Origins of the Outbreak
by Brian Parker
Publication date: August 11th 2014
Genre: Post-apocalypse, Zombies
Every epidemic begins with a relatively small group of people who’ve been exposed to an illness. The Centers for Disease Control believes that it is imperative to reach the site of an initial outbreak as quickly as possible in order to prevent further spread of the disease. Sometimes that isn’t always possible and events reach a catastrophic tipping point before the government can organize a response.
Origins of the Outbreak follows the chain of infection from one person to another after a university researcher in a small Texas town unwittingly develops a virus that threatens to destroy the world as we know it.
Told from the perspective of each victim as they experience their own version of hell while struggling to survive, Origins will leave you gasping in fear and wondering, “What if?”
Hi Brian! Thanks so much for taking the time to hang out with us for zOctober! I know you’re a super busy man, overseas serving in the military, so I will try not to take up too much of your time.
Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to be a part of zOctober this year! I’m so grateful to all the fans and fellow writers who are able to reach out and do events like this. It’s great for everyone involved.
Tell us about your experience writing in the horror genre. What do you love about zombies?
I’ve always been a writer, but when I joined the Army – over 19 years ago! – I put aside writing for fun because I was “too busy”. It’s a mental trap that a lot of professionals fall into, regardless of their field. Then, in 2008 or 2009, I read “Day by Day Armageddon” by J.L. Bourne and when I found out that he was an Active Duty Naval officer, I decided that I could find the time to do it as well, I just watch a whole lot less television than I used to.
I love writing horror and fight scenes. The sense of dread that can be built up over time by peeking in on minor events and then pulling away again until everything ultimately culminates with a major confrontation is a great way to keep readers interested. So often in non-horror books, you have to read hundreds of pages before anything of substance actually happens and it becomes tedious.
Even though I write about zombies and military fiction, one thing that I refuse to do in my books is to describe the death of children. Although I acknowledge that in the hypothetical situation presented, kids would not do well at all, I personally don’t want to read about that and I feel that most readers don’t want to either. The problem that I see a lot in this genre is that writers try to outdo each other when it comes to gore. There’s some room for that, but a good story should be able to exist without it as well.
I love zombies because they could be synonymous with all sorts of communicable diseases. When you read a zombie book, for the most part, you could replace the cause of the zombie outbreak with a disease and you get a similar story. It’s especially pertinent to our world today with the Ebola outbreaks in Africa, the Bird Flu scare of a few years ago, drug-resistant bacteria and even nastier things like the Marburg virus. The earth’s population has been culled repeatedly throughout our history and since the Spanish Flu in the early 1900’s and the major population reduction of WWII, we haven’t really had an event that wiped out vast portions of our population. I feel like something is going to happen as our population continues to increase globally.
If one of your books was turned into a movie, which book would it be and what actor do you see playing your lead role(s)?
Out of the books that I’ve written so far, the one that I absolutely believe could be made into a movie would be “GNASH” (it will be re-released by Permuted Press in February 2016). Readers of that book and the three readers that I’ve allowed to see the sequel “REND” have said it seems just like a movie by the way it focuses on multiple characters and doesn’t bog down on following only one storyline. The book could be a stand-alone political thriller without the zombie aspect, but the two together make a great combination.
Let’s see, lead characters… Hmm, I see Grayson Donnelly as a Mark Walburg type of guy, quiet, unassuming and compassionate but his former military training lets him kick butt when needed. Emory Perry, is pretty, strong and smart. I see here as a more of a Jessica Biel character. Jessica Spellman was a pretty high school cheerleader, but years of the wrong type of men have turned her into the shell of her former self but she shines after Grayson saves her life. Definitely Elisha Cuthburt. Hank Dawson is an Army Delta operator who doesn’t take any lip from anyone, Cam Gigandet. Finally, the CIA operative Kestrel, Asher Hawke, is only in “GNASH” for about twenty pages, but he’s the main character in “REND”. I see Karl Urban playing him.
Do you have a bug-out plan in place for disasters? (I generalize it by saying disasters but you know I’m asking about zombies!)
I don’t have a specific plan, but my wife and I are both in the Army, so we have a lot of military gear (a ridiculous amount actually). I’m more in the camp that you should stay put for the first couple of weeks – especially with young children – and establish a base of operations that you could go out from if you needed to get supplies.
A lot of people (shame on them) say that zombies are played out. What do you think sets apart the great zombie books from the not-so-great ones?
The biggest thing is EDITING! Geez, can I say that again? Everything else has taken a back seat to editing in my mind, especially with all the self-published works out now. Bottom line, get an editor. If you can’t afford one, crowdfund for it and get the cash or offer some type of Beta-reading services to another author to get them to help you out… Do whatever you can to get an editor!
I know that’s not the answer you were looking for, but besides editing, I think the believability factor is the next biggest thing. I hate when books are just absolutely unrealistic (minus the zombie part). A normal guy with zero skills with weapon X doesn’t suddenly pick it up and become a master butt-kicker. Oh, and characters that are God’s gift to the opposite sex and they can’t keep their hands off of him/her, come on man!
If I was to have a zombie themed dinner party, potluck style, what would you bring?
Ha! I love that answer. 🙂 Finally, please show us a picture of your (get your minds out of the gutter) ultimate zombie apocalypse vehicle. What would you feel safe driving through hordes of the undead in?
An MRAP with the grenade screens installed!
Thanks again, Brian, for being here and for all that you do!
Thank you, Toni! I loved where you went with the interview. I hope you don’t mind a little shameless plug for myself here!
Works available now by Brian Parker
Battle Damage Assessment (December 2014)
Origins of the Outbreak
The Collective Protocol
Zombie in the Basement
Zombie in the Basement: The Coloring Book!
Self-Publishing the Hard Way
Upcoming Novels by Brian Parker from Permuted Press
Enduring Armageddon (May 2015)
GNASH, Book 1 of the Washington, Dead City series (February 2016)
REND, Book 2 of the Washington, Dead City series (March 2016)
SEVER, Book 3 of the Washington, Dead City series (April 2016)
~About the Author~
A veteran of both the Iraq and Afghanistan war, Brian Parker was born and raised as an Army brat. He moved all over the country as a child before his father retired from the service and they settled in a small Missouri town where the family purchased a farm. It was on the farm that he learned the rewards of a hard day’s work and enjoyed the escapism that books could provide.
He’s currently an Active Duty Army soldier who enjoys spending time with his family in Texas, hiking, obstacle course racing, writing and Texas Longhorns football. His wife is also an Active Duty soldier and the pairing brings its own unique set of circumstances that keep both of them on their toes. He’s an unashamed Star Wars fan, but prefers to disregard the entire Episode I and II debacle.
Brian self-published four books before signing a 4-book contract with Permuted Press. His novels Enduring Armageddon and GNASH were previously self-published and will be re-released by Permuted beginning in May 2015 along with two previously unpublished works, REND and SEVER.
He is also the author of The Collective Protocol, a paranormal thriller that shows how far people will go to gain power; Zombie in the Basement is a children’s picture book written to help children overcome the perceived stigma of being different than others; and his how-to guide Self-Publishing the Hard Way is for writers looking for pointers to self-publish their manuscript.
Brian’s Website | Twitter | Facebook | Permuted Press | Goodreads
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