Today’s featured author is Julianne Snow who writes the series, Days with the Undead.
As the only girl growing up in a family with four children in the Canadian countryside, Julianne Snow needed some form of escape. Her choice was the imaginations of others which only fostered the vibrancy of her own. A voracious reader by the age of 7, she tackled the classics along with many others while her friends were reading Pascal’s Sweet Valley High series or Stine’s Goosebumps books. She devoured King, Koontz, Christopher Pike, Robin Cook, and Marion Zimmer Bradley along with many more.
Her literary loves have expanded to include the works of Ariana Franklin, James Rollins, Gregoire Maguire, Jonathan Mayberry, Jeffrey Deaver, Diana Gabaldon, and Kathy Reichs along with the myriad of talented independently published authors she has discovered and in some cases, befriended. The horror and forensic/crime thriller genres top her list of favorites, but she can never turn down a good science fiction, fantasy or mystery read. Julianne’s first full-length foray into the publishing realm follows a group of friends as they attempt to survive their Days with the Undead.
I sat down with her a few days ago for this interview. Read more below and be sure to read the excerpt as well!
What is your book about and what genre are you writing in?
The Days with the Undead series follows a group of part-time survivalists as they flee the epicenter of the Zombie Apocalypse. It follows them day by day as the main character updates what is left of the world to anyone out there who may be listening.
Do you have a specific writing style or approach to writing your books?
Each time I sit down to write something I approach the process in a different way. I mainly a pantser but each story has a different way of being told to best convey its message that my mindset has to be in the right space to tell that story.
How did you come up with the title?
Days with the Undead was a fairly simple title – at least in my own mind. The chapters are days and it’s a story centered around a Zombie Apocalypse.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
That fighting for survival is the only answer.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I consider all of the authors who I read as mentors. They teach me about the different facets of writing, both good and bad. Some of my favourite authors include L. Frank Baum, James Rollins, Robin Cook, David Wellington, and Marion Zimmer Bradley.
What are your current projects?
At the moment I’m finishing up the sequel to Days with the Undead: Book One and working on Book Three. I’m also working on three collaborative projects with different authors. Fun times!
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book or how you wrote it?
No. There are those that find the format hard to read because there is no defined dialogue. That’s mainly because the entire book is dialogue. It’s a narrative told directly to the reader and it can sink itself deep into your brain and really affect the way you think about things.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve always been a storyteller. Writing those stories down is just an extension of a large part of my personality. I lost my focus for a few years but was relieved to find it again in 2011.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I have degrees in forensics and fire investigations and I hold the international designation of CFEI – Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator.
What’s your favorite line from any movie or song? Can you quote it for us?
I have two:
You take such pretty photos when will you be worth of your good side? ~ Monkey Bush
They’re coming to get you, Barbara ~ Night of the Living Dead
If you were attending a Halloween party, what would your costume be and why?
This may come as a shock, but one of my favorite costumes as I was growing up was a red M&M. So easy to do and you know what they say about M&Ms…
What’s your favorite love story? (movie or book)
In both cases it’s The Princess Bride by William Goldman. It has action & adventure intertwined with romance and completely memorable characters!
When do you like to write, morning or at night?
I write whenever I get a free moment. I find that most of my larger stretches of time are at night, but the morning can work just as well.
EXCERPT from Days with the Undead: Book One:
It was a close call today. We’ve been travelling west, trying to get in front of and then outrun the Undead for almost two days now. Trying to stay off the roads but keeping close enough to use them if the need arose was getting more and more difficult. And then the inevitable happened.
We came across a horde of the Undead just mulling – well, not even mulling – just standing in a clearing early this morning. As far from them as we were and as silent as we were being, something or someone in our group caught their global attention and the collective of milky white eyes that turned in our direction was positively bone-chilling.
As we stared dumbstruck in horror, drawn to the sight as one becomes to a horrific accident, we soon realized that we would need to move. Our frozen tableau continued though, even as the ballerina-like synchronicity of decomposing limbs turned and started to move in our direction. Our ridged limbs not comprehending the commands to take flight from our terrified minds.
