Guilty Pleasures: Denise Swanson

Hi. My name is Denise Swanson and I’m a zombie movieaholic. I’m sure most people would not believe that someone like me, someone who writes humorous mysteries where all the violence takes place off page, has a zombie addiction. I bet you all thought my TV and movie viewing habits were exclusively shows like Designing Women and Miss Congeniality. True, I love watching funny, positive stories starring strong women, but…

I also love zombie movies. I think my first one was Night of the Comet, a great low-budget 80’s flick. The shopping mall scene where the girls try on totally ridiculous clothes is a hoot.
Night of the Comet might have also been my last venture into the world of zombies, if my husband’s best friend wasn’t such a horror fan. Most of his choices give me nightmares, and don’t get me started about his teddy bear, which has claws and fangs, but when he insisted we all go to a Night of the Living Dead/Dawn of the Dead marathon during college, I was hooked.

Since then, I’ve seen some really, really, really bad zombie movies, but a few have been amazingly good. I think the best are either truly humorous, like Shaun of the Dead or Zombieland, or extremely serious like 28 Weeks Later or my current fave The Walking Dead.

I’m not exactly sure why I find zombie films so fascinating, but I think it goes along with my love of apocalyptic themed books like Alas Babylon and Swan Song. As a writer, I like the idea of creating a whole new world, of wiping the slate clean and starting over again. As a reader, I’m intrigued to see how bits of the “before” world pop up and are used in the “after” world.

Maybe I love zombie movies because I can actually picture myself surviving an attack. Unlike most of the other horror creatures, you don’t have to be able to run fast or have your silver bullet and cross handy, you just have to be smarter than the undead and have a two-by-four nearby. I think I could do that.


–Denise Swanson is the New York Times bestselling author of the Scumble River Mystery series featuring Skye Denison and the new (coming in 2012) Devereaux’s Dime Store Mystery series featuring Devereaux Sinclair. She’s been nominated for the Agatha, Mary Higgins Clark, RT Reviewers Choice, and Daphne Du Maurier awards. She enjoys hanging out with her husband and black cat. You can catch her on Facebook or at