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'Zombie Apocalypse' overtakes Hudson Valley in graphic novel
Seeking a spooky, Halloween-themed read set in the Hudson Valley? If you're a fan of the hit show, "The Walking Dead," then we've got a book recommendation for you.
Local paranormal expert Linda Zimmermann penned a novel, “HVZA: Hudson Valley Zombie Apocalypse,” imagining a zombie invasion overtaking the region from Tarrytown to Albany, and all points in between. The novel was released in January, and a graphic novel by the same name was published in late-September. Inspired by events that occurred in Zimmermann's book, eight teams of writers and artists created new stories for the graphic novel.
Hudson Buzz talked with Zimmermann, a Chester resident who grew up in Pearl River, about what inspired her to write the book, how the graphic novel differs from the original book, and the best local places to go in the case of a zombie apocalypse.
What inspired you to write the novel?
I always loved zombie stories, and then when “Walking Dead” came out, I was happy that they got back to the basics [of storytelling]. The real terror is when your family member or neighbor is trying to kill you. I say there’s nothing like a zombie on your doorstep.
So since I was born and raised in the Hudson Valley and have written about it for years, it was just natural for me to set it in the places I knew to make it more realistic. Also, people love when something is local. I’m not writing about some mythical town in who knows where. I’m writing about streets they drive on everyday, even the streets they live in.
The book came out in January, and now you have a graphic novel inspired by the events in the book. How are the two different?
I was approached by some people I had worked with on other projects to do a graphic novel. And I said I’d love the idea, but I just didn’t want to retell the same story. Because why bother to read the graphic novel if you’ve already read the novel?
In the book there are some minor characters or incidents that are mentioned in just a line or a paragraph, so what these artists and writers did was take those characters and expand upon them, and show you their backstory.
For example, the most disgusting zombie in the book is a woman they find strapped to a hospital bed. In the graphic novel, she was kind of this social misfit...and she actually sacrifices herself to save a little girl. That’s how she gets bitten and infected. So a character you see in the book who’s totally disgusting, in the graphic novel, she’s a hero.
So I love the way they flipped the script on that and you see what these people went through to survive, and in some cases you also see who the zombies were before [they got infected], and how they got that way.
Where is the best place to go in the Hudson Valley during a zombie apocalypse?
I have survivors gather at the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse. I also use Bannerman’s Island, because my zombies don’t swim, so people are seeking places surrounded by water. I even got [permission] from a real Ace Hardware store in Ellenville [to be] written into the book. [In the book] I call it “Fort Ace,” because I was trying to think where would people gather to try to survive, and what better place than a hardware store, where you can make all the weapons and tools you need from there?
What similarities do you share with Rebecca Truesdale, the main character in the book?
She is a nurse who becomes a doctor, and then a researcher. Since I have a scientific background -- I used to work in a chemistry lab -- putting a character in a lab was familiar to me, and it also gave [the character] the opportunity not only for her to try to learn how to survive in the streets, but also work to try to find the cure.
And again, I tried to make it as realistic scientifically as possible, and be as accurate as possible, but still have people coming back from the dead trying to kill you (laughs).
What are your Halloween plans this year?
I go around telling ghost stories and giving ghost tours all over the area -- I have 27 different lectures to give in October. So when actual Halloween comes by, it’s my day to relax and put on a scary costume and meet kids at the door, and people know that I’m the crazy ghost lady.
So I have my house really done up with tons of decorations and I just get such a kick out of little kids with their eyes really wide, and they say “wow, look at all of this stuff.” That’s my October. It’s crazy, but it’s what I love to do.
Learn more about “HVZA: Hudson Valley Zombie Apocalypse” at hvzombie.com.