In 2007, I Am Legend hit theaters and I begged my dad to take me. I was fifteen years old and enthralled with the story. I'd never seen anything like it, although it was the beginning of what would become the onslaught of zombie/apocalypse movies which has produced a zombie exhaustion in our culture. I know there were plenty before but it was the beginning of my excitement with the genre. Since then, I've seen the movie numerous times. It's one of the only movies I can watch again without getting sick of it. Usually, I'm not that interested for a second round. And although it isn't an award-winning or artsy fartsy movie necessarily deserving of such high praise, I can't help but be interested in it. My interest continued as I became a giant fan of Richard Matheson who wrote the book I Am Legend (which is highly different than the film). The Omega Man film from 1971 with Charlton Heston is a closer to the text depiction of the novel and worth the watch. But I enjoyed all of them for what they are. Perhaps its the nostalgia of my dad taking me to the movies, or getting my feet wet in the zombie genre. Either way, something always stuck with me after seeing that movie:
What happened once the cure was delivered to the surviving civilization?
Did it truly work?
Did these zombies come back with any trauma?
Were they treated differently?
Did they have nightmares reminding them of the monsters they were?
Did they remember eating people?
I thought about these questions often. Then in 2017-2018 a lot happened in my life. My parents got divorced, my church crumbled under scandal, an engagement fell apart and I started to wonder about the past. I wondered if one could truly leave their past behind them.
That's how the beginning of planning Reintegration began. That simple question: Is your past truly behind you? As I planned, scrapped an entire half-written draft, continued to learn about writing and altered my original outline, I found out I went a different path then I originally expected. I had planned to explore the 'zombie' experience more. I sought out to find the answers to the questions above. But I ultimately realized, while still dealing with those questions, I ended up dealing more with the characters that survived the zombie apocalypse. How they dealt with the trauma and the idea of zombies coming back to live in society with them.
In this sense, I like to think my book isn't just another zombie book. To be honest, there are only a couple scenes of 'zombie' action. And the term 'zombie' isn't even used (although, that is also now a common zombie trope). The book, as a beta reader described it, is about forgiveness. And I think it is an accurate description. As it became more about that, I rewrote it from the first-person perspective because it felt personal to the main character. However, it also taught me I don't think I will be visiting the first-person again, at least not for some time.
There are aspects I left unexplored that I want to continue in two further sequels/stories from the same world (Rehabilitation, which I'm currently working on and Reparation). But as I'm growing in my writing and learning to craft a story, Reintegration will serve as my first big step into the journey. With Free Dom expected to come out around Easter of 2022, I feel like I'm a little bit down the road already from Reintegration. So, don't judge me too harshly off it! But if you do read this and eventually read the novel, I hope you enjoy it. I hope for you, as it was for me, it isn't just another zombie story. But one can only hope.
Reintegration comes out October 18, 2021 and will be available on Amazon and Kindle.
* Also, the book was completed in 2019. Before the world became what it is today. And while it deals with infections and cures and people being against it, it is not a statement on the events of today's world. Although, there are general aspects of government, politics, power and yada, yada, yada that are played with but in no means accurately paint a picture of my own thoughts. *