Zachary Linville's first novel, Welcome to Deadland, hits bookshelves on August 9, having already won Nerdist's first publishing contest on Inkshares, not to mention making our list of best beach reads this summer. Set in Central Florida, in the days leading up to and shortly after the zombiepocalypse, Welcome to Deadland follows the lives of a few remaining survivors as they learn to adapt to their new reality and, with any luck, find sanctuary with others like them. It's a fast-paced, well-plotted story with a few LGBT characters at its forefront and perfect reading for a late summer weekend.
In anticipation of the novel's debut, we asked Zachary to play a round of QUEST10NS:
1. Where did you go on your last trip?
I actually returned this morning from my last trip. I just spent the last week in San Diego, where I attended Comic-Con (photo below) and Nerdist’s Conival to promote Welcome to Deadland.
2. What was your favorite memory from it?
Participating on a live panel with the editor of Nerdist, Rachel Heine, the CEO of Inkshares, Adam Gomolin, and another author, Dave Barrett. We discussed our writing processes, how we pursued our publishing goals, and what it is like working in an active partnership with both Nerdist and Inkshares. I had spent three days watching panels on the same stage with the producers and actors of several shows I watch, such as Fear the Walking Dead and Legends of Tomorrow, to shows I’m anticipating like the adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. And then I was walking across the same stage, sitting in the same chairs, and looking out over an audience to discuss my own career in storytelling. Learning to surf would be my second favorite memory, but it doesn’t come close to the panel.
3. Your favorite real-life Central Florida theme park?
My favorite real-life Central Florida theme park would be Universal Studios Orlando. I have a deep personal connection to the park. I was lucky enough to experience being part of the opening team of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter while I was attending the University of Central Florida. As a huge Harry Potter nerd and a theme park junkie two of my loves came together, and I got to not only be a part of it, but I was able to geek out over being paid to be a wizard and attend Hogwarts. My years working there turned into lifelong bonds with some of my best friends, and Universal Studios will always be a part of what shaped and inspired me.
4. Assuming it would forever be a safe zone, where in the world would you want to find yourself once the zombiepocalypse begins?
Bora Bora. I could relax, swim, soak in the sun, and live off of the fish and the land. I would be surrounded in island bliss, as well as beautiful scenery, every day while the rest of the world turned to carnage and destruction.
5. Scariest place you've ever visited?
The scariest place I’ve ever visited is Middlebury, Indiana. I was surrounded by corn, the town has one small main strip, and the closest movie theater is in another town forty minutes away. The world could end, and it would take days for the news to travel to Middlebury’s doorstep.
6. What's your favorite local hangout in the city you currently call home?
My favorite hangout in Atlanta is Ponce City Market. Ponce City Market is full of shopping, restaurants, and cafes, but you’ll never have a better chicken biscuit than the ones served at Hop’s Chicken. If shopping and eating aren’t your thing, the Belt Line, a walking park, is located nearby, or you can head up to the roof of the market for the newly opened fun zone. There’s putt-putt golf, a few rides, as well as food and drink options.
7. What one thing should every first-time traveler see in town during his stay?
As a theme park enthusiast, and having written a book that takes place in a theme park, I would have to say the one thing a first-time traveler should see during his stay is Six Flags Over Georgia. There are a large variety of rides, including some amazing theme parks, and who doesn’t enjoy a cheat day of eating fried foods and drinking beer? It’s easy to spend an entire day at the park, and you’ll love every minute of it.
8. What one thing should he avoid as if it were overrun by the undead?
One thing to avoid as if it were overrun by the undead is downtown after dark. The downtown area quickly closes down after business hours, and most people commute to the areas surrounding downtown. There are restaurants, bars, and parks on the outskirts of downtown and you’ll have more fun near Piedmont Park than downtown.
9. The one person you would want to be traveling with you should plans go awry?
If my plans were to go awry I would want Dwayne Johnson with me. I’m smaller, so his strength and height could be crucial in reaching spaces I can’t, or holding back hoards of zombies that would otherwise overpower me. I follow Dwayne Johnson on different social media platforms as well, and I have so much respect for him. He comes across as a genuinely funny and caring man, and that type of personality would go a long way in lifting moods and keeping morale high.
10. Where will you go on your next adventure?
My next adventure starts on August 10th! I will be flying to Munich and beginning an eighteen day trip around Europe. After a few days in Munich, I’m flying to London. Last year I was able to secure tickets to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and after eleven months of waiting, I’ll be able to finally watch both parts of the stage production. After a week in London, I’m taking off to Paris for the final leg of my journey before returning home to Atlanta.
Get your own copy of Welcome to Deadland at Inkshares website.