After hanging around in the murky depths of several Zombie groups on Facebook I was introduced to many popular authors. One of the most popular and prolific is Javan Bonds, author of the Amazon bestselling Zompoc series, Still Alive.
In Javan’s words, “The Still Alive series follows a small group of survivors from a small town in Alabama as they try to keep their wits about them and make a new life in a world overrun by naked, infected, blue-skinned, yellow-eyed zombies that are nocturnal.”
GJ: It’s a testament to you that although I had seen photos of you in your wheelchair, until I researched for the interview I didn’t know you suffered from a progressively degenerative neuromuscular disease, were legally blind and dictated all your work through Nuance’s Dragon Naturally Speaking.
I normally ask what an author’s biggest challenges were to publishing but you’re very open the challenges you face every day. Do you find writing helps you cope with the daily struggles you face?
JB: I would have to say it does. In December 2015, I was given “six months to two years” to live. That got me moving. I published Free State of Dodge in May 2016, Zombie Lake A few months later, and it just keeps rolling out of me. Writing keeps me busy. So much so that I don’t even think about my handicaps often. Well, besides when I’m cussing Dragon because it screwed something up.
GJ: Your naked, blue-skinned, yellow-eyed nocturnal zombies sound utterly terrifying, but somehow your books are comedy. Why did you choose a zombie outbreak to be the basis of your humour?
JB: They also Shit. Everywhere. All the time.
I chose the zombie apocalypse as the basis just because I’m twisted. I wanted to show that even in the bad times, during something as ridiculous as a zombie outbreak, you still have to find shit funny. You could say I’ve always been something of a class clown, this is just the culmination and goal of my life.
GJ: I’ve read that you’re a big Mark Tufo fan. Do you just enjoy zombie novels or are there any other genres that get your juices flowing?
JB: Tufo is my original inspiration, my ultimate hero. And as you know, there are a lot of good zombie books out there. Though I rarely get the opportunity to entertain myself other than through writing, I do enjoy general post-apocalyptic fiction and even some sci-fi. Good thing Tufo writes that stuff as well, right?
GJ: At what age did you find your talent for writing? Do you express the artistic side through any other medium?
JB: A few years ago, my mom found some of my work from kindergarten hidden in the attic. Apparently, at the age of six, I wrote a short story about a T Rex and his good friend, Stegosaurus. If you can believe it, the quotation marks and punctuation were where they needed to be!
My writing career, or whatever you want to call it, didn’t start until sometime in 2010, a few months after I started going blind. I’m sure you’ve heard “you don’t know what you got until it’s gone.” Even though I wish I could see to write like everybody else, I don’t know if I’d be the same kind of writer.
I wrote some poetry/songs, but I don’t think I’m very artistic in any other way. I don’t paint for obvious reasons and I sure as hell can’t sing or dance.
GJ: What does a typical writing day look like for you?
JB: I guess it looks like every day. I do absolutely nothing but writing and promote. Get up, eat, take care of the usual business, spend a few hours promoting, then a few hours writing, then sleep. The next day is the same routine. Rinse and repeat. I’m glad I don’t have to worry about any of those strange things some people have, “friends” who drop by at odd times. My friends are all online.
GJ: As I mentioned in the introduction, you’re very popular throughout the various genre groups on Facebook. What do you put that popularity down to?
JB: Any independent author knows, interaction is the best promotion. I interact with readers as much as possible and that turns them into fans. It’s not just that they like it, I like hearing from people that laughed at my books. It lets me know I’m really a comedian.
GJ: What projects are you currently working on?
JB: I spent months of 2018 reediting Free State of Dodge. If you read it, you can find the story. I just don’t like the presentation. It’s been overhauled, remastered, call it what you want. I’m hoping to re-release it this year as Blood of Tyrants, Part One of the Free State of Dodge Saga. Besides that, I’ve just written Still Alive book 7, Zombie Perdition. And I am finishing up book 8, Zombie Deliverance.
GJ: From my writing projects, I know that the community is very supportive of each other’s works. If you had to single out one person for the most praise in helping you along your journey, who would it be and why?
JB: There’s no way I can single out just one. I have to thank Shawn Chesser, Boyd Craven, David A. Simpson, and so many more.
GJ: When can we expect your next release?
JB: As much as I would like for it to happen before the end of the summer, Dodge will probably not release until this fall. Hopefully, Perdition won’t be far behind.
I also love to include my fans in my work. I have put out “casting calls” for fans names to use in my books as victims. People love to be killed in my books whether by zombies or some other horrible way I can think up.
If you like nightmarish settings, reluctant heroes, and action-packed adventures, then you’ll love my spine-chilling novel. Tap the link to read the book today!