"I am ready to meet my maker. Whether my maker is prepared to meet me is another matter."
-Winston Churchill

Monday, November 14, 2016

Book Tour & Author Interview With Brandon Zenner - The After War

Book Genre: Post Apocalyptic, Dystopian. Can fit in Thriller, Literary, and Science Fiction 
Publisher: Brandon Zenner
Release Date: October 20, 2016

Book Description:
Two years have passed since mankind faced extinction. 

Brian Rhodes and his cousin, Steven, are leaving the protection of their underground bunker for the first time, after a cataclysmic war and unrelenting disease ravaged the earth. 
On the other side of the North American continent, young Simon Kalispell is leaving the safety and seclusion of his cabin deep in the woods, traveling with his aging canine companion, Winston. 

For individual reasons, these men are traveling east, where the fragmented lives of a small number of survivors will soon be decided by the choices of a corrupt few. 

Simon Kalispell and Brian Rhodes are not yet aware, but the strength that resides inside them will soon be tested, and destiny will call for their fates to be forever intertwined.

Welcome to Immortality and Beyond. May I offer you a drink?
Vampires Wine
Witches Brew
Zombie Blast

Vampire wine, please

Zar, our Zombie Butler will fetch that for you. Zar…

Thank you Zar

*Drools* while handing drink over…

*Rolling eyes* You may return to your quarters now. Please don’t mind him, sometimes he just gets so excited when we have guest authors. He’s only ever bitten somebody once, *grins*.

Now that we’re settled in, let’s chat. Shall we?

BK:  How did your writing journey begin?

It’s hard to say exactly how it began, but if I had to give one reason, it’s because I love to read. I was a bit late to reading, mostly because I didn’t enjoy the school-issued books when I was young. Then when I was around thirteen or so, I started reading Kurt Vonnegut, and my interest exploded not only to reading but to writing too.  

BK:  Please share with us how your current release came to life...

It began with a simple idea I came up with when I was sixteen, going for a walk in a nearby park with my friends. All I had back then was a skeleton concept, but I knew I had something that I would want to one day make into a novel. It took a long time to iron-out the details, and although I tried to begin writing it when I was in my early twenties, I didn’t truly begin until I was twenty-eight. It took seven more years, and a full re-write, for the book to come to life. Now, I can’t be happier with way the book developed into what it is today.

BK:  Do you let your characters tell the story, or do you often fight with them on the direction it will take?

There is always some fighting, but I like to let my characters tell the story. Often times, I don’t know exactly how things are going to turn out until I see the characters interacting, seemingly on their own.

BK:  How do you keep your writing different from all the others that write in this particular genre?

I make no effort to change my writing style to anything other than what comes out naturally. I have no idea if my style is similar to other authors. I never really thought about it, to tell you the truth. I read all variety of genres, not only post-apocalyptic. In my opinion, if you want your writing to stand out, then write naturally, and don’t force it to be something that it’s not. The words will show it, and people will appreciate it.

BK:  Which character was your favorite to write for in this story? Why?

Tough question. So tough, that I can’t narrow it down to just one single character. In the future, I would like to write both full-length novels and short stories on many of my secondary characters, not relating to this novel at all, because I like them so much. Both of my main characters, Brian and Simon, have attributes that make them special and stand out. Brian is a bit stoic, and rough-and-tumble, where Simon is a thinker, and humane. Then there are the bad guys, Karl Metzger comes to mind, who I utterly enjoyed writing. So no, I’m sorry, but I can’t decide …

BK:  Tell us about one scene you had the most fun writing…

There are two that come to mind, although I did truly enjoy writing every last word.

Early on, there is a scene when Brian and Steven come upon a town where they are surprised to witness a large group of survivors, and see for the first time the true depravity that has become of much of humankind. They huddle at a window ledge and peer out at a procession or ruthless savages. It was a strong point in the book, and a pleasure to write.

The second scene that comes to mind is one of the last, simply titled, ‘WAR.’ After reading all four-hundred-plus pages of a book titled, ‘THE AFTER WAR,’ and there it is … war. It is a pivotal chapter, and huge for the character development of one of the main characters. I can’t tell you more without giving things away, you’ll have to read it for yourself.

BK:  If you were stranded on an island, which character in your books would you most want to be stranded with and why, and what is one thing that would be a must-have?

Simon, for sure. He’s a survivalist, and knows how to forage for food and water, and how to construct shelters. All I would need is a knife.

BK:  Now for a little fun, tell us a bit about what your office looks like. Do you need silence to write?

Last year I moved, and now I have a great office. I have a vintage ‘60s L-shaped desk, a bookshelf, a small couch, and a large corkboard full of reminders and plot-points. My last few offices, where I wrote this novel, changed a few times. First, it was a small room and was nothing special. It changed when my wife was pregnant and we needed a nursery. I then went into the basement, which was cold, dark, and not the nicest place to look at. My desk was a slab of wood in a closet, attached to shelves on the either side. But, it had some perks, like being extremely quiet, and forcing me to stare at the screen and type uninterrupted. I finished the second draft of this book down there, and I did it in record time. As far as noise, I like it quiet. I used to listen to classical music when I write, and sometimes still do, but I usually like it quiet.

BK:  What do you like to do when you're not writing?

As I hinted at, I have a young daughter named Sadie. She is my world. I spend all of my time with her. But beside from spending time with Sadie, I like to work out. When I’m working on a new project I run a lot to clear my mind. I also like to travel, although that has slowed down since Sadie’s been born. But now as she’s getting older I would like to hit the road more often.

BK:  What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?

I have been bartending at a busy Irish bar for over thirteen years now. In the summer I work full time and in the winters I work part time. It’s great; I get a lot of free time with my daughter, and all of the hours in the day when my mind is the most active and sharp to write.

