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Interview with Jim Beck, Author of Patient Zero

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Jim Beck work as a freelance writer and screenwriter in Burbank, California.  His career includes writing for Cartoon Network’s Pink Panther and Pals, producing a short zombie film and an independent feature film, the latter being recently selected for the Sundance Film Festival.  He is currently waiting for the release of his first direct to dvd creature feature.

Jim has self-published two full novels, Patient Zero and Virgil: A Superhero Tale. He is currently prepping his third and fourth, a supernatural story called Beneath and his own unique take on the classic Jekyll and Hyde tale. He is also the creator of two ongoing TV In Prose series, Alter Ego and Pest Control, which are books given the television treatment, split into seasons and episodes.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

By far, the most difficult part was making the transition from writing screenplays to writing books. In screenwriting, it’s beaten into your head that brevity is key. You don’t embellish at all. Writing a novel is much different. You can add a character’s thoughts, more detailed descriptions, and a number of other elements that aren’t possible in a screenplay. That being said, I still don’t believe in a lot of description when writing a book. It’s just not my taste to write a bunch of “flowery” description.

What did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

 I initially wrote it as a screenplay, and the first scene was a father, mother, and son in a basement, with the father turning into a zombie and more zombies trying to get inside. I finished the screenplay a few years ago, and the novel version was finished (and self-published) in October of 2011.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published (if any)?

Since I decided to go the self-publishing route, there have been no real challenges to the publishing itself, but it’s not like I just wanted to put just anything out there. Without any kind of gatekeepers to help guide me, I had to take a risk that my writing would be well-received.
Have you written a book that you have not been able to get published? Is so, can you share a little about it with us?

No, thanks to self-publishing. However, there is a Jekyll and Hyde story that I’ve been having trouble writing. It’s a bit of an homage to the original novel and I’m trying to match the voice as closely as possible, which is a somewhat difficult endeavor.
How did you come up with the title Patient Zero?
I came up with it about five years ago. I can’t remember exactly how, but it just popped into my head and seemed to make perfect sense. Of course, I didn’t find out about Jonathan Maberry’s book of the same name until I had finished the novel, so I contacted him and he gave me his blessing, so I didn’t need to change it.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Maybe not with you, per se, but if any of your readers who enjoy my book would like to share a pizza together in the Los Angeles, I’m always open. I love chatting with readers (and writers, for that matter). 🙂


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