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The Z Club
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Author/Reader Discussions > The Z Club - Author/Reader Discussion

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message 1: by Lori, Super Mod (last edited May 01, 2015 06:48AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori (tnbbc) | 10060 comments Mod
Next month, we'll be discussing The Z Club with author JW Bouchard.

JW has given us a total of 15 copies to give away (a mix of print and digital).

Print is for US residents only. The Digital (PDF and mobi)is open to everyone!

In order to be considered, you must comment here or on the blog for a shot at winning one and secure a spot in the discussion that kicks off on June 15th:


This giveaway will run through May 8th.

Winners will be announced here and via email (if you provide one) on May 9th.

Here's how to enter:

1 - Leave a comment here or in the giveaway thread over at TNBBC's blog (linked above), stating why you'd like to receive a copy of the book, what format you prefer, and where you reside - REMEMBER only US residents can win a paper copy!.


2 - State that you agree to participate in the group read book discussion that will run from June 15th through the 21th. JW has agreed to participate in the discussion and will be available to answer any questions you may have for him.

*If you are chosen as a winner, by accepting the copy you are agreeing to read the book and join the group discussion right here in this thread next month.

3 - If your goodreads profile is blocked (set on private), please leave me another way to contact you.

message 2: by Megan (new)

Megan (mmmega) | 12 comments I'm a sucker for all things zombie, so I would definitely be interested in reading this one - and of course, contributing to the author/reader discussion in June! I'm up in Canada, so a digital copy for my Kindle would be awesome.

Andrew (andrewjwilt) | 6 comments This sounds like a really fun read! I'd love to read the book and join the discussion June 15! Count me in :)

Robert Davis (robert_davis) | 2977 comments Sounds like a fun book! I live in California and would like a print copy. I agree to participate in a book discussion

message 5: by silvia (new)

silvia  | 282 comments I love zombies, but I'm still searching for the zombie book! I would love to try this one and join you all in the discussion.

Mobi copy for me.

Deanna Bihlmayer | 81 comments would love to participate! Love all things zombie! sounds like a great book to discuss. I will participate gladly. My email is

Deanna Bihlmayer | 81 comments print copy please

 Eldritch Reading Reindeer Welcomes 2022! (readingreindeerproximacentauri) | 7 comments I own a copy (several of Mr. Bouchard's books) so I don't need to win, but i'll participate. I just joined, after reading Lori's post at Zombies!.

 Marla | 158 comments Drat, I just saw this and I saw it ended on 5/8, but if you have any additional copies, I'd love to join you. I'm into buddy reads and zombies.

message 10: by Lori, Super Mod (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori (tnbbc) | 10060 comments Mod
Well, the good news is that everyone who commented for a copy gets one :)

The bad news is that most of you did not specify if you are a US resident or if your preference was print or digital.

I'll be reaching out shortly to ask specifically so be sure to respond!!

message 11: by Mainon (last edited May 12, 2015 07:33PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mainon (bravenewbooks) | 8 comments I know I'm late, but if you have an extra copy (either print or digital) I'd love to participate! US resident.

Robert Davis (robert_davis) | 2977 comments Postman just delivered my copy of The Z Club ..Cheers!

message 13: by Lori, Super Mod (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori (tnbbc) | 10060 comments Mod
Happy reading Robert!

message 14: by Lori, Super Mod (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori (tnbbc) | 10060 comments Mod
Hey everyone! Tomorrow kicks off our discussion with JW! Are you guys ready? What did you think of THE Z CLUB?!

I want to start things off, as I always do, by thanking JW for making copies of the book available for us, and for agreeing to hang here for the next 7 days, ready and willing to entertain our every question....

JW, Welcome!!

I've got your first question:

When did you first become a Zombie fan? Was there one film or one book that did it for you?

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J.W. Bouchard (jwbouchard) | 18 comments Hi Lori,

Thanks for having me!

Hmm..that's a good question. Ever since I was a kid I've been drawn to horror films and books. Blame for that probably falls on my dad, who was taking me to those kinds of movies by the time I learned to walk. Return of the Living Dead I/II are two of the first zombie movies I remember seeing. If anybody has watched those, it's pretty easy to see where I get my penchant for cheesiness.

Deanna Bihlmayer | 81 comments Hi J.W.,

I loved your book more than expected. LOL!
It had the feel of World War Z meets Fanboys.
My only question was what was up with the octopus firefighter? It felt like an homage to Stephen King ' s "IT". Were you thinking of that or something totally different?


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J.W. Bouchard (jwbouchard) | 18 comments Hi Deanna - glad you enjoyed the book! Thanks for reading it!

Lol, I think the "octopus firefighter" is one of the most controversial parts of the book. People always ask about it.

