The serial, an on-going storyline broken up over an extended period, is nothing new. They appeared in newspapers and magazines before making the jump to radios and movie and television screens. A zombie-themed serial released on digital formats is breathing new life (unlife?) into the style, however.
Writer Daniel Fite said the genesis of his series came from his own hunt for a zombie story that not only looked at the hard science behind the cause of the zombie apocalypse, but also looked at the long-term storyline of living in aftermath of the outbreak.
“I wanted to read a plausible reason for zombies to exist and a scientific explanation for their death-defying abilities. I found that if the author gave an explanation for the zombie outbreak, I would care more about the end result,” Fite said. “The books that skipped, or glossed over, the rationale behind the appearance of the zombies left me feeling a bit cheated.”
Fite said he has an analytical mind and after playing the video game Left 4 Dead, the wheels in his mind began to turn where ever he went.
“When I started playing first-person zombie shooters, my strategic mindset met the ultimate challenge—how does one survive a zombie apocalypse? I was intrigued by the settings, the tactics, and (maybe most of all) I was thrilled by the odds!” he said. “In real life, I started examining the various buildings I entered (restaurants, retail stores, etc.), trying to determine which buildings would make the best zombie hold-outs. Surprisingly, I found that a pawn shop would be a great choice. They are typically very sturdy and most are in bad neighborhoods, so they have burglar bars on all of their windows! Also, they sell guns, generators, chain saws, lots of old video games and DVDs, pipe wrenches, bicycles and many other useful post-apocalypse items!”
Deciding to break his story up rather than publishing it as a one full-length novel came after reading the eBook serial “Yesterday’s Gone” by Sean Platt and David Wright, he said.
“It’s a great post-apocalypse story told from multiple perspectives, but was lacking one thing—zombies!” Fite said. “I did some searches for zombie serials and found none, so I thought I’d fill the void myself.”
The result of his creative efforts is “The Zombie Chapters,” which currently includes three parts available as both eBooks and audio books. A new section is expected to be released every four to six weeks. The Zombie Chapters will have no less than 12 volumes (collected into 4 “Seasons” of three volumes each).
The series follows the survival of people in three very unique settings—a small country town, an Antarctic research station, and a hotel filled with stranded travelers. Sonrisa, Texas, a fictional town of about 2,000 inhabitants is the setting for three of the five story arcs. Sonrisa’s citizens deal with the early zombie apocalypse, and survive, only to face even harder situations and choices.
Mirnyy Station, Antarctica, is the second setting. It is home to about 200 Russian scientists and engineers who must face not one, but two horrors. They must deal with their dead coming back to life to attack them, but they must also cope with the realization that they are now totally cut off from the rest of the world—the world they depend on for fuel and supplies.
In the third setting, Brad Thomas, a salesman, finds himself stranded in a hotel. More than a thousand miles from his family, he must find a way home. Before the journey can begin, though, he must find a way to fortify a small hotel in downtown Helena, Montana.
Fite said it is the characters who drive the story lines and each of them is unique. He said you won’t find the stereotypical zombie apocalypse personalities in his books.
“There are no ex-Navy seals, no super-cops and indeed, not even any active-duty military personnel. My characters are all very fallible and as such, very personable,” he said. “For example, take two of my favorite characters—Emmy and Carter. Emmy is a ten year old who lost the use of her legs. Wheelchair-bound, she depends on her huge, mentally-retarded brother Carter. She’s the brains and he’s the brawn. Together, they have an awesome, symbiotic relationship that is really heartwarming, but imagine these two characters in the midst of zombie outbreak!”
Fite said readers will also note that he doesn’t shy away from the technical aspects – like the physiological implications of the zombie virus – of the apocalypse in his stories.
“I don’t dwell on that stuff too long, mind you,” he said. “I don’t want to drag down the pace of the books, but I wanted to craft a credible story and to do that, I needed to explain the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of things.”
Although his serial is self-published, Fite also wanted readers to know that he takes great efforts to put out a quality product.
“ I feel that authors should honor their readers’ investment of both their time and their money by creating a well-polished product,” he said. “As such, I made sure that the TZC series was professionally copy edited and produced. The cover art is top notch, and the audio books are professionally engineered and narrated by the experienced L.A. voice actor, Ethan Sawyer.”
Readers can find the books at Amazon.