When you’re a writer, you never know when or where inspiration will strike. For Jenny Thomson, the idea for her zombie novel “Dead Bastards” came while she was actually writing a different story.
“This image came into my head of a man turning up at his friend’s door looking like he’d been mugged. Only when he comes inside it becomes clear that his guts are spilling out and this is no ordinary mugging. When he dies and then comes back and tries to eat them, they realise that the zombies are here,” Thomson said. “I just couldn’t get this image out of my head of this guy’s guts spilling out onto the floor and this Glasgow couple trying to scoop them up and shove them back in again, so I started scribbling away.”
From that one scene, Thomson created an entire story focusing on the couple, Emma and Scott, who prior to the outbreak thought their biggest worry was an unplanned pregnancy.
“Teaming up with self-proclaimed zombie expert Kenny, who works in Glasgow’s last video store, macho man Mustafa from the newsagents and mystery man Doyle they battle to survive the flesh eating hordes rampaging through Scotland,” Thomson explained. “Along the way they discover it’s not just the dead bastards – so called because they’re dead and a bastard to kill – that they need to watch out for as civilization crumbles and lawlessness takes over.”
Although set in Britain, Thomson’s bastards aren’t the fast-running monsters of Danny Boyle’s “28 Days Later.” The author said zombies like those established by George Romero just make more since to her.
“An infected person’s brain starts to decay so it makes sense to me that their motor neuron functions would slow down,” Thomson said.
In addition to influencing her views on how the undead move, Thomson credits Romero with her life-long infatuation with zombies.
“I watched Night of the Living Dead (the original version) when I was 12 and I was instantly hooked,” she said. “The whole concept of people coming back to life and then trying to eat people had me glued to the screen and having nigtmares for weeks.”
There are other differences between Thomson’s story and “28 Days Later” and fellow British zombie film “Shaun of the Dead.”
“Those were great movies, but I’ve written a zombie novel that’s set in Scotland, mainly in Glasgow and on a small Scottish island and there’s a dark humor to it which is a very Scottish thing,” Thomson said. “Scottish folk can look into the bowels of hell and still find something to laugh at and we’re all Bravehearts.”
“Dead Bastards” is Thomson’s first forray into zombie storytelling, but the book is a continuation of her work in what she calls “kick lit.”
“It’s a play on chick lit,” she explained, noting that Emma shares ass-kicking traits with Nancy Kerr, a character featured in a series of “Die Hard for Girls” books Thomson is writing. “It’s about time that women in fiction were updated for the modern era.”
Thomson noted with disappointment that The Walking Dead’s Andrea was turned from a strong female leader into a “a knicker dropping pawn.” Emma, she said, “doesn’t hang about waiting for the guys … – she’s pretty handy with a baseball bat.”
There currently are no plans for a sequel to “Dead Bastards,” but Thomson does have an idea for a different kind of zombie story.
“I’m toying with the idea of writing about a detective who solves crimes after there’s been a zombie apocalypse and civilization consists of these walled, fenced off areas of cities where people live. I thought it’d be interesting to see how law and order operate after World War Z,” she said. “For instance, if a wife wanted to get rid of her husband, she’d pay someone to drag him outside the gates to become walker chow, but my detective would have to prove that’s what happened and he didn’t just go for a wee walk.”
The novel is available for digital download through Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Bastards-ebook/dp/B00AM0OI0G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1366130191&sr=8-1&keywords=dead+bastards