The first zombie movie I remember seeing was George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, probably when I was in high school—and I was mesmerized by its iconic shopping mall gore and mayhem. My mother raised me on the old Universal horror movies like The Wolfman, which were scary, but Dawn of the Dead was jaw-droppingly shocking. I was hooked on zombies.
Like millions of other television viewers, I’m looking forward to the new season of The Walking Dead on AMC—although the show’s premise is achingly similar to a television series my husband and collaborator Steven Barnes and I pitched years ago called Devil’s Wake.
Our original concept was simple: life in a small town after an infection creates creatures very much like the walking dead. We wanted to tackle issues like how to rebuild society once it breaks down, and how we create family after losing our loved ones.
Our pitch didn’t fly. CBS was in the midst of developing a new show called Jericho, which was too similar to our concept, substituting a nuclear event for a zombie outbreak.
Oh, well. But Steve and I had published a short story set in the world of Devil’s Wake, “Danger Word,” in an anthology compiled by Brandon Massey called Dark Dreams—recently reprinted in Living Dead 2. We always intended to expand our concept into a novel.
We got our chance with editor Malaika Adero at Atria Books, but with one change—instead of focusing on the adults, we wrote a YA/crossover novel with teenagers seeking safety on a disaster-ridden road trip in a rickety school bus. Devil’s Wake is the first in a series of novels, fulfilling our dream of bringing our zombie world to life.
|Atria Books--July 31st|
Our novel never mentions the word “zombie,” but Booklist says we got it right: “Zombie lovers won’t be able to put down Barnes’ [and Due’s] gripping yarn, which will leave them hungry for the next installment.”
Why do we love zombies so much? Maybe it’s our fear of our inevitable mortality, or fear of chaos and war. In the zombie culture, more than a few survivalists live as if they truly do believe the Zombie Apocalypse is only days away.
The Walking Dead won’t be back until the fall, but Devil’s Wake will be published July 31st. Until then, you can follow news from the zombiesphere with the “Devil’s Wake Survivors’ Daily” on Twitter—just follow @ZombiesFreak.
Soon, I’ll post an excerpt from the book here.
For now, we have shot this book trailer to give you a taste and a tease.
Here’s wishing you dark dreams.
Bestselling novelist Steven Barnes has been nominated for a Cable ACE award for his television writing on “The Outer Limits” and “The Twilight Zone.” He has also written more than a dozen novels, including the award-winning alternate history Lion’s Blood. He latest collaboration Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle is the recently published e-book The Secret of Black Ship Island. Visit his website at www.diamondhour.com.
Tananarive Due, an American Book Award winner, has been nominated for the Bram Stoker Award and International Horror Guild Award for My Soul to Keep and The Good House. Her latest novel is My Soul to Take. Barnes and Due also co-author the award-winning Tennyson Hardwick mystery series in partnership with actor Blair Underwood. Her website is at www.tananarivedue.com.