close

The Qwillery | category: Dead Mann Walking

home

The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

qwillery.blogspot.com

Interview with Stefan Petrucha and Giveaway - November 15, 2011

Please welcome Stefan Petrucha to The Qwillery. Stefan's latest novel is Dead Mann Walking (Hessius Mann 1), which I loved. You can read my review here.


TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Stefan:  Probably the same thing that makes it a little tough to market me – I tend to write between genres, a little of this, a little of that, something old, something new. I think it provides a great ride. Hell, I’m fascinated even if no one else is. But sometimes it’s hard to peg exactly where it belongs on the shelves. Dead Mann Walking, for instance, is part detective story, part horror, part science fiction, part noir, part social satire, but at the same time very much its own thing.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Stefan:  Some writers like to make things up as they go along, they say they enjoy surprising themselves about where the story goes, but to my mind that abdicates a lot of important writing tools, like foreshadowing and characters arcs. So, I do always work with an outline.

That said, my outlines aren’t written in stone, and I’m always improving it as I go along, so, in practice, the process is more like a dialogue between the outline and the book. For instance, I’d completely plotted the second Mann book, Dead Mann Running, but, as I wrote the last scene, stumbled upon a great final twist that changes everything.

I think it’s the best of both worlds, really.

TQ:  Describe Dead Mann Walking (Hessius Mann 1) in 140 characters or less.

Stefan:  Zombies! Noir! What more could you want?

TQ:  What inspired you to write Dead Mann Walking?

Stefan:  Zombies have been in the back of my mind for ages, but I never had an idea for a story about them that I thought was worth pursuing until I happened to be listening to a conversation on NPR about the death penalty. A speaker was saying something to the effect that the main reason the death penalty is so controversial is that you can’t take it back. And I thought, well… what if you could? And of course the revival process wouldn’t be very good.

Past that the cynical world of the noir detective and the fatalistic cosmos of the classic zombie seemed like a perfect mash-up.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do to create Hessius Mann's world?

Stefan:  I steeped myself in two things – zombies and detectives. I read a few zombie histories, watched a bunch of zombie and noir films, then went back and re-read things like The Maltese Falcon, The Glass Key and Monster Island.

TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?

Stefan:  In some ways, the main character, Hessius Mann, was easiest. That hard-boiled voice always came readily to me. In college a friend and I did a satire of Casablanca. Later on, I did a few graphic novels, Lance Barnes: Post Nuke Dick and Boston Blackie -- so it’s a voice of which I’m fond. I enjoy sticking in the darkly philosophic one-liners.

With Hess, it was tough, at times, finding a balance between his zombie-distance from life and the romanticism inherent in any detective, but I think it works. Cynics are only cynical because they still believe in something after all. The dead moreso.

Hardest was probably Hess’ former boss, Tom Booth, the current chief of detectives in Fort Hammer. He’s a guy who slept with Hess’ wife and now hates chakz and Hess in particular. His angry emotions were such a knot, it was difficult to hit the right tone with him and avoid being cliché. He’ll have a bigger role in the sequel, so I’m looking forward to teasing him out some more.

TQ:  Which character surprised you the most in Dead Mann Walking?

Stefan:  Probably Hessius’ fellow-chak and informer, Jonesey. A former motivational speaker, he tends to be too enthusiastic given his condition and the world he’s living in. At times he’s comic relief, but there’s a sadness and danger to him. If you’re optimistic about your car flying, you can drive off a cliff. I feel about him the same way Hess does, I find him irritating, but feel obligated to hear him out.

TQ:  How are the zombies in Dead Mann Walking different from Romero type zombies?

Stefan:  Romero zombies are rabid cannibals, basically like a plague – and you really can’t have a main character who only moans, claws and chews. While the Dead Mann chakz are walking dead, they retain some, but not all, of their original personalities and capabilities, depending on how quickly they were brought back. Essentially abandoned by the living, they form a sort of underclass. They spend their days worried about their bodies rotting, their memories failing and the ever-present danger of falling into such a deep depression, they go feral. Then they’re pretty much like the Romero zombies, but they don’t crave human flesh so much as they’ll eat anything.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in the book?

Stefan:  There are a lot of scenes I’m very happy with, but one stands out, maybe because I just like the idea of it. In Dashiell Hammet’s classic detective story, The Maltese Falcon, Sam Spade attempts to explain himself to femme fatale Brigid O'Shaughnessy by telling her this incredible story, a parable really, about a man named Flitcraft. As an homage to that, when Hess attempt to explain death to his client Turgeon, I have him tell his own Flitcraft story – and that tickles me endlessly.

TQ:  How many books are planned for the Hessius Mann series?

Stefan:  After Dead Mann Running, I’d like to do Dead Mann Standing, since I figure Hess will be tired after all that walking and running. Realistically, I’m currently contracted for the one sequel, and future books will depend on sales. Too early to tell, but I’d be happy to keep Hess going for years.

TQ:  What's next?

Stefan:  As mentioned I’m currently working on Dead Mann Running, which won’t be out until late next year. But this March, I’m very excited to have a young adult hardcover coming out from Philomel Books, entitled Ripper. It’s been going over great in-house, and already has some substantial film interest. I like to describe it as sort of like Harry Potter, except without magic and with a serial killer. The cover alone is fantastic.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Stefan:  Thanks for having me! Come visit at www.petrucha.com!


