One of the best parts of writing/reading a novel has to be meeting the main characters.
Meeting the main characters when writing a novel? What?
I know, but it’s true. Writers bring characters to life, but writing a novel is as much about getting to know your characters as it is about finding their adventure, and let me tell you – they come to life in so many surprising, unexpected ways.
Take Lola, for instance. Poor, sad, beat down Lola. Lola from NOLA.
The poor thing. Getting to know Lola was the hardest part of writing the entirety of the Undead America series for me. She was a tough nut to crack.
The abused child of an extremely poor single mom who brought a slew a different men through the house at any given time, Lola’s a punching bag for her brother, B.J. When we first meet her, she doesn’t even seem to realize it’s a problem. Not really.
I mean, it hurts when he hits her, and she cries when he spills blood, but she really, honestly, truly, deep down believes she deserves it. That he beats her because he cares, and because she’s just so darn frustrating that she just doesn’t deserve to be treated any better.
Readers, bear with me. I know that, if you’re in a healthy relationship, it’s hard to imagine ever feeling like that.
But there are so many women out there who do! They put up with being beaten because it’s all they know! They handle the punches, hide the bruises, and for all intents and purposes come back for more!
Abused women, those stuck in the vicious cycle of beatings and healings and more beatings, break my heart. It kills me to know there are people out there who don’t value themselves enough to know: no one has the right to hit you.
I’ve never been hit. Never even close. One guy threatened. Once. When I told him never to come near my house again or I’d call the cops, he listened…after a while. It took a long time for me to feel confident about going to bed at night, though, let me tell you.
But I’ve often looked back on that moment. What if I hadn’t said what I said? What if he had hit me? What if I’d been to embarrassed/scared/shocked to say anything about it? What if somehow my parents didn’t notice the bruise? What if I stayed with him and let him hit me again?
What if, what if, what if?
These are real, solid, concrete questions, maybe not what you often see in typical zombie fiction. But they’re the questions I thought about when writing it. What would happen to an abused woman if she was caught in the apocalypse? Would she suddenly get tougher? Or would she stay a little mouse, trapped away in a big old hotel, waiting for the next beating.
You’ll have to read the book to find out Lola’s choice. Her life is a nightmare; I can’t imagine it being mine. But knowing her for a while has been eye-opening to me.
Millions died when the zombie plague swept the country. For the survivors, the journey has just begun. Jenna, Sam, and Lola are still alive. Jenna avoids human contact, traveling East Coast backroads with her boyfriend, a dog named Chicken, and a Louisville Slugger.
Sam escapes to the mountains, where he's conscripted into a zombie-slaying militia sent on nightly raids to kill the undead...and innocent civilians. Lola's imprisoned in the "safety" of a zombie-free New Orleans hotel, but life grows more dangerous when her brother gets bitten by a zombie. Jenna arrives in the French Quarter, lured by the false promises of New Orleans' drunken leader.
There, she's ripped away from her boyfriend, drugged, and dumped in a death camp after refusing Franklin's sexual advances. Jenna and Lola's lives collide there, where the dead live and the dying are victims of gruesome medical experiments. Escape isn't easy: release the genetically-enhanced zombies from the lab to create a diversion, slip away, and don't get eaten. When Sam arrives, will he join the right side of the battle?
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Genre – NA-Horror, Sci-fi
Rating – PG-13
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