by Jay Wilburn
Jay Wilburn: Thanks for having me over. It was hard to see your house for all the corn and those creepy children. Tell everyone your name.
Brent Abell: Brent Abell. Why are you calling my children creepy?
Jay: Not the kids in the house. The ones in the corn with the glowing eyes.
Abell: Oh, them? Yeah, they’re the worst. They’re always creeping around my cornfield lawn no matter how many times I yell at them. *Draws the shades leaving Indiana outside for the moment*
Jay: So, what is your latest book?
Jay: Describe the book as if it is a headline about today’s politics.
Abell: The Confederate Army continues their bold plan to defeat the North by raising a larger zombie army to lay siege on Washington D.C. Only the surviving members of the Sword, who have gone off to live their lives in peace, can bring the reignited Civil War to its end.
Jay: Chilling … How do history and zombies play together for you in trying to construct this particular story?
Abell: I used history as framework and expanded around the real events. Most zombie fiction takes place in the current day or in the near future after the world has gone to hell and I wanted to use a different angle. I used real events to frame my story of brotherhood-in-arms, sacrifice, and how fictional events could have influenced historical events. For instance, the person behind the Lincoln assassination in the end of the first book is not a real person, but their actions lead to how the real event went down. It is an interesting meld of fictional and real that was fun to write and I hope to read.
Jay: Where does this book fit into the arc of the series?
Abell: Reconstruction of the Dead is the middle chapter of the Southern Devils trilogy. The Second American Civil War is ignited and a large zombie army is marching on Washington D.C. The book wraps up some threads from the first book and is a darker act in the story arc. There are seeds planted for a universe expansion and it also lays the groundwork for the total war the last book will be. A few moments and events in the new book caused pre-readers to be upset with me. It is okay with me they did because it means they became emotionally invested in the characters.
Jay: Give us an idea of where this is headed.
Abell: When the first books ends, the Civil War has ended and the members of the Sword have returned to their families. Lincoln is dead and the government is preparing to begin a reconstruction program in the defeated southern states. Those events are ripped from the history books, but there are things I placed in to give the real history a little zombie kick. When the second book opens, we get a small glimpse into the political angle going on between the north and south in the shadows. The north is ready for the south to surrender and hand over all knowledge about the reanimate zombie creatures, but the south has a different idea. This book sets in motion the events leading up the siege of Washington D.C. which is the main arc of the third and final book. I did, however, leave a few breadcrumbs to expand the series into other times and places. The idea to expand came from a reader who wanted me to do the reanimate treatment on the Revolutionary War.
Jay: You’re messing with history. This book needs a warning label. What is it?
Abell: Warning: May make you question the past.
Jay: What do you want readers to take away from this?
Abell: I want readers to take away the price and ideals people will sacrifice for they view as the common good or to advance their beliefs. They should also question the history books and what they were taught in school, because the truth might be something else entirely.
Brent: Thanks. *Picks up a Wonder Woman blanket and tosses it to the other end of the couch before turning on an episode of Catfish*
Jay: It can’t be. How is that back in the United States?
Brent: Catfish? It’s an addictive show. Armand got me hooked on it.
Jay: No, the … blanket.
Brent: Jack Wallen sent it to me. It makes me itch though.
Jay: *Slips out the door and vanishes into the endless rows of corn*