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Exclusive Preview Pages from ZAK VS. ZOMBIES, an Interview with Elisa Eliot, and Signing Details – Daily Dead

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Now available online and in bookstores, Elisa’s Zak vs. Zombies has been released to the world. A graphic novel for kids of all ages, the story follows Zak, who must team up with his classmates to stop a technological virus from turning his entire town into zombies! To celebrate the release, we have an exclusive preview you can read right now, along with an interview with Elisa Eliot that covers the making of the graphic novel, and details on release events taking place is Los Angeles that you won’t want to miss.

How did you first get inspired to write Zak vs. Zombies?

Elisa Eliot: I had inspiration for this book in three different categories. First, I have twins, and they’re nine years old now, but when they were about six or seven, I noticed that they were just devouring graphic novels. They could not get enough graphic novels and they would read three or four a day. We were going to the library, and I was carrying two shopping bags full of books back every time. And I didn’t have a lot of introduction to graphic novels when I was young, so I started looking at their books, and I realized really quickly that it was almost like a melding of my two passions, books and cartoons, in this graphic novel genre. So watching them read graphic novels made me interested in writing a graphic novel.

But then, of course, the zombies part comes from [the fact] that I have been a part of the series called “We’re Alive” for the past 15 years. I started as an actor on the series, and then I moved into producing and writing. The newest season I just wrote and co-produced with the creator just came out. It’s a zombie series, but it’s for adults and it’s a little too scary for kids, so I thought, “Wouldn’t it be fun to create something in the genre that kids could really enjoy?”

And this story, specifically, came out of a desire to create a story that happened over a single day. Some of the movies that I remember loving as a kid were films like “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “Adventures in Babysitting,” and “The Breakfast Club.” They’re so topical and relatable, and they happen over such a short time span in a really high-stakes adventure.

There really is something magical about a story where “everything changes” in a 24-hour period. And I agree that there’s a great opportunity to approach monsters or traditionally scary stories in a way that’s accessible to kids. I also think it’s great when a story like Zak vs. Zombies features kids, but is just as interesting to adult readers as well.

Elisa Eliot: Whatever I’m writing, I always make sure that if an adult is reading with a kid, whether it’s their child or their niece, nephew, whoever it happens to be, there are jokes in there or Easter eggs that only the adults will get, so it’s a full family experience.

When it came to developing the look of the characters and the artwork for the graphic novel, did you have a specific look or artist in mind?

Elisa Eliot: I probably came at it in a slightly different direction than other writers because my experience is in film, television, and animation. So I went directly to my contacts in animation to see if I could get somebody who could get the feel of the art that I wanted for this. And I found that in Blur Frame Studio and Circe Rosales. We worked on the characters and what they looked like for a while until we got them. And they really brought that combination of cuteness that [looked like] anime, with a little edgy quality, bright colors, and fun over-the-top facial expressions that really lent itself to humor. We worked together on every single panel, and it was just a labor of love.

I always like to hear about the creative process as the book was coing together. Where there any moments where the artwork resulted in a change to the story or characters that was different than you had planned?

Elisa Eliot: Yes, there was a moment towards the end of the book where I had an idea, which led me to creating five more pages of the book, which was not in the initial plan. So I went to the artist and I was like, “Look, I have this great idea. Can we please do it?” And they were able to add a bunch of pages with more panels, and it worked out well. But, yeah, as I started to see the art come together, that just made more ideas pop into my head. I tried to curb some of my creativity because once it’s out of sketching into coloring, it’s hard for them to change it, but I was able to convince them. I think that’s part of what makes this whole process magical.

Do you have plans for Zak and these characters beyond just this Zak vs. Zombies graphic novel?

Elisa Eliot: Yes, I have a series of “Zak vs…” planned, the next one being hopefully a Halloween release if we can make it happen. This one is zombies, but the next one will be Zak versus different kinds of creatures, things, and challenges… all within the comedy Horror genre.

Speaking of the comedy Horror genre, what are some of your favorite films?

Elisa Eliot: It’s definitely “Shaun of the Dead.” I love comedy Horror and movies like “Tucker & Dale vs. Evil” and “Evil Dead.” When I first saw “Shaun of the Dead,” I thought it was phenomenal. It was just hilarious, but also Horror, and they capitalized on the comedy of the genre, and I just love it. So that’s the movie that got me really into zombies. But also, like I mentioned, I’ve been in “We’re Alive” for so long, so I’ve been in the zombie world for a very long time. The more that I’m in it, the more I love it, and the more I see what you can do. There are limitless possibilities with zombies.

What are your release plans for the book and where can our readers pick it up?

Elisa Eliot: The book releases to the world on May 14th, and you’ll be able to get it anywhere from the “Zak vs..” website to Amazon, Walmart, Target, and wherever you shop for your books. There will also be a Barnes & Noble signing at The Grove in Los Angeles, which is an awesome location. It’s not just going to be a signing… We’re going to make it super fun, with a costume contest and a take-home craft. I want to really make it a really fun, immersive experience for the kids and their families.

We have an exclusive preview you can read below and you can keep up on everything Zak vs. Zombies by visiting: https://www.zakvs.com/

The graphic novel’s launch party is on May 18 at Dave & Busters in Los Angeles, and you can learn more at: https://www.zakvs.com/events

Elisa Eliot is also having a fun signing event on June 2 at Barnes & Noble at The Grove in Los Angeles, including a kid-friendly zombie costume contest and every kid will go home with a surprise, in addition to the book. Use the QR code below or visit the following link for tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/zombie-costume-contest-and-a-signing-of-zak-vs-zombies-with-elisa-eliot-tickets-864746870167

 

Zak vs. Zombies Exclusive Preview:

“Zak vs. Zombies is the story of a cellphone-less boy in a cellphone-crazed world.  When a strange, techno-fied virus spreads through the town via cellphone calls and texts turning everyone into mumbling, stumbling, drooling zombies, Zak and a handful of kids from his class must come together despite their differences and embark on the adventure of a lifetime to save their town (and possibly the world) from the digital Zombie apocalypse!”

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