booknosh: You clearly know the Star Trek universe extremely well. How much of this came from research, and how much from being a Trekkie yourself?
KDA: The first draft came fairly easily using what Star Trek knowledge I already had, but later rewrites, which needed more detail, involved a little research. The chapter names, which were all taken from the names of Star Trek episodes, for example, involved some looking up. I didn’t have many episode names already in my head except for my favorites. It took some digging but not much.
booknosh: You had a lot of subtle nods to Star Trek throughout the book, including your chapter titles. This left me wondering if there were some I might have missed. What are some references you included that might not pop out immediately?
KDA: There were some really deep references that only a few would get, and I had a kick out of imbedding them. Character names were fun to create; most everybody picked up the Jim Pike reference, but few noticed the final character introduced in the book, Dr. Eli Sandoval, whose name was taken from a Star Trek: TOS character – the leader of a colony that was infected by alien spores. If this was something that a reader picked up on, it would have tipped them off a little to the book’s ending.
booknosh: What appeals to you about Star Trek? About zombies? Why put them together in one book?
KDA: I believe that Roddenberry’s vision put forth in Star Trek represents the best possible future for humanity. It’s humanity at its future best, and in direct opposition to that is Romero’s zombie apocalypse, which represents humanity at its absolute worst. Combining the best and worst of humanity’s possible futures seemed a logical union. As a fan of both genres, and mash-ups in general, I knew it had not yet been done and would be an absolute blast to write.
booknosh: You include a list of “zom-coms” on your blog. Do you believe zombies are best used in comedies, or do you also enjoy them played straight?
KDA: I do enjoy both straight and comic zombies and I think they work well as either. But I think there is a real trick for a filmmaker or a writer to make the comic zombie also scary. It’s not easy, and there is a fine line between being funny and being sick or dementedly un-publishable. Cracking good jokes and having characters fighting for their lives to me seems a realistic combination, and I think its because whenever I imagine myself in an apocalyptic situation, I’m that guy who draws mustaches on the zombies with a Sharpie or stands behind our group leader during his inspirational speech holding up rabbit ears with my fingers. I do write serious stuff, but I don’t enjoy creating it as much as the stories that are chock full of blood and giggles.
booknosh: Is there any chance of a sequel to Night of the Living Trekkies?
KDA: I’m working on a follow up with some of the survivors from Night of the Living Trekkies. I hope to have a 1st draft done in spring 2013.
booknosh: Can you tell us anything about your future plans and projects?
KDA: I plan to keep writing and trying to sell my work. My agent is currently passing around two middle-grade manuscripts of mine (one with zombies) to the publishing industry. I hope we will get a nibble soon. As I mentioned, I expect to finish a Night of the Living Trekkies follow up next year, and beyond that, I have a two page list of writing projects I will be chomping away at one at a time.
booknosh: Who are some authors (or what are some books) you enjoy that are under-recognized or under-appreciated?
KDA: These are certainly not underrated but two novels I regularly revisit are Elie Wiesel’s Night, and Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. Two of my favourite short stories are Stephen King’s “The Mist” and J. D. Salinger’s “A Perfect Day for Bananafish.”
booknosh: I’m sure you’re tired of this question, but I’ve got to ask: Kirk or Picard?
KDA: I never grow tired of that question, mostly because I enjoy the debate. Kirk is Han Solo, Buck Rogers, Starbuck, Flash Gordon and Commander Adama all rolled into one. Males of all species want to be him, intergalactic women want to be with him, and Klingons fear him. Captain James Tiberius Kirk is and has always been my favorite Star Trek Captain.