Travel into the future with my guest today, Rosemary Cole. It's a great place full of zombies.
Rosemary Cole was born in a small New England town. She has loved science fiction and fantasy since she was old enough to go to the library and take out a tall stack of books from the children's section. Since then she's been in many places around the world and done many things, but still loves working and playing with words.
- Tell us a little about yourself?
I’ve always loved to read, and I’ve worked with words in one way or another all my life. I’ve been a medical editor, a freelance fiction editor, taught English to foreign language speakers. But writing science fiction and fantasy is my favorite thing in life so far, and I’m so happy I have a chance to do it. I’m also a traveler and enjoy seeing other countries and their cultures.
- Tell us something about how you write? i.e. are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you have any weird or necessary writing habits or rituals?
I’ve always been a plotter. I need to know the ending and how the characters get there before I sit down to write, and I start by writing a detailed synopsis, then flesh that out into a book. I’ve heard that people like Stephen King just sit down and let fly on a vague idea. King himself has said that often these attempts never turn into a novel. Personally, I don’t see the point in wasting time on misfires.
- Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book?
Absolutely! The X-Variant comes from my dreams of a utopian world where there’s no want or suffering, only “peace, love and understanding,” to quote Elvis Costello. Wouldn’t it be ironic, I thought, to devise such a society from the ashes of man’s own self-destructive tendencies? And so the Unathi were born—a posthuman symbiotic species evolved from humans and the manmade synthetic virus that nearly wiped them out. The virus evolves into a beneficial symbiont in each individual, uniting and connecting everyone. Of course, then I just had to take that perfect society and plunge it straight into a living hell! *evil cackle* I suppose in some ways, my writing reflects my fears for the human race. It does seem that we are intent on destroying ourselves and our planet; I think everyone is aware of that now, and we need to process it through stories. (Jamie’s note: Unfortunately, I believe Rosemary is right. We will keep denying Climate Change until we are roasted.)
- What is your favorite writing tip or quote?
I think it’s the famous Hemingway quote: “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Perhaps because of the Internet and the self-publishing phenomenon, people tend to think anyone can become an author, but to write a decent book is very, very hard work.
- Tell us a little about your plans for the future. Do you have any other books in the works?
Right now I’m working on The D-Revenant, book two in this series, which is called The Guardians. After that, I have some ideas to choose from. The two most likely are a stand-alone modern fantasy about an abused boy who escapes to an alternate magical dimension where he has to battle his own mother, who is an evil queen there; or another sci-fi series about a group of throwaway kids who discover an alien elixir that turns them into superhumans. Readers, which one do you think I should work on? Drop me a comment on my website, www.rosemarycoleauthor.com, and let me know. Up until the publication date in April, I’m also giving away free electronic ARCs of The X-Variant. Just ask!
Where can we find you online?
|Jamie's Note: I love this cover.|
In 2079, mankind nearly destroys itself when it unleashes a devastating synthetic virus. Over the following centuries, however, the virus evolves into a beneficial symbiont that enhances and interconnects its human hosts, and a new post-human race is born: the Unathi. But in 2616, their peaceful utopia is violently disrupted when the symbiont begins to mutate into something terrible. Twenty-two-year-old Kala is one of those called upon to travel back in time to 2079—the time of the viral pandemic—to change the course of the future.
SanFran, North American Union
June 8, 2079
SanFran, North American Union
June 8, 2079
Brandon was slowly coming to the realization that they were starving. He watched as Jennie settled their one-month-old baby into a cradle they’d fashioned from a box. The candlelight threw grotesque, shifting shadows on the walls of the room as Jennie moved about, her nightshirt hanging off one bony shoulder. She finally came over and joined him in bed, and Brandon blew out the candle. He held her slight form close, stroking her hair in the dark.
“She’s still hungry,” Jennie murmured. “I don’t think I’m making enough milk for her.”
Brandon nodded against the top of her head. They had all been steadily losing weight, ever since the virus had gone global. It was called the Synthetic Hemorrhagic Airborne Virus, or SHAV. Basically, you coughed your lungs out. They said it was carried by respiratory droplets, and for a while everyone you saw was wearing one of those surgical masks. That didn’t seem to slow it down at all, though; it marched across the globe relentlessly, leaving a swath of death in its wake. Everything ground to a halt, including food deliveries.
