Where are you from?
Born & Raised in San Antonio, Texas (USA)
Do you have a favourite saying?
"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step - old Chinese proverb"
I love this because in all things we do in life, when we are brave enough to try something new, we have to take the first step, and the many little steps necessary in order to succeed. Little changes in our lives eventually turn into big changes down the road. People think they have to great things in life in order to make a difference. I disagree, I believe little things we do can ripple into other people's lives without us even knowing it. A simple smile, thank you, a bigger tip, opening the door all can make a difference.
How long have you been writing?
I started writing my first book - Anica Storm & The Wand of Time in November of 2009 as well as a few other books so for about 4 years now but I've only been self published since Sept 2012.
Where do you get your ideas from?
I am very blessed with imagination and creativity, it's something that comes very naturally and easily for me from as far back as elementary school. I had forgotten to bring a toy for show & tell so when I was called up to the front of class all I had was a pencil that was sharpened all the way down to the eraser. I remember playing it off and saying "this is my favorite toy because its a rocket ship!" For some reason I never forgot that day. As I grew older I discovered my imagination flows freely which helps as an author.
Do your personal experiences affect your writing?
All the time! I write putting myself in the main character's shoes, thinking about what I would do, why, and share my thoughts and feelings based on not only my own experiences but others as well. To me this makes the character more believable and life like.
What is the name of your book?
I'm working on an exciting book/series called SELF-AWARE which is a fresh twist on the popular Zombie genre. In my story, the world just recently went through the Zombie apocalypse (within the last few months) and it starts off with the main character waking up in a body bag.
She's a twenty something year old woman who has a mutated strain (defect) of the Zombie virus that's going around. Instead of her flesh decaying, it's constantly regenerating and looking healthy. She looks, walks, talks like you and me but at her core, she's still a zombie... She still has to feed on another human every 72 hours otherwise she starts to decay and stops regenerating. If she doesn't eat long term, she will become mindless like all other zombies so she's in a tight spot.
So at her core she's a zombie (what i call a ReGen) who looks and easily passes as a human, who must find and befriend other humans who are trying to survive zombies so she can eat them so she herself wont decay into the zombies we know, while trying not to get killed. (Talk about fun right?)
To make it more interesting, she remembers everything and still feels "human" so she's constantly struggling with not only herself but the world she's in. The reader follows her as a new Zombie and gets to experience what it's like through the eyes of a zombie who is struggling to hold onto her humanity.
Early beta-readers are loving this and i'm loving it too because its fun to write. Yes there's everything diehard zombie readers want in it as well as some original ideas.
I'm making this both as a series and a book, with Episode One coming this Summer. Then every two weeks another episode will come out on Fridays. Then when they are all out, I'll combine them into a book and plan on reading it/releasing it as an audio book as well.
EXCLUSIVE LOOK at SELF-AWARE by Steven Wolff
CHAPTER 4 MMMMM, BRAINS
Inside the classroom are long brown tables with chairs tucked underneath. At the very front of the class on the front row is a woman with red hair, lying motionless and completely naked. There are several sharp knives lying beside her like someone had placed a table. Stephanie & Britney walk into the classroom where they see Valerie standing on the teacher's side of the table.
“What is this?” Britney asks confused.
“Breakfast!” Valerie smiles.
“She looks like one of the students here at PSU.”
“Oh, she is. I found her in the restroom this morning. That’s where I usually nab them.”
“You mean you wait for them to use the restrooms and then you kidnap them?”
“Pretty smart huh?”
They walk up to the table and look down at the naked student. She’s still alive; the only thing moving besides her chest rising and falling is her eyes, which communicate terror. Valerie takes a strip of duct tape and rips off a foot-long piece which she then places over the student’s eyes, pressing firmly to keep them from opening.
“Why isn’t she trying to leave?”
“Because I paralyzed her.”
“I paralyzed her! What part do you not understand?”
“Oh, I don’t know, maybe the part as to WHY you would you do that?”
“Think about it… If you’re gonna eat someone, wouldn't you want the meat to be nice and warm instead of cold or room temperature?”
Both Britney and Stephanie wince.
“Still not comfortable with eating humans yet, are you? You'll get used to it. I paralyzed her by delivering a blow to the back of the next on the 6th vertebrae. This paralyzes from the neck down so when I cut into them, they don’t feel it.” Valerie said.
