Interview with Author Mary Hallberg

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I’ve been writing pretty much every since I knew how. I wrote fan fictions all through junior high and high school, and majored in Creative Writing in college. Even then, I wasn’t sure if I could turn writing into a career, but I’m going to try my hardest.

 

2) What inspired you to write your book?

I never found zombies that scary until I had this dream one night that I was trapped in a little storage room, surrounded by a horde of them. That scene later became a part of STATE OF EMERGENCY. After that dream, I started watching The Walking Dead and thought it would be cool to write a story about teens in the zombie outbreak as it unfolded.

 

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

To be persistent. To trust your gut and take action when you think something is wrong, because it might save you. To not take the people you love for granted, because you never know when they could be gone, and things can change in an instant with no warning.

 

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I’ve loved horror since I was a kid. I grew up reading Goosebumps and watching ‘Are You Afraid of the Dark?’ on Nickelodeon. As I got older, I graduated to slasher movies and ghost stories. I love the adrenaline rush that horror brings without any of the actual danger.

 

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

Probably Pierce, just because he has such an interesting backstory. I’d ask him what his family life is like and what he does for enjoyment and escape. Without prying too much, of course.

 

 

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Probably twitter, since I’ve been on there since long before I started building a writing platform, so I know how to work it pretty well.

 

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Read a lot. Write a lot. Be observant, because you never know when and where inspiration will come. And, above all, don’t give up. If you really have the fire in you to write, you’ll keep doing it no matter how many obstacles get in your way. Because you can’t NOT do it.

 

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I’ve got a novella coming out later this year, but I’ve changed plans for it about a dozen times already, so I’m not sure of the details. But I will have something out soon, I promise! I have tons of other stories in the pipeline too, and one day I’d love to get an agent. But we’ll see.

 

 

About the Author:

As a child, Mary Hallberg’s mother wanted her to read HEIDI and CADDIE WOODLAWN, so she grew up reading Goosebumps books under the covers. As soon as she was old enough for a Blockbuster card, she graduated to horror classics like Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and The Evil Dead. Her parents still wonder where they went wrong in raising her. She lives in Mississippi. Visit her online here.

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State of Emergency by Mary Hallberg Review

A teen concert goes horribly awry when a shocking zombie virus is unleashed, and one teenage girl must lead her friends towards safety with only a pizza cutter as a weapon. Can the teens survive the zombie apocalypse? Find out in author Mary Hallberg’s State of Emergency. Here’s the synopsis:

17-year-old Dallas Langdon is fighting off zombies with a pizza cutter.

Dallas has always loved zombie movies. But when she catches a real live (erm, dead) musician eating a man’s intestines backstage after the show, she knows her movies have become a reality. And what do characters in zombie movies do? Seek shelter. Fortunately, Dallas’s eccentric uncle owns a farmhouse in Chattanooga, an eight hour drive from New Orleans. It’s on top of a steep mountain, surrounded by electric fences, and cut off from the worlds of the living and the dead.

Dallas’s parents, still safe at home, laugh at her idea over the phone. Her friends only agree to join her because it’s fall break and they could use a mini vacation anyway.

But then Dallas’s best friend is killed by a zombie horde when they’re attracted to her ringing cell phone. Civilians think their reanimated loved ones simply have the flu, leaving them alive (well, undead) and rapidly increasing the zombies ranks. And since minors can’t buy guns, Dallas’s only weapon is a giant industrial pizza cutter she swipes from a gas station. George A. Romero never mentioned anything like this. With one friend dead and no zombie survival guides to help her, Dallas and her friends must get to Chattanooga before joining the ranks of the undead themselves.

This was a quick yet action packed read. Think of it like the Walking Dead meets the Young Adult genre, and you’ll get an idea of what State of Emergency is all about. The book was very well written, with a memorable group of characters and a unique take on the zombie apocalypse narrative. What really drew me into the story was the fact that unlike most books or movies, the story focused on the beginning of the outbreak rather than a world already ravaged by the virus. It did an excellent job of showcasing how people react differently to the events of the novel. Some communities are oblivious to the virus, while others are ravaged by the horrors of the undead. It reminded me a little bit of Stephen King’s The Stand, which the first few hundred pages focused on the virus that left most of the world dead, (except this had way more zombies and less good vs. evil stories).

Overall this was a wonderful read. Full of a complicated narrative that explores the beginning of the zombie apocalypse from a teenagers point of view, the story is relatable and full of heart that fans of both zombie stories and YA fans will connect with instantly. This is a book not to miss, so be sure to pick up your copies of State of Emergency by Mary Hallberg today!

Rating: 9/10

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