About the Hessius Mann Series

Dead Mann Walking
Hessius Mann 1
Roc, October 4, 2011
Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages


Interview with Stefan Petrucha and Giveaway - November 15, 2011
After Hessius Mann was convicted of his wife's murder, suppressed evidence came to light and the verdict was overturned-too bad he was already executed. But thanks to the miracles of modern science Hessius was brought back to life. Sort of.

Now that he's joined the ranks of Fort Hammer's pulse-challenged population, Hessius attempts to make a "living" as a private investigator. But when a missing persons case leads to a few zombies cut to pieces, Hessius starts thinking that someone's giving him the run-around-and it's not like he's in any condition to make a quick getaway...

Dead Mann Running (Hessius Mann 2) will be published in 2012.


About Stefan

Interview with Stefan Petrucha and Giveaway - November 15, 2011
photo by Sarah Kinney
Born in the Bronx, Stefan Petrucha spent his formative years moving between the big city and the suburbs, both of which made him prefer escapism.

A fan of comic books, science fiction and horror since learning to read, in high school and college he added a love for all sorts of literary work, eventually learning that the very best fiction always brings you back to reality, so, really, there's no way out.

An obsessive compulsion to create his own stories began at age ten and has since taken many forms, including novels, comics and video productions. At times, the need to pay the bills made him a tech writer, an educational writer, a public relations writer and an editor for trade journals, but fiction, in all its forms, has always been his passion. Every year he's made a living at that, he counts a lucky one. Fortunately, there've been many.

Stefan's Links

Website
Facebook
Twitter


The Giveaway

THE RULES

What:  One commenter will win a signed copy of Dead Mann Walking (Hessius Mann 1).

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

Favorite novel, short story, movie, TV show with zombies? 

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)   Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)   Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3)   Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Tuesday, November 22, 2011. Void where prohibited by law. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

Review - Dead Mann Walking by Stefan Petrucha - 4 1/2 Qwills

Dead Mann Walking
AuthorStefan Petrucha
Series:  Hessius Mann
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages
Publisher: Roc (October 4, 2011)
Price: $7.99
Language: English
Genres: Urban Fantasy, SciFi, Mystery
ISBN9780451464217
Review Copy:  Provided by Publisher


Cover and description:

Review - Dead Mann Walking by Stefan Petrucha - 4 1/2 Qwills
After Hessius Mann was convicted of his wife's murder, suppressed evidence came to light and the verdict was overturned-too bad he was already executed. But thanks to the miracles of modern science Hessius was brought back to life. Sort of.

Now that he's joined the ranks of Fort Hammer's pulse-challenged population, Hessius attempts to make a "living" as a private investigator. But when a missing persons case leads to a few zombies cut to pieces, Hessius starts thinking that someone's giving him the run-around-and it's not like he's in any condition to make a quick getaway...



My description and thoughts:

Dead Mann Walking is the first in the Hessius Mann series by Stefan Petrucha.

Hessius Mann is a zombie (chak), but not the shuffling zombie of the Romero movies. Hessius is a sentient high functioning chak. He's one of the lucky ones having been brought back to 'life' before he had deteriorated much. His reanimation was sanctioned by the government because of his wrongful conviction for his wife's murder. In addition to those reanimated due to a miscarriage of justice, many were reanimated because their loved ones missed them. Without proper care a chak can rot and all of them can become feral and have to be put down. Reanimation for loved ones rapidly became unpopular. Chakz became segregated from society and mostly reside in shanty towns and The Bones, an area of Fort Hammer.

Hessius has a liveblood (human) assistant, Misty, who helps run his office, patches him up when he's hurt (glue and stitching), and helps to keep him in the here and now so he does not become feral. Chakz have memory issues, even the higher functioning ones. Hessius mainly uses a recording device to help him remember things, but he has to remember he has the device.

Hessius is hired to find an heir who is also a chak. The job provides much needed funds. In addition to the case, Hessius is bothered by the news that a chak has been found chopped up in the desert. For some reason this murder sticks with him. What Hessius doesn't know is that accepting the missing heir case will put him up to his neck in something far more serious.

Stefan Petrucha has created a terrific world for Hessius Mann. He peppers the story with fascinating details, unique terminology and pop culture references that make the world both more substantial and more enjoyable. I was fully engaged with this world while reading Dead Mann Walking.  Hessius Mann is both likable and compelling. Despite his memory and lifeless issues, he's a first-rate PI. The secondary cast of characters is also well-crafted with their own interesting life/unlife stories. The bad guy was more than suitably creepy. Dead Mann Walking is a noirish mystery/thriller with a new twist on zombies, a great detective and a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.

I give Dead Mann Walking 4 1/2 Qwills.

Review - Dead Mann Walking by Stefan Petrucha - 4 1/2 Qwills
Interview with Stefan Petrucha and Giveaway - November 15, 2011Review - Dead Mann Walking by Stefan Petrucha - 4 1/2 Qwills

Report "The Qwillery"

Are you sure you want to report this post for ?

Cancel
×