Sunday, October 11, 2015

Interview with Karina Fabian on Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator.

What made you decide to evolve Neeta's character the way you did? She didn't seem the type to get PTSD -- in fact, in her training, it seems geared to combat that sort of thing.

Actually, Roscoe had PTSD, not Neeta. Neeta is dealing with issues of guilt and anger that have to do with Bergie’s death on Zombie Death Extreme – or more to the point, her having to kill him by decapitating him while a hoard of zombies munched on him.

You’re right that Neeta’s training has prepared her for dealing with the undead and even the possibility of losing someone. In fact, she had lost business partners and friends before. But Bergie’s was a stupid death that had more to do with reality TV than zombie extermination. Despite her wanting to halt the show, she was overruled, Bergie was stupid, and she had to decapitate a friend on national TV. She’s angry at a lot of folks, but it’s her nature to shoulder all the responsibility, and in this case, it’s wearing on her soul, and affecting other things.

What guided your development of Neeta and Ted's relationship?

The principle of writing what you don’t know. Their relationship is alien to any I’ve ever had, but similar to some I’ve seen. Neeta is, as Ted mentions in the book, a neat freak, especially now when things have gotten out of her control and she’s having a hard time dealing with Bergie’s death. As such, she could really use Ted making a strong stance and telling her how he feels.

Ted, however, is kind of clueless. He knows she needs things neat, so he’s doing what he thinks is low-pressure courting – friendly, casual dates, easy on the passion. He knows he loves her, so he figured she knew it, too. He was holding out to give her the big surprise proposal in San Francisco. Unfortunately, what he did was leave her in the dark.

But it all works out. Bottom line is they love each other.

By contrast, my husband and I had professed our undying love ten days after we met. We’re celebrating our 25th in November.

How did you decide to develop the tech at the con?

The demo robot was an outgrowth of demo bots I’ve seen at technical conventions – or rather, videos of technical conventions. The monofilament swords are kind of a cross between a light saber and the knife that slices toast on Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Mostly, I wanted a technologically conceivable light saber that was different from the usual SFF tech.

The Neeta books take swipes at the EPA, trial lawyers, eco-terrorists, the Occupy movement, and I'm sure a few other political targets that I'm missing. Were you hard pressed to find new targets for I Left My Brains in San Francisco?

Every time I think I won’t have another idea, the world plops one into my lap. You gave me at least one for the next book, Shambling in a Winter Wonderland. People just love to take common sense and crush it under their heels.

I just saw a news story about a guy who has to go to court because he posted a warning sign for a neighborhood water balloon fight by saying bypassers might be exposed to dihydrogen monoxide. Some idiot called the FBI because they were too stupid to know what the chemical name for water is – despite the hundreds of dihydrogen monoxide memes populating the internet, even. As a result, some poor event organizer made an intelligent joke and was detained for several hours and now faces fines. I think in a future story, someone will sue the Give Back Memorial Gardens claiming that because it exposed the undead to extreme amounts of dihydrogen monoxide, it caused them to become zombies.

Why eco-terrorism for this book?

Original book cover
I needed a reason for zombies to attack a refinery. In my universe, zombies generally don’t emerge en masse or make coordinated attacks, which challenged me to create a situation where they would act against their natures. I had established that they can act according to past habits and attitudes, so I created a cult group that believed making fuel out of manure would destroy the environment…somehow. Thus, TREE – Terrorism for Radical Environmental Enhancement – was born. I also had a great time coming up with the backstory for the documentary.

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