In a world ravaged and reshaped by a monstrous virus, an unlikely pair attempt to save a girl from a Jhingoist cult.
Thirty years ago, the Splicer’s Sickness swept across the globe, turning all it infected into vicious, half-animal creatures and leaving everyone else to fend for themselves. Since then, life has adapted. That goes doubly for Karl Gearhart, a former soldier in the Alpine Safe Zone who has since deserted his group and gone to live in an abandoned factory. He is happy to live the same day over and over and spend his time tinkering.
But one day, after his home is compromised, he meets Nessa Shirokuma, a charming young archer on her way to New York City. The cult that lives there, the Lightbringers, have kidnapped her sister as part of their deluded mission to reestablish the pre-Sickness USA. Karl is convinced it’s a lost cause, but Nessa will not be dissuaded. Thus, they form a deal: He will accompany her to New York, and she in turn will help him find a new home.
It will be a dangerous journey, fraught with monsters of both the splicer and human persuasion. They will come across religious zealots, angry mobs, cannibals, and many more perils. All the while, they will learn to lean on each other as their partnership blooms into something more. But will it be enough to keep them alive?
Targeted Age Group:: Adults, YA
Heat/Violence Level: Heat Level 4 – R Rated
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I've always liked post-apocalyptic stories, especially the sort that portray a world that has adapted to a new world order. They often have the contradicting idea that, while danger may lurk in every corner, life still finds a way to survive. In that way, they are hopeful while feigning grimness. So, I wanted to write my own. But I didn't want to go with zombies, or a flu-like plague, or anything like that. I wanted something different. So, as a mythology nut, I created a virus that turns the infected into beasts akin to satyrs, werewolves, centaurs, chimeras, and so on. It further adds to the theme of time being cyclical.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I'm of the opinion that characters should be likable. Not perfect, but likable. They should have flaws, of course, but we should still want to see them make it to the end of the story. I also like creating 'odd couples', both romantic and platonic. These are people who seemingly have nothing in common, yet still find a way to work off one another.
That's what I went with with Karl and Nessa. He is a chain-smoking, flirtatious, arrogant mechanic with a gift for fighting and a troubled past. She is an artistic archer with a caring heart and an extensive botanical knowledge. At first glance, they shouldn't work. And yet, they do. They are both capable, and save each other on multiple occasions. They heal each other's wounds and comfort each other in times of distress. Nessa respects Karl's boundaries. He, in turn, steadily learns to open up and trust Nessa. Theirs becomes a very tender and even wholesome love story in a fierce, dog-eat-dog world.
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