Despite his family lineage (his father is Mel Brooks), Max Brooks is deadly serious about his debut novel, World War Z, and closely involved in the full-cast audio adaptation.
Why the interest in zombies?
They're scary! That's the first place to start. They scare me more than any other fictional creature out there because they break all the rules. Werewolves and vampires and giant sharks, you have to go look for them. My attitude is if you go looking for them, no sympathy. But zombies come to you. Zombies don't act like a predator; they act like a virus, and that is the core of my terror. A predator is intelligent by nature, and knows not to overhunt its feeding ground. A virus will just continue to spread, infect and consume, no matter what happens. It's the mindlessness behind it.
How involved were you in casting the audiobook?
Random House said, "Look, if you have any ideas of who you'd like to cast, let us know." That was great because my first career was doing voiceover work and cartoons. I recommended people for everyone in the cast. The problem is, we recorded this in the summer, which is when everyone goes on vacation. I'm stunned as many people were as available and wanted to do the work.
Did you have a lot of input on the abridgment process?
Yes and no. They abridged it. But then I actually cut even more just to make room for as many interviews as possible.
Do you listen to audiobooks?
I've been a huge fan of audiobooks all my life. I'm very, very dyslexic. When I was in high school, the only way for me to read books was for them to put them on tape at the Braille Institute. I literally grew up listening to books. It was the only way I could learn. So I was very careful to make sure this audiobook did the work justice.
What do you think of the final product?
Personally, I'm completely blown away. I still listen to so many audiobooks, especially when I'm in L.A. and I'm driving. I'm just stunned by how much energy and thought Random House Audio put into it as far as the sound editing, the music, the sound effects, everything. I couldn't be happier.