Sunday, April 22, 2012

Interview with Lynn Messina and her newest book The Girl's Guide to Dating Zombies

Welcome to this stop on Lynn's virtual book tour of The Girl's Guide to Dating Zombies.  When I read the title I had to laugh.  Let's holding hands because body parts may become that means no "other" stuff!!!  Intrigued?  I was!  So lets find out a little bit more about the author before we discover just how to date zombies. 

How old were you when you first realized you wanted to write?
I was fifteen. I read a book about a girl my own age who invents a video game, sells it to a company for $40,000 and convinces her parents to let her build a house in the backyard with the money. The plot struck me as so patently absurd, I wanted to see if I could do better.

Tell us a little bit about the book.
A zombie apocalypse has turned the vast majority of men into zombies. Women are immune. Twenty years into the plague, straight women are dating zombies, and Hattie Cross, a zombie-dating expert, publishes a zombie-dating how-to to help other women figure it out. The book catches the attention of the CEO of the world’s largest zombie pharmaceutical company, and Hattie is invited to do a profile. Comedy and mayhem ensue. It’s zombie chick lit.

What made you choose this genre?
I’ve always written about smart, funny women figuring life out, and I wanted to do something emphatically different with it. So I added zombies. I loved the idea of chick lit with zombies. It’s just so ridiculous.

Most authors have an unusual story or way that they come up with their ideas for books…Do you have one?
Hmmm. Probably not. I was on an Internet talk show promoting Little Vampire Women, and we started the inevitable debate of vampires verses zombies. I was on Team Vampire because zombie have no learning curve so I couldn’t imagine how they could be anything other than mindless, blobby, brain-eating monster things. But as soon as I thought that, I began trying to figure out how to make them more than mindless, blobby, brain-eating monster things. And, well, from there, it was just a matter of coming up with the most outrageous premise possible.

What is the key element in your character creation?
For Hattie Cross, the key element was figuring out the tone of her Girls’ Guide to Dating Zombies, which is excerpted in my Girls’ Guide to Dating Zombies. I knew I had to include some chapters from her book and I struggled at first over how to write her how-to advise. But then I tapped into my inner women’s magazine and it came naturally. Hattie flowed from that.

What was your biggest influence that steered you towards writing?
A love of reading.

I have to ask, what are the hardest scenes for you to write?
Sex scenes have always been difficult me. I embarrass easily and the thought of anyone reading a sex scene that I wrote positively mortifies me. I imagine my mom reading it, which is impossible because she’s been gone for more than a decade. And if I thought regular sex scenes were hard, zombie sex scenes were a whole nother magnitude of difficult. I must have spent two weeks working on the one scene.

Are sex scenes difficult for you to word?
To word, to write, to print.

Do you see yourself writing in another genre?
Absolutely. My first, unsold manuscripts were all mysteries, and I’ve recently written a middle-grade book about robots.

Has your family been supportive?
Always. My dad bought me an anthology of writing advice by successful writers when I was sixteen. And when I wanted to become a freelancer so I would have time to write, I called him for his opinion and he totally told me to do it. I expected him to be cautious but he said go all-in. My husband is great about seeing writing as my job and not a hobby. He doesn’t treat the days when I stay home and write as days when I should run errands or clean the house.

Are any of your characters reflective of you?
I think all of my protagonists are reflective of me in some ways. I bet there’s also a little bit of me in all my villains too.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Watch TV, talk about TV, read, play with my kids, take long walks, hang out with friends.

Who is your favorite book heroine?
Toughest. Question. Ever. Going with the top-of-my-head, I’ll say Amelia Peabody from Elizabeth Peters’s Egyptian archaeology series. She’s smart, capable, resourceful, hilarious, wry and able to admit when she’s wrong. In later books, she does become a little coy, which is annoying, but there is so much other wonderfulness, I don’t hold it against her.

Do you have any unusual habits that revolve around writing?
Not particularly. But I do insist on earning the shower in the morning. I always hit the gym first thing, and I have to sit down and write something good before I’m allowed to take my shower. It doesn’t have to be a particular number of words or a chapter or anything specific but it does have to be good. Some days, I’m out of my sweaty clothes in an hour and sometimes it takes half a day.

What is you favorite mystical creature?
Vampire slayers.

What were some of your biggest challenges at the beginning of your career?
The biggest challenge for me was actually sitting down and writing. I worked part time for a year after a graduated college and I wrote three books during that time. But then I got a full-time job and didn’t write a single word for the entire duration of my full-time employment. That was almost three years. It wasn’t until I switched to freelance that I started writing again. I’ve never been one of those people who can write before or after work.

How do you feel about reader comments?
I get far too few of them. I love reader comments, even the ones I find maddening or frustrating because it means they read my book. I would never complain about someone reading my books.

Do you have any advice for new authors?
Stick with it. Fashionisats, which is the first book I wrote, was the eleventh book I sold.

