A chat with guest writer Janni-Lee Simner

Naomi sits down with guest writer Janni-Lee Simner to talk about her experience writing a mission for the game.

It’s been a particular thrill to me as lead writer that the game’s attracted so many writing fans, and whenever I see a writer tweeting that they’re a fan, I instantly grab them and ask for a guest episode! So, we have a very exciting roster of guest-writers coming up for Season 3 of Zombies, Run! 

First up is award-winning fantasy and young adult author Janni Lee Simner, creator of the Bones of Faerie series. She’s got a fantastic episode coming up, so I asked her what attracted her to writing for the game: 

“When I first heard about Zombies, Run! my reaction was pretty much, "Oh, that’s brilliant,” because this was the first running app I’d heard of that actually gave one something to run from. I downloaded it because I thought it’d be a good way to get back to running, and was surprised to find myself invested in the characters and the story – it turned out the game wasn’t just a cute gimmick, but a really awesome piece of writing.

There’s so much I fell in love with: the characters, the fact that no one was a token anything (and the fact that no one, not even the children, existed just to be placed in danger, but everyone was a real character), the craft required to consistently tell a story in the second person, week after week, in a way that allowed every player to imagine they were the main character. And iI discovered that wanting to know what happens next is pretty much the best running motivation out there.

Also, I adore the fact that my 4.5 mile/7.25 km per hour running pace is always just fast enough to save the entire world. Every Single Time. 🙂

So I was already pretty invested in all the Zombies, Run! characters when I got the invite to write an episode.

There might have been some squeeeeeeeeing involved. Of course I wanted to enter the Zombies, Run! universe as a writer as well as a runner, and it’s been tremendously fun to get to do so.“

And of course we all have our favourite running songs, so I asked Janni Lee what hers was:

"My favorite running song changes over time, but I especially love when something wildly inappropriate comes up. Lisa Loeb’s "Snow Day” is one that does that a lot. Lyrics like “It’s not gonna matter if you fall down twice” are pretty entertaining when you’re running from zombies and it very much does matter!

And then there was the weird phase where I was running from zombies to the soundtrack from The Muppets. These things happen.“

They do. In my version of the game, Jack did something "you don’t want to know” to the theme song from James Bond.