In the Time of the Dead
Genre: Horror/Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Severed Press
Date of Publication: April 11, 2014
Number of pages: 310
Word Count: 113,000
Cover Artist: David Monette
A handful of survivors claw out a life amid the ruins of the world, all the while fighting the zombie hordes.
In Northern New York State, three uncommon allies lead one of these bands in this epic struggle as they learn both the strengths and weaknesses of their enemies… and of themselves.
Pushed to their limits and holed up on a remote lake island, life has taken on a new normality. That is until winter arrives and all hell will freeze over. For it is then that the open waters of the lake, the only barrier against the unrelenting dead, will freeze. And the monsters will come. By the thousands…
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/AXmHYK5TrSc
The sudden blare of the digital clock shocked Virgil awake like a stinging slap. Eyes wild with fear, his right hand shot under his pillow and emerged gripping a loaded 9MM pistol. Sitting, gasping, the giant of a man cast about, searching for the ghosts that haunted his sleeping mind. But the weapon withheld its promise of violence when all that he could detect were motes of dust drifting in lazy swirls through the morning light of his bedroom. The gun slipped from his hand.
“Nothing, nothing… nothing. Nothing’s there. Nothing,” he whispered to himself as his chin sank to his chest and his long brown hair slopped down to hide the blunt contours of his face. With his eyes squeezed shut he vigorously rubbed his temples and, like a man freshly pulled from the sea, deeply inhaled the stale air of his trailer.
At length he pulled his heavily muscled frame upright and shut off the clock alarm. He threw on a pair of shorts and a folded T-shirt from the chair where he had set them aside the night before and wandered from his room and down a narrow hallway to the living room. Stifling a yawn, he maneuvered through an impressive collection of weightlifting equipment until he arrived in the kitchen, where he listlessly consumed a bowl of cold cereal while gazing at the pathetic patch of grass that comprised the front yard outside his home.
And he tried not to think.
It didn’t work. Never did. His thoughts kept drifting back to the dark corners where the foul things lay... things he’d done, things he’d seen, things he… had….
He flipped the now empty plastic bowl into the sink with a snort of frustration and turned on his television for the noise, something to drive away the images, the memories.
Didn’t work. Never did. So he did the one thing that always seemed to work. Walking over to his gym equipment, he hefted a forty-five pound weight and slammed it onto an Olympic weight bar that was perched on the uprights of a flat bench. Exhaustion would do the trick. Always did.
Two hours later, sweating in the heat of his home, Virgil stepped into the bright morning and squinted at the glare of a day that was promising only heat. Slipping on his dark sunglasses, he surveyed the scene around his house. It was a depressing sight for the most part. His dilapidated trailer was one among many such residences that were crammed on a strip of land that no one else would choose to inhabit other than those desperate enough for a home that was cheap. Situated as it was down a steep hill at the end of a dead-end street and with the river only two feet from flooding the entire area, which it regularly did, it was a wonder that the city hadn’t yet closed the place down.
Noticing nothing out of place, no one watching, no one waiting for him to offer them a target when he turned his back, he locked both doors to his home and crunched across the gravel yard to his dust-coated Range Rover, which was already running, having been remotely started several minutes before. After one more surreptitious check of his surroundings, he unlocked the door to the vehicle and slipped into the air-conditioned interior. The cool air washed over him, drying the sweat from his skin. He closed his eyes, breathed deep. In this cocoon of processed air, of quietly murmuring vibration, he opened his eyes to see a fly making its ponderous way across the field of glass that was his windshield. It was of the large, hairy, slow variety… near the end of its life, but still crawling along like a ball at the end of its push. He sat transfixed, puzzled by its relentless march, its progression toward… something only it knew… or nothing at all.
Did you always wanted to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
Well, before we get started, I’d like to thank you, Jeanine, for having me on your blog, it’s very cool for you to do this, and I really appreciate it.
So, now, onto the questions- did I always want to be a writer? I guess I would have to say no to that. I started out my creative career as an artist, an illustrator to be exact. Ever since I was a kid I loved to draw pictures of crazy fantasy stuff- you know, dragons, space ships, warriors- and I took that love, carried it to college, and got a degree in illustration. From there, I went on to work as an illustrator doing science fiction and fantasy images for different companies and publications.
The actual writing part of my life didn’t happen until I had gone back to school a few years ago for my MFA. While I was there, my professors said I was one of the best writers they had seen, and that I should combine my artistic skills with my writing potential. So that’s what I did. I wrote “The Zombie Axiom,” illustrated it, got an agent, shopped it around, and eventually found a great publisher with Severed Press.