For me, it's probably one of the cheesiest parts of the book. I wasn't really thinking of SK's 'IT,' (at least not consciously), but more about making the first person infected in town different from the rest. Basically, the firefighter was exposed to the toxin directly as opposed to being bitten, so I wanted the symptoms to be different. He's kind of like ground zero.

The final battle is what I would call the "encore" battle...just when you think our heroes have conquered the zombie scourge, they suddenly have to deal with the real monster. That and I thought it would push the goofiness factor over the top. Based on several reviews, I guess a lot of people could have lived without that part. It might have been overkill, but maybe that's why it felt so good to write it!

Deanna Bihlmayer | 81 comments I enjoyed it, like Sharknado, the more cheese the better

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J.W. Bouchard (jwbouchard) | 18 comments My thoughts exactly!

Deanna wrote: "I enjoyed it, like Sharknado, the more cheese the better"

message 20: by Lori, Super Mod (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori (tnbbc) | 10060 comments Mod
I thought the humor and cheesiness was absolutely perfect! It was completely self aware and poked fun at all the best parts of the zombie genre.

I think what I loved best is how the book started with us right in the middle of the beginning of the outbreak...

Andrew (andrewjwilt) | 6 comments Hey JW, thanks for the book! It was an entertaining read! My question is, how have comic books influenced your storytelling? Have you ever thought about turning The Z-Club into a comic book series or graphic novel?

 Marla | 158 comments You might want to add a link to the book so this shows up as a discussion about Z Club (edit the original topic).

message 23: by Lori, Super Mod (last edited Jun 16, 2015 05:42AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori (tnbbc) | 10060 comments Mod
Marla, That's a neat little trick I never really paid much attention to. I've gone ahead and linked it to the book. We'll see if that increases it's visibility.

Do you have a question for JW?

Robert Davis (robert_davis) | 2977 comments Just finished it! Fun read. I completely pictured it in my minds eye as a low budget, but not poorly made movie. (I saw Fred being played by Tyler Labine, not Jack Black as you had described him.)

Ok, so... The Gobot Hummer! Where did THAT come from? Did you say to yourself, "this is going over the top" or was the 'deleted scene' meant to be sort of a joke within a joke type thing?

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J.W. Bouchard (jwbouchard) | 18 comments Hey Andrew - glad you liked the book!

Actually, before I ever entertained the idea of being a writer, I liked to draw. I was an avid comic book collector, and I was jealous of guys like Todd McFarlane and Jim Lee. I was the nerdy kid that bought two copies of every issue - one for reading and one that I bagged/boarded to keep in pristine condition. It wasn't until I was fifteen that I became interested in writing, and that was mostly due to reading the Necroscope series by Brian Lumley.

I think both comic books and movies have helped me to become more of a visual storyteller. I'm always seeing it as a movie in my mind.

A comic book/graphic novel version of The Z Club would be awesome! I hadn't thought of that, but it's a killer idea. Now if it wasn't so much work to find someone to do the artwork!

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J.W. Bouchard (jwbouchard) | 18 comments Hi Robert -- You're right - I could totally see Tyler Labine in that role!

Thanks for the great question! When I initially came up with the idea for The Z Club, I envisioned it as a movie, so naturally I wrote it as a screenplay. This was back in 2007/08, and I had gone to see Transformers in the theater. I had already written the scene where our band of heroes come upon the Hummer and the ice cream truck and had to choose between the two. Faced with that decision, I thought it was a no-brainer -- who wouldn't choose the Hummer? But then it immediately cuts to them driving the ice cream truck. So I thought it would be funny to have some off-the-wall explanation as to why they chose the truck over the Hummer. I must have had Transformers on the brain because the idea of the Hummer being a Gobot came to mind. It was a little too over the top to make it into the actual story, but I thought it would be cool to include it as a deleted scene.

Robert Davis (robert_davis) | 2977 comments Thanks J.W., Great explanation. The Gobot was sort of like that little extra scene you would see at the end of the closing credits.

message 28: by Lori, Super Mod (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori (tnbbc) | 10060 comments Mod

If you look at your characters, they each filled a specific role in the zombie apocalypse. There's the clear leader, the followers, the risk taker, the dude who's looking for a piece of ass....etc...

What role would you play in the zombie apocalypse?

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J.W. Bouchard (jwbouchard) | 18 comments I'd say I usually have the tendency to take the leadership role. I spent a few years in law enforcement and supervised a squad in a detention/treatment facility. I like the challenge. Or maybe it's because I'm a Leo and like to be in charge. I've spent a great deal of time (maybe too much) wondering how I'd handle a zombie apocalypse. Maybe I'd just build a zombie-proof panic room and stock it with supplies. I don't think it would be too bad as long as I still had Netflix.

