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Appalachian UndeadTIM WAGGONER’s novels include the Nekropolis series of urban fantasies and the Ghost Trackers series written in collaboration with Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson of the Ghost Hunters television show. In total, he’s published over twenty novels and two short story collections, and his articles on writing have appeared in Writer’s Digest and Writers’ Journal, among other publications. He teaches creative writing at Sinclair Community College and in Seton Hill University’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing Popular Fiction program. Visit him on the web at

Tim is the author of “Hide and Seek.”

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Do you have a zombie apocalypse emergency plan?

My plans would depend entirely on what sort of zombies I’m dealing with. If they’re slow Romero zombies that are literally the reanimated dead, my basic plan would be to wait for them to rot. In real life, it wouldn’t take long for them to decay. And if for some reason, the decay process is arrested, since they aren’t smart enough to seek shelter, they’d freeze during wintertime in the north. So I’d prepare for cold weather, grab a compass, and follow the N!

If 28 Days Later-style zombies – fast, Rage-infected humans – attack, I would find shelter quickly, make sure I had some food and water, and wait. The zombies would soon weaken from lack of food and water, and within a week on the outside they’d all be dead.

Unless the contagion spreads much faster than any real-world disease does, and if the zombies don’t somehow resist decay and/or the need for food and water – and if they aren’t intelligent – then an apocalypse wouldn’t occur. Humanity’s numbers might be drastically decreased when it was all over, but we’d survive and rebuild. (This is why in my zombie story for Appalachian Undead, I use a different method for zombie-creation, one that kills off the majority of humanity almost overnight, so that I can establish a scenario with zombies outnumbering human survivors.)

During the zombie apocalypse, would you rather be wearing running shoes or steel-toed boots?

I’m forty-nine, so steel-toed boots might be a better choice for me. I think my sprinting days are behind me. But whatever shoes I wear, if I don’t hit the gym and get in shape, I’ll suffer the same fate at the out-of-shape people in Zombieland!

What draws you to zombie fiction?

The surreal, nightmarish aspect of the zombie apocalypse scenario is so powerful. It’s an inversion of the natural order that embodies so many fears – death (especially a terribly painful death by mutilation), disease, becoming prey, being betrayed by loved ones, losing one’s identity, the collapse of society, losing one’s humanity in order to survivor, not having what it takes to survive, not being able to protect those we love . . . It’s such a rich scenario that, despite seeming restrictive, actually creates the possibility for so many different types of stories.

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1 Comment

  1. How did I take classes from you for an entire year and never know you are acquainted with Jason and Grant of Ghost Hunters? I love those guys and their actual scientific approach. Mean time, love your writing, and as to Zombies, I am of the stock up and hunker down school for all types. First find remote location that you can defend, then hunker down and wait it out!

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