Author interview with Scott Burtness of ‘Undead Cheesehead’



Undead Cheesehead is the final book in the Monsters in the Midwest trilogy. The books follow three friends, Herb, Dallas, and Stanley, on their hilariously awkward supernatural misadventures in the north woods of Wisconsin. After Herb becomes a vampire and Dallas becomes a werewolf, poor Stanley is lonely. Well, he’s lonely until he becomes a zombie and starts biting people. Soon he has plenty of friends. If he can just bite Herb and Dallas, they’d all be together again. Meanwhile… A zombie apocalypse is spreading through the town and time is running out. Stanley’s doing his best to stop it, but time is running out. Will the fine folks of Trappersville, Wisconsin be lost? Over Stanley’s dead bodies.



Will Stanley be able to get his gang back together before the zombie apocalypse takes hold? Scott Burtness has returned to to chat about ‘Undead Cheesehead’, the final book in the Monsters in the Midwest trilogy. Scott, thanks for returning to chat about this hilarious series and the newest adventures of these friends. We’ve previously chatted about the first book in the series, Wisconsin Vamp, and I have to admit it’s a little sad to hear that we’ve now reached the end of the trilogy. Looking back on the books as a set, what do you feel was the most important idea that you wanted readers to take away from these monster tales?

At its heart, the series is about self-discovery and the real meaning of friendship. Sometimes it takes a really big change to discover who you were meant to be, and true friends are the ones that stand by you through it all.



Were aspects from your own life such as experiences with your own true friends and own discoveries used in this book?

I spent a lot of time in Wisconsin as both a kid and an adult. My settings and characters, and the overall ‘feel’ of the stories, was drawn from that experience.



After combining those experiences, humor and suitable levels of cheese to flavor this novel, where do you feel that you found most satisfaction in the writing process of ‘Undead Cheesehead’?

Finishing it :-) I spent about a year writing a first draft… and ended up hating the story. I went back to page 1, word 1, and started over. It was a wonderful feeling to finally finish, especially because I really like the story now.




Starting again is a bit of a pain, but I’m glad to hear that you rewrote to ensure that the series ended on a high note. And this is the finish of not only this book, but of the series are you at loose ends regarding your next writing project, or is something already in the works?

I’ve really enjoyed the world I created for my Monsters in the Midwest series, and there are some very fun minor characters throughout the books. I’m now working on a collection of short stories that feature many of the minor characters (and some new monsters).



Whoo-hooo more monsters! What is it about writing, particularly in that monster genre that keeps pulling you back for more?

Why not?



*Laughs* Why not indeed! Do you have a system to track each of these new monsters so that they don’t make a break for it before you get them down on the page?

I use the Notes app on my iPhone. When something strikes me as funny, or if I come up with a nice turn of phrase, I’ll plug it into my Notes. Quick, convenient, and saves trees :-)



You gotta save those trees! Aside from the use of digital notes to save the trees, what have you found during your time self-publishing?

It’s a business, and you’re the CEO and the product and everything in between. If you want to be successful, it’ll take time and effort (and a bunch of good books). So drink your orange juice, do some stretches, and get ready for a long, long race.



Are there any tips that you feel authors should heed when embarking on this long race?

Stay hydrated.



*Laughs* Hydration is essential! Falling on your face at the end of the race is not pretty! Are there any philosophies save of course for hydration that has helped you along that race of life?

We’re all connected, so don’t be a douche.



Yep, it’s important to remember that connectivity. Thinking about that world of connections, where do you feel that the line of connectivity separates out between insanity and creativity?

The Jersey Turnpike.



*Laughs* Grid references for insanity! I shall note it down and make sure that I’m careful there! Scott, thanks so much for returning to share the final adventure in the Monster in the Midwest trilogy, and I wish you the best of luck on your new monster hunt!



Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘Undead Cheesehead ( ASIN: B01NBWDEWC )‘.

Want to find out more about Scott Burtness? Connect here!