I'm Forrest Carr, novelist, blogger, land snark, and former TV news director and talk radio host. I tackle politics, cats, the media, paranormal psychology, dreams, God, guns, evolution, rat bastards, and anything else that might make you think or laugh, maybe even simultaneously. And, oh yeah, I have cancer, which makes me the Walter White of bloggers. You have been warned.
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Can a zombie novel appeal to Christians?
Journal of the Crazy Year can, and does, as
I just found out
would have thought that an apocalyptic novel featuring zombies running around savagely
attacking people might have a Christian appeal?
But as it turns out, that is the case for my second novel, A Journal of the Crazy Year.
week I’ve been doing a round of radio interviews to promote the print
publication of the book. One of the
stations kind enough to invite me on to discuss the novel was the host of the Pete O’Shea Show on WTIS-AM
is a Christian radio station whose stated mission is that of inspiration. I will admit I was somewhat surprised to have
a broadcast outlet of that nature respond so enthusiastically to the press
pitch (many thanks for the latter to my publicist, Rachel Anderson). But soon it became
apparent why a station with a spiritual format might have an interest in this
big reason is that the station was celebrating “Action Week,” the theme of
which was to help inspire and support people who want or need to change the
direction of their lives. “Don’t let
fear paralyze you” is the general message, and of course hand in hand with that
is the encouragement to rely on faith to get you through.
does apply to me. Two years ago, after
33 years of a successful career in TV news, I decided to take time off to
pursue some projects I had always wanted to do but for which I’d never been
able to carve out time from a very busy professional schedule. In contemplating such a dramatic change, fear
definitely is a factor, and believe me, you don’t take that kind of leap
without a reliance on faith. So Mr. O’Shea
pointed to me as an example of someone who has faced that fear, overcome it, and
gone on to do something entirely different.
(I won’t retell my personal story here, but you can follow this link if you want to know more about all that).
then we talked about two plot elements that relate to Christian issues.
among those is the fact that some people of faith—including some friends of
mine—avoid the zombie genre entirely because they’re not comfortable with the
idea of the occult; their faith teaches them that only God has the power to
defeat death. The characters in my book
refer to the infected victims committing all the mass violence as zombies, but really
they’re not dead and never were. They’re
alive but sick. The disease in the novel
was inspired by a real-life pandemic that struck a century ago, affecting some
of its victims much in the manner the book describes (before sitting down to
write I put on my journalist hat and did a ton of research on the disease). The fact that the “zombies” are not “undead” raises
all kinds of side issues of morality and legality within the story. (“Zombies—can’t live with ‘em, can’t shoot ‘em.”) There are no occult issues to challenge or
raise conflicts with anyone’s personal beliefs, and if you allow me the leeway
to suggest that a real-life disease that has struck at least twice before in
human history could come back in a much more virulent form, then the events
depicted in the novel really could happen.
(My decades-long experience in journalism gives me an idea of how such events
would unfold—and, frighteningly, some what the book depicts is already
A driver's cell phone captures the beginning of the end
then there is the strong theme of spirituality that forms a major element of the
story. The lead character, John Cruz,
has all kinds of reasons to be mad at God.
In addition to his personal grievances, he has to grapple with the question
of why a just, loving, and merciful God would unleash a possibly world-ending
plague on humanity. His wife has a
strong faith in her maker, and her relationship with God is never shaken even
for a moment no matter what calamities erupt (and they do). But John has a tougher time with it. Finally he comes to an arrangement with God,
asking for just one more good day with his spouse, who is the love of his
life. The nature of that bargain and
what John does to keep his end of it form the heart of the story.
don’t want to mislead anyone—the book is not overly graphic but it is
adult-themed. Zombie-type characters tend
to misbehave badly and mine excel at that; there is a lot of what the people
who come up with motion picture ratings like to call “strong sci-fi action.” However, those spiritual elements definitely
are there and it’s what interested this particular Christian radio talk show
Here is a link to the broadcast. To keep
it legal and not violate anyone’s copyright, I’ve linked directly to the radio
station podcast as posted on its website.
The interview starts a third of the way in; adjust the slider to about 30:00 or so.
Kindle version of the novel is available from amazon.com; the print edition can be found there, too, and also
purchased through any major online bookseller.
You can get more info, read editorial and reader reviews, download a
free sample chapter, and see a wide variety of purchase links on my author’s website. Find out why Publisher’s Weekly calls A Journal of the Crazy Year a “fascinating read” from top to bottom. In
addition to hopefully entertaining you, it might give you something to think
about, as it did for “Bee,” a five-star amazon.com reader who posted, “I know
this will stay with me for a while.”