Don't be afraid to change course with your novel
Sunday, 20 June 2021
Monday, 14 June 2021
|I'm not the only one obsessed with the dead who rise|
I often get asked when people look down my list of published books why I wrote a zombie novel? It doesn't seem to fit in with my profile - I've been a vegetarian for over 30 years and a crime writer.
I've written books on compassionate living, bullying due to my bitter experience of it, caring for your dog because of my experience of having rescue dogs all my life and I'd even written comedy books.
How does that fit in with being obsessed with humans who die then come back to life, desperate to devour human flesh?
I'm obsessed to the point of coming up with theories of how an actual zombie apocalypse could start. When I go for walks with my rescue dog I think about where would be the best place to be holed up if the Dead started to roam the earth. How secure would that place be? How would we get food? How would we survive?
|Seeing zombies through the eyes of Rick Grimes|
That's the one thing the zombie genre gives you - pure escapism.
Zombies give me something else to think about other than the problems we all face in our lives - nightmare neighbours, rude and obnoxious people who don't speak to you for 5 years and then out the blue accuse you of something nonsensical, constant worrying about money and the welfare of those we love.
Zombies are my escape from the true horrors of the world - could anyone have imagined a pandemic like the one we are experiencing - and daily existence.
Unlike real life, living humans who don't die and come back to life, with zombies you know where you are - avoid them or if they bite you and you die and then come back as one of them.
If only life were just as simple.
I also love to be scared - when it's a movie, TV show on novel but not in real life. There are enough things to scare you in real life.
I also love exploring how the zombie apocalypse brings out the best and worst in people. I enjoy the way anyone can be redeemed.
And that's one of the other things I enjoy most about the genre - how it explores the best and worst sides of human nature. Nothing shows someone's true colours as much as a zombie apocalypse.
|Nothing shows someone's true colours as much as a zombie apocalypse|
SPOILER ALERT! - Don't read the next bit if you haven't seen the season finale of Fear The Walking Dead.
Just ask Morgan Jones who was thrown into the path of walkers by a so-called ally Victor Strand in Fear The Walking Dead.
If you're interested in checking out my very Scottish zombie novel, here's it is -
One woman rages against the zombie hordes! Check it out here
Or, if you prefer direct links here -
Stay safe everyone.
Tuesday, 4 May 2021
Sunday, 14 March 2021
Elisa's disappearance captivated the world
I watch a lot of true crime documentaries but you have got as under my skin as the mysterious case of Elisa Lam.
Few facts are known about her last hours. This is what is known.
Elisa was a 21-year-old student from Vancouver who travelled to Los Angeles to see America. An avid user of the social website Tumblr here who talked about being bipolar, she found the hotel on the internet and decided that she would stay there.
That decision would lead to her death.
The Hotel Cecil had a dark, dark history of murder, suspicious deaths, overdoses and suicides. It's been said that Night Stalker Richard Ramirez used to stay there and when one night he turned up covered in blood nobody batted an eyelid, such was the regular craziness at the Hotel Cecil.
Some people even believe it's haunted or cursed. Maybe both.
19 days after she went missing, Elisa's lifeless body was found naked in one of the water tanks on the hotel's roof. An autopsy was unable to establish how she died because of the damage the water had wreaked on her body.
After investigating her disappearance, police found hotel footage of Elisa acting erratically both inside and outside the elevator. At one point, she seemed to be talking to people or person's unknown outside the lift. In another, she's frantically pushing the button in the elevator as if desperate to get it to move.
The autopsy was long and drawn out. Ultimately it declared that this was a case of accidental drowning. There were no recreational drugs in her system or asthma.
Here's what I think happened to Elisa Lam. Please note - this is only what I believe happened -
Elisa was scared. Scared of the noise she heard coming through the hotel walls. Scared of the men who tried to hit on her. On her last morning on earth, she came out of her room looking through the keyhole several times to make sure no one was about.
She was in the hallway when she heard someone coming. She frantically jumped in the elevator to avoid them, frantically banging on the lift buttons trying to get the door to close. She made the same mistake many of us make when we're in a hurry and unwittingly pressed the buttons to keep the door open for two minutes instead of the correct ones to close it.
That's when she had a discussion with someone outside the lift. It freaked her out so much - as any interaction would in her highly stressed state - she ran up the stairs to the roof to avoid this person or persons.
When she got to the roof she thought she had evaded them but all she'd managed to do was leave herself with no escape or place to hide.
Then she saw the four water towers that supplied the Cecil Hotel's water. Not wanting to get her clothes wet, she hurriedly took them off and placed them on the edge of the water tank at a point she thought they couldn't be seen.
She climbed into the water tank
She then climbed into the water tank using her fingertips to try and desperately hold on to the top rim and waited for the person to leave. But she misjudged how far away the water was from the hatch or lid and as she tried to frantically keep herself from dropping into the water she accidentally pulled her clothes full in.
One item of clothing was heavy and sunk to the bottom. She went down to retrieve it and that's when she drowned because she couldn't get back out.
Her hiding place became her tomb.
This theory is pure conjecture on my part. We may never know the true story.
I have personal experience of living in the type of sheer terror I believe Elisa suffered in her last hours on earth. I suffer from agoraphobia - defined as the fear of wide, open spaces, to me, it's more about the fear I have of other people.
My agoraphobia was brought on by the extensive bullying I suffered throughout my teens. When I lived alone, I would go into hypervigilance mode and before I stepped outside I would check that the coast was clear. This would involve looking out the window, peering through keyholes, listening at the door for anyone coming. All part of the reconnaissance I would do before I would leave my home/room.
Her story draws you in
What we do know is that the Canadian student who wrote about the difficulties of growing up on Tumblr that she used like a Dear Diary, will never be forgotten. Through reading about her disappearance at the Cecil Hotel and watching the Netflix documentary, we feel as though we have gotten to know and care about her.
Elisa may have perished but she lives on in the minds of everyone who's heard her story and those who've read her amazing words on her blog.
I have no doubt that she would have made an amazing writer. Like so many talented people she died too soon.
Monday, 8 February 2021