Shells Chats with author Jesse Petersen

When and how did you make the choice that writing was what you wanted to do full-time?

I’ve actually always written full-time. I was lucky that my husband had a great job with a good salary and he wantedme to go ahead and make a go at this career. So I did in 1999. My first book was published in 2005 (under another name) and my first zombie book sold in 2009.

People have different reasons for why they like zombies, what's your reason?

I think it’s that they’re such basic terror. I mean, they aren’t cunning or vindictive like an intelligent enemy, BUT they also don’t stop, no matter what you do to them. So even though it seems like you could easily outsmart them, they will eventually wear you down. That is really scary, the idea that you have a monster that you can’t debate with or conquer through any kind of normal means. There’s only one answer: death – theirs or yours.

Your Living with the Dead series features a married couple as the main characters battling zombies. How did you come up with that idea and are they based on any real life situations or people you may know?

Actually, we had just watched “Zombieland” and I just kept thinking how funny it would be if there was a married couple going to counseling and their therapist turned out to be a zombie and they had to kill her. And then they’d have to use her advice to survive the zombie apocalypse. My husband very nicely reminded me that I WAS a writer and that if I thought that would be funny, I could always write it. So I did. It’s not based on anyone particularly, my husband and I are much nicer to each other than David and Sarah are.

The Living with the Dead series has some sarcasm and humor in it. How do you feel that has helped the story and do you think humor should be mixed in with more horror type situations in books?

Honestly, I didn’t really think it out in those terms. I love movies like Zombieland or Shaun of the Dead, so that’s the kind of book I wrote. I do love horror/comedy when it’s not parody as much as sarcasm, and I wish there were more movies that those that did it well.

Your next book in the Living with the Dead series, Eat, Slay, Love, is coming out soon. Can you tell us a bit about this next installment?

Eat Slay Love is actually the last book in the Living With the Dead series and in it Dave and Sarah must get to the Midwest Wall (if it exists) with the help of a drug-addled rock and roller and a stalkerazzi tabloid reporter. Many zombie battles and hijinks commence.

Are there plans for anymore books in the Living with the Dead series past these three?

I’d love to write more, but right now three is it. There’s certainly an opening for more, though, if the books suddenly take off or there’s a significant demand for more.

Your fans are very supportive and at times zombie obsessive. How has having that type of fan base at moments influenced your writing or your way of thinking about your characters in your books?

I had a course in mind before the first book, MARRIED WITH ZOMBIES, hit shelves, so as far as plot, not really. As a writer, you can’t really ever please the fans as a whole. Someone will tell you they loved this or hated that, but someone else feels exactly opposite. You could chase you tail forever and drive yourself crazy trying to please everyone. I’ve found that I just try to tell a story that appeals to me, that I hope is well done and readers will like it (or hate it). Hopefully they get why I went a certain way or did a certain thing.

I have had many requests for this question: on your website, you show a pair of zombie shoes, how did you acquire those?

They used to be sold via Hot Topic, apparently, but I bought mine off eBay! I can’t remember who sent me the link originally, but I knew they had to be mine.

Where can people find out more about you?

The place where I’m most active is my Facebook/Twitter account(s). You can follow me @jessepet on Twitter. My Facebook page is:!/pages/Jesse-Petersen/246153580904


  1. Jesse can you tell us about any secret project you are working on?

    Looking forward to Eat, Slay, Love.

  2. Jesse can you tell us about any secret projects you a currently working on?

    Looking forward to Eat, Say Love in July.

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