In October 2010 I interviewed then newly published author Ben Tripp about his zombie novel debut, Rise Again. In the months following that interview, I’ve been peppered with numerous requests for more information about Ben and whether he has any plans for a sequel. With this in mind, I reached out to Ben this morning to get an answer to some of your questions.
It’s been a little while since we last spoke. How has the fan response been to Rise Again?
Just having fans is a novel experience, so to speak. But the response has been amazing. Sales have been strong since Rise Again first hit the shelves — all from word-of-mouth enthusiasm. I have a lot of dedicated zombie lovers to thank.
When I started writing Rise Again, there weren’t many mainstream zombie books out there — and half of them were written by Max Brooks. I couldn’t believe a big publisher would touch a zombie story, let alone by a first-time novelist. So just seeing it published was a thrill.
But to have people writing me with reports of the most horrifying part of the book and how many nights of sleep they lost — there must be something wrong with me, because I get a huge kick out of that. Thanks to all my excellent readers. Seriously.
What has life been like for you since you stumbled into zombie literature?
Not much changes when you write a novel. Novelists are probably the lowest-key ‘notables’ out there — nobody knows what we look like and nobody cares how much we drink. We’re a step below poets on the celebrity meter. It’s like being a serial killer: “He seemed like such a quiet guy… I had no idea he wiped out mankind.”
That said, the strangest change that’s happened since Rise Again’s debut is that journalists now come to me when they need zombie questions answered. They figure I’m an expert — don’t tell them I made it all up.
Another thing — it’s still a kick to walk into a bookstore and see Rise Again on the shelves, especially when it’s ‘employee pick of the month.’ I’m all, “take that, Jonathan Franzen, you high-toned wordsmith you!”
Any news about a sequel?
A sequel? There is interest, as they say in the trades. But I’m not sure anybody could handle what I have in mind. I’m afraid to write it. It will make Rise Again look like Goodnight Moon.