Two new UK AUTUMN releases out today

isbn9781473201668Today sees the launch in the UK of two new AUTUMN releases from Gollancz. First up is THE COMPLETE AUTUMN – an ebook only collection of the five AUTUMN novels (Autumn, The City, Purification, Disintegration and Aftermath) available in all major formats: Kindle / iBookNook / Kobo / ePub (Waterstones) / ePub (Hive). A great way to get into the series if you haven’t yet read the books. And don’t forget, for full completeness you can also pick up THE HUMAN CONDITION for the bargain price of £1.99!

Also available from today is the mass market paperback edition of AUTUMN: AFTERMATH (Amazon / Book Depository / Waterstones / Hive / Indiebound). There are a few copies available at www.infectedbooks.co.uk – the Infected Bookstore.

I know many of you are waiting for news about the limited edition AFTERMATH hardcover… it’s coming. I’m sorry it’s taking so long. I’ve been in conversation about it this week and hope to open pre-orders (with a cool little addition for those folks pre-ordering) before the end of October. For those who’ve yet to hear about this project, click this link for more information.

AUTUMN: THE HUMAN CONDITION

Right, nearly there with my recaps of the AUTUMN series in readiness for the UK release of AFTERMATH next week. Today I’m going to look at the various short stories I’ve written to expand and compliment the overall story over the years.

As I’ve already explained, AUTUMN started small but grew rapidly in size, its cast of characters growing with each new novel. Apart from jumping back in time to the beginning of the outbreak at the beginning of THE CITY, and the parallel events of PURIFICATION and DISINTEGRATION, it’s told in a largely linear way. That’s all well and good, but as I introduced each new character, I found myself wanting to go back and tell their individual backstories. To have done that within the books would have made them unnecessarily complicated, and so I came up with AUTUMN: ECHOES.

Originally appearing online only, these (very) short stories explained what had happened to minor background characters from THE CITY to get them from the end of the world to the city centre university where the survivors had grouped at the beginning of the book. It seemed to work so well I continued and did the same with some of the new characters from PURIFICATION too, and it was while I was putting together the third book that these ECHOES seemed to take on a life of their own. Here’s a brief extract from a scene near to the end of the book:

Amy Steadman (day 3) by Craig PatonEight weeks ago this had been an intelligent young clothing store department manager with a bright future ahead of her. Now it was a mud-splattered, half-naked, emaciated collection of brittle bone and rotting flesh. Unlike the majority of the seething crowd, however, this one was beginning to exhibit signs of real control and determination. Unlike those which simply stood there vacantly or those which ripped and tore at the other corpses immediately around them, this body was beginning to think.

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AUTUMN: PURIFICATION

Once again, bear with me while I exorcise a few more AUTUMN memories. As with previous instalments, there may be spoilers here…

Autumn - Purification US CoverAs I mentioned in last week’s post, by the time I’d finished writing the second AUTUMN novel, I was already plotting the third. THE CITY had opened up the story dramatically, and it was becoming clear to me that by killing off 99% of the population by the end of the first page of the first book, I’d given myself the mother of all blank canvases to work from. That said, AUTUMN: PURIFICATION was originally intended to be the end of the series, and it does bring the story of Michael, Emma and the other original survivors to a conclusion, albeit a temporary one.

THE CITY ended with all the major characters in one place (for the first time), trapped underground, and it would have been easy to write something along the lines of Romero’s DAY OF THE DEAD. I knew I wanted to take AUTUMN in a very different direction, though, so I needed to get everyone out of the bunker they’d fought so hard to get into. I’d also started to take a fair amount of flack from people who weren’t at all impressed with my take on zombies. They didn’t like the idea of a zombie story without any flesh eating, divorced from many of the usual clichés of the genre. In response, I wanted to open the third book with a bang, hoping to demonstrate that even though my living dead creatures had started off relatively tame, they were now anything but!

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A look back at AUTUMN: THE CITY

A brief disclaimer: as I’ve said previously, it feels pretentious to be writing a retrospective of my own books. I think I’m doing this for my own benefit more than anything else, so please bear with me. It’s some weird kind of personal therapy, I think…

For me, the writing process usually begins when I come up with an ending, then work my way back to the beginning of a story. Not so with the second AUTUMN novel. This time, just to be different, I began with the middle.

I’d been wondering what had happened to Michael and Emma after escaping the farm house at the end of the first book (it wasn’t until recently that I actually went back and filled in that part of their story – see BREAKING POINT over at www.lastoftheliving.net). I had visions of them quickly coming to the conclusion it would be too dangerous to stay in one place, and so electing to base themselves in a mobile home and move whenever the immediate danger became too great. But I knew that in order to move the overall AUTUMN story forward – and it was starting to feel like a much bigger story by that point – they’d need to interact with characters we hadn’t yet met. This meeting – whenever and with whomever – would have to happen almost a month after the initial infection, and yet I wanted these new characters to feel like people we already knew. The best option, I thought – though not necessarily the most obvious – was to rewind time and start from the beginning again.

