September 13, 2017

Interview with Comedy Writer James Breakwell aka: @XplodingUnicorn "Only Dead on the Inside: A Parent's Guide to Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse"

James Breakwell, an Indianapolis-based comedy writer behind the viral Twitter account @XplodingUnicorn built up nearly a million followers by writing family-friendly jokes about his four daughters, ages 7 and under.

James parlayed this meager (his words) internet accomplishment into a book deal. His comedy book, "Only Dead on the Inside: A Parent's Guide to Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse" comes out October 10th. It's being published by BenBella Books, and is available for pre-order.

Breakwell Family

It’s not easy being a parent these days. There are bills to pay. Kids to feed. And hordes of undead monsters to keep at bay.
There are plenty of guides out there about how to survive the zombie apocalypse. All of them assume readers are young, fit, and unencumbered by children. In that scenario, the only living humans left will be smug, outdoorsy Millennials. That’s hell on earth, even without the zombies.
Only Dead on the Inside is the answer for the rest of us. Written by professional comedy writer and amateur father-of-four James Breakwell (@XplodingUnicorn), Only Dead on the Inside blends traditional parenting advice with zombie survival tips, bringing together two totally unrelated genres in a book no one asked for but everyone needs.
This step-by-step manual teaches you how to raise happy, healthy children in a world overrun by the undead. Motivated moms and dads want it all, and that won’t change at the end of the world. There’s no reason you can’t be a zombie killing machine AND parent of the year, but you have to work for it.

If you want to make sure your family is apocalypse-ready, Only Dead on the Inside is your best—and only—chance at survival. No pressure, but if you don’t read this book, your children will die.

Congratulations on your first book, “Only Dead on the Inside: A Parent's Guide to Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse.” Your story is inspiring. Were you surprised when your Twitter account went viral?

Over the years, I’ve had many of my jokes get stolen and go viral with other people’s names attached to them. The internet, like the rest of life, is fundamentally unfair. So, yes, I was surprised when my account finally went viral under my own name. It happened out of the blue on a random Saturday, and it changed my life. Suddenly all the years I wasted on social media were worth it. Almost.

Breakwell Team
You became famous on Twitter by tweeting hilarious tweets about life, your pig, and your family. Nearly one million people follow you. How does your wife feel about having your lives played out over the internet?

My wife is my co-conspirator. She tells me whenever she catches a funny quote from the kids, and she’s always on the lookout for a good picture. Her only rule is that I can’t post her picture on the internet. She likes to keep her contributions off-camera. I understand completely. I wouldn’t want to be associated with me, either.

How will you explain yourself to your daughters when they become teenagers?

My older daughters understand that I write jokes and post funny pictures on the internet. They don’t understand that many people like them more than me. I’ll try to keep that from them as long as possible so they start demanding a cut of my Twitter earnings. Ten percent of zero is still zero. As my kids get older, I hope they’ll stay involved with my comedy account, but that’s up to them. If they decide to opt out, I’ll just have to have more kids. For the record, my wife is not on board with that plan.

I’ve been reading the review copy of your book, and it is hilarious. I love the charts, the stick figure cartoons, and the lists of do’s and don’ts. Do you draw the cartoons yourself or do you have an illustrator that you work with?

I do all the drawings myself. No professional illustrator would admit to art like that. If they did, they’d never work again.

James Breakwell
In today’s world, one “wrong” word can trigger an avalanche of critics. Do you get trolled or criticized about your parenting skills by people who just don’t see the humor or wisdom in your tweets?

I don’t get as many trolls as you might think. I portray myself as a bumbling oaf, so it’s tough for people to criticize me. No one is harder on me than me.

Will there be a second book?

I hope this is the start of a long and successful publishing career. I also hope for world peace and the discovery of living dinosaurs deep in the rainforest. Only time will tell.

For people who don’t use Twitter, what other social media accounts do you work from?

You can read my jokes on Facebook (, Instagram (, and Pinterest ( If there’s a social network out there, I’m probably on it, desperately competing for attention.

Is there anything else you want us to know?

By pre-ordering my book, you can defeat the zombie scourge AND put my kids through college. It doesn’t get any better than that.

© James Breakwell
All text, artwork, and photographs courtesy of James Breakwell
James Breakwell is a professional comedy writer and amateur father of four girls, ages seven and under. He is best known for his family humor Twitter account @XplodingUnicorn, which has more than 700,000 followers. The account went viral in April 2016 thanks to a feature article on the front page of Buzzfeed. The resulting attention from media outlets around the world transformed Mr. Breakwell from a niche comedy writer into one of the most famous dads on social media.

Mr. Breakwell has been profiled by USA TODAY, Us Weekly, Daily Mail, Metro, The Telegraph, Cosmopolitan, Better Homes and Gardens, The Huffington Post, Upworthy, theCHIVE, Bored Panda, various ABC and FOX TV news affiliates, and countless other TV, radio, and internet outlets. Pictures of his smiling girls have been displayed in newspapers as far away as India. His articles have appeared in Reader’s Digest, The Federalist, and AskMen. He has been a guest multiple times on HLN’s The Daily Share.

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