Hello everybody! Sorry, I have been gone for a while, life is crazy. And as we all find ourselves in this crazy time of the Corona Virus where we need to hunker down and wait for it to slowly dissipate what better time to give you some authors to read! This newest installment is about the book Wicked Awake by the fabulous Merrill David! Firstly, I will let Merrill tell you himself about his great new creation…
My literary Sci-Fi / Horror Fiction titled WICKED AWAKE has
approximately 120,000 words. I applied a great amount of detail,
science, and research in my tale. I believe it will hold your interest
with a brisk paced, clever storyline that I would compare to Max
Brooks’ “World War Z” crossed with Michael Crichton’s “The Andromeda
Strain” (but with humor). WICKED AWAKE is horrifying at times yet very
funny in places.
In my novel, WICKED AWAKE, Dallas Police Sergeant Jake Hathaway is on
duty one February afternoon when he parks his patrol vehicle in front
of his brother’s middle-classed house. He leaves his K9 partner Roscoe
in the marked police sport utility vehicle and walks inside to wish
his one-year-old nephew a happy birthday. What should be a joyous
occasion quickly sours as Hathaway is attacked by two creatures that
were once his brother and sister-in-law. No longer recognizable, their
faces do not appear human. Their eyes are saggy and swollen, with
dilated tiny pupils. These THINGS are not dead, nor fully alive, but
somewhere in-between. This would be just the beginning of an
But Unbeknownst to Hathaway, he himself was
partially responsible for this contagion. Years earlier he allowed a
group of Federal Government scientists to conduct top-secret
experiments on a few of the soldiers in his U.S Marine Corp unit. Now,
Jake must find a way to end the outbreak before THEY end HIM, along
with all of humanity.
Doesn’t that just sound amazing and might I add very timely? Let’s get to my questions to learn more about this fantastic horror writer…
1. Why Horror and Sci-Fy?
Growing up, I loved watching horror and Sci-Fi type programs on TV and going to the theater or renting movies (again aging myself! For those who remember Blockbuster). I was also very into Marvel Comics (never got into DC for some reason) and horror novels. Some of my favorite television programs were the Incredible Hulk (with Bill Bixby and, of course, Ferrigno) and The Twilight Zone, as well as reruns of the original Planet of the Apes movies (not really feeling the re-makes). Some of my favorite movies were the Friday the 13th series (until Jason went into outer space, then they lost me), Halloween, Freddy vs Jason was greatness! I also loved Nightmare on Elm Street, The Fly with Jeff Goldblum, Fire in the Sky (an alien abduction film that was supposedly based on true events), those bizarre Faces of Death films. I also dug the People Under the Stairs, the Ring, the Strangers, the Saw movies, the Hellraisers, The Exorcist, Jeepers Creepers, Joyride. And of course everything zombie; Evil Dead, World War Z, Zombie Land, Shaun of the Dead, I Am Legend, Army of Darkness.
2. How did the idea for this particular book come to you?
I knew I wanted to start with a zombie novel but always loved horror shows and movies. And my favorite horror flavor has always been zombie. I would load up on Walking Dead and the movies, always telling my wife and kids how those stories could have been better (like the zombies in World War Z were way too fast, everyone knows the real DEAD are slow! Ask George Romero). So my wife suggested that since I was such an expert, I should write my own novel. At first, I thought she was joking, but she wasn’t- so I did it!
3. When did you start writing and how did you get into it?
It was actually about 5 ½ years ago that my wife encouraged me to start this project. But there were a couple of major setbacks along the way that slowed me down. I had a brain tumor removed a few years back (maybe that’s why I had, and still have, some of these deranged thoughts?). Just a year later my wife, having no prior medical issues or warnings, suddenly passed away from a heart attack. I went through some very dark and blurry times since then. For awhile I was getting drunk just about any time I wasn’t having to work. My writing was replaced by depression and destruction for quite some time. But I finally found some peace and got back on track, so here I am!
4. Who are some of your favorite authors and or influences?
Some of the novels I have enjoyed the most are The Strand, Andromeda Strain, Max Brooks’ World War Z and Zombie Survival Guide, Bird Box, The Amityville Horror, The Shining. I just started to read Mark Tufo’s Zombie Fallout and enjoying it greatly! And of course, I like Steven King’s stuff. But who doesn’t, right? I really find myself digging those writers who combine action with some portions of humor mixed into their stories. So I emulated those writers and that style. I believe I injected a good amount of humor into my story. I tried to write a zombie story that was smart but also funny (maybe that’s why I love the Dead Pool movie so much!) One person who read my book so far commented that it is “extremely clever and brisk-paced. The narrative is witty, even when horrifying.” I like that he chose those two words WITTY and HORRIFYING to describe my work, as this is exactly what I was aiming for. If I was a rock group instead of an author, I might be compared to the band Tragedy, a metal band that put their own spin on Bee Gees songs. Or better yet, I might be more like that Death Metal Band that plays Weird Al Yankovic tunes. Is there such a band? There should be! But I also attempted to make WICKED AWAKE smarter than the average zombie book by applying a great level of detail, science, and research into it. Hopefully, I have succeeded!
5. If it isn’t too personal, why did you get out of Law Enforcement?
I retired with over twenty-five years on the job as a cop in North Texas. It was a great career but I am ready for it to be over. Being a police officer has changed over the years. Right after the 9/11 tragedy, cops and firemen were considered to be heroes. Parents encouraged their kids to wave at us and be friendly with us. Nowadays cops are hated and targeted. Firemen are still loved (apparently I chose the wrong career), but not the police. Kids are told to question all authority, especially Law Enforcement. And I get it, I think politics and some of our past leaders are partly to blame, although I’m not going to act like I don’t realize there are some very bad officers out there who have done some really fucked up things. In my book, I mention one seasoned training officer in particular who acts as if he is untouchable, above the law. But for every bad cop like that exists, I would say there’s another nine who are honest and professional. Also, keep in mind that even the cop haters are the first to call 9-1-1 for help when their house is being burglarized or their car is getting jacked.
6. You are a fan of Marvel Comics. Which ones are your favorites and if you could have superpowers, what would they be?
Growing up I was very much into SpiderMan, the Avengers, Fantastic Four, and PowerMan, but my favorite character was the Punisher. That character has been somewhat of an influence in the way I portrayed my protagonist, Jake Hathaway. Hathaway was a Marine and then goes on to become a Dallas Police Officer. He promotes to be a Sergeant and is also a training officer, then a K9 handler.
He goes from being a standup military and police figure to someone who does some very dark things. He does these things for the overall good, but they still appear somewhat tainted to someone from the outside looking in.
7. Just for fun, if they make a movie of your book, who would you picture starring in it?
Maybe Rob Gronkowski could make his acting debut in this role. But he may be too busy wrasslin’. It would have to be someone about his size- 6’5’’ and up, in his late 20’s to early 30’s. The guy would have to be built like a damn Mack truck. Or maybe some newcomer who looks like a brunette version of Rocky 3’s evil Russian boxer guy, played by Dolph Lungdren. But he would need to have darker hair and simulating more of a New York accent than that fake Russian one. Anyone remember Dolph Lungdren? Is that dude still alive? He would be 62 now… Dolph- if you’re reading this; are you available?
8. What else are you working on, or what can we expect from in your writing future?
I’m already about halfway through with WICKED AWAKE part 2 and I’ve also been throwing around the idea of writing a book about my experiences in writing a book. And about my struggle to figure out this social media stuff. I’m not sure which of those two reads will be scarier…
I want to thank Merrill for taking his time to answer my questions! And after you are done reading this, go to some of his links to find out more or just connect!