Before the virus, the city’s grocery stores had held about three days’ worth of food. Once the shelves were empty, people had begun raiding the commune’s gardens, and now they had been stripped bare. The members of the Green Resistance commune were reduced to living on their emergency stores and whatever they could scavenge.
At first, Brandon had thought they would be overrun and have to leave the commune, but as deaths from the virus increased (including some of their own), the gang raids began to decrease. It was decided it would be best if they stayed where they were. The remaining Greeners, as the locals referred to them, had retreated from their converted greenhouses to the top two floors of a large commercial building across the street from their city garden. Their political philosophy didn’t keep them from buying and using firearms, and the place was fairly easy to defend. But food—that was turning into a huge problem. Every day, the rations Sean doled out seemed to be fewer.
“Yeah, something has to be done about it,” Brandon murmured. “But try not to worry about it tonight, babe. I’ll talk to Sean in the morning.”
He felt her nod against his shoulder, and she then drifted off into sleep despite her worries.
Sleep didn’t come so easily to Brandon, however. He was deeply worried about Jennie. After losing her mother—her only real family—to SHAV last month, she’d had to give birth here in somewhat primitive conditions. Thank God, the Greeners had plenty of medical supplies, and Andrea had some experience in attending births. Both baby and mother did just fine. But since giving birth, Jennie had developed deep circles under her dark, almond-shaped eyes, and her hair was dull and lank.
This was all worrisome enough, but Brandon’s biggest nightmare was seeing Jennie and the baby succumb to SHAV and die right before his eyes.
Please, God, no, he prayed, squeezing his eyes shut to ward off that dreadful image.
He had just drifted off to sleep when a sudden loud pop from outside startled him awake. The sound had come from the front of the building, toward the street. He scurried toward the window, half-crouched. There was shouting, followed by more pops of gunfire. The Greeners standing watch on the ground floor were shooting back at whoever it was—probably raiders.
Jennie hastily lifted the baby from her bed, wrapping her in her blanket.
Brandon moved to the side of the window, lifted the rough blanket nailed over it and peered out, but could see nothing in the dark except for a couple of small lights. They flashed and bounced around, moving irregularly toward the building.
Sounds of fighting drifted up the stairs, and he realized with a shock that some of the raiders were already inside. “The fire escape, quick!” he hissed at Jennie.
They fled to the back room, groping their way in the dark. A platform outside the window held a ladder that could be lowered to the ground, giving them a slim chance of escaping between the buildings. A sliver of moon emerged from behind scudding clouds, giving them a bit more light as Jennie scrambled out onto the fire escape.
Brandon had just handed the baby out to her through the window when Sean and Mike burst into the room. The two men spun around and fired out into the dark corridor leading from the stairwell. There was a burst of automatic weapon return fire, and both men fell to the floor.
Brandon looked down. Sean’s eyes were open, staring up at him sightlessly. The Green Resistance leader’s long, dust-colored hair lay in a pool of blood, blacker than ink in the dim light.
Brandon’s heart began to pound, his whole body quivering with each heavy beat. “Go down, go down!” he cried to Jennie, throwing himself in front of the window.
A masked face appeared in the doorway. Light flashed painfully in Brandon’s eyes, and he realized it was mounted on the barrel of a gun. There was a loud bang, and something slammed into him. Suddenly he was looking at the ceiling. There was no pain, but he couldn’t move. He didn’t feel a thing when they dragged Jennie and the baby from the fire escape back into the room, trampling him in the process. The room was fading away, as were the sounds of Jennie’s screams and the raiders’ rough voices as they disappeared down the stairwell.
Brandon lay drowning in helplessness and grief. He dimly heard his daughter crying, as if from a great distance, and somehow knew that she was here in the room with him, left behind. He prayed they hadn’t hurt her. He wanted to soothe her, tell her he was here with her, but nothing came out when he tried to speak. Then the sound of her crying faded away too, and he was in a place that was gray everywhere except for a faint glow of light in the distance. He began to move toward it.
Keep your eyes out for the release of what looks like an amazing novel.