Steve Hockensmith Talks Zombie Research

Posted on April 20, 2010

Dawn of the DreadfulsTime has an interview here with Steve Hockensmith, who wrote Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls, the prequel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Hockensmith talked with Time about what experience he had with Jane Austen's work and how he researched Zombie lore. His research included rewatching zombie classics, like Night of the Living Dead. Hockensmith also explained to Time how he came up with the graphic zombie descriptions found in the novel.
That's one of the not-so-fun parts of writing about zombies. I wanted to know what color dead bodies turn, and you've got Google and I'm looking at it with one eye and my head turned away because you don't know what's going to pop up. I didn't want to delve into that stuff too much, but I wanted the descriptions to have enough verisimilitude that you really buy that this is a dead body.
Steve Hockensmith also explained why he thinks the book remains respectful to Jane Austen purists, even though it includes horrible zombies.
It's something that I understand. I grew up as a fan. I was a Star Trek fan. Years later when J.J. Abrams comes traipsing along and says that he's going to reimagine this thing that you loved from your youth, there's going to be some trepidation. Are they going to be respectful, or are they just going to trash it? I totally get where they're coming from. On the other hand, I would say that I hope our affection for Jane Austen comes through. That's why it was very important to me that the dedication of the book be "For Jane: We kid because we love." For me, that captures what I'm all about. I'm not doing this to flip Jane Austen the bird. I'm a guest in her home.
Author Steve Hockensmith also says he would "run shrieking in the other direction" if he ever encounters an actual zombie.