SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: Dead New World by Ryan Hill
Dead New World
by Ryan Hill
Zombies aren’t mindless anymore.
Before the world fell into chaos, the undead existed only in the imagination. Now, more of them walk the earth than living. Zombies move about freely, while humans entomb themselves inside concrete barricades to stay alive.
All that, while the leader of a powerful cult – known only as Reverend – becomes the next threat to the rebuilding United States. Believing zombies to be God’s latest creation, making humanity obsolete, he wants to give every man, woman, and child the chance to become one. With his combined army of humans and zombies, he may well get his wish.
Best friends Holt and Ambrose went up against the Reverend once. Holt lost a foot and a zombie bit Ambrose…though he survived the virus, only to become a human-zombie hybrid, reviled by the living and unwelcome among the dead. When the Reverend kidnaps the woman Holt loves, the race is on to save her from a fate worse than death.
Behind the Scenes: Writing DEAD NEW WORLD
DEAD NEW WORLD had an interesting journey towards publication. I’d actually written it before my “debut” novel, THE BOOK OF BART. After BART was picked up by Curiosity Quills, I dusted off DNW and asked if they were interested. They were. And the rest is history.
That’s not a very interesting journey.
Let me back up a bit.
I feel most comfortable writing fun, silly stories in the vein of Christopher Moore, like BART is (it’s a twisted buddy cop tale about a demon forced to work with an angel to find a powerful relic). I don’t just want to write those kinds of tales. I want to write a little of everything. For me, writing one particular genre over and over can lead an author to become complacent, unwilling to venture outside of their bread and butter. Sadly, that’s not going to help an author expand their skills. In my opinion, you need to write all sorts of different things to stretch their muscles. DNW was the first exercise in that.
After abandoning a silly manuscript (several parts of which were retooled for BART), I wanted to do something different. Something dark. Scary. I’d never tried to write something like that before. I also wanted to do my take on the zombie genre. There were so many things I dreamt of seeing in a zombie story, but never saw them. This was my chance to put those things into a story myself. Once I was able to put those two ideas together, DNW was born. I spent almost a year writing and editing the manuscript, then set about trying to find a home for it. I’d submit the manuscript to agents and publishers, many of whom liked the book, but didn’t think they could sell it (this happens A LOT, so get used to it). At one point, I traveled up to Connecticut for a writer’s conference to pitch DNW in person. Again, I got some nibbles, but nothing concrete. During this time, I did get some interesting feedback on the story.
I wanted DNW to be dark. Like… really dark. I also wanted it to end on a massive cliffhanger, leaving the reader with this feeling that they have to read the sequel (there will be three) as soon as humanly possible. It was great. Only… it wasn’t.
The ending, which couldn’t have been more pitch black if I’d tried, had to be lightened up. Not a lot, just enough to where the reader wasn’t left feeling like the world was a terrible place. The changes were made, and to make it work I even went back and created a new character to help with the ending. When it was all said and done, I still had a dark ending, just one that didn’t leave readers in a place where they’d want to listen to a lot of music from The Cure. I also pulled in part of what was supposed to be the start of DARK NEW WORLD (the first sequel) and tacked it on to the end.
Everything was worth it in the end, as the retooled and improved DEAD NEW WORLD was picked up by Curiosity Quills, and now my zombie epic is being unleashed upon the world!
About the Author