Our very own Koji Steven Sakai has just released his very first novel (massive applause!) throwing a fantastical twist on that famous Shakespearean play. In Romeo and Juliet vs. Zombies, “Romeo and Juliet must fight to overcome hoards of zombies that include Tybalt, Mercutio, and even Juliet’s nurse. Sakai’s version of the beloved tale forces Romeo to fight for Juliet’s respect…even if that means picking up a sword that (gulp) could actually hurt someone.” The eBook came out just last week with a print version arriving this week.
AND, because he’s one of us, we get to ask him all kinds of questions. So, your exclusive (ish) author interview with 8Asians’ most awesome screenwriter —
How did you decide what to write about? What was your inspiration?
I admit I have a terrible infatuation with Romeo and Juliet. Not only because it’s truly the only Shakespeare I could actually get through, but because it has spoken to me in different ways at different times in my life. When I was a teenager and believed in silly notions such as “true love” (please don’t judge me), I thought it was romantic. But as I got older, I see it for what it is—silly infatuations of hormonal teenagers. And that’s why I’ve written multiple screenplays about it. Four to be exact.
And then there’s my love for post-apocalyptic zombie stories. There’s something about the end of the world and a horde of reanimated corpses trying to feed on people’s brains that just makes me smile and feel good about myself and my life.
So for me, Romeo & Juliet Vs. Zombies was the first time that I was able to marry my two passions into one project.
Why zombies in particular? Why not other fantastical creatures?
I love all fantastical creatures—especially vampires, aliens, ghosts, and demons. But there’s something about zombies that gets my heart racing. The easy answer is that zombies are a metaphor for the masses of unthinking people, but I don’t think that’s quite it for me. I see zombies as representing something even more primal. To me, I’m fascinated with the question of whether I could survive an apocalypse—zombie or otherwise. Do I have what it takes to live?