Then again, I'm not above chasing a piece of...well, you can see where I'm going with that.

message 30: by Robert (last edited Jun 16, 2015 03:27PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Robert Davis (robert_davis) | 2977 comments Have you thought of a sequel? Kevin and Rhonda head out to L.A., Fred is there peddling his script to Pizza Delivery Man, Ryan and Becky join them on their honeymoon with Derrick tagging along. They all help Fred get his movie going, while a tainted batch of Botox is turning the actors into silicone sucking vampires who feed on breast implants! The rest practically writes itself.

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J.W. Bouchard (jwbouchard) | 18 comments I can work with that, Robert! You had me at silicone sucking vampires! I think the logic is there.

Deanna Bihlmayer | 81 comments J.W.

what was the thought process on the sheriff being more intelligent than the others?

Mainon (bravenewbooks) | 8 comments Ok, I laughed out loud at "silicone sucking vampires who feed on breast implants", so you may have something there.

What's your favorite vampire story blended with humor? I can't get enough of iZombie, and I feel like it has some of the same sense of absurdity and fun that I really enjoyed in your book.

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J.W. Bouchard (jwbouchard) | 18 comments Deanna - The sheriff was a little more intelligent than some of the other zombies because he was bitten by the infected firefighter. We don't ever see this happen, but that's the way it went down, so because he was bitten by 'patient zero' directly, he's slightly smarter. But, mainly, I just wanted to make him sound like an undead hillbilly.

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J.W. Bouchard (jwbouchard) | 18 comments Hey Mainon - favorite vampire story blended with humor? Hmm...good question. Have you read Richard Laymon's The Stake? That one was a decent vampire novel with humorous parts. I've been meaning to try iZombie out on Hulu, but haven't gotten around to it yet (Strain Season 1 just became available on there, so I've been trying that one out). So it's worth watching?

Mainon (bravenewbooks) | 8 comments J.W. wrote: "Hey Mainon - favorite vampire story blended with humor? Hmm...good question. Have you read Richard Laymon's The Stake? That one was a decent vampire novel with humorous parts. I've been meaning..."

I think so! I am a pretty big fan of Rob Thomas's work (he directed Veronica Mars as well), and after the pilot (which understandably had a lot of background to lay out) I thought the show found its legs pretty quickly.

I haven't read The Stake but I'll check it out. I admit I expected you to respond with something by Christopher Moore. :)

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J.W. Bouchard (jwbouchard) | 18 comments I'll definitely check it out! Thanks Mainon!

message 38: by Lori, Super Mod (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori (tnbbc) | 10060 comments Mod
So JW, what's next for you (I know, I know, the question that ALWAYS gets asked)?

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J.W. Bouchard (jwbouchard) | 18 comments I have quite a few things lined up. The 2nd Sam Finch book, Sam Finch and the Vault of Azaramor, should be out within the next two months; I've finished and am in the revision stages for a new science fiction novel, and I'm about two weeks away from finishing up my first crime/mystery novel. I have enough projects lined up to keep me busy for the next couple of years! Somewhere in that time I hope to write a sequel to The Z Club. I've got some ideas worked out, but I want to make sure I can make it as cheesy as the first book.

message 40: by Lori, Super Mod (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori (tnbbc) | 10060 comments Mod
I'd be interested to see how that sequel plays out for sure!

JW, who is your favorite character from Z CLUB? Were they inspired by people you know in real life?

message 41: by J.W. (new) - added it

J.W. Bouchard (jwbouchard) | 18 comments I think the most honest answer to that question is that all of them resemble some small part of myself or someone I know, or sometimes just something I've noticed in a stranger. I try to take a specific characteristic that makes them unique and amplify it. I try to make them a little quirky. The story about Ryan flashing his badge by stretching so his shirt comes up to reveal it...well, I'm a little embarrassed to say that I used to do that. I owned a comic book shop for a number of years and Kevin and Derek both share some similarities to people that frequented the shop. I think when we read a story, it's easier to latch onto a character if they have a unique quirk or characteristic. For example, in my novel Posers, one of the heroes is an OCD neat freak as well as an extreme-couponer. It's fun to see how an individual like that will deal with an out-of-the-ordinary situation. The downside is that whenever you have someone that knows you personally read the book, they'll inevitably either recognize something in a character that is true about yourself, or they'll ask you if it's something you do in real life.

message 42: by Megan (new)

Megan (mmmega) | 12 comments Hi JW! I'm a few days late to the party, but I wanted to say thanks for joining us and for offering your books to us to enjoy!

