Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write this particular book?
I’ve been writing YA paranormal with a dash of humor for a while now. But I’ve never written a book that took place in the Hollywood community, where I live and have worked for over 20 years. When I was asked to create a new series, I knew wanted it to take place in Hollywood, or Hollyweird as we sometimes call it.
What is it about the paranormal, in particular zombies
, that fascinates you so much?
I don’t know. I like everything paranormal. When I wrote Never Slow Dance With A Zombie, I was trying to have my way with the zombie genre. In this new book, however, zombies are just a part of the paranormal universe. There are risen dead known as deadies, grave goblins, and necromancers. Fun!
Please tell us about your latest release.
Kristine Golden is a fifteen year-old with a sworn duty to lay the risen dead back to rest. And in Hollywood there seems to be quite a few deadies roaming around. She agrees to lay a risen fifteen year-old, Marci, back to rest, but Marci won’t go back until a question has been answered. She wants to know if she was murdered.
Do you have a special formula for creating characters' names? Do you try to match a name with a certain meaning to attributes of the character or do you search for names popular in certain time periods or regions?
Names kind of come to me. I start thinking about a new character as if they’re a person and a name eventually pops into my head. I use the name and if it feels right, I keep it. Before writing The Zombie Always Knocks Twice I wrote a short story with the same characters, but the love interest’s name was Cesar. Somehow I knew it wasn’t right. As I was outlining the book and Alex Romero came to me. I liked it and so it stayed.
Was one of your characters more challenging to write than another?
I can’t say any one character was more challenging, but the cheerleaders were a challenge. They are four mean girls who appear in most chapters together. I tried to give them each a voice and attitude that could separate them from one another. In all honesty, those scenes were very difficult.
Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?
I enjoyed writing Talia, Kris’ boozing, trouble seeking best friend. I hadn’t written a character like her before, but I’ve known people like her. Fortunately for me, the kids I knew didn’t get me into the kinds of trouble Talia finds for Kris.
Do you have a formula for developing characters? Like do you create a character sketch or list of attributes before you start writing or do you just let the character develop as you write?
I don’t have a formula. I have a sense of who a character is in the beginning—their weaknesses and issues, and I let the character develop from there. In creating Anne Marie, Kris’ sister, I wanted to look at what it might be like being the sibling of a gifted child. I grew up with a gifted brother. At times it was hard, he got lots of attention, but I was never jealous of him. But I thought “What if I was jealous that he was gifted and I wasn’t?” With this idea in mind I created Anne Marie.
What is your favorite scene from the book? Could you share a little bit of it, without spoilers of course?
I really love this book and have quite a few faves. I love the scene where Kris and Anne Marie are in the car arguing. That dialogue just spilled out of me. When I read it back I was surprised at how revealing it was. I also like the action scene where Kris and Alex are trying to rescue a girl from a zombie and get attacked by something else. What attacks them? You’ll have to read the book and find out ;-)
What is the most interesting thing you have physically done for book related research purposes?
The Hollyweird series takes place in and around Hollywood. I have visited night clubs, dive bars, cemeteries, the Walk of Fame and the Hollywood sign for this book. I have uncovered lots of interesting tid bits about the places I’ve visited along the way. I love this kind of research.
Can you tell readers a little bit about the world building in the book/series? How does this world differ from our normal world?
The world in the Hollyweird series is very much like our normal world. But just like our world, when you peel back the onion skin you’ll find some crazy stuff going on. In my world dead people are walking among the living and we cannot tell them apart. The only people who can tell them apart are necromancers who are sworn to lay them back to rest. It’s sort of like The Ghost Whisperer, but instead of ghosts we have deadies walking around.
With the book being part of a series, are there any character or story arcs, that readers jumping in somewhere other than the first book, need to be aware of? Can these books be read as stand alones?
That’s a good question, and I’m not sure of the answer. I haven’t begun writing the second book, yet. I can tell you with Earth Angel, the second book in The Falling Angels Saga, fans jumping in on book II had no trouble finding their way around. I hope I can duplicate that in book II of Hollyweird.
Do you have any weird writing quirks or rituals?
I don’t have any rituals that I know if. One thing, though, is I don’t like writing in the same room all the time. I spend about fifty percent of my time writing in my office, and the rest of the time I am elsewhere. Right now I’m in the dining room, which is my favorite place to write. I like being near the food ;-)
When did you consider yourself a writer?
I started calling myself a writer when I was in grad school. It took some time for me to believe it. I’d be at a party and say “I’m a writer.” And the inevitable “Do I know anything you’ve written?” would get asked. That question kept me from claiming it in public for a long time. Then one day I said “fuck it.” The next Time the question was asked I said, “not yet. But you’ll be hearing from me soon enough.” And with that, I became a writer.
What are your guilty pleasures in life?
I don’t want to sound like a writing cliché but I like to hang out with my friends and drink. Damn, I guess I am a cliché.
Other than writing, what are some of your interests, hobbies or passions in life?
Family. I love to work out. Tennis. I like to read, and go to the movies, and I LOVE all kinds of music. Did I already mention drinking?
Where is your favorite place to read? Do you have a cozy corner or special reading spot?
I like reading in bed, although lately I keep falling asleep. I guess I’d better find a new reading spot, huh?
Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?
The man coming up the block toward us in the hooded sweatshirt stopped directly in our path, about ten feet away. The hood dropped revealing his face. The hair on the left side of his head had been shaved off revealing tiny bits of bony white scalp. Huge staples held his crooked jaw in place. There was a large indentation in his forehead from some sort of blunt force impact. His left eye was covered with a milky, white cataract, and the right drooped unnaturally into his cheek.