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A couple of new AUTUMN releases

It’s all a bit quiet around here at the moment, and it’s likely to stay that way for the next couple of months. I’m working on a number of new (and old) projects right now, and will let you know what I’m up to just as soon as I’m able. In the meantime, here are a couple of AUTUMN re-releases which came out this week.

Firstly in the UK, Gollancz are continuing their mass market paperback re-releases and we’re now up to AUTUMN: PURIFICATION (or, as my family have christened it, the green one). And in Spain, the mass market edition of CIUDAD ZOMBIE (AUTUMN: THE CITY) is now out. The Spanish editions of the AUTUMN books have gone down really well, so thanks to everyone who picked them up.

Right… back to work. By the way, don’t forget I’ll be at alt.fiction in Leicester this weekend (just in the morning on Saturday, most of the day on Sunday), and I’ll be signing with Wayne Simmons at Waterstones in Cardiff on Saturday 21st. Please come along and say hello.

AUTUMN: AFTERMATH

With the US release of AUTUMN: AFTERMATH now just over a month away (UK and German releases to follow later in 2012) I thought it was about time I told you a little more about the book. I’ve deliberately not said too much, because this is a direct sequel to both PURIFICATION and DISINTEGRATION and it was important for everyone to have had chance to read the preceding books first.

So, to whet your appetites, here’s the blurb…

“It’s been almost one hundred days since a killer disease wiped out 99% of the population. Three months since the dead reanimated. Survivors are few and far between now, and those who remain stick together to give themselves the best possible chance of continuing to stay alive. They are the last of the living.

A band of refugees has taken shelter in a medieval castle – a fortress that has stood strong for hundreds of years. Besieged by the dead, they only emerge when it’s absolutely necessary. As autumn turns to winter, however, the balance of power slowly begins to shift.

The unexpected appearance of survivors from another group changes everything. They bring choice, and an alternative way of life which is a far cry from the world everyone has been forced to leave behind. Society as we know it has crumbled beyond repair and things will never be the same again. Some people are ready to embrace this change, others can’t let go of the past. The choice is divisive.

Are we entering mankind’s final days? In the aftermath of the disease, will the last survivors destroy each other, or will the dead destroy them all?”

Just to clear up any confusion, this is very definitely the final book in the AUTUMN timeline. There are a few more short stories to share, but is the last chapter in the series. And yes, in case you’re wondering, the ‘survivors from another group’ mentioned in the blurb are from the island of Cormansey…

Next week I’ll introduce you to one of the key characters from the book, and those of you who read THE HUMAN CONDITION first time around might remember him!

A new edition of AUTUMN and a brand new free story

As I was working on the final edits for the US edition of AUTUMN: AFTERMATH recently, it occurred to me that it’s an incredible ten years in November since the free download of AUTUMN was released. It’s also a year since the book’s first ‘official’ release. The success of the series has been really humbling, and completely unexpected. Thanks to all of you who’ve enjoyed and supported the books.

Completely coincidentally, a new mass-market paperback version of AUTUMN has been released in the UK this week by Gollancz (with the rest of the books to follow in this format a year after the hardback releases – next February for THE CITY, April for PURIFICATION etc.).

To celebrate the new edition and the ten year anniversary of the book, I thought it would be a good to share a brand new, previously unpublished AUTUMN short story with you. Have you ever wondered what happened to Michael and Emma in the week or so between the end of the first book and their eventual re-appearance in THE CITY? Head over to www.lastoftheliving.net and read Breaking Point to find out. I hope you enjoy it.

Missing in Action

As some of you will know, I had a few major deadlines to hit by the end of August, and they conspired to keep me away from this site. Apologies for the temporary lack of updates.

I’m back now, and I’ve got a lot of good stuff to tell you about over the coming days. Later this week I’ll be adding new stories to www.lastoftheliving.net including UNDERGROUND – a glimpse into what happened in the military bunker after the catastrophic battle at the beginning of PURIFICATION.

I’ll also be adding a few posts about AUTUMN: DISINTEGRATION: introducing the new characters, giving you an outline of the plot and how it ties in with the other novels in the series, and explaining why it’s taken so long (almost five years!) to get to publication.

It’s going to be a busy year with several more releases planned including THEM OR US and DISINTEGRATION, I have plenty more to share – news of some great events and appearances being planned for the end of this year, competitions, some top secret projects, and loads more besides. To whet your appetite for something happening later this month, check out page 7 of the September edition of The Zombie Times (and if you don’t already receive The Zombie Times, visit this link to rectify that immediately!).