I was wondering (and perhaps you touched a bit on this with your love of horror/zombies in a previous reply) what made you want to write a zombie novel? Zombies and the post-apocalyptic genres are quite popular right now, and there are all different flavours of zombie stories available. You definitely took the cheesy, over the top approach - and I so enjoyed that, as I laughed at so many parts. But why zombies, as opposed to some other horror inspired creature?

You also mentioned in a previous comment that you wrote it as if you were writing a movie. I really liked that style of writing. It makes the story flow really well, while still giving enough detail and description that you can easily "see" the book unfold in your mind, not unlike you would if you were watching a movie.

Thanks again for joining us this week!

message 43: by J.W. (new) - added it

J.W. Bouchard (jwbouchard) | 18 comments Thanks for the kind words, Megan!

I've been fascinated with zombies since I was a kid. All horror movies, really. For some reason they are my go-to "creature." The Z Club actually wasn't my first stab at a zombie novel. There are several zombie-inspired stories in my short story collection All the Dark Places, and my novella Rabid is also a spin on zombies. When I first had the idea for The Z Club, it was back in 2007, so the zombie craze wasn't yet at the height of its least not as much as it is today with hit shows like The Walking Dead, not to mention quite a few zombie-themed video games. Some of it comes from a love of science and getting to come up with new ways of explaining how the zombie outbreak occurs, whether it be through a virus or a parasite or supernatural means.

I spent several years writing nothing but screenplays. With a movie script, every word counts. You get rid of the flowery language and a lot of the description elements that you would find in a novel. There's something I enjoy about that...getting straight to the point. Obviously, it doesn't work entirely to use that form in a novel, otherwise you'd have a very short book. I'm still trying to find that sweet spot between the two forms.


message 44: by Megan (new)

Megan (mmmega) | 12 comments Thanks for the response, J.W.! I'm an engineer (so nerdy science brain ha!) and I'm fascinated by the same sort of ideas - what would/could cause a zombie outbreak and how would it all go down? It's a fun mix between the science and the storytelling.

Since you mentioned you are working on finding a balance between the descriptive novel and the to-the-point screen play, what would you say is your favourite written forum to author (i.e. short story, novel, screenplay, etc.)? Or perhaps, it may be what you find "easier" to write compared to what you find the most rewarding, although I'm sure each style is rewarding in its own way. I don't think - at least from the limited discussions I have had with authors - that many write, and are successful, in multiple writing forums, as you have been. It provides an interesting perspective that I would be interested to hear more about from you.

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J.W. Bouchard (jwbouchard) | 18 comments Megan - have you read about the dementor wasp that turns cockroaches into zombies? It's pretty interesting stuff.

Hmm...I probably have the most fun writing screenplays. I like the mechanics of it and weeding out all the fluff. I find it more difficult than writing a novel in that description is limited and you can only write what a viewer would see on the screen as opposed to what a character might be thinking at the time. But the challenge is a fun part of it. The downside is that writing a screenplay is usually a collaboration, at least after the 1st draft stage, so you have to be open to others having input. A few years ago I helped to co-write a script that was later re-titled as Toxin. My partner and I must have gone through at least fifty drafts of that thing, and this was for low budget, B-movie kind of stuff. Then when Danny Glover got on board, I ended up writing another pass just to help the villain's dialogue fit Danny Glover.

I agree, it's difficult to be successful at both. Mainly, I think, because they are different forms. If I know I'm going to work on a screenplay, I usually start reading all kinds of scripts to get into the mindset. These days, I do that with my novels as well. If I set out to write a crime novel, I'll read a bunch of crime books. It helps to get me in the groove and I also like to see how others are doing it.

message 46: by Lori, Super Mod (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori (tnbbc) | 10060 comments Mod
JW, if you were caught up in the beginning's of a zombie apocalypse, what would be in your zombie survival kit?

message 47: by Lori, Super Mod (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori (tnbbc) | 10060 comments Mod
Guys, we've only got a few more hours till we say goodbye to JW and our discussion here. Get those last minute questions in now :)

Robert Davis (robert_davis) | 2977 comments Thanks JW for making the book available to us. It was a fun read. And since nobody has mentioned the cover art, I'd like to say how cool it is, the brain grasped in the zombie claw. Very well done by John Branham. Is he a friend of yours or did you commission it from a professional illustrator?

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J.W. Bouchard (jwbouchard) | 18 comments I'd probably focus on weapons...guns, knives, etc. The rest I could get through looting. Would definitely want a good first aid kid, matches (or something to make fire), and I'm hoping I would get in on the ground floor of raiding a few grocery stores for food and other supplies.

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J.W. Bouchard (jwbouchard) | 18 comments Robert - I actually commissioned John for the cover. I had the initial idea and he ran with it. Great guy to work with. I've been really lucky with all the artists I've worked with. They are all true creative professionals.

Thanks again, Robert!

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