A quick bit of backstory on this book.
I wrote the first draft of THE NORTH during NaNoWriMo in 2012. I wanted to see if I could write a zombie novel that had a uniquely Canadian flavor. At the time I’d been reading zombie books by masters of the craft like David Moody and I was particularly inspired by Irish ZOMPOC author Wayne Simmons. He wrote the bestselling FLU which is such a damned good book because it has regional flavor to it. I mean, who knew, right? A zombie book could take place in Belfast so why can’t it take place in my hometown of Calgary Alberta Canada? (World famous for its hockey team that once won a Stanley Cup when dinosaurs ruled the Earth and also host to ten days of western-themed madness each July, the Calgary Stampede.)
My then agent and I worked on the book. Revised the hell out of it, but two years later she and I parted company just as my YA publisher Strange Chemistry Books imploded and I just wanted to get the project out there to see if it would sell. I didn’t know the market for ZOMPOC books but I did know that readers of the genre can’t get enough of it so I thought the book might have a chance if I self-pubbed it. So, I did just that … and for a year it sold quite well. Unfortunately the sales slid off and THE NORTH languished for a year before I contacted Severed Press who offered to publish it at the same time I decided to self-publish and they agreed to do a reprint of it.
It was a smart move on my part because THE NORTH has been selling really well since its re-release in May of this year. The book is rarely below 10K in the Amazon rankings. It pops in and out of the Top-100 for post-apocalypse books and I am getting emails from folks wanting to know when the sequel will be out.
So, I guess I’d best answer that question.
Q: WHEN IS THE SEQUEL TO THE NORTH COMING OUT?
A: ONCE I WRITE IT AND GET IT TO SEVERED PRESS AND WE EDIT, REVISE, FORMAT, ETC.
Q: OK, SO WHEN IS THAT?
A: I WILL KNOW BETTER ONCE I TALK WITH THE PUBLISHER SO I CAN’T COMMIT TO A DATE YET.
Q: WELL HOW MUCH DOES THAT SUCK?
A: A LOT. I KNOW. I SUCK TOO.
The good news is that I am writing it. I even have a title: THE PARTISAN. And here’s a snippet:
Journal Entry: 16 November 0310 HRS ZULU
Sunray has my sister.
He took Jo and will kill her if I don’t find some bullshit resistance base that he wants to wipe off the fucking map. Talk about going full Darth Vader.
The end of the world was six months ago. Everywhere you turn there are creeps. Masses of shambling, rotting husks that will rip into your flesh and eat you alive. We don’t know what caused Day Zero and it doesn’t matter at this point because the old world; the one with smart phones and text messaging and not finding your ass swarmed by throngs of walking cadavers is gone forever. The new world is one where you live by your wits and where the only thing that matters is getting through each day in one piece.
I know the name of the name of the place Sunray wants me to find: Carlsbad Farms. I learned of it after my fighting patrol raided a coulee that was defended by some of his assets in an attempt to save a handful of locals the crazy fucker had caged up in a pen with the creeps. Only they were all infected. Those poor people were truly the living dead: still alive. Still aware that when they breathed their last, each and every one of them would turn into a creep. There are moments when I have to wonder if it is an inevitability for all of us: to die and then come back. To wander the snow covered countryside as part of a mindless procession whose sole purpose is to fucking eat those few of us breathers still breathing.
I killed those people in a post-apocalyptic version of euthanasia. They asked me to shoot each of them in the head so they wouldn’t become the stuff of nightmares. I had no choice and now that grisly scene of mass mercy killing is burned into my subconscious with the intensity of a branding iron.
My name is David Simmons. My eight-year-old sister has been taken and I’ve got to make this work, but for the life of me, I don’t have a fucking clue how. I’m just a sixteen-year-old kid, but Sergeant Green left me in charge of the last living remnants of the King’s Own. We busted out of our armoury and headed for some place called Sanctuary Base after hearing a weak broadcast on UHF. It’s supposed to be zombie-free but I have my doubts. And getting there is now a secondary matter because Sunray, a Major J.T. Martins from the battle school in Wainwright has seized a huge swath of land and named it Eden. It’s martial law and he’s got roving patrols, armoured equipment, probably a shit pile of diesel to power everything from Coyote LAVs to fucking Leopard II battle tanks.
And the guy is bat shit crazy, so there’s that.
There were eight of us when we escaped the city. Now Dawson is dead, Kenny was killed trying to save Jo, and Pam Cruze has a fucking hole in a leg that she’s bound to lose if I can’t find wherever the hell this Carlsbad Farms place is.
Sunray has provided me with G-Wagon a trailer full of Jerry cans of diesel. Melanie Dixon, Doug Manybears and Sid Toomey are going on a long range patrol to see if they can find where the shit this Sunray bastard hangs his hat. And me? I’m going to link up with this resistance if it kills me and costs Pam her leg because we need to save Jo and wipe Sunray out. Period. Full stop. He won’t give me back Jo and I know that the moment I meet up with his forward element to inform them of the location of Carlsbad Farms, they’ll put a bullet in my brain and either kill Jo or do something altogether fucking vile with her. So we’re leaving in five. We’re going to head east. We’ve got a radio and we’re going to scan the frequencies to listen for anyone with a pulse putting out a broadcast. Sunray will be listening too and I know that he’s got his own recce elements tailing me. If we do link up with the resistance, it’s a crap shoot as to whether they line me and Cruze up against a wall and shoot us each in the head because they might be as crazy as Sunray.
I hope that won’t happen. I hope they’ve got a few tricks up their sleeve because we aren’t going to make it to the fabled Sanctuary Base; the place that is supposed to be zombie-free and the reason we busted out of the safety of the armoury and escaped the city in the first place only ten short days ago.
We’ve lost friends and family.
The creeps might fucking get us.
Survivalist nut jobs might try to take us down.
Sunray will kill my sister if I fail.
I have to make this work. I just have to. Somehow.