End of Days Love
Genre: Horror romance
Publisher: Entangled Select
Date of Publication: 22 October 2013
Number of pages: 372
Word Count: 104,000
Cover Artist: TK Designs
You know your life has hit rock bottom when you’re living off cooked rats and showering once every few months—if you’re lucky. But for Jackson Hart things are about to get a whole lot worse. When her best friend, Tye, disappears hunting for food, kick-ass Jackson’s ‘head south to safety’ plan looks like it’s dead before it’s even begun. But then she meets ex-mechanic Luke Granger, who takes her to his bunker, feeds her with non-rat based food, and offers her protection against the zombie hordes—not that she needs it. She knows how to use a machete and isn’t afraid to.
Jackson was tempted to stay in the city with her rescuer. Food, shampoo and the possibility of finally getting laid, what more could she ask for? But the flesh eaters are getting smarter and the bunker is compromised, so Jackson and Luke have no choice but to make the journey south.
Luke and Jackson team up to find other humans in a road-trip romance for the ages. They travel for thousands of miles with zombies shadowing their every move. They must utilize every resource at their disposal…and then some. On the way, they discover that even if flesh eating zombies are knocking down their door, there’s always time for sex and even love.
The Challenge of Writing Zombie Fiction with a Difference
I’d like to rewind time by two years, to the fall of 2011. At that time zombies were just becoming ‘hot’ again. AMC’s The Walking Dead was in its first season (in the UK at least) and a number of books such as Mira Grant’s Feed and Amanda Hocking’s Hollowland were riding high in the charts. Readers and television viewers alike were happily soaking up anything, and everything, even slightly zombie related.
It was during this time that I sat down to write my own zombie themed book, Waking up Dead. I should give a little context here and say that I am not a huge zombie fan. Hell, it would not be a stretch to say that I have a bit of a phobia of them! I hate watching shows with them in or reading books, but I am horribly compelled to do so, and then spend ages regretting it. In fact, I wrote Waking up Dead as an attempt to master my phobia. I thought that if I wrote zombies as vile as I could make them, then had a heroine that could kick their ass so bad, it would make me feel better about any possible impeding zombie apocalypse (I know, I know, there is no ‘impending’ anything, but bear with me here). So Waking up Dead was a bit of a personal exorcism for me, and because of that it never occurred to me that I would have to make it different to any of the other books that were out, or might come out in the future.
Before I started writing Waking up Dead I’d watched some zombie movies such as Dawn of the Dead and I am Legend. I’d also read a few purely horrific zombie books, but I hadn’t yet heard of, or seen, The Walking Dead, or read any of the more light hearted zombie books. So I sat down to write Waking up Dead in a bit of a bubble. From the moment I began typing I did not allow myself to read or watch anything that involved zombies, as I did not want to be influenced by anything or accidently copy it. I had no comparator for ‘different’, all I had was my own desire to rid myself of my phobia and to create a book that people would want to read.
As it happened, the fact that I was a romance writer meant that Waking up Dead was always going to be different to anything else on the market. A budding romance in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, with a hero and heroine battling not just the zombies but themselves? Check one on the ‘different’ list. Add in the phobia and my desire to make my zombies the worst EVER, meaning plot twists even I didn’t see coming... Check two.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that for me there was never really a challenge to make my zombie book different. I wrote what I wanted to write, and what (perhaps more importantly) I wanted to read, and thought about the market only after the fact. I think this is a very important point for any budding writer. Yes, it’s important to try and create a book that will sell (assuming you want it to be published), but a book should always be about what you want to write, not what the market demands.
Waking up Dead was written two years ago now, and the market has changed rapidly in that time. Luckily for me zombies are still ‘in’, but they could just have easily been ‘out’. So a book needs to stand on its own merits in terms of the storyline and the quality of the writing, not just what is fashionable right now. One of the first reviews that came out for Waking up Dead said, I’ve never really read anything like this. I smiled as I read those words, because my job was done, and I never planned it or thought about it, but happenstance made it so.
Zombies, romance, and an ever changing market. It’s not really about making it ‘different’, it’s about creating something that readers will love regardless.
About the Author:
As a kid Emma wanted to be an astronaut, or maybe Captain Janeway. Because she didn't really think her career choices through very well she ended up in an everyday geek job, crunching numbers and sighing over syntax. It seemed a long way from the stars, and in an effort to escape Emma decided to get serious about her other passion. Writing.
Several years later and Emma has yet to walk on the moon or sit in the Captain's chair, but she is still writing. She scribbles stories in all sorts of genres, contemporary, paranormal, post-apocalyptic, historical, sci-fi...if she hasn't tried it yet she will before long. The only common theme is the romance. A hopeless romantic, everything Emma writes has a love story in there somewhere.
She lives on the west coast of England with her very Greek husband and teenage kiddos. Apart from all things geek reading is her main hobby and she likes nothing better than getting home from a hard day at work and curling up with a book, though sometimes she gets home and writes one instead.
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