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Interview: Glenn Wood talks about Deadhead

Author Glenn Wood is a screenwriter, author, and former policeman. Originally from Taranaki Glenn now lives in Auckland. He has authored 4 previous books and has NZ film credits to his name including The Catch, directed by Simon Mark-Brown. His two previous novels were published by Walker Books Australia. He talks to NZ Booklovers.

Tell us a little about Deadhead.

Deadhead is the book I wanted to read when I was fourteen. It’s full of action, humour, a bit of gore, doomed love and explosions! I also threw in a recently murdered policeman for my main character to ressurect as a remote controlled zombie.

What inspired you to write this book?

I wanted to create as different sort of zombie story, one that hadn’t been done before. My zombie has his consciousness return so he has a human brain trapped in a rapidly deteriorating body. I also wanted it to be an interesting mix of humour and pathos.

What research was involved?

I had to do a lot of reading about embalming processes, which was interesting. I also wanted the reanimation to be as realistic as possible so I delved into Bill Bryson’s book on The Body to see how muscles worked and how the circulation system operated. There is a bit of weaponry used in the book so I researched that and I also sought information on Yakuza gangs. I’m pretty sure I’m on the FBI’s watch list now.

What was your routine or process when writing this book?

I’m not really a routine person so, as with everything I do, it was pretty slap dash. I’m a mix of plotter and pantser when it comes to plotting. I use exercise books and write out a rough structure then fill in basic outlines of every chapter. I have a rough idea of what I want to happen in the chapter and where I want to get to – I’m just never sure how I’m going to get there.

If a soundtrack was made to accompany this book, name a song or two you would include.

James – Born of Frustration. Radiohead – Creep. Headstone Blues – The Cold Stares.

If your book was made into a movie, who would you like to see playing the lead characters?

I’d love to see Brad Pitt as my zombie cop, not only because he’s a very good actor but it would be fun to mess up his pretty boy looks. The Undertaker would be played by Christopher Heyerdahl from Hell on Wheels, he’s perfectly evil and skeletal.

What did you enjoy the most about writing this novel?

When it was over, writing is hard work. It was fun to write though, writing a zombie character that has bits falling off all the time was pretty cool. I also really enjoyed writing a really nasty bad guy.

What did you do to celebrate finishing this book?

I can’t actually remember, it was so long ago. I did celebrate publication with a dinner out with my wife, who really should have paid as she didn’t write a word!

What is the favourite book you have read so far this year and why?

I loved Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton. The writing is beautiful and the characters are heartbreakingly real and very funny at times. It was unexpected and he threw in some major changes in pace. Respect. I also love anything by Frances Hardinge. She is an amazing writer and her books are always amazing feats of imagination.

What’s next on the agenda for you?

I’d love to see Deadhead as a movie, so if I can get any interest I’ll work on a screenplay. I also have an idea for a YA television series that I’m currently pitching and may have to write a pilot episode for. If none of that works, I’ll go surfing.


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