The Dark Age Chronicles is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a fantasy, horror, and adventure as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
Well, I knew that I wanted to have the book set in the time of pirates. I saw “Treasure Island” when I was twelve years old and after that I was in love with pirate movies. I watched every Earl Flynn movie I could, or anything pirate related. It wasn’t until I was older that I wanted to take that aspect of the dark ages, of how we treat one another, and introduce a world much darker, more sinister. Growing up I watched sci-fi, fantasy, and horror movies and I think I always knew I would combine them if I could. My love for shows like, “Charmed”, “Walking Dead”, “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”, and “Supernatural” helped me want to combine the genre as I got older.
What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?
I know this is going to sound so lame but I had a dream when I was twelve about this girl standing on a dock at night in a storm overlooking three tall ships. In the dream she was so sad and she seemed distressed. I woke up and have never got that image out of my mind. That was the day the story started to develop in my head…the day Eve was born. It wasn’t easy because as I grew up so did my character and I found ideas along my life that I wanted Eve to experience. I also had to develop a writing technique that I didn’t have at twelve. I actually had a file that I would place ideas in until the day came to actually start writing it. When it did, well, the book was transformed to new ideas as I wrote.
Eve is an interesting character that I thought was well developed. What were some driving ideals behind her character development?
I wanted a character that was in the world but felt alienated as well. Giving her pale skin, unusual red hair, and a mark on her hand in the dark ages was like signing her death warrant. To have to be born with that stigmata helped set up the story line for Eve’s fears, and her long for social acceptance. Because of the lack of love she has been shown from Randall Cambridge, her grandfather, she feels like she is evil. Children often always blame themselves when adults do things, and Eve is no different. She even still tries to believe if she does what he wants she will win his love someday. Even though she is beaten down, she has an inner strength that won’t let her give up. I wanted a character that had to struggle with should I help these people even though they watched me get abused and didn’t help me? It would be hard for anyone to do that. I wanted to take her down that path and find out the answers.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
The Dark Age Chronicles has four books total in the series and are all out on Amazon.com paper back or Kindle and I am currently writing a new novel called Portals.
The Dark Age Chronicles books in order: Eve of Darkness, Eve of the Hunters, Eve of Destruction and Eve of Battle.
In 1717 it was a time of darkness,where stations kept to their own and people struggled to survive. A time where pirates still roamed the seas, slavery was suffered and ignorance reigned supreme. But there is coming a greater darkness that man can’t hope to fight A darkness that will consume every soul on earth. One young girl named Eve, born with a mark on her hand, outcast and abused, learns that she is the chosen one that must stop the rising evil. The last of a known race who protected the world, she must fight a horde of demonic hell hounds, demons, and her worst fears. Together with six others, she must learn to use powers she never knew she had if she ever hopes to defeat Nyx…. the most powerful Necromancer ever born.
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The Dead Wake Anthology by Ellie Douglas is a collection of thrilling short stories. The anthology investigates the idea of zombification threw a number of avenues, exploring what the impacts of an outbreak would be in a variety of scenarios. The anthology sits well within the horror and thriller genres and makes for an exciting though horrifying read. Ellie Douglas often investigates how the transition from living to dead, to living-dead would progress in the various instances of infection meaning that each story is unique in the ways in which this topic is explored.
The opening story is placed within a unique setting – space. The isolation of which is felt by the few characters exposed within the claustrophobic conditions of a space craft. When the Captain John Lancaster teases a crew mate, he accidentally breaks a space rock against the crewmate’s head. Upon inspection the rock appears to bleed. The unique nature of this rock leads Captain John Lancaster to send it as a gift to his daughter before the crew launch. Only when the crew are in space however does the full impact of the space rock’s strange qualities come into full effect. The crewmate, who the rock touched, begins to grow ill with flu like symptoms and is sent to the med bay. With the affected crewmate breaking out in lesions, Ellie Douglas explores in graphic detail the vile nature of the character’s transition creating a visual spectacle not for the faint hearted. The crew now in space, rush to find out if the disease is contagious. Meanwhile, John Lancaster, having sent the rock to his daughter on earth, attempts to contact the CDC and his family to see if his daughter faces the same fate as his crewmate. The author creates an intense feeling of suspense as John grows frantic trying to find out if his daughter will be okay.