I don’t remember quite when we started to run or what broke the reverie we were all experiencing. I just know that we ran and were thankful that we had a path to travel. The Undead are unconcerned with such things, and the thick foliage and uneven ground would help to slow them down.
Our escape was narrow but our lesson important – never stop to stare.
The truly scary thing about the Undead – besides of course the fact that they are what they are – is their unwavering ability to pursue you. They don’t get tired, they don’t stop to rest and the only thing that stops them is a swift second death.
The trouble with trying to put them all down is that fairly soon you can end up being overrun by their masses, or too tired to fight the ones in front of you. All you can do is keep moving and hope that something catches their attention to divert their ravenous intentions.
To be perfectly honest we had assumed that we had left most of the Undead behind us in Toronto and the surrounding Greater Toronto Area. In the past few days however it’s become increasingly apparent that anyone fleeing the city and suburbs has spread things farther afield than we had dared to anticipate.
Stupid, I know; in any situation one should always prepare for the worst possible outcome, it has the tendency to keep you alive. Planning for the worst or in fact planning for any contingency has a way of keeping you on your toes.
Unfortunately we were all still a little shell-shocked; shocked that the world appeared to be disintegrating behind us. While we had tried our best to prepare for this possible yet improbable eventuality, it was still something that none of us had actually thought would happen. The events of the past one and a half days have left us all a little frazzled, lost, and feeling alone even though we are in the physical sense together.
Putting some distance between us and the horde from the field felt good. In an instant that feeling was robbed from us as we came to the crest of a steep ridge. We were now face to decomposing face with a group of our Undead pursuers. The surprise elicited a shocked, scared little cry from Barbara, one of our group, but it was quickly squashed as we reacted. And there wasn’t much time to do anything but react; our primal, instinctual selves took over.
The sound of the first shot ricocheted off the surrounding foliage in the relative silence of the early morning. Before my eyes the pimpled face of what was once an adolescent boy exploded, shards of bone along with infected brain tissue flying out like they were searching for their next victim even in death. I quickly turned my face, hoping to shield it from the spray of grey matter and connective tissues. Thank heavens I was just out of splatter range as the Undead kept coming at us in what felt like increasing numbers.
In all truthfulness there were only twenty-five to thirty of them and they were spaced out and slow-moving. Unwittingly, they had made themselves easy targets; having to come up the opposite side of the ridge made our task of their death relatively uncomplicated.
We each had our own firearms along with other back-up weapons in the event that a gun jammed on us. It was moments like those that I appreciated the fact that my husband had been so meticulous when teaching me to shoot. I could hit both stationary and moving targets at a number of distances. That knowledge made me feel somewhat safe and comfortable in what I had to do. I don’t know how each the others felt in that moment but I could read the resilience in their faces.
Given our knowledge and perseverance, we made it through that encounter and plan to make it though many more to come. Survival is what we have chosen and we are all geared to success.
You have to be.
This is a fight to the death and none of us want to think of the consequences of what death will mean for us. I know that each and every one of us would rather die than become one of them. Of that I’m one hundred percent certain.
It only took us a few minutes to quickly dispatch all of the Undead coming up the hill at us. They came at us in all shapes and sizes. Most of them were still fully intact and had barely started to decompose. It’s only been three days since this all started and what I would have expected to see as a pathologist was normal; some bloating and a little skin slippage, even some discoloration of the skin. Their faces were all slack and carried the expression of vacancy.
It made it easier to kill them if you happened to look at their faces. You knew that there was nothing left of the human soul that once thrived inside the shell.
I tried not to make eye contact with any of them. It was unnerving to catch a glimpse of the dead eyes. Eyes that had likely once held such promise. Now they were just limpid milky pools of emptiness. Stare too long and you can get lost…
About Days with the Undead
It’s a journal of survival.
Five people set out to escape the growing tide of the Undead after they arose too close to home. Immerse yourself in the emotional and physical struggle as you join our survivors on the third day after the re-awakening of Brooks VanReit, as they are recorded from the point of view of Julie, a former pathologist and part-time survivalist. Each entry is geared toward helping those who want to help themselves and maybe give a few that don’t a swift kick in the ass.
Join our group of survivors on their journey through these Days with the Undead.
Learn More about this Author