"Because romance is hardly the type of thing that comes to mind when there are undead cannibals trying to crack your skull open..."
Zombies come in all shapes and sizes and writers typically make sure to put their own twist on the undead, but whether zombies are slow and sluggish or whether they can sprint the one hundred meters in ten seconds flat, one thing that basically all of zombie mythology have in common is that these living dead creatures are hungry. What’s more is that they are violent creatures that will tear you open and feast on your insides, because somewhere inside their rotting brains, the living has become their enemy and their ultimate food source. Their humanity has been stripped from them, their reasoning abilities between right and wrong has become a distant memory and for some reason, they like to travel together.
So, what do you do when you find yourself in a dire situation where the world is overrun by the dead?
Sometimes I like to sit and think about my own life if I was to be thrown into a zombie apocalypse. I will sit and plan out my escape route from my home to wherever would be the safest place to be if walking corpses suddenly started to knock on my door. From time to time I will compare weapons, just to make sure I won’t be devoured unnecessarily, because of a weak decision… Heck, sometimes I even wonder if I will be able to kill a loved one if they succumb to the horrors that zombie authors seem to indulge in. Is it insane? I like to think so, but I suppose survival will make ordinary people do strange things.
I’ve often talked about the on-going debate as to how a zombie should react. However, I find mankind to be far more interesting when it comes to their response to a zombie world. Will humans suddenly become helpful to one another and fight for kindness, compassion and hope? Will greed triumph? Will love still bloom when blood flows through the streets and the air is polluted with the sweet stench of death? There are so many questions and so many people that it is incredibly difficult to predict an accurate result when faced with such turmoil. Yet, the possibilities make for exceptional plots.
When it comes to “Roms, Bombs, And Zoms” – the first anthology that will be published by Evil Girlfriend Media – I found the concept intriguing, because romance is hardly the type of thing that comes to mind when there are undead cannibals trying to crack your skull open and rip you limb from limb. Nevertheless, I’m sure that not even Romeo and Juliet would have let zombies keep them from their forbidden union… Of course, I’m not saying some jerk wouldn’t use the end of the world to get into his gal’s pants, but still, love is such a natural human instinct that there will be those that will cling to it until the end. I never thought about it until this anthology fell into my lap and I’m grateful that I got the opportunity to see an apocalyptic scenario that involves such dreadful – yet cool – creatures be told out of an original point of view.
Evil Girlfriend Media asked me what I wanted to see from this anthology and what type of stories I would likely pick from the pile at the end of it all. The first thing that sprung to mind was that necrophilia was out – I’ve seen that particular scenario far too often when it comes to zombie romances and I am well aware that some writers enjoy the shock factor a little too much – and I hope I’ve made that clear to all the writers before they embarked on impressing me with their tales. The second thing was obviously to keep the writing quality to a high standard. As the editor of this anthology, I know it falls upon my shoulders to make sure that all of the contributing authors look exceptional to the reader, but even an editor can’t overlook certain things. Needless to say though, I think that the title - “Roms, Bombs, and Zoms” – is self-explanatory as to what we want in the story. If all the elements are present, half of the hard work is already done.
However, all of those things aside, what I’m particularly keen on finding are those ‘special’ stories, which are somewhat personalised and sprinkled with extra love. I don’t want to see generic stories that have been recycled from something else. I don’t want to see a story that’s not you, if you get my drift. I want to see a little piece of you on paper, something that you can be proud of and something that you can show your grandkids one day and say: “Sarah, my character, is a little piece of my soul”. If you can do that and convince me that you’ve let me polish out a piece of your soul, well then you’ll have impressed me and I doubt you’ll be getting a rejection letter.
The thing is, this anthology is not necessarily focused on the zombies it’s focused on the survivors. So, put yourself in that position for a change. Come up with some fantastic zombie kills, make the reader fall in love with love again and blow up some stuff (metaphorically or literally)!
You have until 1 April 2013 to get your stories in and I hope that this post will inspire you to write something extraordinary.
Hope to hear from you soon.