Name: Cora Buhlert
Book Title: Letters from the Dark Side
Letters from the Dark Side (Amazon)
1. How long have you been writing for?
I've been telling stories since forever, started writing them down in my teens and have been writing seriously since university.
2. What do you think sets your work apart from others in the genre?
Letters from the Dark Side is a different from most other horror/dark fantasy works, because it's epistolary fiction. The format is basically that of an agony aunt page or one of those True Confessions magazines, only that the letters are all from supernatural beings. There aren't any letters by zombies, since I doubt zombies can write. But there is one by a woman who was bitten and is about to turn. Plus, the agony aunt, the evocatively named Dr. Megan Midnight, is totally clueless.
3. Do you have any tips for new writers?
Read a lot, write a lot, set manageable goals for yourself and never give up.
4. What books do you read and do you have a recent recommendation?
I read widely across genres with a certain preference for SF and fantasy. Alas, I'm not much of a zombie reader, but Rob Thurman's Leandros Brothers series and Caitlin Kittredge's Black London are both urban/dark fantasy tending towards horror and deserve to be much better known than they are.
5. Where can readers find you?
At my publisher website http://pegasus-pulp.com , my personal website/blog http://corabuhlert.com. My books may be found at Amazon, Amazon UK,B&N, Kobo and iTunes.
Zombie Survival Questions
1. You see a hand gun, a bat and a knife. Which do you choose as your weapon for the apocalypse?
I'll take the bat, since it's got more range than a knife and doesn't run out of ammunition. Plus, bats are easier to come by in my part of the world than guns. Never mind that I can't shoot. Though ideally, I'd take all three and switch according to the threat and situation.
2. Place of survival. Your own house, a shopping mall or The Winchester pub?
For the immediate post-outbreak phase, I'd stick to my own house or maybe a neighbour's house. They sure poured a lot of concrete into the foundations of the neighbour house during the construction, so it should be reasonably safe.
For longer term survival, I'd head for the Columbus Center shopping mall in Bremerhaven, which is about seventy kilometres from where I live. Why that particular mall? Because it's a gloomy 1970s concrete monstrosity without windows that would probably survive a nuclear war and should sure keep out the zombies. And the mall stores should provide sufficient provisions for a while. It's also connected to a neighbouring mall and museum via a skyway, though we would probably have to block that off, because the other mall and museum have glass roofs and thus aren't zombie proof.
Plus, right in front of the mall, the Wilhelm Bauer, a WWII era submarine belonging to the Bremerhaven Maritime Museum, lies at anchor with direct access to the North Sea. I doubt that the museum would mind me borrowing one of their exhibits during an apocalypse and a submarine would be extremely useful to provide zombie proof travel and maybe escape to unaffected parts of the world, should there still be any.
3. You see an underground parking centre. Do you go in?
Only if I need fuel or provisions or a replacement car or if a mob of zombies were already after me. Otherwise, I'd stay far away, cause there's no way of telling who or what may lurk inside.
4. You see your boss is now a zombie but is no immediate threat to you. Do you still use your last bullet on him/her?
I'm self-employed, so I don't have a boss per se. As for past bosses, co-workers and customers, no, I'd keep the last bullet in reserve. I figure that unless we're dealing with semi-sentient zombies a la Isaac Marion's Warm Bodies (which are fairly rare), the zombies have no idea who they used to be and therefore no wish to escape their condition, so there would be no need to put them out of their misery. And I've never had a boss or coworker I hated so much that I wanted to bash their head in or blow their brains out.
5. What luxury item would you keep in the apocalypse?
Probably a piece of jewellery, a necklace or bracelet.
6. You're bitten, do you
A) Shoot yourself before you turn?
B) Ask a friend to do?
C) Turn and enjoy the all you can eat human buffet?
All you can eat, baby!