OMG! What a fun little read! As a fan of dry, British humor and zombies, this novella is the perfect read for me!
As always, I appreciate a unique zombie tale and as a huge fan of the movie Shaun of the Dead, this novella was a real treat.
The Old Man at the End of the World: Bite 1 (Release Date: February 16, 2017) 68 pgs
Gerald Stockwell-Poulter couldn’t help but feel it was extraordinary just how quickly his life had changed. One moment he was earthing up leeks in the West Sussex sunshine and the next he was rooted to the spot as Rodney Timmins from the end allotment ambled towards him, arms outstretched, blood pouring from a hole in his neck and a look in his eye which suggested that he was less after help and more after a helping of Gerald.
Now, as Gerald’s life takes a quick turn for the worse, he must do things he has never done before. After 87 largely well-behaved years as a model citizen, less than four hours into the ‘zompocalypse’ and he has already killed a neighbour, rescued a moody millennial drug dealer and forged an unlikely allegiance with a giant ginger Scotsman. And it isn’t even tea time.
Join Gerald as he and his newfound allies navigate the post-apocalyptic English countryside in their hilarious bid to stay off the menu.
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Just like Shaun from the movie, Gerald’s motivation to survive, is a nice cup of tea at the end of the day. Once he learns of the zombie apocalypse from his allotment neighbour, a hulking Scottish man, his goal is to make it home. Of course, zombie action ensues, making it nearly impossible to achieve said goal. But, he can practically hear his kettle whistling, so Gerald and a motley crew of survivors (Including a drug-dealing millennial), make the perilous journey home.
Ak Silversmith makes what should be a horrific nightmare, funny and just a little bit silly. The sheer British-ness of it all is hilarious, and her terrific writing, wit, and comedic timing, made me wish there was more. 68 pages was not enough! I loved Gerald and I’d like to tell you what makes him so great, but that would reveal far too much. You’ll just have to read it yourself.
I really look forward to reading Bite 2, which is already in the works. I highly recommend this fun little book. Even if you aren’t a fan of horror, I think you will appreciate The Old Man at the End of the World.
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Q & A with AK Silversmith
Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Bite No.1: The Old Man at the End of the World is my first fictional work; I love humorous zombie stories and wanted to add a UK-based offering with a unique protagonist to the genre. I am currently editing Bite No. 2, it will be ‘bite sized’ also (20,000 words) – I have noticed that more and more readers are looking for novellas and ‘short reads’ and that they enjoy installments of longer speculative fiction (without cliffhanger endings).
I love dystopian/apocalyptic fiction and really enjoy reading the wildly variable scenarios that indie authors come up with – there are some wonderful offerings out there.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Bite No. 1: The Old Man at the End of the World was inspired by a recent visit to an allotment in West Sussex, England. It was mid-summer, the weather was glorious and nothing could be further from most people’s minds than a potential zombie apocalypse. However… as a zombie fan… of course, such an event did cross my mind.
I chatted to one of gentlemen in the allotment who was tending to his leeks and, voila – the idea of an older protagonist was born [note: 87-year old Gerald Stockwell-Poulter is not based on any real person etc…]. Throw in Hamilton (the giant ginger Scotsman) and Finnbar Phipps (a moody millennial) and I felt that I had a quirky, unlikely crew to mash together in a survival situation.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Haha, that’s a very personal question!
I certainly have writing habits that I need to break – re-writing sentences immediately after they’ve hit the page, fiddling with adjectives, consulting the thesaurus when I should just be muddling on. It is such an interesting experience to sit down and write fiction. With non-fiction, I outline the necessary content of an article and just get to it, but with fiction your mind wanders and the possibilities are endless. The biggest challenge is the follow the path you’ve set out for yourself.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I read a lot of authors who have NOT influenced The Old Man at the End of the World and my satirical writing (ie. I do love literary fiction but would never dream of writing it). Margaret Atwood, Hilary Mantel, Anne Patchett and Tim Winton are my favourite writers.
However, genre fiction is a totally different kettle of fish – not better or worse, just different. The apocalyptic genre is filled to the brim with great contemporary genre-writers – Frank Tayell, Diana Rowland, Max Brooks, S.G Brown, Colin Drysdale and Adrian J. Walker to name a few. I also love classic post-apocalyptic fiction; John Wyndham, John Christopher, J.G. Ballard, Nevil Shute, Jerry Pournelle and Jack London for example.
What are you working on now?
Bite No.2: The Old Man at the End of the World is currently undergoing editing. I do hope that people will want to read more of the protagonist, Gerald Stockwell-Pouter and his unlikely companions, Hamilton Montgomery and Finnbar Phipps.
What is your best method, when it comes to promoting your books?
Can I get back to you when I’ve sold more than seven books? Read my Opposite of Going Viral post for some brutal honesty.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Again, watch this space! I am wholly unqualified to give advice to new authors but will be delighted to help out when The Old Man at the End of the World series finds its feet.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Stephen King’s reference to minimising the influence of the ‘glass teat’ in your life is priceless. I certainly subscribe to that.
Also, Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down The Bones is solid gold for anyone who is having trouble putting pen to paper. Just write something, anything!
What are you reading now?
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I need to figure out how to get people to read my books – oh, and write some more of them.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
I think it would be smart to include a few practical skills books (SAS Survival Guide, anyone?).
But, if we were to assume that the survival aspect of island life was taken care of (!) then I would pack:
1) The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, so that I could continually read the magical scene about the Cemetery of Forgotten Books
2) I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith, because I can never get enough of the runaway bear coat scene and I figure you’d need a good belly-laugh when stranded on a desert island.
3) Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel; how did someone tell this well-known history in such a dramatically new light. I learn something every time I read them. I’m going to cheat and count these as one.
4) The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. It’s nectar.
Source: AK Silversmith
About the Author
AK Silversmith is the author of The Old Man at the End of the World; a series of zombie apocalypse Bites centering on the world of 87-year-old Gerald Stockwell-Poulter.
Bite 2 is coming soon…
She was born in Tasmania in 1983 and now lives in western Ireland where the weather is similar but the zombies are still absent.
Visit her on her website and on Twitter