Chris Philbrook Spills The Beans About Adrian’s Undead Diary
Chris Philbrook, shares a few extra pages from Adrian’s Undead Diary.
Chris Philbrook: Easy peasy! I’m Chris, and I’m the byproduct of 37 years of mistakes and adventure. I’ve been to college for two degrees (Business and Psychology), and I worked a rather substantial multitude of strange jobs from high school to now. I was a game developer, purchasing agent, customer service rep, bouncer, bodyguard, pizza delivery guy, and most recently, a mental health counselor, and author.
Adrian’s Undead Diary (AUD) was started more or less on a dare from my best friend Joe. He’d been harassing me for years to write a zombie story inspired by some of our adolescent planning after watching the classic Romero zombie flicks, and after a chance meeting with Mr. Romero, I was inspired enough to start what became AUD. Three years and tens of thousands of readers later, I’ve got three books out on Amazon, and five more in the works.
ZP: What was one of the first things that lead you to start the AUD series?
CP: Well besides my brother from another Joe crawling up my ass to write it, I had a third shift job that allowed for a lot of spare time. I needed something productive to do, and writing filled that void. When I sat down to write AUD, I wanted desperately to write a zombie genre story that focused on the people, explained why they existed in a way that made sense, and most importantly, felt emotionally real. With those goals in mind, I set out on the 800,000 words of the Diary.
ZP: Can you tell us about a movie, book, comic, or graphic novel that inspired you and why?
CP: God there are so frigging many. Chiefly amongst all inspirations I’d credit the original Romero movies. I watched them on repeat growing up, and they were incredibly formative for me. Of course of late The Walking Dead has been an encouragement, and I’d also say that the writing of Stephen King has been big for me.
CP: Right now King and his son Joe Hill are huge for me. I love their writing styles, and their characters are outstanding. Hill’s style moves faster than his dad’s which I love. I’m also a real big Neil Gaiman fan. His stories are fun and whimsical, but can also be frightening. Love his style.
ZP: In Dark Recollections, you mentioned the term “Violence of Action.” Chris, how would you explain Violence of Action?
CP: VOA is a military term. To sum it up, when you do something that could be dangerous, let’s say entering a room that might be occupied by someone dangerous. VOA is a concept where whatever you do, you do it VIOLENTLY. You do it loud. You do it fast. And you do it as frighteningly as you can. The increased level of violence theoretically causes panic and hesitation in those you don’t want to fight back. Their hesitation gives you that barest of moments that could mean you getting a shot off, versus them getting a shot off. Violence of action.
ZP: Is VOA something you ran across in your research, or something you have experience with?
CP: Both actually. When I was a bodyguard we trained on how to remove our principals from dangerous environments, and the concept of VOA was important. Be loud, be scary, and people either freeze, or get the hell out of your way. I also have a large amount of friends and family in the military, and I’ve done more research on it than any person claiming to be normal would. Luckily, I don’t claim to be normal…
ZP: Is it safe to assume that you have Military Experience? Feel free to elaborate…
CP: Nay! When I was younger my father was very ill, and I avoided joining until he passed away. When he finally did I was married, and my wife wanted nothing to do with it. I have a criminal justice minor, and couple with my years in security and bodyguarding, I’ve debated a law enforcement career, but I feel it’s a little late to go down that road.
ZP: The AUD series has three entries thus far, and I know your working on a fourth? Do you have any ideas on how far you might take the series?
Like I said above, AUD is actually over 800,000 words, which translates to about eight full novels. I’m currently editing and reworking book five in the series, and as I go, I’m actually adding thousands of words of additional content that I missed out on when AUD was posted live, in real time on the website. Once I get the last four books of AUD edited and released, I plan on returning to Adrian’s world for at least three books that follow the events of the first eight, but we’ll see. Adrian’s story was only supposed to span perhaps four books, and look where that got me.
ZP: It’s an incredible amount of work! I love it though. What can AUD fans do to help? I’ve got a few easy things I can ask for. Firstly, I give free books away to military units. If you know someone serving, point them to my author website, and they can request free books. Do that if you can. I’m happy to give them away. Secondly, TELL EVERYONE IN THE WORLD about AUD. Word of mouth is the best advertising, and let’s be honest. No one listens to the author as they try to sell their book. They DO listen to the readers however. Lastly, write me reviews! Goodreads and Amazon reviews are solid gold for indie authors, and if you can spare the time to write a review on either or both site, I’d be eternally grateful.
ZP: “The military has a neat saying about plans. No plan survives first contact.” In writing this series what are some of the challenges, that you’ve faced as an Independent Author.
CP: Where do I start? I shouldn’t say that. In reality my quest to be a writer has been somewhat outstanding. I’ve had so much support from friends, family, and complete strangers it’s been a joyous process. Like with any author, dealing with the submissions process has been a chore. AUD was under serious consideration at two publishers for almost a year and a half, and jumping through all their hoops was exhilarating, but also an incredible amount of what turned out to be fruitless work. The experience was something though. I’d also say that the amount of crap indie authors get as we attempt to promote our writing can be tough to deal with. I am trying to share the news of my book with people, and far too often, folks call me a spammer and a jerk. I couldn’t even tell you how many forums I’ve been banned from for posting a single time about AUD.
ZP: Okay you can tell me… Is Cassie really dead?
CP: In book three Adrian gets what amounts to concrete proof about Cassie’s fate. But my friend… you gotta read it. I can say that the eighth and final book in the series is entitled ‘Cassie.’
ZP: She sounds like a lost love, by chance is she based on anyone in real life?
CP: Sort of. Cassie is an amalgamation of several women that have come into my life. At the time, my marriage was falling apart, and a lot of the suffering I was feeling as a result found its way into the story. I think Cassie and Adrian’s story is universal. It’s the story of a man who failed his woman, and spends the rest of his life tearing himself up inside trying to make it right. I think on some level we’ve all either been the person who screwed up, or the person who suffered as a result of someone else’s mistakes.
ZP: I understand that Adrian, has two brothers that took the easy route and joined the Navy. By chance will they make an appearance anywhere in the series?
CP: Adrian actually has three brothers; two who joined the Navy, and one who served as a Marine. On the AUD website in the premium content section, Adrian’s SEAL brother Thomas has a seven part story. It’s unfinished at the moment, and will factor into the future of Adrian’s world. No comment on just how yet. As for the other brother… well, we’ll see what happens.
ZP: Who the hell is Dr. Michelle Lewis, and how is she relevant to the story?
Oh she’s quite important. Oh so very important. In books four and five Michelle’s role in the story becomes far more prominent.
ZP: What would your plan be if the dead returned to life?
CP: Isolate. I think surviving the first few weeks of any outbreak will be crucial, and I think finding a remote place to do it is vital. I’ve got a few local joints scoped out, and I’ve got a fair amount of stuff ready for when and if it happens.
ZP: How are you personally preparing for the apocalypse?
CP: I wouldn’t say I’m ‘actively’ preparing. I’ve got my weapons, I’ve got food and water ready to go, and I have meds and most of the proper gear I need should the world come abruptly to an end. It also helps that I live in a small town, and I know most of the folks here.
ZP: Chris, it was a pleasure chatting with you, and I’m truly looking forward to reading “The Return.”
CP: I changed the name! Book four is now titled, ‘The Failed Coward.’ Very exciting. I didn’t care for ‘The Return’ anyway. It’s got an estimated street date of around Valentines Day. Thanks for having me!