Outbreak: The Story Behind the Book
Outbreak, is the first book in The Brother's Creed series. This book will be my first novel released to the world! But it wasn’t the first book I started, or even finished. The first one I wrote is set in my fantasy world of Torrea and called The Weapon. Outbreak was the second I finished, but will be the first one I publish. Want to know a little more about Outbreak? Well here’s a little history…
Early concept cover: This was the cover I printed for my mom's book.
My brother and I have never been normal or lived a normal lifestyle. We’ve traveled a lot together over the years which has given us quite a bit of free time and what do you do with all that free time? Form a zombie apocalypse plan, of course! We planned what we would do depending on where we were at, what we had on hand, and how we would go about it. The short version is we would get our family, maybe some close friends, and road trip to Alaska and our remote camp and live out in the woods. We would have everything out there we need to be self-sufficient! We planned it out a few times over the years, all the while doing it for fun and entertainment. I never thought then it would be the basis for my first published book. In high school I’d had to write a fake news article for my English class for some reason or another, so of course I wrote about dead bodies being found in the mountains. As I was writing and then polishing it up I thought to myself, “What if this was the start of the zombie apocalypse?” Yes, I am quite a weird person, a perfectly normal prompt for an English assignment turns into the start of the apocalypse. So that day (or a few days after, I can’t remember) I wrote an eight page story about this fictional character going to rescue his ex-wife and daughter. Sound familiar? If you’ve read the blurb or the book then it will. That was where this story sat for a long time.
A couple years after that I decided to write another short story about what my brother and I would do if we went out to one of the ranches we hunt and came back into town and there were zombies. Also sound familiar? Well, it’s the first chapter with James and Connor Andderson (with two Ds). But it wasn’t long after I started to think, “why not continue their journey?” Then my mother off-handedly mentioned, why not put the two stories together. I said, “No mom, that’s a terrible idea. They are completely separate storylines.” Soon the pieces started to fall together in my mind. I wrote a total of the first four chapters, and then it sat again—for three years!
In that time my mother constantly bugged me to finish the story, because she was attached to it. And of course she would be, the brothers we heavily based off my brother and I—although as the book went on they formed into their own people. Well, I ignored her pleas and finished the book more important to me, The Weapon. But once I finished that I didn’t have time to edit it or anything else because, well, life happens. Finally, last year for Christmas I started to finish (what was then, THE Outbreak). I finished it, did some VERY slight polishing, printed it up and gave it to my mother, with the dedication being for her. She loved it!
Title page for the copy I printed up for mom (with some added blood for fun)
Then life happened again and both manuscripts had to sit on my desk for three months—that sucked! The whole time I wanted to dig in and finished them up! I was going to start correcting The Weapon first, but then after much thought and planning I decided to do Outbreak first. But I had a lot of work to do still, so I contacted some artists, got a cover going and began to edit. Let me tell you, editing SUCKS! I spent double the amount of time editing it as I did writing it! Finally after I had it the way I wanted my wife jumped in and we went through it again, then I sent it off to the editor. It is a night and day difference between the first and final edition! I was able to cut out over 5,000 words (sticking with Stephen King’s formula: 2nd draft= 1st draft – 10%) and make a better book out of it!
Now, as I sit here writing this I cannot help but be in shock—it is done.
Yes, there is still work to be done before I can release it but all the hard work is done and it has already paid off. It is awesome to think, that what is now a full-length novel (granted a short one) started out as an assignment in High School and two crazy brother’s apocalypse preparedness plan. In the book you’ll see both the news article I wrote for high school (although highly edited) and our apocalypse plan. You’ll meet two brothers who you may find very familiar; there’ll be a guest appearance by a friend, a couple of kickass AR-15s, a white Dodge truck, and the Death Wagon. To learn more about Outbreak you’ll need to read the book when it is release on April 18th, 2017!
So now that you know a little more I hope you are as excited as I am. I’ve read it over half a dozen times, and the latest time was, by far, the best! So buckle up and join the Andderson brothers on a road trip you won’t soon forget!
From my desk to yours,
Joshua C. Chadd