“Where did you learn that?” Stephanie asked.
“One of the medical books I found in the library. During the early days of the Zombie apocalypse, I stayed put in the library and was bored out of my mind. The Internet and TV stations went blank towards the end of 2012. Power fluctuations became a hassle with surfing the web and watching TV so I started to read instead. I've learned a lot, most of it useless. I studied anatomy back when I attended school here, before the outbreak.”
“What was your major?”
“Criminal Forensics. I grew up watching a lot of CSI.”
“So what did your anatomy class teach you about paralyzed naked girls?” Britney asked.
“Well, it taught me which parts are okay to eat and which parts are not.”
“No, it wasn't a class on cannibalism but I learned enough to save you both time and effort. For example, you can eat any of the muscle, the liver, the heart but believe it or not, the best part is the brains!”
“How did I know you were going to say that?” Stephanie asked.
“It’s true! Here help me with this.” Valerie reaches down and grabs a machete. She draws back and chops the machete forcefully down right on the forehead, wedging it halfway in. Stephanie turned away, grossed out.
“Come over here and hold the handle nice and tight, please.” Valerie instructs Stephanie who really didn't want to be part of this. Valerie grabs a handheld sledgehammer and uses the flat side of hammer to push the machete clean through the skull. The skullcap with the hair and half of the brains falls onto the table, facing up. The other half of the brain is still attached by the optic nerves, dangling out. Britney tries to throw up but can't she’s disgusted. Valerie gives them a moment to process it as they aren't used to seeing someone chopped open.
“If anyone said you're not human, this is proof they’re wrong. EVERYBODY squirms the first time in anatomy class.”
“Yes, but they don't eat the test subject.” Britney protested.
Valerie took a fork and knife and cut a bite size piece of brain.
“Here, try this, you’ll love it.”
Stephanie and Britney winced and declined so Valerie put it in her mouth and started to chew on it.
“Mmmmm! So good and still warm too!” Valerie says as she cuts another piece and eats it too. “Oh my gosh… you’ve got to try this.”
“Uh, NO.” Stephanie protested.
“How about you Britney? Want a bite?”
“I told you already, I’m a vegetarian.”
“No, you’re a Zombie who’s self-aware. You’re not alive anymore. This is what we eat in order to sustain us.”
“Tell you what. If I find a vegetarian, I’ll bag them and bring them just for you. Maybe you’ll be able to taste the vitamins and minerals in their muscles. So it’s kinda like eating vegetarian. Maybe they will taste different.”
“I don’t know, I think I rather die.” Britney said sticking to her guns.
“I’m with you Britney, I don’t know if I can eat another human.”
“Look, if you've ever eaten a hamburger, you've eaten something that once was alive. This is no different.”
“But it is different. This is someone’s daughter or son, husband or wife.” Stephanie argued.
“This is SURVIVAL. It’s one thing if we had a choice to eat beans and rice but normal people food doesn’t sustain the virus that keeps us alive. Do you want to be like those creatures, roaming around mindless? Eventually you're going to kill other humans so you might as well pick the ones you want to live and the ones you want to eat.”
“One bite. Try it, I promise you'll love it.” Valerie slices a tiny piece of brain matter and balances it on a fork. “Close your eyes and pretend its something else.”
Britney passes on it. Stephanie closes her eyes and takes a bite, not very thrilled about it. Several seconds later Stephanie opens her eyes in shock.
“Oh my god, that is good!!!” Stephanie says.
“Any part that is muscle you can also eat like steak. Avoid the fatty parts and you’ll be good to go. Personally I like leg muscles.” Valerie says, cutting a piece off and chewing on it. “Mmmmmmm”
“You’re just trying to get me to try it, I’m not buying it.” Britney protests.
“Want another piece of brain, or leg?”
Stephanie points to the brain. Valerie turns the fork over and stabs a piece onto the fork and hands it over. Stephanie closes her eyes and opens her mouth.
“Wow, I never thought I would be loving the taste of human brains. It’s got a little tingly taste to it, kinda like Pop-rocks!”
“That’s the residual neurons firing on your taste buds!”
Britney covers her ears with both hands. “I’m not listening. La la la la”
~ ~ ~
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