An Interview with Jamie Friesen

This monday I’m pleased to introduce, Jamie Friesen.

Jamie Friesen was born in Lahr, West Germany while his father was serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force. He attended the University of Alberta where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in History, and followed it later with a Masters of Arts in Communications & Technology. After obtaining his Bachelor’s degree, Jamie went abroad and taught English in Japan and Taiwan.

He now lives in Edmonton, Canada with his wife and daughter, working in the Public Relations field and writes in his spare time, which usually translates to early mornings and lunch time. Zombie Night in Canada: First Period is his first novel.

And it’s that first novel that he’s here to talk about. Here’s the blurb to, Zombie Night in Canada: First Period:

Tokyo. Sydney. Beijing. Cairo. Paris. Rome. New York. Los Angeles. One by one, the world’s great cities fell to the zombie plague. What chance does a small, non-descript city in Canada like Edmonton have?

The world as we know it is finished. Civilization has collapsed and humanity is on the brink of extinction. Billions of people are dead, victims of a horrific plague.

Bi-weekly paychecks, Tim Horton’s double doubles, men’s league hockey and cheap winter vacations to Cancun. That was the life Xander Barnes had known for years until a pandemic swept the globe. Efforts to slow its spread or develop quarantine zones, in many cases were too little, too late.

Nowadays, life consisted of avoiding the plague victims, ghouls who had an insatiable appetite for human flesh and finding enough food to survive day to day. How long can one ordinary man survive in a world gone mad?

And now for a short excerpt:

Fire lashed out from the base into the horde of approaching infected. Mortar bombs exploded over the infected heads, sending dozens of sharp razor-like fragments down into the skulls of the infected. In some cases, it killed them, in others, it was nothing more than a mosquito bite. The handful of heavy machineguns opened fire, spraying hundreds of rounds of lead into the group, each round tearing off a limb of an infected person in the front, then continuing on into the infected behind it and tearing off one of their limbs too. The heavy machineguns were so powerful that the rounds likely went through a half dozen or more infected before finally stopping. Stone thought back to his heavy weapons course eons ago and what his instructor had told him about the heavy machinegun the Canadian Forces used.

He winced as he watched them fire, mowing down rows of infected. They fell below the massed fire like wheat before a scythe. Thank god he had never been on the receiving end of one of those monsters, he thought to himself. The only problem with the weapon was that they would go through their ammo in a minute or two, and then would need several minutes to refill their ammo hoppers. Sure enough, well before the horde was gone, the machineguns stopped firing. Their crews scrambled to reload as fast as possible.

Once the mortars and heavy weapons opened up, many soldiers began firing far more rapidly and unfortunately, far more inaccurately. While the heavy weapons were unlikely to kill many infected outright, it tore them apart and knocked them down, or otherwise disabled them so that snipers could finish them off later.

Meanwhile, Master Corporal Stone and the other marksmen continued their steady, methodical slaughter of the infected. Below him, troops at the fence had shoved their barrels through the chain links and were firing indiscriminately into the horde. The horde was huge and their bodies lay in heaps everywhere, but they kept coming like some elemental force such as the tide.

Stone had engaged the first infected at more than five hundred metres. Now, ten minutes later, the horde was about three hundred metres away and still closing. Stone kept firing, reloading and firing until his shoulder was sore. He hadn’t fired this much in a long time. A thundering roar came from behind him and Stone glanced backwards.

If that hasn’t whet your appetite for more, then I’m sure the interview will do the trick. Speaking of which, it’s on with the interview:

1. So, why don’t you tell us all a bit about yourself?

I was born in West Germany because my father was a member of the RCAF. Shortly afterwards, he was posted back to Canada, so I grew up in Edmonton. After university (BA – History), then went overseas to Japan and Taiwan to teach for a while. When I returned, I planned to become a travel writer, but 9/11 happened and all the freelance work dried up, so I got into PR and started writing novels in my spare time instead. I’ve finished my first and have several more planned.

