Jill Elaine Hughes Guest Post
I work full-time as a freelance journalist, and I also have 2 kids, so sometimes writing a novel is something I have to do on the sly. That was certainly the case with ZOMBIE, INCORPORATED. It began its life as a short story that my former literary agent asked me to write for inclusion in a Zombie Romance anthology she was pitching to editors at the time. The anthology sold to a major publishing house, but my story didn’t make the cut. So it just sort of lived a lonely life on my hard drive for a while. I later switched agents, and my new agent encouraged me to expand the short story into three chapters and a book proposal/outline. I did that, but then the “market shifted,” (her words, not mine) and the book proposal didn’t go anywhere. Apparently the main problem with my book idea was the fact that the heroine of the story was 18 and ran into zombies on her first real job out in the adult world. No publishers were buying that sort of zombie story, or so I was told—they wanted big muscular manly heroes, and machine guns, and violent dystopia. That wasn’t my game. So back on the hard drive the manuscript went.
But I was still very attached to my heroine, and my idea for a zombie book that would resonate with readers aged 18-24 who were themselves just starting to make their way in the adult world, and who were probably surprised how different being an adult really is from everything we’re told to expect. I just couldn’t let the idea go. So little by little over a period of about a year, I worked on the book and let the story unfold. I told friends I was having an affair with this book—I had to sneak around between other writing deadlines, dinner with my husband, and taking care of my kids to find time to spend with it—usually an hour or two before bed, maybe twenty minutes over lunch. (Occasionally we’d get a weekend together.) But the book and characters grew and blossomed, and brought me joy. And yet, when the book was finished and I sent it to my new agent, it sat in her queue unread for almost another year.
Why? Same old reason as before—it “didn’t fit any genre.”
Enter the reader-driven New Adult movement and easy self-publishing for the Kindle and other ebook formats. An entire generation of readers who grew up on Harry Potter and Twilight are now new adults, and they’re demanding something to read that fits their tastes. Publishers don’t offer it, but writers do. So one day, I woke up and decided to just put ZOMBIE, INCORPORATED out into the world. My agent actually encouraged me to. And so, here we are. Hello, world! I hope you enjoy this book that I wrote in secret, and built a relationship with, this little book that I could just never give up on!
Information about the Book & Author
ZOMBIE, INCORPORATED: A Katie Allred Novel.
TWILIGHT, but with zombies. No, seriously, it’s an original story. A New Adult zombie adventure fantasy. Book One of the Special Agent Zombie trilogy.
Chicago-based journalist and author Jill Elaine Hughes recently self-published her novel, ZOMBIE, INCORPORATED, a lighthearted-yet-sinister New Adult paranormal adventure fantasy that puts a new spin on the Zombie Apocalypse genre.
A longtime professional journalist and author and a Dayton, OH native, Hughes has written for the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader, New Art Examiner, the Washington Post, and many other publications and corporate media clients, and she has also published multiple erotica novels under the pen names “Jamaica Layne” and “Jay E. Hughes” with commercial publishers like Ellora’s Cave. One of Hughes’ other New Adult novels, TEMPLAND, is currently among the Top 25 bestselling Coming of Age novels on Amazon.com, alongside other recent breakout titles in the genre like LOSING IT by Cora Carmack and WRECK ME by J.L. Mack.
ZOMBIE, INCORPORATED Summary:
Eighteen-year-old Katie Allred is socially awkward and unpopular at school. The only child of parents who had her right out of high school, Katie is herself about to leave the nest, even though she hardly feels ready.
Katie’s new after-school job at the Zimble Box Corporation draws her into the complex social strata of high school cliques and backstabbing friends in ways she never imagined. Katie soon discovers there’s something very strange about the “in” crowd at school—and about her employer, too. Shortly after starting her new job, the Contagion breaks out, plunging her town and the entire nation into chaos as zombie shadow forces come out into the open, ravaging the streets. Katie goes into hiding and her parents disappear, along with almost everyone else she knows.
But Katie soon discovers she has special powers that help her survive. She’s a Beacon, someone with the innate ability to help zombies produce children. It’s a power her employer — and what little remains of the U.S. government — both want to exploit for their own ends. Not only that, it runs in her family—which has a secret past Katie never knew about until now.
Enter Agent Morehouse of the FBI Special Zombie Control Unit. A reformed zombie working undercover, he suppresses his urge to eat human flesh in order to serve and save humanity. But Agent Morehouse can’t help but be attracted to a Beacon like Katie, and she to him. Even as they fight zombies the world over, they must fight their intense attraction to each other, hoping to keep Katie from suffering Agent Morehouse’s terrible zombie fate.
About the Author:
After many years of writing professionally and commercially publishing novels under pseudonyms, Ms. Hughes self-published ZOMBIE, INCORPORATED and two other other New Adult novels (TEMPLAND and DOMINO) under her own name given the current boom in self-published New Adult fiction. In addition to her fiction and journalism pursuits, Ms. Hughes is also a playwright whose works have been staged in New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Australia, and the United Kingdom, as well as high schools and colleges throughout the United States. Like her New Adult fiction, her plays also appeal to the youth and student markets.
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JILL HAS OFFERED ONE E-COPY OF WINNER’S CHOICE IN FORMAT OF ZOMBIE, INCORPORATED FOR GIVEAWAY! TO ENTER THIS GIVEAWAY, ASK JILL A QUESTION. IT CAN BE ABOUT HER BOOKS, WRITING…OR ANYTHING THAT MAKES YOU CURIOUS.