I’ve had the pleasure of doing Horror Metal Sounds’ first horror author review and what better than a post-apocalyptic novel?! It’s my favorite genre, I am a writer in this genre, and I know the genre very well. Recently I did a review on Z Plan: Blood on the Sand by Mikhail Lerma for The Bookie Monster (www.bookie-monster.com) and was pretty impressed with the book. Below you’ll find the book’s synopsis followed by my very own unique interview with Mikhail Lerma himself! You can also check out my review on The Bookie Monster here.
“Cale was sent to Iraq with the usual thoughts any Soldier going to war might have; being lonely away from his family, not wanting to take another human's life, and above all, the fear of never returning home. Although well trained, nothing could have prepared him for the horror he was about to face.
Cale never thought the thing that could keep him from ever seeing his wife and daughter again would be a zombie apocalypse. As he and a handful of fellow Soldiers escape their base after a massive zombie attack, becoming deserters in order to survive, he begins the long and unexpected journey home through the harsh terrain of the desert; a barren landscape now swarming with not only undead cannibals, but also the enemy he was originally sent to fight.
The newly formed group plans to travel west, find a boat and maybe, with a bit of luck, make it back to America. Cale is tested beyond his imagination and brought to the brink of insanity as he loses friends while fighting the flesh eating masses. He risks his life for weeks, focused on holding his wife and daughter in his arms again. It seems all hope is lost when he finds himself alone and adrift at sea ... but is hope really lost?“
HMS: What were your influences for writing Z Plan? Can you tell everyone what your book is about? No spoilers.
ML: Most of my influence was from the old Romero movies. Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and Day of the Dead. I’m a fan of the slow encroaching death. I also drew some inspiration from Max Brooks’ World War Z (book). My book is about a Soldier on a deployment to Iraq. It’s just like any other deployment until the dead start to rise. Order descends into chaos as governments fail and all avenues of communication are lost. Cale must find his way home to his wife and daughter while carefully dodging the undead along the way.
HMS: When did you first figure out that you wanted to be a writer?
ML: Quite honestly the thought never occurred to me. I started writing this story while I was deployed to Iraq to kill time and entertain my friends and myself. It wasn’t until my wife dug it back out four years later and encouraged me to finish it that I even knew I had the talent. So I guess the answer to your question would be just this last year.
HMS: What do you find to be the most challenging thing for you when writing?
ML: Like any writer I suffer writer’s block from time to time. I’ve managed to develop some tactics for when that happens though.
HMS: Tell us a little bit about a day in the life of Mikhail Lerma!
ML: What to tell? Like anyone else I get up and go to work or school. I’m currently going to school for EMS. My goal is to become a paramedic and possibly get an Associate’s Degree in Applied Sciences. When I’m not at work or school I’m at home with my wife and three little girls. It can be difficult sometimes but I try and set aside time to write.
HMS: What advice do you have for other aspiring, indie authors?
ML: Stick with it and write what you know. Try and surprise yourself with your story and the rest just falls into place.
And now for some fun questions:
HMS: What’s your favorite horror movie and why?
ML: Can’t say I have a single favorite. There are so many of them and so many genres too. For zombies; I’m on the fence for Day of the Dead (1985) or 28 Days Later; even though the infected in 28 Days Later weren’t ‘zombies’.
HMS: It’s the zombie apocalypse, RIGHT NOW! Tell us what is directly to the left of you…that’s going to be your only means of defense against the undead.
ML: An empty Pepsi can…challenge accepted.
HMS: Which horror situation would you rather find yourself having to survive in and why: an alien invasion, a vampire takeover or a rise of robotic machines?
ML: Alien invasion hands down. They’d have all sorts of neat tech for us to loot from their cold dead bodies after we outwit them. Don’t underestimate humans. We’re the most dangerous animal on the planet.
HMS: In the event of a massive evacuation, what one sentimental item do you grab from your home?
ML: I’m not really into monetary items. As long as my three girls each have their stuffed animal I’m good.
HMS: What’s the one thing you would miss the most if you woke up tomorrow morning and all technology ceased to function?
ML: The ability to talk to my family that lives far away. I moved away but I still like to talk to them frequently.
HMS: Where can readers find out more information about Z Plan?
ML: A good place to start would be my blog. I also have a Facebook page and a twitter account. I’m pretty active on all three, and I’m always happy to hear from a reader.
HMS: What’s in store for the future of the series?
ML: Book two just made it through editing and I’ve been picked up by Permuted Press. I’m currently working on Book three. I’ve got an idea in the works for a fourth, but it won’t be a continuation of Cale’s story. More of a ‘filling the gaps’ through the trilogy.
Learn more about Mikhail's series on his Blog, Twitter and Facebook pages.
Stevie Kopas, HMS
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