Karina Fabian: Catholic Writer Embraces Zombies

I have a disclaimer before this interview: I’m a HUGE Karina Fabian Fangirl. By huge I mean that I beg her for early copies of her novels and then sign up for every single option on her book’s blog tours.

That’s how I come to be interviewing her today, in the midst of my own blog tour. Because, really, I have my priorities in life, people, and supporting my favorite authors is one of them! :)

Karina has been a Tech Talk contributor here at CatholicMom.com since the beginning (and if you haven’t read her columns, YOU SHOULD!), and she’s celebrating the release of her latest novel, Neeta Lyffe 2: I Left My Brains in San Francisco. (For more about that book and the series, see her publisher’s website. Brace yourself. It’s hilarious.)

Tell us a little bit about yourself, Karina.

I am currently enjoying a long-distance relationship with Colonel Rob Fabian, who is a military advisor to the Iraqi Air Force. Even on Skype, my husband gives me butterflies in the stomach! We have four terrific kids, one of whom is starting college and another of whom is excited to graduate and start college. The two younger ones are enjoying middle school, especially music—lots of sax and violins in our home. And trumpet, tin whistle…

I write science fiction, fantasy, and horror, often funny, sometimes not. I also wrote a lovely devotional with my dad. I have ideas for a woman’s fic and even a chicklit. I blog about writing, family life and the commercial space industry. I don’t like to get tied down to a genre—what I love about writing is looking at usual things in unusual ways, and so the story determines the genre. It’s a lot of fun, and I’ve won a few awards, but the best award is someone writing to tell me they enjoyed the book. I teach writing and marketing through online conferences and classes. You can read all about my books and some about me at my website, fabianspace.com.

What inspired you to start writing?

I always loved writing, but I didn’t get serious about it until I was out of the active duty Air Force and staying home with two toddlers. Unlike my mom, I was not content with cleaning house and playing with kidlets. Right before Lent, 1996, I was reading a novel by Harry Turtledove—not one of his better ones. I was getting increasingly frustrated with it and feeling like I could have done better, when a voice in my head said, “And why aren’t you?” So I resolved to give up reading fiction for Lent and taking up writing instead. I gave my intentions to God and asked Him to direct me. Before Easter, I had a regular job with the diocese magazine and was freelancing for a couple of others. I did mostly nonfiction for several years because it supplemented our income, but later moved to stories and novels.

What’s the greatest challenge you face as a Catholic mom who’s also a writer?

Balance. In fact, this summer, after a very busy year with three books coming out a couple of months apart, I returned from a family vacation just not interested in writing. I spent several weeks just journaling and examining my lethargy, and I realized that I’d let writing—and especially marketing my writing–take too big a part of my life. In the meantime, I’d put other things in the back seat, time if not attention-wise. And, to be frank, if I were a big best-seller, I might not feel so bad about it, but my books have small if strong followings. Not enough to treat it like a full-time-plus job. So now I’m trying to be more conscious of keeping my writing where it really belongs—as a hobby. If God wants me to make it big, He’ll handle that; until then, I’m stopping to cook with the kids, take the dog to the park, and drop everything if my kids ask for something.

Give us a glimpse of what we can expect in NEETA LYFFE 2 and where we can go to get our hot little hands on it.

Let me tell you first what not to expect: a heartwarming novel of Catholic values and gentle expressions of God’s Love. I’m writing Looney Tunes, not CCC Saint stories.

What will you find?

Action!

The zombie before her was more of a blur. Her peripheral vision had grayed. Her thoughts scattered and ran about like scared rabbits. She couldn’t go down the side. She couldn’t fight. She couldn’t make the stairs. The catwalk pounded with more undead answering this one’s call.

The zombie had herded her toward the dead end.

It reached for her and reflexively, she kicked at it with her good leg, a modified roundhouse to knock its hand away. She managed to kick off two of its fingers, and it paused in confusion as they flew over the side.

Adventure!

“Why? What are we…” Her voice trailed off as she noticed the ramp to the unfinished bridge approaching. “Ted?”
As soon as the lane split to the exit, Ted swerved into it and hit the gas.

“Ted…”

The V8 kicked into overdrive and crashed through the barrier at 40 MPH. They accelerated down the highway toward the ramp in the not-so-far distance.

“Ted!”

“Get ready!” Before they hit the ramp, he shoved his foot hard against the accelerator, his back pressed against the seat. Ted yelled, and there was a fierce joy in his voice.

“Ted!”

Neeta screamed. She pressed hard against the back of her seat and watched in horror as everything moved in slow motion. The ramp ended. Then the road…

Romance!

Backlit by the blaze, the man she loved swung a monofilament sword at the last undead, taking its neck off in a clean 360-swing.

Her heart pounded in her chest for reasons having nothing to do with extermination.

He walked to her, swinging the sword in fancy swoops before turning it off.

“Ted, how?” She pointed at the burning hoard.

She could hear the grin in his voice. “Napalm sticks to zombies.”

If they hadn’t been covered in gore, she’d have thrown herself at him on the spot.

Humor!

While Rii stood by with a power blaster of anti-zombie foam, Hi ambled up to the prone zombie, sword relaxed but ready in his left hand. He watched the undead mime struggle against the imaginary coffin, nodded appreciatively, and tossed a twenty into the hat. Immediately, the Wasted Mime started clawing with fervor, dug himself up, and brushed himself off.

Now some of the crowd in the front stepped back, but those behind them did not budge.

It picked up the hat, checked the money.

The crowd took in a breath.

It faced Hi.

Hi made a polite little bow.

The crowd gasped. Cameras flashed.

The zombie bowed back, deeply and theatrically.

Hi lashed out with his sword, its blade cutting deeply and theatrically into the zombie’s neck.

The re-killed corpse folded over.

The crowd broke into wild cheers.

Kelsey smiled big for the camera. “And there you have it! Looks like a mime isn’t such a terrible thing to waste after all. I’m Kelsey Gardenberger and we just had ‘Time to Re-kill’ on the Zomblog.”

Heroism!

He dashed down the steps to the bottom level, vaulting the last turn of the staircase because he saw the indicators edging well into the red zone. He shoved the body aside and twisted at the large round wheel. Even with the releases, the valves did not turn easily.

Lost in concentration on his mission, he never saw the corpse he’d just pushed away start to rise.

And many, many zombies!

What part of your book do you think Mary and Jesus most enjoy or approve of?

Frankly, I think Mary would give me a somewhat horrified, uncomprehending look and say something to the effect of “That’s nice, dear.” Jesus probably wouldn’t bother with it, but I could see some of the Disciples chucking over it on the road.

I do think, however, both would approve of the heroism of the characters who put themselves in danger to save others. Neeta and Ted, of course, but also Roscoe (though Jesus would have a few words for him about his love life). I think Jesus would especially like Tess, who doesn’t think she’s very brave, but she saves her friends; and Earnest, who even after he dies and comes back as a mindless corpsickle, continues to do the right thing.

What books are you reading these days?

I’m actually reading a lot of non-fiction about the space industry. I believe this is the age that Manned Space becomes a working reality; plus, my husband wants to get into the field when he retires, and I believe part of my duty (and joy) as a wife is to have a working knowledge of his career field. As for novels, I’m reading books of my many friends, sometimes for review, other times for critique.

Copyright 2012 Sarah Reinhard

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