My Love-Hate Relationship with Zombies & American Idol

Halfway through this blog, it occured to me that I should have written about my current release. I have a novella in Brides of the West, the April anthology from Love Inspired Historical. You can check out the excerpt here.  I promise you, it’s not about zombies. But it does have a few hooks a la American Idol.

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This is an odd topic for a blog focused on western romance, but hang in there with me.  Thanks to my sister-in-law, I recently got hooked on AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” In case you haven’t seen it, it’s about a group of people fighting to survive in a world taken over by zombies aka “walkers.”

I am NOT a zombie fan. They gross me out. Totally. But I’ve got to say, this show hooked me.  And it hooked me because it has good guys and bad guys, moral questions and a lawman hero. The Walking Dead  isn’t a western, but it feels like one. The leader of the group, Rick, swaggers like a marshal in the Old West. He’s an alpha take-charge kind of guy. When hard decisions have to be made, he makes them. He also loves his wife and son, though I’ve got to say, she’s a piece of work.

So we have a western style hero fighting zombies . . . .  Maybe I’m just hungry for a good western on television and seeing what I want to see.

But there’s more. The survivors have taken refuge on a farm. Every day they fight for survival like Old West pioneers. Threats abound, but they keep going. Even when things get rough, these people fight for each other. They fight with each other, too. This show has tons of personal drama. That’s one of things that kept me tuning in each week: the choices between “me” and “group,” or “me” and “other.”

I love westerns, but I don’t quite get the zombie thing.  I definitely don’t like to be scared, and this show can be a nail biter.

Okay, I need a transition between zombies and American Idol . . . How about this: Both shows are nail biters? I know there’s a zombie joke to be made but I can’t bring myself to make it. I started watching American Idol in Season Three, and I blame Bo Bice for what turned into an addiction. It’s just plain fun to watch this show.

There aren’t any obvious ties to western romance, but there’s a big tie between Idol and writing. Talk about hooks!  Every week  I tune in to see who’s going to be eliminated. Every performance is a question: Will the singer “blow it out of the box ” or hear “dude, it wasn’t great.  Idol is one big hook, and I’m caught.

So what about you?  Which TV shows have you hooked? I hear Once Upon a Time is good.  Have you found anything with a western flavor?  Maybe an actor who should star in a western?  Or how about Idol?  I like Jessica and Phillip, but I’ve been known to change my mind as the season moves on.

Victoria Bylin
Victoria Bylin is under contract with Bethany House Publishers for two inspirational contemporary romances.Prior to jumping to the present day, she wrote westerns for Harlequin Historical and Love Inspired Historical. Her books have finaled in the ACFW Carol Awards, the Rita Awards and RT Magazine’s Reviewers’ Choice Awards. She and her husband live in Lexington, Kentucky and have two grown sons. You can learn more about Vicki at www.victoriabylin.com

21 Comments

  1. Hi Victoria,

    So many people have told me I HAVE to watch “The Walking Dead” but I just haven’t forced myself to do it, yet.

    But I LOVE “Justified” with Timothy Olyphant about U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens. It definitely has an old west feel even though it takes place in present day Kentucky. It can be a bit rough, but I was hooked the first time I watched. It’s a don’t miss show for me.

    –Kirsten

  2. Hi Kirsten, I’ll have to check out “Justified.” Did you say Kentucky? I live in Lexington now. KY is a beautiful and fascinating state. It’s got a little of everything.

  3. Well then you’re just next door to Marshal Givens! Definitely check it out, you’ll be hooked.

  4. Hey, I’m also going to check out Justified… we’re kinda stuck in the ‘TV Land’ mode…
    That and we’re moving thru 10 years of JAG, which was a birthday present to my hubby..

  5. Hi CateS, Ten years of JAG! That should last awhile. I’d like to see ER again, and Guns of Paradise with Lee Horsley 🙂

  6. We love,Alacraz,,the closer,hawaii 5 O ,blue bloods,,harrys law,,CSI Miami,,NCIS,that would about be it for us,the rest is sports

  7. Hi Vicki, I haven’t watched this show yet, but I love your tie-ins and must give it a chance.

    I liked Hell on Wheels very much (on,the endless MUD) but an totally hooked on Justified. Yeah, like Kristin says, it’s set in Harlan County KY,but there’s a wild west feel and Raylan swaggers just like an old time marshal. Love the show.

    Hubby can’t quite figure out my obsession with Hallmark movies when I list Justified as my favorite TV show LOL.

  8. My minimal tv service doesn’t include AMC so I can’t watch the zombie show, but it does sound like fun, Vicki. Idol doesn’t do a thing for me, but I get hooked on the dance shows. I usually watch DWTS (this season looks GOOD!), but my favorite is “So You Think You Can Dance.”
    As for “Once Upon a Time…” Love the show. Never miss it.
    Thanks for a fun blog. Beautiful cover.

  9. Hi Vickie! I was totally hooked on the old Hawaii Five-O. Definitely have to check out the new one. CSI is good too!

  10. Hey, Tanya! I totally get the mix of Hallmark and Justified. Light and dark go very well together. Plus it’s about character.

