Zombies appear to be all the rage these days! Take a look at such titles as Blackest Night and Marvel Zombies. Novels such as â€œPride and Prejudice and Zombiesâ€ have hit the New York Times best seller list and the Woody Harrelson movie â€œZombielandâ€ was an audience favorite. It seems we are in the midst of a Zombie invasion and writer Raven Gregory has entered the game. How does one give readers a story centering on the undead without repeating whatâ€™s all ready been done? By giving the Zombieâ€™s a purpose. Donâ€™t expect an army of mindless corpses rising from the dead to feast on the living (or more specifically, their brains). In â€œThe Wakingâ€ murder victims are seeking revenge on those who took their lives.
Victoria: Can you tell our readers when “The Waking” will be released and how many issues it will run?
Raven Gregory: The first two issues of THE WAKING will be out in February, then the last two in March and April.Â It runs four issues. The story follows four detectives investigating two random murders as they begin to discover clues that the victims of these heinous crimes may actually be returning to avenge their own deaths.Â Now, in a race against time they must discover those responsible for the murders and uncover the supernatural source behind the â€œwakings.â€
Victoria: Did the recent success of Zombie based titles (such as Blackest Night and Marvel Zombies) give you the inspiration to write your own story focusing on the undead?
RG: It didn’t really inspire THE WAKING but it did help the book find a home much easier than it would have otherwise.Â THE WAKING is a strange beast in that I wrote it back when I was writing THE GIFT, which was about six years back.Â I was really inexperienced but my enthusiasm was at its peak and it was all about the writing because I didn’t know about all the other shit that goes into getting your work out into the world. But shit kept happening that would derail production.Â Originally Rich Bonk was going to draw the series, then Marlin Shoop, but circumstances would happen and the book just never got done.Â So for years I would look at this script and polish it here and there and make changes.Â Then Wonderland went really well and Zenescope was willing to try out THE WAKING.Â So I polished it again and made changes to it based on the more experienced writer I am today.Â So with THE WAKING you kind of get the best of both worlds.Â The writer I was and the writer I am today.
As for what actually inspired the story, I don’t want to give too much away, but as a father of four kids, one of my biggest fears is losing one of my kids.Â There’s just so much danger out there in the world.Â Strangers, accidents, drugs, illnesses, serial killers, guns, abuse, kidnappers, pedophiles, domestic violence, mental sickness, just a smorgasbord board of bad shit that you do your best to protect your kids from.Â But largely, you can only do so much.
And getting to that place where you can let go and sit back and say okay, I’ve done my part, I have to let my kids be kids and pray to God nothing horrible happens, is a really tough place to get to.Â So a lot of the story has to do with that.Â With dealing with the fear of losing a child and what that would do to a person. To a parent.
And I can see that even with all the love, and sorrow, that the anger would drive a person, take them to places they never thought they might go.Â It could destroy them or save them.Â There’s something about that idea that just grabs me.Â That’s the kind of thing that inspires me to tell a story.Â A burning need to express the idea in the form of a story.Â It’s my version of cheap therapy.
RG: Before Romero made Night of the Living Dead, EC Comics, W. W. Jacobs (The Monkey’s Paw), Mary Shelly (Frankenstein), Lovecraft, and Poe all did zombie stories that were more focused on these beings who’s soul was not at rest. Tortured creature with a need for vengeance against those who placed them into their current state of existence.Â Or beings forced to do the purpose of someone who had the power to control them to be used as an end to their own means.Â I have always been in love with that idea.Â That sense of justified Vengeance.Â In that way, the zombies in THE WAKING are much more similar to their descendants versus their modern day counter parts.Â These are people coming back in search of the people responsible for their deaths and nothing will stop them from getting their revenge.Â The bigger mystery though is who and what is behind these “wakings” and how the police plan to stop it…or if it even can be stopped.
Victoria: How do you view your Zombie creation? Do you see them as “good” Zombies because they are seeking justice?
RG: I don’t view any characters I write as good or evil.Â Everyone has their point of view.Â Everyone has a reason for acting the way that they do. But just because a person acts one way or another doesn’t mean they view themselves as good or evil.Â Same goes for the zombies.Â They are setting a balance to the universe in the only way they know how.
Victoria: I was lucky enough to read the entire series, which I greatly enjoyed. I don’t want to give anything away but is there any chance for a sequel?
RG: While the ending is somewhat loose and open to interpitation, I doubt I’ll be doing a sequel any time soon.
Victoria: What’s your favorite Zombie movie?
RG: A toss up between the remake of DAWN OF THE DEAD, and ZombieLand.Â Zombieland was pretty damn near a flawless film.
Victoria: Let’s talk Wonderland. You finished writing the last issue of Escape thus completing the trilogy. I remember when J.K. Rowling finished “The Deathly Hallows” she said it was a very emotional experience for her. What was it like ending Wonderland?
RG: It was pretty emotional.Â I’ve been writing these characters for the past three years.Â Also, there was a lot of pressure going into this.Â I didn’t want to let myself or the fans down.Â I didn’t want to have told these two really well done stories, only to get to the final part of the trilogy and then drop the ball.Â So I was pretty shell shocked for awhile and then suddenly, like is the norm, it all clicked into place.Â I think the ending is something no one will see coming but will also make complete sense given the tone of the series and I really hope the fans enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing.
Victoria: In the Escape from Wonderland script book, you stated that while writing “Beyond” you wanted to make Johnny the focus of the story. You switched gears and made it about Calie but would you ever consider writing a series centering on Johnny so we can see his story?
RG: Maybe after I’ve had some time away from Wonderland I might come back to tell that tale.Â But there’s a lot of stories I want to get to before I even think about going back through the looking glass again.
Victoria: With the success of Wonderland, would you ever want to put your own spin on a classic fairy tale again? If so, which one?
RG: I think I’m fairy taled out for now.Â It was such a wonderful experience but at the same time I want to continue to grow as a writer and tell new stories and discover new worlds.Â I also don’t want to wear out my welcome in the world of fantasy.
Victoria: What’s one thing about Raven Gregory that the world would probably be shocked to find out?
RG: Tomorrow, I will be one month completely clean and sober.Â It feels pretty good.
My thanks to Raven! Be sure to visit the following sites: