Zombies are the next big thing, much like vampires and werewolves prior to Twilight. It’s almost a cult phenomenon and one that has definitely motivated writers to pen some intriguing tales. James Lacey is one. His new release, Perseverance – A Zombie Tale, is unique, edge of the seat and already boasts a strong following.
MEET THE AUTHOR: James Lacey
I’m happy to welcome James Lacey, a most extraordinary author, compassionate paraprofessional, and outdoor enthusiast. That’s a lot of hats to wear and let me tell you, James wears them all well.
Tell us a little bit about your recent release, “Perseverance, A Zombie Tale” and why you decided to write about Zombies.
I always liked zombies as the background material for the larger story. The story here is the hero trying to keep his love, Ashley, alive in incredible circumstance. All the great zombie movies and stories I have seen and read do the same thing, use them as the backdrop to the big picture. And, let’s be honest, zombies are naturally scary and fun to write.
Your hero in “Perseverance” is a low key teacher forced to live outside his comfort zone to survive. Did you plan his personal metamorphosis into a reluctant leader as the internal conflict or did it just evolve during your writing?
It definitely evolved as I went. The original work was a short story that ended just as the hero receives the phone messages in the first chapter. Then the people who read it kept asking what happened next, so I had to sort of make it up as I went along. I think you can see that when you read the book, because the change happens so gradually that you don’t realize the character at the end is so completely different from the character at the beginning. Our hero wouldn’t even recognize himself if he saw what he would be transforming into.
Where do you find the seeds of inspiration that eventually sprout roots and become a book?
The original inspiration came from just an idea that popped in my head about how an individual in a situation would survive. After that it came from the support of my family and friends who read what I was producing and kept encouraging me to continue.
You’re a self-proclaimed outdoor enthusiast. Did you use your experiences as a hiker and camper to add reality to the struggle for survival, and if so, how?
There’s definitely some of that in the book, sure. You learn when you go hiking and camping enough how to travel light and make it a few days on the bare minimum of supplies. And you learn quickly how to improvise when something happens out in the woods. Cell phones usually don’t work in the places I go hiking and camping, so it’s important to know what you’re doing.
And now I just have to ask….why did you keep your hero nameless? Was there special significance in that? (I love first person writing and thought it was a clever ploy to keep the hero without a “brand” identity.)
I was wondering if I would ever get this question and I’m glad you are the first, lol. I kept the hero nameless because I never really knew who the hero was. He changes so much in the book that a name would feel like an anchor of sorts. And I think that worked really well. The funny part is that because the hero is nameless, some of the people who read the book and know me have a tendency to think that the hero is supposed to be me, and they couldn’t be more wrong. I don’t even really like dogs (no offense to Alice, but I’m a cat guy).
In addition to writing an exciting and vivid tale of a Zombie invasion, you are also a paraprofessional and Special Olympics coach. When do you find the time to write? Are you a “pantser” or a “plotter”? In other words, do you just sit down and let the story evolve or do you plot it with an outline?
I’m taking Master’s courses in Applied Behavior Analysis, too, lol. But I find the time to write no matter what because I love doing it. Most of the time I’m a “pantser,” and I just write whatever it feels right to write about. But I have a few long-term projects planned, and those I have to actually plot out. Sometimes it might be a few weeks until I have time to work on them, so I need to keep track of what I’m doing. Oh and it really helps being single. Lots of time. lol
What else are you working on?
Right now a few more video projects to promote Perseverance are in the works. I’ve also been putting up some bonus content for the book, kind of like DVD extras. They’re all on the website. And I’ve sat down and put some serious thought into a sequel, even drafted out a few scenes.
Last question, James, and completely off topic.
If you found a magic stone that allowed you to travel back in time to any era, any location, where would you go and why?
I wouldn’t go that far back. March 30, 2012, about 9am. I’d walk into the gas station, buy a coffee, and play the lottery. Mega Ball. Numbers 46, 23, 38, 4, 2 and the Mega Ball 23. Then having been a part of the largest jackpot in U.S. history I would be able to free up a lot of my time to write more 😉
(this answer was provided before the mega jackpot for Powerball…LOL)
Now that you’ve seen the clever and creative side of James Lacey, let me shed more light on “Perseverance”. First, I’ll share an excerpt but keep reading because at the end is a fun video parody called “It’s a Zombie, Baby”. LOVE IT!!!
It is close at hand…
Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain:
let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand;
A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness,
as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.
A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth:
the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.
When it happened I was excited – at first. I was a fan of the movies, the books, the games…all of it. So when those first reports came on the television and hit the net I was probably the most excited person on the planet. I mean, you always wonder “what if” when you see it in films, but then to have it actually happen, it really gets you going. That is, until they’re banging on your front door. Or the door of someone you really, truly care about. Someone you love.
That is when the excitement fades to fear. The fear can turn to horror. But right before that there is a brief moment where human instinct takes over and you choose to either fight or run. You don’t think, you just act. That is how I’m still alive. And it is probably why she is dead.
My story is not a happy one. It is not about heroics or unity or the fight to persevere. It is the story of survival. The only thing a person could really do during the crisis. It is the story of trying to protect someone you love and failing. It is a story of love, friendship and ultimately death. I’m not holding back. I am going to tell you everything. For some, this story will be harder to read then it was to write. For others, it won’t. Either way, this is my story. This is my account of the zombie apocalypse.
I was trying to be reassuring and bring my students back to the mood they were in before we stopped to eat, which not many were doing. But I knew there was something big going on.
I could hear the words “bioterrorism,” “widespread” and “thousands dead.” I could hear people talking about countries all over the world. CNN had this gorgeous new anchor,
Rebecca Mailey and I had a sort of boyhood crush on her. I was 29 and still entitled to fantasize about celebrities. So when she was the one who sent a chill down my spine, I thought it was sort of ironic and could not help but laugh. I’ll never forget the colorless look on her face when she uttered, “We are now getting scattered reports of incidents here in the United States.”
I never finished booting up my laptop. My instincts told me to get everyone out of the rest area and back on the bus. It was a quiet on the way home. I told everyone to call their parents and let them know that they were okay and would be home soon. As we boarded the bus two police cruisers went speeding in the opposite direction, sirens blaring. It was unnerving, given what we just heard. The rest of the ride home was dead quiet.
“It’s happening everywhere.”
“This…thing. People are dying. Riots happening everywhere. They said that there are drugs in the water supply that makes you want to hurt others. Then they said it wasn’t drugs, but a massive psychological event caused by a solar flare or something. Another guy said it’s been happening for a few weeks, but until now the government had it bottled up. And then…”
“Keith.” I had to stop him. The talking heads on TV had him all turned around.
“Take a breath. Clearly they don’t really know what is happening. So the question remains. Now, what do you know for sure? What do they know for certain? Think simple, Keith.”
“I don’t know. People are killing each other, I guess. They haven’t really said why or how, just that it’s happening.”
That part bothered me. If it were a terrorist event, then someone would be taking credit by now. If it were a disaster, then they would know the cause. Not knowing information…that is when I became hooked. That is when it became…interesting.
I looked up at the clock on the microwave. It was almost 10 AM. I really slept in late. I went and checked my cell phone. Seven missed calls? I realized then that I still had the phone on silent from the tournament. One call from Keith’s mom. Two from my parents? That was odd. Four from Ashley. Damn…I had promised to go over early this morning. She’s probably pissed right now. I went back into the bedroom and turned the TV on as I checked my voicemail.
“Hi, it’s Keith’s Mom. Sorry I’m home so late. Thanks for watching him.”
All over the country people are fighting against…
“It’s mom. Calling to see if you’re okay. Call me back.”
Military response is beginning to organize…
“I need you! Now! Please hurry! Call me back!”
We have confirmed video reports of…
“Why aren’t you answering?! Oh good…I hope…call me back…”
Rising from the dead and attacking…
“They’re outside! Help me! I need you! I need to hear your voice!”
It’s A Zombie, Baby Video
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
When not writing, James Lacey lives in the Pocono Mountains of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
He works with adults and children as a paraprofessional and Special Olympics coach. James also enjoys hiking, camping and watching
Publisher: 23 House Publishing
It didn’t happen the way it was
I am a teacher. At least, I was before it all happened, before I was forced to survive. I taught social studies at the high school. I was
also the coach of the school’s successful debate team. It was a cold Saturday in January when I heard the first rumor of trouble…
You know, pop culture had defined the zombie apocalypse time and time again, all coming from the minds of horror writers, film producers, and video game designers. Who knew that when it really happened, it wouldn’t be anything like they all predicted. Oh sure, the dead reanimated, and they were certainly hungry for living flesh…but what were the mysterious red-eyes, zombies that moved faster than their stumbling counterparts and seemed to not only communicate, but to exert some kind of
control over the others.
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“James Lacey takes the classic zombie story that we all know and love, and then
twists it off into the new directions and unexplored territory. Perseverance is fresh,
exciting, and edge-of-the-seat spell-binding.”
– Samantha Murphy, 13 Nights of Blood: Legends of the Vampire