarkable novel, I was granted the pleasure to interview the author who put together Generation Dead, Daniel Waters, also known as Dan.

My interview with Dan:

1. If you could be any one character from Generation Dead, which would you be and why?

Hmm. Maybe Karen, if only because she is the most unlike me. Plus, it would be nice to be attractive for a change. And not have to sleep.

2. What brought you to the idea of the “living impaired”?

In a roundabout way, the germ of the idea came from a newsmagazine show I saw where kids were beating up other kids for "fun" and recording the violence so that they could put it on YouTube. The segment horrified me. I couldn't get it out of my head, and I spent many long hours thinking about what could possibly cause people to do such things. As I thought about the various reasons why people end up getting oppressed in various ways, I got the idea that a zombie, if they existed, potentially being the most persecuted person around, even if he or she wasn't a brain muncher. For some reason this thought led to "what would happen if a zombie tried to take a living girl to the prom?"

I think writing about human cruelty via zombies was my brain's way of coping with subject matter that, frankly, scared me to death.

3. Can you see a day when the “living impaired” actually exist?

I think a great many people on planet Earth are "living impaired" right now, but not in the sense of being zombies. Some by choice, some by the lack of choices.

4. Are the characters of Generation Dead based on real life people (personality wise)?


5. Is your taste of music the same as Phoebe’s?

I think my taste is probably more broad than Phoebe's (I'm a bit older than she is) but I like all of the music she likes--even the bands that aren't real.

6. Did you always dream to be an author or is this just a spur of the moment thing?

I've written since I was a little kid, and it has always been my dream to be a novelist.

7. Do you set a specific time to write?

I generally write from about 8-2 every day. I'll tinker for a few hours at night when everyone else is asleep as well.

8. Is there a message in Generation Dead that you want people to grasp?

Yes! Secret, subliminal messages!

In my mind, the book is more about raising questions than giving answers or imparting messages. I'm not nearly smart enough to be able to give definitive solutions on most of the topics the book touches upon.

That said, the one message that I'd be really, really pleased that people take away from the book is to be kinder to each other. I have to say I'm incredibly thankful for the people who've posted on my blog saying that they viewed the world and the people inhabiting it a little differently after reading the book. If the book keeps one person from being bullied or a future YouTube victim then I guess I can claim rights to having a message.

9. Anything you can tell us about the sequel, Kiss of Life?

Big changes are in store for the whole gang, zombie and otherwise. Not to mention changes for the whole country. It won't be a picnic being dead in Kiss of Life.

Um, plus, there might be some kissing.

10. How many sequels do you think/know there will be for Generation dead?

I have many, many stories I want to tell with these characters in the world of Generation Dead. There will be more than two.

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