When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
I never really thought of that before. Let’s see; I pretty much first considered myself a “writer” the minute I sat down with the intent of writing a novel. I considered myself a “novelist” when it was done. And I considered myself a “published author” when it was published.
How long did it take to get your first book published?
Oh geez. I would say it took almost two years. After I wrote the book, I searched for a literary agent- that took about three months- and after that, we shopped the book around for about a year with no takers. At that point, we discussed my self-publishing the book to try to get some traction with publishers. I did that, and after maybe five months we found Severed Press.
Do you do another job except for writing and can you tell us more about it?
I’m an illustrator (I mentioned that earlier) and I teach art part-time at a local college. Both very fun and fulfilling jobs.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
Hmmm… the name of the next book in the “In the Time of the Dead Trilogy,” of which “The Zombie Axiom” is the first book, is a closely guarded secret only privy to those who’ve purchased “The Zombie Axiom!” It’s in the back of the book, last page. Pick one up and see!
As for a twenty word summary, it would be: The battle for humanity continues! Follow the survivors as they take the fight to the undead… and to the evil that has raised them.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
I can’t say exactly how long it takes me to write a book if you count going all the way back to when I had the original idea. For me, ideas are long spread out affairs that have been roiling around my head for years. I can say, though, that it takes me a few months to research all of the elements that I know are going to be in a story. This means reading books, watching videos and documentaries, and, of course, checking out websites. For “The Zombie Axiom,” that sort of research took place for everything from military tanks to coffee percolators. Once that is done, it takes me a year of writing (intermingled with more research) to finish a book.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
Right now, with Book II of the “In the Time of the Dead Trilogy” finished and in my agent’s hands for a reading, I’m working on Book III. When that’s done, I’m going to be doing something totally different. No zombies. A bit of contemporary fantasy that takes place during the Prohibition era in the US. It should be fun.
What genre would you place your books into?
I would probably place them in the science fiction and fantasy, post-apocalyptic, horror genres.
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I never really liked the whole “disease causes zombies” paradigm. It never really worked for me; there are just too many holes in the idea. How could dead flesh move around? What sort of disease could make that happen without any sort of fuel for the muscles? And if the muscles did need fuel and a brain to move them around, then wouldn’t they just be sick people? Not dead? With “The Zombie Axiom,” there are no such problems. When you read it, you’ll see why.
Do you have a favorite character from your books? And why are they your favorite?
I can’t really say. I think I like all the characters pretty much equally.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I wake up between 4:00 and 5:00 in the morning (I’m a morning kinda guy, what can I say?) to do marketing until around 6:30. After getting the kids off to school, I retire to my studio, and if I have no illustration jobs on the docket, I either write or draw/paint images for the last book I wrote. For tunes, I generally have a Radiohead station playing on Pandora.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
Oh yes. I can’t help it.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
For “The Zombie Axiom,” I started writing and thought of the title as I went. For the other two in the series, I thought of the title first.
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
I’m not really sure. I just kind of thought of them and thought, “Yeah, that sounds right.”
Are character names and place names decided after their creation? Or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
I thought of the general philosophies I wanted to capture with the characters, an overall view of how such a person would see life, then I thought of names.
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
A little of both. For Virgil, I knew I wanted him to be this troubled soul who used his silence as a defense. For the others, that stuff came up as I went along.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
Nah, no morals. None.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
I used to love hardback books. Now I don’t have the room for them, so I like eBooks.
What is your favorite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
I don’t think I have a favorite book. The book I’ve probably read the most is “The Hobbit,” but that is only because I’ve done illustrations for “Lord of the Rings” based products, and because I have a son who wanted me to read it to him over and over again.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favorite/worst book to movie transfer?
That depends on the director and the producers. Some work out fine, some don’t. My favorite, though, is probably “The Lord of the Rings” (the whole trilogy), followed closely by “No Country for Old Men.”
Your favorite food is?
I love French food. Pretty much all of it.
Your favorite singer/group is?
Radiohead. No doubt.
Your favorite color is?
Black. Go ahead, tell me it isn’t a color- I’ll still say black.
Your favorite Author is?
Oh boy. I like so many. Kurt Vonnegut, Hemingway, Updike, Cormac McCarthy. So many.
David Monette functions as an author and illustrator from his home in Northern New York State. His highly detailed fantasy and science fiction artwork has appeared on many books, magazines, board games, and collectible cards. While receiving his MFA in illustration, his instructors reviewed his written work and strongly suggested that he combine his writing ability with his talent as an illustrator to chart his own path. Hence, “The Zombie Axiom” was born, a compelling, terrifying story sprinkled with amazing black and white illustrations from start to finish.
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7334521.David_Monette
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/David-Monette/e/B00FMX73DM
Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyLnc5iH4YIC_L2TioEjt1w