At most bookstores, the authors are inside book jackets.
At Barnes &Noble Alderwood, Michelle Kilmer is there in the flesh.
Which might be a weird way to put it for a someone who writes about zombies.
“Mistakes I Made During the Zombie Apocalypse,” the latest book by Kilmer, the store’s digital sales lead, is on the shelf. A copy, autographed, is about $10.
Kilmer, 34, lives in Mill Creek with her twin sister, Becky, who also loves zombies and horror.
“We did a book together called ‘The Spread: A Zombie Short Story Collection.’ ”
Kilmer has self-published six zombie books through When The Dead Books. More at www.whenthedead.com.
Talk about your new book.
“Mistakes I Made During the Zombie Apocalypse” was inspired by the zombie craze itself. In my novella, a zombie-obsessed teen is faced with the real deal, but it turns out he isn’t as prepared as he thought for this world-ending plague.
Each chapter is a different mistake, and it’s told reverse-chronologically with each mistake tying to the one previous. He recounts his poor choices and ends his story where it started, when he had different feelings regarding the outbreak.
What mistakes did you make?
I’m happy with where I’m at in life and I respect that the path I took led me here, so I can’t say I’d change much. My struggles built me. Also, I’ve always been responsible. I worried a lot as a child and still do. This keeps me from making more mistakes. In an apocalyptic situation, I imagine I’d scream too much and that would reveal our location and end up getting me killed. It’s easy to scare me.
What are you working on now?
A short story collection titled “When You Find Out What You’re Made Of.” Two of the stories in it are finalists in a writing competition. Each story focuses on a character having a personal revelation of some kind. The majority of them are horror, but there’s some sci-fi/fantasy mixed in. There’s a werewolf, sentient tapeworms, a child-killing pandemic and more.
What are your writing rituals?
Wine and soft lighting help, sometimes a bath. But I also make note of random scenes or bits of conversation on scraps of paper throughout the day and I text myself snippets of ideas to expand on later. Sometimes I use my computer, other times I prefer my tablet or a notebook.
Have you always written?
Yes, in some form. Poems and songs since I was in elementary school. I couldn’t finish a story to save my life until my first novel though. Writing truly is practice and effort, and learning about the mistakes you make through feedback from readers and editors.
What inspired you to write a book?
J.L. Bourne’s “Day by Day Armageddon” (a zombie novel told in a journal format) inspired me to work toward my first novel. Also, watching a ton of zombie horror movies and taking note of concepts that weren’t touched on.
Where do your ideas come from?
Everywhere. Anywhere. News articles. Many of my short story ideas are only slightly removed from our reality. I adore retellings of folklore and explaining mundane items or concepts in extraordinary ways.
How do you feel about digital books?
I dabble in them. Being a reader, writer and bookseller, my bookshelves and night stands are overflowing with physical copies of books. I occasionally buy digital copies to save space and to enjoy when it isn’t always feasible to carry an actual book along. I work a lot with readers who prefer the e-book format. I understand the pros and cons, and I also know that there will always be folks who want the real thing in their hands.
People would be shocked to know…
I’m easily grossed out and afraid of the dark.
If you could have a drink with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
My dad. He passed away suddenly in early May 2012, a couple of weeks before my first novel was published, and a couple months before his first biological grandchild was born. So much has happened since his death. I’d catch him up over a Heineken or two.
What are you wearing?
Gym clothes, which is completely against the cliche idea of writers as chain-smoking, inactive homebodies. Health is important to me and weightlifting is as important a therapy as writing is.
What are three things in your fridge?
BellaVitano Merlot cheese, a cheddar Parmesan blend soaked in wine. If you haven’t tried it, drive to the store right now. Leftovers from Manna Teriyaki up the road; they give a huge portion for takeout orders and the pricing is equally generous. Tamed jalapenos.
What is your pet peeve?
I’m ashamed to say I have many, but what most of them boil down to is this: People being unaware of how their choices (big and small) impact other people and not really caring to think before acting.
What is your guilty pleasure?
I could say wine, chocolate, excessive baths, trash television, etc … but life is meant to be lived and everything in moderation is a healthy approach. I don’t feel guilt over these choices.
What was the last great book you read?
“The Apartment” by S.L. Grey. A psychological thriller with touches of a ghost story, told beautifully in past and present. I read it in a couple days and it stayed on my mind for months.
Do you know someone we should get to know better? Send suggestions to abrown@herald net.com or call 425-339-3443.