My breath caught yet again. Standing before us was a zombie.
‘LEAVE US ALONE!” the zombie screeched. Then he took off on a dead run and plowed into Alex with the impact a freight train.
Just great, I thought. Hollyweird—where the dead come out to play.
Zombies aren’t what the movies make them out to be—slow moving, brain dead, brain suckers. They’re the result of a raising gone bad. They can be strong, and fast, and very dangerous. Also, a bite from a zombie won’t make you a member of the living dead, although I’m sure it must hurt like hell.
The one that plowed into Alex was almost six feet tall and about seventeen years old. He hit Alex with inhuman force, propelling him backward. They slammed into a parked car that seemed to explode on impact. The twisting metal and shattering glass sounded like a horrible automobile accident. The car was totaled, and Alex was embedded into the passenger side, like a toy soldier into a wad of Play Doh.
“Oh, God!” I screamed.
Alex’s eyes were closed. He wasn’t moving… but the zombie was. He peeled himself away from Alex and the wreckage.
“Zombie!” I called at the top of my lungs. “I command you to tell me who raised you and what you are doing here.”
The zombie faced me, a puzzled look on his distorted face. It dawned on me he hadn’t known I was a necromancer until then—not that it made a difference. He wasn’t bound to me so he didn’t have to answer my questions. I was bluffing.
“LEAVE US ALONE!” He screamed in response. He started for me and a wave of fear rippled my gut.
“I command you to stay back!” I called, but my voice was cracking, my words lacked conviction. I took a few shaky steps backward. The zombie continued toward me.
Just then the sound of twisting metal snagged both our attention. Alex’s eyes were open, and he was separating himself from the wreckage. He shed the automobile with the ease of a snake shedding an old skin. He began advancing on the zombie.
“What’s going on down there?” We all looked up and saw three men, all Johnny do-gooders, running up the block in our direction.
“Leave her alone,” one of them called.
The zombie looked from the advancing men to Alex and me.
“Hhhhh!” Hot breath hissed angrily at us. Then he took off past us like a deer, bounding up the block. By the time the men reached us he was nowhere in sight.
“You ok?” one of them asked.
“Yes. He… attacked us?”
“What the heck happened here?” Another of the men asked. He was staring at the twisted pile of metal that used to be a Buick.
Before I could open my mouth, Alex launched into an explanation. “My girl and I were out for a stroll, and he was taking a sledge hammer to that car when we happened upon him. Guess it was some kind of vendetta. And when he saw us he decided to add us to the list.” The lie flowed from his lips effortlessly.
“Hey, aren’t you on that TV show?” the third man asked.
Alex smiled. “The Beloved. Yes. You watch it?”
“No, but my girlfriend does. She can’t get enough of you vampire guys.”
Any suspicions the men may have had about our presence on the street or Alex molesting me immediately vanished. Alex was a bona fide Hollywood star. I guess they thought all stars were boy scouts. Where have they been?
Several minutes and three autographs later the men were gone, and Alex and I were walking back to the party.
“You told that lie like you do it all the time,” I said.
“I’m a dead person among the living. I do do it all the time.”
That wasn’t what I was talking about, but I didn’t push it. He seemed annoyed. I guess being attacked by a zombie wasn’t an everyday occurrence for him either.
“If it makes you feel any better, I memorized the car’s plate number. I’ll take care of the damage,” he said, his words softening.
“Thanks. That does make me feel better.” I wanted to hold my tongue, but I couldn’t. “So, you have any enemies who’d want to send a zombie after you?”
“I don’t have any enemies. I’m a lover not a fighter.” The annoyance was back.
“Maybe you loved the wrong woman.”
“I’m dead. I can’t love any woman,” he replied. The words were seething with anger or pain. I couldn’t tell which.
“He said ‘leave us alone.’ Who’s us?” I asked.
“I don’t know!”
He was getting agitated again so I dropped the subject. But not without noting there was more to Alex than he was telling me. A vindictive zombie had been set loose in Hollywood. It was something I needed to look into along with the deadie from the diner. My, my, I was suddenly a very busy girl.
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The Zombie Always Knocks Twice
E. Van Lowe
E. Van Lowe
Genre: YA Paranormal
Cover Artist: Ryan Doan
Kindle ebook: 978-1-926997-74-2
Trade paperback: 978-1-926997-81-0
Page Count: 177 pages
Hollywood California, Swimming pools, movie stars… and now the risen dead
Hollywood can be a difficult place to grow up, especially if you’re Kristine Golden, a fifteen-year-old necromancer with a sworn duty to lay the risen dead back to rest and no desire to be in the movie business.
When handsome deadie Alex Romero swaggers into her life, Kris must keep her promise, despite her growing feelings for him. If that’s not enough to give a girl a headache, a murderous zombie comes knocking at Kris’ door, rocking her world and threatening her family.
Can Kris solve the mystery of the rampaging zombie before someone else winds up dead? Or will the walking dead take over Hollywood and turn it into… Hollyweird?
About the Author:
E. Van Lowe is an author, television writer, screen-writer, playwright and producer who has worked on such TV shows as "The Cosby Show," "Even Stevens," and "Homeboys In Outer Space."
He has been nominated for both an Emmy and an Academy Award. His first YA Paranormal novel, "Never Slow Dance With A Zombie," was a selection of The Scholastic Book Club, and a nominee for an American Library Association Award. His Best Selling novels, “Boyfriend From Hell” and “Earth Angel,” are the first two books in the Falling Angels Saga. “The Zombie Always Knocks Twice” is the first book in his Hollyweird series.
E lives in Beverly Hills California with his spouse, a werewolf, several zombies and a fairy godmother who grants him wishes from time-to-time.