Today we are proud to present this article, written by Christine Verstraete, to promote her new book. Enjoy and be sure to support her writing this stuff, it’s looking very promising!
By Christine Verstraete
I never intended writing about zombies, but that’s how the creatures are. Once they bite, they don’t let go.
As a journalist by trade, of course I’m used to writing the nonfiction and serious stuff. But… zombies? Why, you ask?
Well, why not?
I’ve long been a horror fan and began writing quirky little short stories, which I noticed began having a slightly darker edge. Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot and Pet Sematary are favorite books, along with Bram Stoker’s Dracula, of course, and a few others.
I also liked the classic film, George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead,” and watched it more than once. Then, like many others, I saw “The Walking Dead” and I was hooked.
Zombies have always been the most terrifying, horrible, and let’s face it, disgusting members of the monster community. They’re the boogieman of your childhood, your greatest fear, and even in today’s society, a symbolism perhaps of all that is wrong.
As the TV series showed, it’s the people that make the story. It’s the relationships, the characters’ reactions, the chaos they endure, and your getting to know the personalities that hooks you. The zombies are the evil they have to overcome. It’s the classic us vs. them, people vs. the monster scenario, but with the undead. Perfect story material.
The funny thing is that before I saw the show, I had not read one zombie book other than Stephen King’s Cell, which at the time, I didn’t consider being a zombie story in the classic sense. So when I got the idea to write my own book, GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie, I decided to follow the usual infection by virus route but I had to give the story a twist. So, 16-year-old Becca becomes infected via an accidental scratch from her cousin, Spence, who’s turning into a zombie.
But the virus has mutated. It affects the young, and those get help quickly enough, differently. Becca and other kids like her turn into part-zombies – living but not-quite-dead. They have quirks, like Becca’s “twirly” eye, (hence the odd eyes on the book cover), and odd bodily changes, and may survive on a liquid and high protein diet (no, not that!) I’ll leave her meal choices to your imagination…
In the story, modern medicine has made some advances, but medications don’t always work, as Becca soon learns. And yes, Becca still has fears of rotting, falling apart, and turning into a full zombie. But despite her problems, she tries to maintain a sense of humor and re-considers her fears of falling in love. She’s determined to keep her other cousin safe and help Carm (short for Carmella) search for their two missing mothers as they fight zombies and face vigilantes.
After finally reading a few other zombie books, I saw that while most authors take the usual zombie virus approach, a few have ventured into new territory making zombies feel and think, or have developed characters who get infected but can also survive the zombie virus. Interesting seeing how others handle that approach.
That’s what makes writing about zombies so fun. They can take on whatever form you want them to be. I wanted to write a book that beyond the zombie chaos, and killings of and by zombies, also had that little touch of romance and yes, some humor (that being subjective, of course.) Yes, beware of a few “bad” puns and zombie jokes.
Who knew? Maybe it’s a result of all those old monster movies I watched, especially those with the really corny jokes and plots. Somehow they must’ve stuck with me.
But you can’t help what you like to write about. I’ve written more serious things and was working on a traditional mystery, but the clue-laying can get pretty complicated. I like a little mystery with a lot of other stuff around it. And as I love horror, that seemed a perfect fit. That’s what I loved about writing about a girl who’s part-zombie – it could be sometimes maudlin, and maybe a little whiny at times, but I could have fun with it. And I did.
I found that zombies are a heck of a lot of fun to write about. Who knew trying to come up with different gross ways to describe a zombie could be such a blast? Yeah, I think I’ve been to too many Haunted Houses along the way…heh-heh-heh.
Life can suck when you’re sixteen. It can suck even worse when you’re not- quite- dead.
Sixteen-year-old Rebecca Herrera Hayes faces every teenager’s biggest nightmares: bad skin, bad hair, and worse . . . turning into one of the living dead.
Becca’s life changes forever when her cousin Spence comes back to their small Wisconsin town carrying a deadly secret—he’s becoming a zombie, a fate he shares with her through an accidental scratch.
The Z infection, however, has mutated, affecting younger persons like her, or those treated early enough, differently. Now she must cope with weird physical changes and habits no girl wants to be noticed for. Then she meets Gabe, a good-looking part-Z like her, and fears falling for him. After all, how can he, who shows hardly any Z symptoms, be interested in someone like her?
But time is running out… Becca needs his help as she and her cousin Carm search for their missing mothers and fight off hungry Zs.
Most of all, she needs to find something, anything, to stop this deadly transformation before it is forever too late…
GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie comes out in August.
Book page -Read the prologue and download chapter 1: http://www.cverstraete.com/girlz-teenage-zombie-book.html
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Amazon pre-order: http://tinyurl.com/csbyqc5