Welcome to my stop in 2014 Debut Authors Bash organised by YA Reads! This is my first time to be part-of something big in the blogging community, much less in the book blogging community, so I’m really excited and pumped for this tour! Today, I have Adam Gallardo to talk about his experience with writing and his journey to publication. Scroll, my friends!
Adam Gallardo on Zomburbia.
Hi, I’m Adam Gallardo, author of a few comic books, and of the debut YA novel, Zomburbia. And I’d like to thank Miguel for allowing me to scribble all over their page.
As you may have guessed, my book has something to do with zombies. Something I’ve been asked because of this has been whether or not I’m wording about releasing another zombie novel into a seemingly crowded market. And I understand the question, I really do, and it is something I have worried about. If zombies are a wave, then at some point it has to crest, right?
The short answer is, yes, that is something that’s concerned me. I don’t want to appear to be jumping on to the latest literary trend. Some sort of undead Johnny-come-lately. The longer answer, however, is that I tried not to write this novel, but it wouldn’t leave me alone.
About five years ago I got the idea for what I thought would be a nifty comics mini-series (I mentioned that I wrote comics, right?) and started pitching it to a few people. When I sat down to write the outline, however, it didn’t come out as I’d intended. I started to write in the main character’s, Courtney’s voice. And I knew that it wouldn’t be a comic. It was begging to be a novel.
Around this time, I’d been put in touch with an agent. She was interested in my comics work, and I was in the middle of a novel she wanted to look at (a different novel than Zomburbia). When we were on the phone, I told her about this new novel I was very excited to write. I loved the voice of the narrator, I knew the story and what it all meant. She said to send her what I had. I sent her the first chapter and waited for her to get back to, demanding to represent the novel.
She got back to me, but she didn’t like what I’d written. She told me that by the time I was done with the manuscript, zombies would be a fad whose time had passed. That stung, but I think I’d half suspected that was the case even before she’d said it. So I put the chapter in a drawer and tried to concentrate on something she wanted me to write, something she knew she could sell.
But here’s the thing: Zomburbia wouldn’t stay dead. For the next year-and-a-half or so I tried to write other things – comics, that other novel I mentioned, the project the agent wanted. None of it gelled and none of it kept my mind off the I-thought-unsellable zombie novel I had saved on my hard drive (I know I said drawer earlier, but I was being metaphorical).
So one day I opened up the Zomburbia word file and started to read it. It was as good as I remembered – which is odd because I never think my stuff is good. I decided then and there that I would finish writing it. I didn’t care what anyone else thought of it, I didn’t care if the bottom dropped out of the zombie market and it never sold, and I didn’t care if people accused me of trying to cash in on a well-established trend. I’d write it because I wanted to write it, because I’d wanted to write it for a long time.
And now here we are. Zomburbia got finished, attracted an agent and found a publisher. Whether or not it finds an audience is a different matter, but at this point I’ve done everything I can to get it out into the world. Oh, and its sequel is already written and has been accepted by the publisher. Zombified is slated for release in January of 2015.
If there’s a moral to this story, it’s this: write what you want, when you want. Don’t listen to anyone else about what you should be writing – listen to yourself. And then write it.
Because if you don’t, those unwritten projects will haunt you. And writing’s already hard enough without the added regret.
Thanks for reading, provided you made it this far.
My name is Courtney Hart, and I’m here to tell you about things that suck. Being born in a podunk town like Salem, Oregon, for one. Living in a world infested with zombies? That, too. And the meat heads I go to school with? I think I’d actually take the undead over them most days. But I have a plan to get out of here and move to New York. I just have to keep selling Vitamin Z along with your fries at The Bully Burger. The secret ingredient? Zombie brains.
I’ve noticed things are getting even worse lately, if that’s even possible. The zombies seem to be getting smarter and faster. If I can avoid being arrested, eaten by shufflers, or catching the eye of some stupid boy, I should be able to make it through finals week still breathing. . .