Behind the pages of After The Virus
How about a paperback giveaway and some insight to the story origins of After The Virus?
Okay, so I planned to do my very first vlog (video blog) with this giveaway and then figured out that – being rather obsessive about these sorts of things – it would take me DAYS to shoot a vlog. And chances were I’d never be happy with it, so a written post made much more sense!
I haven’t paid much attention to After The Virus lately. Writing the Dowser Series occupies 90% of my time and Jade and cupcakes and chocolate are so much easier to chat about and share than a post-apocalyptic novel. ATV is a love story, yes (in more ways than one), but – as my father said – it’s rather relentless.
Funny thing is, ATV is STILL my best seller even though it was my first novel. Granted, I’d been writing screenplays for over a decade, and thought I was writing just another screenplay (in a long treatment form) when I realized that ATV was a novel. A novel I’d pretty much sworn I’d never write, because I wasn’t THAT sort of writer. *glances at the row of book covers on the side bar**ahem*
The story for After The Virus – heavily influenced by Stephen King’s The Stand – started with a single scene. A scene I wrote as a short film, and later looked to expand into a full-length screenplay. The scene was about two people meeting in a post-apocalyptic wasteland with nothing left to lose except their hearts (and souls?).
In the novel that short film script turned into chapters five and six (which I was going to read, but will now just copy and paste below). Without this scene, this germ of an idea, I wouldn’t have my best selling novel. I find that supremely interesting and super cool … and hope you do as well!!
Other than evidence of travelers along the road, she hadn’t seen anyone since Wee Wee a week back, after which she’d changed course twice.
Rhiannon had known something was up the second she entered this middle-of-nowhere town. Except for a few boarded windows, the buildings were… tidy. Even though the place looked deserted, she leashed B.B. The mountains loomed immediately behind them, but here the land was flat and dry.
After she’d found the Beretta, she traveled by day. It was easier to shoot what you could see, and thanks to lots of film prep, she was deadly.
She eyed the almost inviting hotel, but as she approached the general store, she heard the music. Paul Simon, she thought. He’s old then.
She adjusted her hat so it was low, but without compromising her sight lines. She’d been dressing as manly as possible for her slight frame.
As if he’d heard her approach, he stepped around the corner of the store. His rifle was slung over his shoulder. He stopped when he saw them.
B.B. didn’t growl.
He grinned, and she was surprised that she noticed he was oddly beautiful — rough, tanned and manly — not her usual type. He threw his head back and laughed, delighted, and then hunkered back on his heels and held his hand out to B.B. She let B.B. off the leash.
B.B. hesitated. The guy wiggled his fingers, still grinning, and to Rhiannon’s surprise, B.B. wagged the tail she barely had and bounded to him. B.B. nuzzled his hand. Then he let her lick his face, all the while laughing like a kid. She was unjustifiably jealous of B.B.’s affection.
She moved closer and caught the dark look that passed across his face when he saw B.B.’s numerous newly healed wounds. Then he looked up.
He wasn’t old. Maybe younger than her; if she ever admitted her true age. Then, with a thrill, she realized, there was no reason not to.
“It’s been months since I’ve seen a dog,” he said.
Now that she was near, she thought he might be part native, but that didn’t fit her impression of the twang in his accent. A native cowboy? She shouldn’t tease, but she thought it best to know quickly how easily he rattled. So she pulled off her glasses and asked, “And a woman?”
Her sky-blue eyes cut his soul, though he instantly felt stupid for thinking so. He also thought he might know her, but dismissed that.
“About the same,” he drawled, glad, not for the first time, that his sister’s tendency to leap around corners had made him hard to surprise.
He glanced at the gun on her hip, the knife strapped to her leg, as he slowly gained his feet. He didn’t want to stare, but couldn’t help it. She’d looked away to survey Main Street, so he could really only see the line of her jaw. She must be sweltering under all those layers.
“Where are all the bodies?” she asked and he noted that she had no distinguishable accent.
“I cleaned,” he replied, blunt but kind about it.
“Ah,” she breathed, and then actually raised her perfect nose to sniff the air. “Bonfire,” she concluded.
“Seemed best,” he agreed.
She stepped away to look into the store. He’d been restocking the shelves, which, he was aware, might make him seem more than a little crazy.
“You alone?” He called her attention back, but then instantly regretted the tension his aggression evoked as she placed her hand on her gun.
“Just B.B. and me,” she answered, testily. The dog glanced at the woman, opened its mouth in a big grin and lifted its nose for another pat.
“Well, I imagine you’re both hungry,” he offered, and was confused when her jaw clenched and she looked out of town as if planning to leave.
“Just because you didn’t rape me at first sight doesn’t mean I’m your friend,” she finally sneered, and he caught the edge of fear in her.
“I never did make friends easy.” He spoke in a light tone like he would with a wounded animal, which, he didn’t have to guess, she’d been. The woman looked at the dog, B.B., who hadn’t left his side, and then suddenly, he could feel the utter weariness she didn’t let show.
She pulled a glove off and offered him her gun hand. “Rhiannon,” she said. Her skin seared his when he folded his callused hand around hers.
Want to win a signed paperback copy of After The Virus? Just comment below (make sure to fill out your email address in the form). The contest is open INTERNATIONALLY. The winner will be selected by random number generator on Friday, Jan 31 after 12noon PST.
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