Some of the stories are intended to be truly horrifying, such as ‘No More Coochy Coochy Coo!’ which takes place in a hospital, somewhere that maybe considered moderately safe in the event of an outbreak. This short story follows the labour of Samantha who is worried that her partner Jeff will not make it time for the birth of their first-born child. As the labour continues Samantha becomes increasingly more distressed. The new mother starts exclaiming that the baby is eating her. Initially the nurse dismisses it as labour pains, but as the doctor – attempting to aid the birth, begins to lose his fingers to the hungry unborn child, all is confirmed.
Meanwhile, Jeff the expecting father, gets distracted and finds his way to a ward where twenty-three babies lay wrapped soundly in blankets. He notices two children looking pale skinned and with sores, their arms blistered. Notifying a nurse of the babies’ condition he is escorted out of the room swiftly by a doctor as the children are taken to be quarantined. An air raid siren begins to sound outside.
Despite some of these more sombre and horrifying stories, some of the stories are laced with some comedy, such as a talking parrot on a cruise ship that yells profanities as it begins to peck at its keeper. Though, this becomes less humorous as the parrot’s feathers shed and it flies frantically around the inside of an elevator pecking at its keeper’s eyes.
The short stories offer snippets of potential scenarios to get the reader thinking and, being short, make for a perfect night time read – though be wary of nightmares.
Pages: 196 | ASIN: B078PH4143
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The Bloodless is about a small makeshift band of soldiers and weapons experts that take on the evil GoD Labratories. What was your inspiration for GoD Laboratories and how they bring about the undead?
A lot of the inspiration was drawn from big box companies of today. Some media companies basically do what they want and while there are people who object to their practices, there isn’t much that can be done to stop them because of their deep pockets that afford them virtually unlimited power and they supply services people need. GoD is like that but in a society that has seen science replace almost every deity based religion on the planet, they are practicing what people believe in. So a level of support is there for them but as with any company, they overstep their bounds and take things too far. On one hand they provide critical services to society (i.e. cures for diseases, life extending drugs, and research that benefits nearly every aspect of life) but the other hand delves into parts of the natural order that nobody has dared to explore for mostly ethical reasons.
The Bloodless did a great job in delivering action packed zombie killing fun. How did you balance the blood and gore inherent in zombie novels with character development that we see in successful franchises like The Walking Dead?
There has to be an ebb and flow to any story that is told. When I’m writing I try to think of concerts. In any good concert you go to you will notice that the music selection is varied in a way that lets the audience catch their breath. I, too, want my audience to be able to catch their breath so I try to change it up after an intense moment of combat or violence. Also, things need to be explained, motives and causes, so you can’t just have it be balls out all the time. Readers need to understand the intent behind the characters’ actions/choices, so making sure those moments are included is a big part of my writing.
Justice started out as a hard pragmatic scientist and then develops into more of a hero type. What do you think were some of the defining moments in his characters development?
Simply put: loss. Loss is a huge motivator/catalyst in anyone’s development. First he lost his wife and son, usually that is enough to drive anybody to do whatever it takes to right the wrong. Then he loses the love of his life, Crist, which he feels somewhat ashamed of but knows it to be true. But it’s also his successes. Successfully infiltrating those substations based on plans he developed helped him realize his worth. He deals with the loss in his own way but understands that its inherent with the role he has taken on. A lot of times leadership roles are thrust upon the protagonist, it’s not often you see those characters put themselves into the role, there is definitely a learning curve with Daniel but like any good scientist, he learns best from trial and error.
Zombies are a popular fiction today. How does The Bloodless stand out from the rest?
