Ken Campbell is a friend of mine. We work at the same place. We have some of the same interests as far as movies, books and illustrated digests (comic books). Ken also appears in the ACKNOWLEDGEMENT page of all three TRANSPORT books, so I thought it would be interesting to interview him.
GRA: Your name appears first in the ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS page in TRANSPORT: BOOK ONE. A soldier with your last name also appears near the end of the novel as one of the Muskegon High Commissioner Holtrop guards. You have obviously been a part of story input on the TRANSPORT series. Inquiring minds may want to know more about you.
I got you involved on the TRANSPORT project because we have the same interest in action-packed tales and zombies. I’ve used you as a sounding board, kind of a Beta tester, on some of the story concepts, scenarios and plot lines to get your reaction—yay or nay—and input.
With these bouncing around of ideas, and some actually appearing in story, does this ruin the book for you if and when read? Why or why not?
KC: Nah, not any more than a movie preview to the actual movie. The ideas bounced around are just points in the story. When reading the finished story, and I’m in the ebb and flow, the "ideas" merge and I get to see the bigger picture. Besides, it is always tweaked a little from the material/ideas discussed.
GRA: If your in-story character was played by an actor in the Big Screen, who would it be?
KC: I had to think a long time on this, thank goodness my work is easy enough to allow me such time allowances. I would have to go with Jason Segel. He has that "innocent" outward appearance, but has that smirk and head bob that indicates otherwise, just like me! LOL
GRA: What type of books, movies, magazines, comics do you like to read, and why? Do you have some absolute favorites?
KC: I would say for books it’s the sci-fi/magic/steampunk stuff by Cherie Priest (www.cheriepriest.com) and Barbara Hambly (www.barbarahambly.com). I like the escapism of those fantasy genres. I also like the historic battles seen through the eyes of a fictional character series by Patrick O'Brian (www.wwnorton.com/pob/pobhome.htm) and Bernard Cornwall (www.bernardcornwell.net). To re-live those epic battles, without getting hurt, from the prospective of a lowly frontlines man instead of a rich guy sitting in the back with the luggage is cool.
Picking a specific movie is hard. I have favorites in most genres. I guess for brainless, chest-thumping, manly action movies I would go with the Expendables trilogy, the Transporter trilogy, and Serenity.
For small budget, foreign movies with good, interesting plots I would go with Lawn Dogs, Amile, Let the Right One In, The Girl, Thale, Attack the Block and Chocolat.
For the "DUH" brainless lowbrow humor, it’s got to be the Harold and Kumar films and American Pie movies.
To round it out, anything from Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn.
Comics would be superhero types. Wolverine tops the list. I also like Empowered by Adam Warren (adamwarren.deviantart.com) and The Devil's Panties (thedevilspanties.com) by Jennie Breeden.
GRA: A reviewer mentioned TRANSPORT “is far more than a rehash of the military elements that show up in Danny Boyle’s viral fast-zombie opus, Romero’s Day, Land, and Diary, Brooks’ World War Z.”
Would you agree? What are your thoughts on the TRANSPORT World?
KC: Oh, I agree. Usually the military is the only thing keeping the zombies from taking over the world. TRANSPORT has the military doing more humanitarian works, at least with the "docile" zombies. They try and protect them instead of all-out extermination. It reminds me of what the old Wild West is portrayed as: small pockets of humanity surrounded by wide tracks of wilderness where all matter of nastiness resides.
GRA: Do you think the whole ZOMBIE genre has run its course, or is there still a lot of UN-life left in this typically Horror milieu?
KC: I don't think the zombie genre will ever run its course. The basic premise of a zombie - a being that is hard to kill in the usual way (shot in the torso, hack off a leg, etc.) and can turn you into one of them with just a scratch or bite goes to a primitive, deep seated, cavemen-sitting-around-a-fire-type of fear that can be used in multiple genres; from World War Z, to Shawn of the Dead and Fido, to name a few.
GRA: You are an avid runner and bicyclist. Which activity do you do more of? What are some of your biggest achievements relating to these? Is there anything on your BUCKET LIST relating to these you want to do before the zombie apocalypse?
KC: I started out as an avid bicyclist, but was introduced back into running when I started working at my current job (ran x-country and track in high school). Some accomplishes would be participating in several 24hr bike challenges, several DALMAC rides, riding a century ride under 5 hours, running the Fifth-Third Riverbank Run, and being able to eat all the Twinkies I want knowing I will burn them off. The only real thing on the bucket list would be to finish the Grand Rapids Zombie Dash with, at least, one life strip left.
GRA: Who would you rather meet on a darkened UCRA neighborhood street? Bob the 1950’s gas station attendant zombie, or front gunner of the M213 HURON, Sgt. James Stokes? And why?
KC: Hmmm, since I'm not good at learning new languages and would have a hard time conversing with Bob, I would have to go with Stokes. The stories Stokes could tell...
[Welmerink comment: the lewd and crude Sgt. Stokes most likely does have a lot of tales to tell as his morals are a little… loose.]
GRA: What is one story in the TRANSPORT World that you haven’t heard discussed yet that you’d be interested in either reading about or understanding better?
KC: That's a toughie. Since I actually went to college in Allendale, I think I would like to read more about the scientists at the university campus and what REALLY happened out there.
[Welmerink comment: There was A LOT of bull out there, that’s for sure.]
GRA: Thanks Ken!!
Ken Campbell as Rick Grimes from THE WALKING DEAD for Grand Rapids Zombie Dash 2013