    Hello Elizabeth, I’ve gotten hooked on DWTS a couple of times. My favorites are usually the underdogs. Derek is just awesome to watch.

  11. I’m with Elizabeth. I’m not an Idol fan, but love DWTS and SYTYCD.

    Being a fairy tale lover, I was thrilled to see Once Upon a Time. I’ve watched every episode and have really enjoyed the creative twists the writers have added. However, my concern is that if it drags out too long, I’m going to get frustrated. You can only mess with my happily ever after for so long before I get grumpy.

  12. Hi Vicki – I love American Idol this year. There’s a lot of talent in this group and for me it’s all about the competition and not the drama of their lives.

    As for the Walking Dead – you explained it so well. My 30 something son, keeps talking about it, saying it’s his favorite show and I couldn’t figure out why. He’s not into Zombies, or horror flicks. I have never seen it, but I remember Soylent Green, from years ago, and that was enough to freak me out.

    For me, my western tie in has to be Justified. It’s all about Tim Olyphant, and his bad boy deputy marshal strut, that reminds me of the old west. Though I will admit, it’s too violent at times. I have to be in the right mood to watch that.

    DWTS is my favorite all-time feel good show!

    Thanks for the explanation of Walking Dead. I get why my son likes it so much!

  13. Hi Vicki,
    My business partner tells me I HAVE TO WATCH THE WALKING DEAD! It is his all-time favorite show, so much so, that he began to write a young adult zombie story. I’m like Kirsten, I have not been able to bring myself to watch it yet. LOL I’m living for the next season of HELL ON WHEELS, though, and that used to come on just before The Walking Dead, or maybe just after it, I can’t remember now. Anyhow, as far as tv goes, I don’t watch any of the reality shows. We kind of got started watching THE VOICE a few weeks back, but when they started pairing up the singers on the teams and making them duet and then eliminate one of them, we stopped watching. So many times we just didn’t agree with the picks they made. LOL Tuesday nights is our “great” tv night–the two NCIS shows and Unforgettable, which I really really like the premise of, but don’t really care for the male lead. Also watch Person of Interest on Thursdays, which is really different, and though it’s had its ups and downs, it has a great hook–speaking of hooks. I’m not a big horror fan, and so many of the CSI shows and Criminal Minds have turned into that more than anything else. And I guess that’s why I never have watched The Walking Dead. Lots of these shows have good hooks in the beginning but it seems as the season goes on, they really have to stretch. I watched American Idol a couple of weeks ago and was totally blown away by Jessica. I can’t believe that voice! Good luck with this new story of yours in BRIDES OF THE WEST! I love that cover, btw.
    Hugs,
    Cheryl

  14. Hi Karen, I need my HEA! A lot of television shows go on too long and the “keep them apart” angle to the romance becomes contrived. I hope that doesn’t happen with OUAT!

  15. We agree with Cheryl on Tuesday nights. They are three great shows. BLUE BLOODS with Tom Selleck is another favorite. We really like BONES, but it seems to go away for half of the year. Just checked and it looks like it will start up in April. The only reality TV we watch is the Amazing Race. It is something we would love to do. We also like Harry’s Law. I have wanted to watch Justified and Castle, but can’t seem to find them. We watch PBS and used to watch a lot of the History and Discovery Channel programs, but they seem to have gone to reality type shows and I don’t care for them. I don’t do horror movies or shows, so shows that are going to scare me or gross me out too much are out. Again, I agree with Cheryl. CSI and Criminal Minds have gone a bit over the edge too many times and we rarely watch them any more.

    I love the cover for BRIDES OF THE WEST. Anthologies are a favorite, so I’ll be looking for this one. I hope it does well for all of you.

  16. I think I’ll skip the zombies and I’ve never been able to warm up to Justified. Right now I’m waiting for the next season of Hell on Wheels. It’s a western that hasn’t jelled yet because the producers don’t seem to know what they have. They call it a contemporary western, but it takes place in 1865. It does have some intriguing story lines.

  17. Hi Charlene, I would never have watched “The Walking Dead” on my own. Zombies? No way! But’s well written and well acted. I’m looking forward to the next season.

    Howdy Cheryl! Jessica’s one of my favorites. I like Colton too. Lots of talent this year!

  18. No zombies, especially when the husband is out of town.

    People, by Vicki, Janet and Pamela’s book. It is truly marvelous.

    That is all. 😉

    Peace, Julie

  19. Hi Patricia B, My husband and I occasionally watch History and Discovery. And Animal Planet. That’s another regular stop.

    Hello Margaret, I’ve heard good things about Hell on Wheels. Maybe by “contemporary,” the producers meant storylines.

    Hi Julie, You’re so sweet. Hugs! Thanks for the recommendation 🙂

  20. My big fav this year is Castle. I’ve had people tellling me for years to watch it. I’m not much of a TV watcher as a rule.
    But finally I gave it a try and I’m hooked. I love the way he tosses possibilities around the ‘what if’ all writers know so well as they try and solve crimes.

    I also watch Restaurant Impossible and watch Chef Robert Irvine travel the country trying to save failing restaurant. Not sure why but I really enjoy it.

  21. I totally love the Walking Dead and Justified. I also love the new show Person of Interest.

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