I think a lot of zombies that are popular in media these days are typically born from a virus, something that is transmitted from a bite or scratch or some type of physical contact. The Bloodless are different in the fact that the genetic structure of a person is being altered and the only thing spreading the “disease” is The Cloud. I think the only similarities that exist are the fact that the body had to be dead at some point and the mindless desire to kill. Classic zombies are driven by the need to feed on fresh human flesh, but the Bloodless have something else driving them, an outside influence rather than instinct. Also, there are two levels of “undead.” One is those who were reanimated within GoD labs, those are the people who regained the ability to talk, think, and feel and have a superhuman ability to generate. Two; are those who were born from The Cloud, these are the mindless killing machines. Both play an important role, roles that will be further explored in the upcoming installments.
I hope the series continues in other books. If so, where will the story take readers?
I am actually nearing the end of the writing phase of book 2 out of a 3 book series. At least 3 books. I am not sure if the series will extend into anything beyond 3, we’ll have to see how things progress. I can tell you that the second book aims to tie up most of the loose ends from the first book and that there will definitely be a final showdown between Daniel and Mendel, because there has to be, right? It’s hard to say anything without giving too much away but I definitely go into more detail about the backgrounds of the individuals fighting alongside Daniel Justice. There is also a brief foray into the world outside the tiny bubble around the GoD campus, which makes for an interesting contrast. However, if you want to know more, you’ll just have to read the next book which I am hoping to have out mid to late spring.
The year is 2100-something, Daniel Justice is just another geneticist working for GoD Laboratories, a big box, publicly traded biotechnology company. Then one day he proved that resurrecting the dead was not only possible, but economically viable. Back in the old days, this would have been a massive ethics debate, but in a world where religion is all but extinct, the conversation is a whole lot different.
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The Bloodless is a story of a small makeshift band of soldiers, weapons experts, and one pacifist (who is paradoxically a weapons designer) that are taking on the world, both living and undead. The battle began when GoD Laboratories, a company which began the first reanimation of dead humans, had an unfortunate “event”. Shortly, after “The Cloud” happened and another version of the “undead” was created.
Daniel Justice, a former high-ranking GoD scientist who worked on the “undead” experiment, lost his family to the “undead” (“Bloodless”) and became a prime target for one of the Bloodless in his experiments. He wants to make things right, but to do that he needs to get back to the compound safely and end the death toll left by the Bloodless.
In a world facing this kind of danger, Justice is understandably not the hero that anyone would like to see. He is, however, the only person that might be able to keep that world from becoming Bloodless. With his band of ragtag weapons specialists, Justice leads the mission toward destroying the evil-manufacturing compound that used to be his former job.
The first thing that really stood out was the originality on the same old zombie story. The Bloodless find creative ways to create new types of zombies. There are the traditional zombies, but there are also fast-moving and highly intelligent ones with military training and a tendency toward cruelty.
The two stand out features of this book are its conciseness and use of flashbacks which complement each other. Bloodless doesn’t take a lot of time offering background details or extended character descriptions. Instead it focuses exclusively on action and allows the reader to connect the dots through the use of flashbacks. The book begins with Jackson and his in an intense fight and ends with that same team fighting for their life. Throughout the race to complete specific missions, readers gain small insights into the characters. Justice becomes less of a cold scientist and more of hero trapped within a maze of evil that is bigger than him. Crist becomes less of a mysterious (yet paradoxical) stranger, and more of a reason for Justice to continue fighting.
While I enjoyed how concise the book was I had an issue with the overuse of clichés and loose ends. The book played a little too close to the stereotype for most characters. Almost everyone in the book seemed to fit the composite of the well-muscled hero or heroine who knew how to use a weapon.
Overall, the book reminded me of “The Walking Dead” mixed with characters from the “Expendables”. The book was intriguing, a well-paced plot, along with a unique approach on the zombie theme would make for a great read for action/adventure and zombie fans. I look forward to the rest of the series.
Pages: 230 | ISBN: 1508882142
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