BK:  What is the craziest thing you’ve ever wanted to write, or have written, even if it never reached public eyes?

It’s not crazy, but my most popular short story is a romance piece. It’s available primarily on one site, and has garnered thousands of views and countless emails and mentions. It’s strange, because I never thought of myself as a romance author.

BK:  What is one piece of advice you can give to aspiring writers/authors?

Believe in your work, and don’t short yourself by thinking you know everything right off the bat. Make an investment in your work by hiring editors, cover designers, and formatters. Listen to what other successful authors have to say, and turn your ambitions into a job, even if it’s not making any money yet. Designate time to write, and punch in and out (metaphorically speaking).

BK:  What can we expect from you in the future?

I have many ideas for novels, one of which I’ll be starting soon. They can all be herded into the thriller genre, but they range from post apocalyptic, to medical thriller, to crime.

BK:  Where can readers connect with you?

You can sign up for my email list at http://www.brandonzenner.com, and receive the short story, HELIX ILLUMINATED for free. Facebook is also a good place, I’m pretty active: https://www.facebook.com/brandon.zenner/ - Also, I’m on twitter https://twitter.com/SlapstickII

Steven said, “What’s that—” but Brian hushed him. A rumbling noise was now unmistakable, growing louder ... and then something else. Steven’s eyes grew wide, staring at Brian. There were muffled voices in the distance—many voices, some laughing, others obscure.
Brian stood and motioned forward. They sprinted to the waist-high fence in front of the house, swung the gate back, and ran to the door. They paused. Brian held the handle and took a deep breath.
They exchanged glances, nodded, and then stormed into the house. Brian led, crouching lower than Steven, who swept his rifle to the left and right. They entered the living room and could see straight back into the small kitchen. Many of the cabinets and drawers had been left open and cleared of anything other than mouse droppings. The counters and side tables held little ceramic knickknacks and family pictures, all placed on top of yellowed doilies. Everything was covered with dust. Some pictures had fallen to the ground with the broken glass scattered about.
An ashtray sat on the coffee table, overflowing with cigarette butts, several of which had been extinguished on the table itself. Beside the ashtray were two half-bottles of brown liquor. Brian and Steven swept the bottom floor and proceeded to the stairway, passing a pile of garbage—empty soup cans, crumpled cigarette packs, broken bottles.
The stair treads groaned with each step as they went upstairs. The hallway at the top led to bedrooms at both ends and a bathroom directly across from the staircase. The bathroom was empty, and they proceeded to the far bedroom. The simple room had a bed in the center, a TV on a dresser, and two nightstands on either side of the bed. The windows were open and the wind billowed the once white curtains. A four-poster bed occupied the bulk of the room, and under a soiled knit blanket lay the form of a person.
Oh, Jesus Christ,” Steven said.
They approached the body. Brian was shaking and sweating, his finger vibrating over the trigger of his rifle. He stepped close and extended his hand to move the blanket away, but Steven reached forward and grabbed his wrist. Brian looked at him; he was shaking his head and was as white as paper. Brian looked back at the body. The form was small and shallow, and the bedding around the body was stained yellow. Bones.
They left the bedroom and ran to the room at the other end of the hallway, which faced the direction of the valley. The room had been in the process of being painted before the owner perished, and all the furniture was draped with canvas cloths. Paint cans and rollers were set on plastic sheets, dry and brittle.
They crouched behind the double window and Brian found his binoculars under his poncho. His fingers trembled on the focusing wheel.
“Dear mother of God ...”
A procession was heading down the main street of town. Two columns of savages marched in near unison. But these men were no soldiers. They were ragged and filthy, and carried with them a wide assortment of weaponry—rifles, machine guns, pistols. Many held sledgehammers, machetes, various swords, and large and small pry-bars, some the size of walking sticks. These improvised weapons were scoured at the ends to reveal the steel of which they were made, gleaming like silver, and were muddied with earth and gore. The men looked as if they had marched out of some dismal pit of hell that had vomited them forth, seeming to defile the earth of which they trod. They wore a vast array of military clothing of no particular origin and had adorned themselves and their weapons with torn pieces of red cloth, like flags, along with garnished trophies of war—what looked like dried, brown human ears and tanned hides. They cast about them a red and brown hue, as if they wore these shades as part of a collective uniform.
Pickup trucks rumbled along with the procession, their flatbeds full and covered with sheets. Long ropes trailed from the bumpers, extending to latch around the necks of several pink, naked human beings, both male and female, all with their hands and wrists bound. A body dragged along the ground, bumping over the pavement, lifeless and ground raw. The naked humans who were still alive were prodded forward by whips and crudely made spears with strips of red material tied under the points, so that they blew in the wind like macabre flags of the damned.
Brian removed his hunting rifle from his backpack, unsnapped the covers on the scope, and leaned it on the windowsill.

Author Bio:
Brandon Zenner is an American fiction writer and an Amazon best selling author. His short fiction has been published in both print and online publications, the first being submitted when he was 19 years old. THE EXPERIMENT OF DREAMS, his debut eBook thriller, has reached Amazon's best seller list many times. His second novel, WHISKEY DEVILS, was released in early 2016. THE AFTER WAR, a dystopian thriller, was released in fall 2016. His genres of choice are thrillers, crime, dystopian, and science fiction.

Author Links -
Website http://www.BrandonZenner.com
Blog https://brandonzennerblog.wordpress.com
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/brandon.zenner/
Twitter https://twitter.com/SlapstickII
Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/brandon-zenner-28781598?trk=hp-identity-name
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7908718.Brandon_Zenner
​Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Brandon-Zenner/e/B00IQVO1UK

1 comment:

Unknown said...


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