Thanks to Armand for the lovely cover blurb to This Plague of Days and thanks again for allowing me to announce the launch of the serial here.
It’s not too dramatic to say This Plague of Days has changed my life and put my writing career on track. All I had to do to make it work was to throw out everything expected of me. (Season Two just released so jump into Season One or Two. Either way, the blood is warm, the infected are fast and the protagonist’s viewpoint is autistic.)
I took a lot of chances with This Plague of Days.
Instead of starting the story with a jump from hero-in-a-coma to battles-with-snarling-ghouls (i.e. The Walking Dead and 28 Days Later), I show how society falls as the virus evolves. It starts with a flu pandemic that cripples the world’s response to the disaster. When the infected become cannibals, killing them isn’t as easy as Atticus putting down the mad dog in To Kill a Mockingbird. My zombies act more like a wolf pack on the hunt and, worse, they’re getting smarter.
I doubled down on a risky bet with some weird artistic choices.
Not only is my hero, Jaimie Spencer, on the autism spectrum, he’s a selective mute. Though Jaimie doesn’t speak often, which makes him a challenge to write, it’s worth the wait when he does speak. I like how he thinks and the readers’ feedback is clear. Everybody loves Jaimie. I wonder if that will change when he makes unexpected choices?
In Season Two, I take more risks and play with readers’ expectations of what horror can be and do (since Latin proverbs and seeing auras weren’t strange enough.) The action rises across two continents with an ensemble cast who don’t meet each other (not quite yet, anyway). Half of This Plague of Days is an international thriller with bio-terrorists, chases and military action. The other half is about how the end of the world affects one ordinary family, probably much like yours and mine.
Jaimie’s the key to the story’s lock. In Season Two, Good and Evil gather their forces, the paranormal ramps up and the action, from Ireland to Iceland to the Indianapolis Speedway, is fast, tragic and furious. It’s not just humans versus humans versus zombies anymore.
On top of all that, I published This Plague of Days in a form some readers are unused to: I serialized it like a television season. Some told me my artistic choices were “bold”. That means, of course, they thought I was “stupid”. Fortunately, the gambles are paying off and I’m so glad I took those risks.
I think readers were ready for a stranger take on zombies.
As the story edges further toward the paranormal, we learn more about Jaimie’s inner life. In the old world, Jaimie was handicapped. In this dystopian post-apocalypse, his hidden talents emerge and he may be our salvation. The saga only started with a killer virus and zombies. This time out, the pace is faster, the stakes are higher and we climb up horror’s evolutionary ladder with more paranormal creatures putting in startling appearances.
Buckle up. This is going to be fun. Meet me at the intersection of Jaimie’s mind and fever dreams in This Plague of Days. It’s four pints of blood past the Horror and Paranormal nexus.
~ Robert Chazz Chute is a podcaster who worked a journalist and columnist for newspapers and magazines. Find out more at his author site, AllThatChazz.com. For excerpts and sneak peeks, please visit ThisPlagueOfDays.com. This Plague of Days, Season 2 is his tenth book.