2. Can you tell us a bit more about your book? Where did the idea come from? How long did it take to write?

I wrote this novel simply because a writer I know came up with a great title. Zombie Night in Canada is a word play on Hockey Night in Canada – which for many of us is as important as Monday Night Football. Having read a number of books in the genre, I noticed that most took place in New York City, Texas or London, and could not find something that took place in Canada, so that’s why I wrote it.

All in all, it took about two years to complete – but that includes rewrites, editing, cover art, etc. In contrast, I’m already 25% done the first draft of the sequel.

3. Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?

I’m working on a number of projects – a sequel to Zombie Night in Canada, which will feature lots of military action, that is soldiers going to toe to toe with armies of the undead.

I’m also working on Cooking for Zombies – a Dummies type satire written from the zombie POV on how to properly cook humans.

Finally, I’m working on number of short stories that I can put online for free so that people can get an idea of what my writing is like.

4. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write. Edit. Repeat over and over.

Malcolm Gladwell said that it takes 10000 hours to become an expert at something, so just keep hammering away at the keyboard and write stuff.

Write screenplays, poems, short stories, novels, whatever you want. Just remember that your first few products are probably going to be garbage – if not, then you have real talent.

5. What’s your favourite genre to read?

One of my favorite books is the Long Run by Daniel Keys Moran. It’s a dystopian cyberpunk novel set in a future run by a corrupt and despotic world government.

Generally, it all depends on what I’m in the mood to read. If it’s fantasy, I’ll go with Raymond Feist or Terry Brooks. For sci-fi, I’d probably go with David Drake, David Weber, or Jerry Pournelle. Alternate history sci-fi would be wither S.M. Stirling or Harry Turtledove. For non-fiction, I really enjoy Malcolm Gladwell and Chris Anderson.

6. Tell us about your cover. Where did the idea come from?

A fan designed it for me and gave it to me for free. I spend some time on J.L. Bourne’s Tactical Underground forum, and had started posting Zombie Night in Canada there, and someone who really liked it offered to design a cover for me.

He came up with an image which I thought was both amazing and horrific. The only change I asked for was for him to use an image of downtown Edmonton instead of the generic cityscape he had.

The only real problem with the image is that when it is sized down to thumbnail size at Amazon/Smashwords, it’s awesomeness is lost.

7. If you could work with any author who would it be?

I’d love to collaborate with Jonathan Maberry – his Rot & Ruin and Joe Ledger series are fantastic!

8. What is the last book you read?

Endless Warfare by Ralph Peters – it was incredibly insightful.

9. If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your 16-year-old self?

Buy stocks of Apple in 1996 and hold onto to them until 2012! Maybe buy some gold too! 😉

Seriously though, I’d tell everything is going to work out and not to change a thing. If I had done things differently, maybe my life would be better right now financially, but I’ve never have met my wife and started a family. That is true wealth if you ask me.

10. What skills do you possess that would help you survive a zombie apocalypse?

I have some military experience (a short stint in the Army Reserves in my college days), survival skills, hunting and camping experience and a wicked folding shovel that would be great for caving in the skulls of those undead bastards!

11. Someone wrongs you. Do you get revenge or allow Karma to do it for you?

I’m a believer in karma, but sometimes I wonder if it works. It’s hard to see people do wrong and prosper (the sub-prime fiasco comes to mind), but hopefully, somewhere down the line, those who do wrong will get their comeuppance.

12. What’s your favourite drink?

Cherry Coke! Unfortunately, they no longer make it here in Canada.

If you know anybody heading to Edmonton in the near future, tell them to bring me a case and I’ll pay them double!  😉

13. The Simpsons or Futurama?

I love both – but I think Futurama is the better show simply because it can deal with adult issues in ways the Simpsons cannot.

If you want to learn more about James and his book you can click on the links below:

My blog

Twitter – @jamiefriesen

ZNIC Facebook page

Zombie Night in Canada on Amazon.com

Zombie Night in Canada on Smashwords.com

It is also available through Barnes & Noble, iBookstore, Diesel and Kobo.  It will also be available in hard copy by August 1st via Createspace and Amazon.

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Posted on September 3, 2012, in Interview, Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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