‘Living Legacy Among the Dead’ is the first complete book I wrote. Though it is a very quick read, I believe readers will get just as much out of its pages as they would if it were a larger novel. It is not written with a heavy moral lesson, though there is one here. Mostly, it was written for the sake of the love story which I have woven into the apocalyptic situation.
Alicia Gaden is a biology major at UCLA; she has her goals lined up and her future planned. She is also a very good student and person; she doesn’t galivant around with different boys or party. Rather, she remains single, and keeps her primary focus on her studies.
Jace Booth is pretty much the same type of person as Alicia, with the exception being that he majors in chemistry. The pair meet up when everyone starts changing; people become violent, and their skin begins to pale and rot. For some reason, the two of them seem to have avoided drinking the water, allowing them to survive the strange phenomenon taking place, but together they pursue knowledge regarding why this is happening. As it turns out, there are no two better for the job.
The book is told from Alicia’s perspective, which is not typical for me. I wanted to convey the zombie outbreak from the female point of view, it really is that simple. It is not something I normally do, but it seems to have worked in this situation, as many readers have commented on it as being a good thing.
Alicia, in the initial pages, is pretty much on her own. Sure, she has a roommate, Lilith, but the girl really doesn’t have much of a purpose, except for the sake of the reality of college life. No, Alicia is witnessing the changes in others entirely on her own. She wants to figure out what is happening and why it doesn’t seem to be happening to her. She meets Jace during a trip to the UCLA student library, which turns out to be a relief because he seems unaffected as well.
Unbeknownst to the two of them, the problem is in the LA water supply. All-Purpose Plastics has been developing the ‘plastic of the future’, Soligel. Unfortunately, they push it through for federal approval, and an unaware maintenance man ends up disposing of a chemical spill improperly. He, too, is affected, but corporate executives take matters into their own hands and shut him up for good. It is only through their own tests and dangerous missions that Alicia and Jace are able to figure out that the problem is in the water. Once that is pinpointed, they must come up with a way to solve the outbreak before it is too late.
I wanted the main characters to be highly intelligent, but I also wanted them to be as courageous as possible. Let’s face it: and I am sad to say, most college students today would panic and buckle if they found themselves in this situation. If these two are going to survive, and if any love is going to grow between them, it was essential for them to be strong and determined, and to have a mutually beneficial skill set if they wanted to get the job done. These are the main characteristics that were the foundation for Jace Booth and Alicia Gaden.
Now, it is true that I didn’t really deal with the executives of All-Purpose Plastics in a manner that would be satisfying. The fact is, to me, they would be succumbing to the outbreak in their own time and manner. That would be their just deserts. In order for the book to have the combined flavors that I gave it, there was no room for justice, at least, not the kind of justice these people rightfully deserved. Greed and malice are sicknesses of the soul; it was best to let karma deal with them and focus on Alicia and Jace.
I added the tidbit regarding Alicia possibly becoming pregnant for a couple of different reasons. First, it would solidify their relationship and drive them on to continue the fight at hand at any cost. I wanted the relationship between the two of them to be held together by more than sex; my intent with these two was a lifelong commitment, even if there was the possibility that life could end at any second. Second, a pregnancy would be representative of life finding a way; this gives the reader a renewed sense of hope, both for the lives of the main characters, and for their success in completing their mission against the zombies and the tainted water.
I also wanted them to be able to conduct their research in a setting that provided them with some level of peace and comfort. This is where the house comes in. It was owned by a zombie victim named Belinda Smythe, who is caught off guard by the undead monsters. Her car is left there, and has run itself out of gasoline. Finding this location was essential to their success; I mean, let’s be real: If a couple of college kids are going to save the day and fall in love while they’re at it, having a comfortable base of operations is essential.
Without giving away the ending, I would just like to say that Alicia and Jace are very crafty, and they have more than enough reasons to accomplish their goal to defeat the zombies and fix the issue successfully. But as we all know, a good story never ends without some kind of lure or suggestion about the real state of things. Perhaps Alicia and Jace firmly believe that they have fixed the problem in the water, but did they really? Only time will tell. I sincerely hope that readers enjoy ‘Living Legacy: Among the Dead’, and appreciate it for the fun piece of fiction it was meant to be.