Sunday, December 06, 2009

Well, this is a nice surprise. I just got an email from Kimber An, author and administrator of the excellent book website, who tells me that Xombies: Apocalypse Blues made their top ten list.

Wow. I live such an insular existence, I sometimes forget there are actually people reading my book out there (although I do get wonderful emails from fans from time to time). But they must be, because I was also recently told by my editor at Penguin that my novel has been in the top twenty mass-market sci-fi bestsellers on Nielsen BookScan for over six weeks. I don't know what any of this means in terms of book sales, but if it allows me to keep writing then I'm happy.

Speaking of fanmail, ever since Xombies was first published in 2004, some of the most enthusiastic emails have come not from zombie fans but from older, professional people (doctors, lawyers, teachers, postal workers, business execs, and other authors) who picked up the book more or less by accident (one guy found a copy while he and his wife were cleaning out a friend's garage) and loved it.

I am so grateful whenever I hear from such readers, because it's always been my worry that the book is not reaching this audience, simply because they don't normally read "that kind of thing." But Xombies (original title: Dead Sea) was my attempt at squaring the circle: combining elements of literary fiction with the great pulp novels of my youth. I wanted to appeal to horror fans and Book Club readers alike. Unfortunately, the book came out right on the cusp of a huge (and ongoing) zombie craze, so it never had a chance to be judged on its merits, but only its merits as a zombie product. Zombies are great, but it's a pleasure to know at least a few mainstream readers have found my book, liked it, and took the time to tell me so.


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