Where are your books available?
Amazon and BN.

What can we expect from you in the future?
My next book is Bleak, due out in June. It’s a modern retelling of Dickens’s Bleak House, in which the generations-long court case that ruins almost every life it touches has been replaced by a movie option that never gets made. It’s funny and sweet and I’m really excited for it.

Where can we reach you and become informed of updates?
For updates, I guess twitter is best because it’s the easiest thing for me to update: @lynnmessina. But I can be reached through my website,, and is great for zombie-dating tips.

 Thank you Lynn for that hilarious interview!!  Now lets take a look at all the book details:


Hattie Cross knows what you're thinking: Zombie sex? Ewwwww. But she also knows that since a virus turned 99.9999 percent of human males into zombies, it's statistically impossible to meet--let alone date--the remaining 0.00001 percent. So she writes "The GirlsGuide to Dating Zombies" to help her fellow single women navigate the zombie-relationship waters.

Her practical how-to impresses the CEO of the largest drug company in the world, and before she knows it, Hattie, a reporter for a downmarket tabloid that specializes in conspiracy theories, is sitting down with the woman who single-handedly invented the zombie-behavioral-modification market. Granted access to the inner sanctum of zombaceuticals, she meets an actual, living, breathing M-A-N.

Now Hattie, the consummate professional, is acting like a single girl at the end of the twentieth century: self-conscious, klutzy and unable to form a coherent sentence without babbling. Worst of all, the human male appears to have impaired her ability to think clearly. Because all of a sudden she's convinced a conspiracy is afoot at the drug company and it seems to go all the way to the top!

Why Date a Zombie?

IF YOU’VE BOUGHT this book, then you’re either dating a zombie or thinking about dating a zombie. You know that in this postblight world, your chances of getting hijacked by a terrorist, being staked to a bamboo pole in the Heilongjiang Province of Inner Mongolia and having your spleen eaten by a saber-tooth tiger are eight times greater than meeting one of the estimated 344,923 men left on the planet.

You’re a practical young woman who isn’t willing to waste her time on impossible fantasies sold to her by the Hollywood dream machine.    

Welcome to the rest of your life.        

Naturally, as sensible as you are, part of you can’t help but wonder if dating a zombie is settling. Can’t a woman like you—smart, funny, attractive, kind—do better than an animated clump of rotting flesh that lives only to consume brains?

No, you can’t.

With 99.9999 percent of the male population transformed into zombies, all that are left are animated clumps of rotting flesh that live only to consume brains.

But you don’t have to be a glass-half-empty girl. Your cup runneth over. You just have to be able to see it.  

And that’s why you’re reading The Girls’ Guide to Dating Zombies. This book will help you understand and navigate the challenges and rewards of the zombie-dating lifestyle. You’ll learn how to…

·   Meet zombies. Discover where they hang out and who they hang out with. The best zombie hotspots are just around the corner!

·   Talk to zombies. Chatting with the reliving is easier than you’ve ever imagined! All you need to know are a few key phrases and you and a zombie can have hours of deep, meaningful conversation.

·   Dance with zombies. They might not have brains but boy, do they have rhythm. Master the step-drag-step of their beloved merengue and dance the night away with the zombie of your dreams.

·   Make love with zombies. Physical contact doesn’t have to be icky or gross. With the right accessories and hygiene products, the fetid flesh of a zombie can smell as lovely as a garden rose.

·   Cohabitate with zombies. Zombieproofing your home has never been so easy! A few simple changes will make your living room a safe environment for any zombie, however oblivious to fire, sharp corners and the precious Ming vase your grandmother left you.

·   Medicate zombies. Medication is domestication. All a zombie needs to be a productive member of society is the right dosage. The chart in chapter 21 makes it easy for you to figure out which pills your zombie needs and when.

Remember, at the heart of every relationship is companionship, and this is what zombies provide—in spades.        

Zombies are steady.
Zombies are reliable.
Zombies are here.

Plus, they love to go shoe shopping (more about that later!).

I’m not saying that zombies are better than men. Perish the thought! But men are gone and now we women have to do what we’ve done since time immemorial: Make the best of what we have.    

And it’s a pretty darn good best!

Trust me, I know. I’ve been having satisfying zombie relationships for over six years and with the help of this book, you will too. Turn the page to get started right now.



Barnes & Noble:


Lynn Messina grew up on Long Island and studied English at Washington University in St. Louis. She has worked at the Museum of Television & Radio (now the Paley Center for Media), TV Guide, In Style, Rolling Stone, Fitness, ForbesLife, Self, Bloomberg Markets and a host of wonderful magazines that have long since disappeared. She mourns the death of print journalism in New York City, where she lives with her husband and sons. She is author of six novels, including the best-selling Fashionistas, which has been translated into 15 languages and is in development as a feature film.

Thanks for stopping by Lynn!!  I enjoyed your interview!!

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