Emily sits up straighter, moves her neck from side to side and mimes righting a tie she doesn’t wear. Then she grins.
Emily: Ladies and Gentlemen, my name is Emily and I have a very, very special treat for you this evening — or I suppose whatever time of day you’re reading this. Lucky bastards, by the way, you have no idea how much I miss the internet.
Anyway, I’m a character in a book called After Life Lessons, which is about the journey of yours truly and two other pretty special people. And one of them, I get to interview today.
So, Aaron, why don’t you introduce yourself to these good people?
Aaron: Uh, well, hi. M’Aaron, another character from said book. Former medic for the US Army. Um… fan of baseball?
Emily: Okay, how about age, sign, marital status, favourite Beatles song, that kind of stuff?
Aaron: About 29. I’m a… Pisces, is that right? March 3rd. I’m, uh, not married, and my favorite Beatles song is A Little Help From My Friends. Admittedly, that’s the only one I can remember, though.
Emily nods, then consults an imaginary note pad.
Emily: In the book, you come in as the sweeping hero. Is that a role you would have cast yourself in?
Aaron: *laughs out loud* Sweeping hero? That is not what I woulda thought. I think it was more a lucky chance? For all of us.
Emily: True. I mean lucky, I didn’t shoot you. But still, you’re too modest, Sir. What I meant to ask was… when you’re in a story like this, suddenly tasked with protecting two people, that can’t have been easy and I thought maybe you could tell us a bit about that. In more than 3 short sentences, please.
Aaron: I think, over the years, I’ve spent enough time having to think of other people that it came natural– when you’re in the army, you’re not the only person you gotta remember, gotta protect. As a medic, my entire job was takin’ care of other people. I mean, it was a little different, picking up a girl– sorry, woman– and her kid, but I’ve never thought to do anything else but help. Wouldn’t be me otherwise.
Emily smiles and for a moment forgets about her interview when she reaches for his hand.
Emily: Here’s another question. People ask me this, and I never heard you answer it (which is figure is maybe sexist, or maybe I’m just nosy). When you first met us, what did you think of me?
Aaron: Wow, really? Damn, well… I… You were half-starved and kind of grubby and you… you’re really short, you know? I kinda thought you were a kid at first. Like a street urchin outta Dickens or something.
Emily giggles; it takes her a while to regain her composure.
Emily: Harsh, dude. Fair, but harsh. I mean we can’t all make it through the apocalypse looking all hunky and… stuff. Anyway. Next question, since we’re all honest right now: On a scale of 1 to 10, how frustrated were you with me throughout the book?
Aaron: I think it varies. You’re pretty stubborn, don’t know if you know, so I think I got frustrated with you more than I woulda liked. If we average them together, maybe a 6? I’m real patient, remember?
Emily: I do. No idea how you do it, though. Did you ever think we wouldn’t make it? I mean… either survival-wise or, you know, you and me?
Aaron: I did. A lot of the time, I really thought it was hopeless, that we were just kinda dog-paddling against a rising current. Life, you and me, too. I mean… man, this makes me sound like a dick. I think it was all really scary, and so you’d be an idiot to just be blindly optimistic.
Emily: You never really let it show though. I don’t know, you always seemed so certain.
Aaron: Army training, again. Also, I didn’t want to scare either of you.
Emily: You took on a lot. More than me. I think I still try to make up for that. Here’s one last question: What would you say to people who call me a Damsel in Distress?
Aaron: They obviously aren’t paying attention. I think I didn’t give you enough credit at the beginning, either, but the longer I was around you, the more obvious it was to me you were gonna survive, picked up by me or not. You have that way about you, you know? Like no one can tell you what to do, not even zombies.
Emily: Ha. They had a pretty good try, though. Alright, that’s it for today. Thank you so much for answering my questions, and for sharing them… and… any last words to the people out there?
Aaron: I dunno, I’m not real great at speaking. I guess, just… life’s kinda short, and stuff can go haywire easily. People should do more than they think ‘cause you can lose it outta nowhere.
Laila and L.C. are giving away Emily’s Zombie Survival kit pictured here. Enter via the rafflecopter below the picture.
Hulking shadows emerge out of the chaotic flurries of the blizzard. Something is dying, and so they come, like vultures.
After months of struggling south to escape the zombie-infested remains of New York, a snowstorm traps 23-year old artist, Emily, and her son in an abandoned gas station. Starving and desperate, they encounter Aaron, an Army medic on a mission of his own, who offers them a ride to ease the journey.
The road is a long and dangerous place to travel, and every day brings a new threat. But fear and adrenaline also drive the two closer together; they find laughter and a budding attraction that starts to thaw at their numb and deadened feelings. And that’s when the pain really starts to hit, when places long thought lost prickle back to life. Eventually, they will have to fight not just for survival, but for a future together, or their broken world will swallow them whole.
Available: April 8, 2014
Format: E-book & Paperback (POD)
Genre: Post-Apoc Romance
Tags: Zombies, Survival, Dystopian, Romance, Road Adventure, Family Drama, Love Story, Gender Roles, New Adult, Adult
Warnings: Contains language some might find offensive, some gore and situations of a sexual nature.
LAILA BLAKE & L.C. SPOERING
L.C. and Laila met in 2010 on an online forum and have been inseparable ever since. Having supported each other in their individual writing projects for years, they finally decided to work more closely together in a cross-continental cooperative writing partnership. Together, they host the podcast Lilt and started their micropublishing venture Lilt Literary in 2013.
L.C. (generally known as Lorrie) lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband, kids, and too many pets. Laila is a nerdy German translator, living in Cologne with her kitten and a lot of sparkly lights.