Curiouser & Curiouser: Tell me everything about the rUNdead you participated in recently!
Leah: Everything? Okay, here goes.
rUNdead came to Charleston three years ago, right as I was getting ready to release the first Undead America book. I signed up for the race, along with my brother, who flew out from Oklahoma to run it with me, and a friend of mine. We talked about using it for some kind of promotional event, but I had no idea how to do that, so finally we just ran it. We died. All three of us. The zombies have to steal your flags (like flag football), and we all had all our flags stolen. I also had my butt and a boob grabbed, but I guess it was all in good fun. We laughed a LOT and had an excellent time.
So when I heard rUNdead was coming back the following year, around the same time I was releasing Book 2 and getting Book 1 in print, I reached out to the guy in charge, and we struck a deal: I blogged for them, and they gave me a vendor table at the event. It was spectacular. My whole family came out (husband, kiddo, parents) as did lots of friends. I only brought about 20 copies of the book, and I sold them all! So it was great!
This year, we struck the same deal. I blog every week in the three months leading up to the race, and I get my own table at the event. This year I was next to an actor named Greg French, who happens to be better known as “Barbed-wire Zombie” from The Walking Dead. He’s actually played something like 20 walkers over two seasons of the show. One of my best friends from college had come down to run, so we all had fun, hanging out, swapping stories and such. I let my daughter dress up as a zombie, and she entered the costume contest. It was super-sweet, even though she lost out to two babies dressed as Little Bo Peep and a sheep. I mean, who can beat that?
But seriously, it’s such a fun event. My friend that ran it this year said she’s never laughed so much in her life. The zombies are fun and crazy, and the people who are in charge of rUNdead have become like family to me. I hope we all get to do it again next year.
C&C: Do you do make-up FX for the RUNdead event or is that
strictly for the Other Team? And do you in general get into F/X, make-up,
blood, costumes, that sort of thing, in general?
L: I’m TERRIBLE at make-up, but I do my daughter’s zombie make-up every year
anyway. At rUNdead they actually bring in cosmetology students from a local
school to handle the course-zombies.
I love the idea of costumes, blood, make-up, but short of red lipstick and
1950s style dresses, I have no flair for it. I feel like I need
lessons…or maybe a budget so I can hire someone…so I can get better at
it. Like, when I see cosplayers at cons, I’m JEALOUS. I want to do that,
but I have no idea how!! It’s just not my skill-set.
C&C: What do you have in your pockets?
L: Right now I’m wearing running shorts and a tank top, so I don’t have any pockets. But earlier I had on a dress and denim jacket, since I went to a press preview for a new exhibition at a local gallery downtown. So at that point, in my jacket pocket, I had my phone, a hair tie, and more than likely a used band-aid or tissue or some other child-themed detritus.
C&C: Do you wear shoes and socks in the house?
L: I love love LOVE being barefoot, and one of the benefits of living in the south is that I can usually get away with being barefoot year-round. But on those few cold days, I MUST have socks because otherwise my little toes’ll get froze. And that never goes well. But shoes? In the house? Almost never….unless it’s a Going Out Night and I’m wearing heels, because once I get those suckers on, they do NOT come off. Because once they’re OFF? I refuse to put them back ON.
C&C: Shoes are stupid, some of them are just really pretty,
and also sometimes there’s glass. Glass leads to injuries. This is a
segueway. What’s the most ridiculous way you’ve gotten injured/injury
you’ve had? You can reach back into childhood if you need to…
L: Well, I cracked a rib from coughing during a particularly nasty case of
bronchitis. That’s pretty ridiculous. That was probably six or seven years
ago. Then about two years ago, on a rainy day, was carrying a box of frozen
meat (yes, frozen meat) in my garage while wearing rubber flip-flops.
Apparently the water made the bottom of said flip-flops extra-slick, and
when I took a step, my feet literally slipped up and out. I flew through
the air and landed – hard – on my ass, cracking my tailbone. That HURT!
Plus the frozen meat went everywhere.
See? I don’t need to go too far back in time for ridiculousness. It’s
followed me through life.
C&C: How many readings have you done since this summer in Louisville, and are you less nervous now that you’re an old pro?
L: Me? Read? Honestly, the only “public” reading I’ve done since Louisville happened last week. It was Read All Day Day (yes, there’s some redundancy there) at my daughter’s school. It was also Halloween, and since they apparently don’t like to celebrate pagan holidays in southern public schools (or at least not my daughter’s particular elementary school), they came up with a compromise: children could wear book-themed costumes to school. My child wore soccer clothes because she loves a series of books written by Alex Morgan, a player on the US Women’s National Team.
Anyway….parents were encouraged to drop by and read to the kids on that particular day, so I read a story I wrote for my daughter a couple years back. It’s about a little girl (shocker) who’s afraid of a monster that haunts her dreams. I wasn’t nervous at all while reading it, and the kids were great. They laughed at the right places, and gasped sometimes too. So all-in-all, it was a pretty lovely experience.
Beyond that, though? Nope. NO public readings to speak of. So I’d probably still flip out like I did before Louisville.
I do have an upcoming event called Atomacon here in Charleston. I’ll be sitting on panels for the first time. I’m a little freaked out about that!
C&C: What’s your favorite candy?
L: I’m quite fond of most forms of chocolate, but Cadbury chocolate direct from England is probably my favorite. I’m also a huge fan of Nerds and other fruity candies. And cotton candy. And….well, okay, I just love candy. All of it. Except the vomit flavored beans in Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans.
C&C: What do you dance to in the car when there’s no one around to stop/hinder your full performance?
L: I have a six-year-old little girl…I can do a mean “Love is an Open Door” from Frozen….but only when she’s in the car. I sing the boy part, of course. Kristoff. She’s Ana.
But by myself….the thing that’s really going to get me singing and dancing….has to be….Oh dear God, confession time: Livin’ on a Prayer by Bon Jovi. *gulps* He’s from my hometown. No lie. And all of Jersey still loves him. Once, I was at a diner in northern Jersey at 2 a.m. and Livin’ on a Prayer came on, and pretty much the whole diner started singing. It was impressive.
C&C: Do you have any tattoos?
L: Yes. I have three. A line drawing of a rose bud on the back of my neck, flowers all over the tramp-stamp location on my back, and a star and moon on my hip. The star and moon came on my 18th birthday, done by a guy whose name was (if I remember correctly) Big Brad. The flowers were all done by my brother, who’s a tattoo artist – the one on my neck is fairly recent, but the tramp-stampy one came about when my ex told me not to get any more tattoos. See how that worked out for him?
C&C: Do you think birds are smart or stupid?
L: Ugh. Birds. I’m terrified of birds. They’re smart and savvy and they’re
going to take over the world with their ugly little claw-feet. And living
where I live, there are birds EVERYWHERE!!! Ibises and herons and egrets
and hawks and bald eagles and CANADA GEESE! They’re the worst. I really
think they’re out to get me. And did you know: herons or egrets (I’m not
sure which is which) make some kind of noise that sounds exactly (EXACTLY)
like you’d expect a zombie to sound. So when you’re outside, alone, at
night, and one flies close overhead….it’s like the apocalypse is coming!