“Beer Run of the Dead” is more than anything about a coming of age story and camaraderie, but to get that message you really have to go through a lot of slapstick, over the top cheesiness, gore and action.
That isn’t a review, mind you, but how author Don Noble describes his second book, available as both a paperback and e-book through Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/Beer-Run-Dead-D-Noble/dp/0615663583.
“It’s basically a kid who ends up meeting two older clueless rockers. The classic duo thing, Wayne’s World, Bill and Ted, what have you,’ Noble said. “These three unlikely heroes discover a cure to stop the zombie virus after one is bitten.”
As the name of book hints, the secret is booze and getting sloppy drunk stops people from turning into zombies.
“The problem is the guys are always drunk,” Noble said. “They make terrible decisions. It’s an escalation of insanity.”
If a zombie apocalypse featuring Wayne and Garth and copious amounts of alcohol seems like a strange combination, one need only look to Noble’s past to find the inspiration for the combination. Noble said it was a Halloween screening of George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” that had him instantly hooked despite his young age.
“I was sprawled out on the floor, stuffing my face with candy,” he said. “I can’t remember how old I was but I was young. Young like I thought my Super Mario shoes were boss.”
Although he enjoyed monster movies of other varieties, it was the ominous possibility of a real life apocalypse and a world gone to hell that made zombies a clear favorite for him.
“I wanted to be in that world,” Noble said. “To me it was like the best playground ever built and I spent many a day dream in those scenarios, thinking up armor, and weapons and just being a dorky kid in general.”
The addiction began to take hold and Noble was soon devouring every zombie movie he could get his young hands on.
“I probably spent an entire summer watching and re-watching an old VHS of ‘Dawn of the Dead’ when I was 10 or 12,” he said.
His goal in high school was to become a comic book artist and he filled notebooks will images of zombies. Unfortunately, he was missing something and could never see a story through to the end. Disappointed, he turned to music and soon found himself moving in a different direction.
“I took a break from writing, but all those shows and concerts and reckless partying filled me up with experience,” he said. “When I came back to fiction, I knew that’s what I was missing: Experience.”
Years after high school, a series of meetings and connections inspired Noble to finish an early version of Beer Run of the Dead. This version was actually a movie script and it went through several revisions before stalling out.
“It sat there on a computer file for awhile and a year later I found myself writing fiction for StrangeHouse Books,” Noble said. “It didn’t take long to realize that I needed to make Beer Run of the Dead into a novel. I spent six months or so, writing and rewriting it.”
As the rewrites progressed, Nobles notes, the book actually lost some polish.
“The first couple attempts felt too smart. The prose was too eloquent for something this outlandish,” he said. “So I kept the straight forward script feel to it. It’s rough, completely low brow, and all the things I thought being really drunk should be.”
The end result is what Noble describes as a celebration of the playground that the zombie apocalypse has the potential to be. It’s not for everyone, though.
“I wouldn’t expect a zombie purist to love the book. Because some of it, well, most of it is pretty ridiculous,” he said. “By zombie purist I mean somebody who is really entrenched on the technicalities of surviving an apocalyptic scenario. But if you like something along the lines of ‘Step Brothers’ and zombie flicks, you may just enjoy this.”
For those who do like the book, a series is planned. Noble said the second book is due out in 2014 and a third is being planned to round out the trilogy.
“But I love the characters so much, I could see myself easily adding to that,” he said.
Beyond the next books, Noble said he’d very much like to go back to his earlier concepts and re-imagine Beer Run as a graphic novel or movie script.
In fact, he said, since it was written originally as a script he even has the actors in mind to play the lead roles.
“I imagined very specific actors to play the parts. It made it easier to imagine,” Noble said. “The main cast would consist of Danny Mcbride, Craig Robinson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse , and Bill Hader. If I could get those guys to play the cast in the film version, my life would be complete.”