Death Has A Whole New Meaning
Zombie Mage follows Olligh who is a Walker on a quest to remember who he is. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?
I remember once being told that we’re just like plants. We eventually wither and die whereupon we basically feed the earth and maggots with our juicy remains. Nice, eh? Something to look forward to then!
I was also duly informed that there’s nothing special about us, we don’t come back and there’s certainly no afterlife in any form.
This was certainly an interesting perspective on death; I suppose the person I was speaking to had no religious (or spiritual) beliefs and therefore deemed death to be one final kick in the groin before the earth and its elements consumed him.
On that note, I mulled over these words with much interest and decided that, ultimately, there must be more to it. Something deep inside of me certainly didn’t agree with that rather blinkered opinion of a desolate death.
In fact, this whole debate over death inspired me to write Zombie Mage. Death is certainly something that is unavoidable and definitely not desirable although to some degree this probably also depends on how you die. But, rather than worry about this eventuality, is it best not to think of it as an exciting, new adventure into the unknown? Or, if that sounds overly positive and verging on the ridiculous, how about, at the very least, accepting death, being mindful of it and certainly not despairing over it?
For Olligh Selthnik, death has a whole new meaning and certainly isn’t how he imagined it. I’m quite a spiritual person and like to think there is more to life than merely these slabs of meat we walk around in. I’m hoping the book will provoke thought into this as well as entertain.
I had a fun time reading this story because there were so many colorful zombies in it. How do you capture the thoughts and emotions of a zombie?
In Zombie Mage, zombies are still people, albeit perhaps missing a few vitals. I suppose if I asked you how would you react if you died and somehow returned to existence but your skin was rotten and strewn with black veins and bulbous blisters or you discovered you were missing an arm or a leg (not to mention terrible breath), how would you cope?
Ultimately you’re still alive and you still have to deal with it. So, creating the colourful characters that exist in Zombie Mage was fairly easy (and the most fun part). They’re just people making the most out of a bad time.
Olligh is a character that I enjoyed watching change over time. What were the driving ideals behind the characters development throughout the story?
Olligh has quite a raw deal and the more he finds out about himself, the darker his situation becomes. The most difficult part of writing Zombie Mage was the beginning; trying to piece his past together and explain the situation whilst also trying to help the reader feel his frustrations. You confessed yourself that you found it difficult in the beginning to understand what was going on. This is certainly how Olligh would’ve also felt; such is the desolate, chaotic nature of his new life.
I tried to imagine how I would feel in Olligh’s predicament and what I would do once I began to piece together my past. And, of course, putting the pieces together allowed me to transform Olligh’s journey in many weird and wonderful ways.
Lara, his wife, was also an important addition to the story which helped mould Olligh’s character. Without that spark of love and real feeling there would be very little light in the ensuring, desperate darkness.
And finally, friendship; it’s something we all need and thrive on. I like to think that during his journey, Olligh discovered some new friends that helped him get through his turmoil. Like you, Marvin was my favourite character as well.
What is the next story that you are working on and when will it be available?
It’s been a while but I’m currently working on Zombie Mage 2 as the original ending left much opportunity to carry on the adventure. Expect some old faces and some new. The Dark Cloaks will be returning with a new High Warden, that’s a sure thing. I’m hoping to finish and release it later this year. Only 9k words so far so I’ve got a fair bit to go.
Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook
Life isn’t too grand for Olligh Selthnik. When he awakens, all he can remember is his name. With his memory vague, and now having to live life in a decrepit body, he doesn’t envision things could get much worse. Join Olligh as he begins his journey on a quest for knowledge. A horrifying adventure of intrigue and deception awaits but, will he find the answers (and the soap) he so dearly requires? With black humour from the off, prepare to be taken on a ghastly, stench-ridden journey into the unknown. This is Jonathan’s first book edging on the darker side of fantasy and, as such, it may not be suitable for children.
Posted in Interviews
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Life isn’t too grand for Olligh Selthnik. When he wakes from his slumber, all he can remember is his name. With his memory vague, and now having to live life in a decrepit body, he doesn’t envision things could get much worse. Join Olligh as he begins his journey on a quest for knowledge.
A horrifying adventure of intrigue and deception awaits but, will he find the answers (and the soap) he so dearly requires? With black humour from the off, prepare to be taken on a ghastly, stench-ridden journey into the unknown.
Zombie Mage, The Fleshed Out Edition, is Jonathan’s first book edging on the darker side of fantasy and, as such, it may not be suitable for children.
Posted in book trailer
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Barrow of the Damned
When live-action-role-playing adventure goes horribly wrong it’s up to our battered group to save the day! Dale, his girlfriend Jane, sister Katie and friend Gavin are off on a LARPing adventure. Dale isn’t used to this style of play and is finding himself wishing it was bit more interesting. One must be careful what they wish for in The Barrow of the Damned by Jonathan J. Drake. After a few days enacting their scenes the group is presented with a special module by Mr. Stephens, their coordinator. He leads them to a barrow where they will go to combat with other friends in an orcs-versus-adventurers play. They’ve even got a game master to keep them in line. All seems to be great, until the group steps foot in the creepy crypt for the first time. It’s dark, foreign and crawling with things that go bump in the night. Will they survive? Where are they, exactly? Finally, who is the one pulling the strings behind this adventure? Be careful what you wish for.
The story begins with a shock as a young man meets his end inside the barrow. This poor fellow will play an important role in the tale to come so it’s a good idea to remember him. The story isn’t too long with short chapters that serve to change up the perspective now and then. We get a good glimpse at what is going on from the viewpoints of all involved. There is a lot of blood and gore in this story, so if that’s not for you it would be wise to steer clear. Those who like a fantasy-adventure tale with a bit of horror will find this tale is right up their alley. The story appears to take place in the United Kingdom, although definitive places are never mentioned. Based on the terminology the characters use and the way they speak it is assumed that is where our tale unfolds.
While the story is relatively entertaining with shadows of J.R.R. Tolkien and some black humour dabbled about, the overall execution could use some polishing. There are grammatical errors and strange capitalization on words that pop up here and there which detract from the overall story. There are some key elements that aren’t explained very well that can leave readers with more questions than answers after completing the journey. Questions like, why are the Fates, who have origins in Greek mythology, in some barrow in what appears to be rural England? How did they get there? How long have they been there? From what we read, it seems like they have been there for a while, trying to steal something from a spirit who was created by the gods. With a name like O’Fleistus it’s assumed this spirit would be of English origins, but it’s not really explained. We get a bit of an explanation, but it could have been fleshed out much more instead of being revealed in fleeting conversation.
A little bit of blood and horror can dress up any LARPing event. What began as fun and games quickly turns into mayhem in The Barrow of the Damned by Jonathan J. Drake. This book has some very good potential if it had been fleshed out a bit more. There is opportunity to expand and explain more of the black-humoured story found on these pages. Aside from these minor drawbacks, it’s a fun and quick read. This tale is quite gruesome for the faint of heart. If that’s your cup of tea, you can’t go wrong venturing into this Barrow of the Damned.
Pages: 263 | ASIN: B00B79MVZA
Posted in Book Reviews, Four Stars
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