Tribes of Decay
by Michael W. Garza
Publisher: Severed Press
Publication Date: January 31, 2016
Genre: Horror / Zombie Apocalypse
Our world decayed and a new world arose from the ashes of the old.
The remains of the human race cling to life decades after a decimating global plague. The infected hunt the living as the dead roam abandoned streets craving the taste of flesh. Mia and Rowan hoped to carve out a life for themselves in an apocalyptic wasteland, but fate had other plans. They’re forced to leave behind the relative safety of their home after a chance encounter challenges everything they’ve ever known.
Evolution always finds a way…
A terrible silence fell over the open space. Mia scanned the lot from one line of the dead at the end of the street to the opposing line. The first of the infected stepped out into the light, but they didn’t rush after her nor did they let out their dreadful cries. Several pale-skinned figures walked calmly to the edge of the lot. The sight of their self-control was unlike anything Mia had ever seen, and it was more horrible than she could have imagined. The group looked at her, their hate-filled eyes unnaturally wide. Most of their limbs jerked and twitched sporadically, fighting to contain themselves.
The shadows between the buildings shifted as more and more figures pushed in behind the first. Mia gasped, trying desperately to keep her wits about her. She could feel the panic working its way into her heart as her hands shook beyond her control. A central figure stepped away from the group of infected and started across the lot. The dead along the road never moved, not even when the first few yelps of devilish desire called out from the shadows.
It was a woman, her open shirt revealing her breasts. Patches of violet dotted her neck and face in between the dark lines beneath her skin. The woman reached the center of the parking lot and came to a stop. Her wild eyes ran the length of Mia from her feet to her head, her arms shuddering erratically every few seconds. The stare off lasted too long for Mia’s nerves. Her response rang out before her mind could process what she was saying.
“Just eat me already.”
The words echoed across the open space, startling the onlookers. The spur was enough to get them to move. The shadows erupted in a brutal howl and the masses of undead started forward from opposite ends of the street as the crowd of infected burst into action. Mia felt her heart seize up in her chest, but her eyes remained glued on the mob. The infected woman never moved, not even when the snarling crowd barreled passed her. Mia’s mind froze, unable to process what was about to happen. The last thing she expected was someone to call out her name.
Q&A with the Author
1) Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I grew up in a military family and had the opportunity to live all over the world. My imagination was shaped by countless trips and adventures throughout unique countries that most people only get the chance to read about. I followed in my father’s footsteps, joining the military out of high school. I finished my formal education while in the service and settled into a career in the aerospace industry.
2) Where and when did your writing journey begin?
Writing has been an escape for me as far back as I can remember. I wrote my first “book” in the third grade and I’ve been at it ever since. I never took the idea of actually publishing something very serious. I’ve always enjoyed the creation process and I figured the moment it turns into a job for me will be the last time I do it. In my teens and early twenties the excitement came from world building and the satisfaction of being able to show other people what I’d created. The more I grew as a writer the more my satisfaction came from developing characters and watching them become living, breathing people.
3) Who are your favorite authors and how have they influenced your writing?
I grew up on Tolkien and Lovecraft and for me there’s nothing better. It’s hard for me to take one over the other because in my opinion they are so incredibly different and incredibly similar at the same time. Their ability to paint a picture is beyond anyone else I’ve ever read. It’s difficult for me to imagine fantasy without Tolkien’s influence and I would say the exact same for Lovecraft and horror. I would never dare to compare myself or my writing to their work, but I see their influence in everything I do.
4) What does a typical day in your life look like? And how does your writing routine fit into your day?
I have young kids so outside of a typical work day, all of my free time normally revolves around my children. Between sports and everything else, there’s usually only a little me time to go around. I manage to fit in writing wherever I can. I know conventional wisdom says to set aside a specific time for your writing and stick with it, but that’s never worked for me. Most of my writing happens either early in the morning before the kids get up or late at night when they’re already in bed.
5) How did you come up with the idea for your novel?
I’ve been working through the life cycle of this story for quite some time. I’ve never been particularly interested in conventional sequels. I’m much more intrigued by the idea of a story leaping forward in time from book to book so the reader gets a chance to see the true impacts of what has happened in your fiction world/timeline. The Decaying World Saga is very much written in that way. The original concept started with the question, “what would parents do if they discovered their child was brought back from the dead?” That question led to a series of disturbing answers that turned into The Hand That Feeds. The story has continued to evolve from there.
6) What do you think sets your novel apart from others current on the shelves?
I think it’s the point of view on the genera that really sets Tribes of Decay apart. The book takes place nearly 70 years after the initial run of the infection and the world is a very different place. I’ve had a number of early reviewers tell me the story has a fantasy feel to it. I’m not trying to write a horror or fantasy novel, I’m trying to tell a story. I don’t let the idea of any one genera get in the way of a good story with interesting characters, and a believable plot.
7) Which character in your book is your favorite and how much of yourself is reflected in that character?
Mia and none. That sounds much simpler than it really is. She’s a fiery character and someone whose personality can stand on its own against anyone. The truth is I originally formed the idea of Mia through my daughter and she grew from there.
8) Which scenes in your book did you have the most fun writing?
Action is always fun. No one has ever read one of my books and said that it was too slow. I always make sure the pace of the story is one that keeps you moving along. As a reader, I never want to ask myself “how many pages are left in this chapter?” and I don’t want readers of my books to either. There are a number of action sequences in Tribes of Decay that will keep you on the edge of your seat and all of them were a lot of fun to write.
9) What do you hope for your readers to take away after reading your book?
That they can see it happening. I want the characters and the story to be strong enough to pull a reader in. If a book can’t make you forget that you’re sitting on the couch in your living room than I would call that unsuccessful. Ultimately, I want to be able to provide an escape for everyone who picks up my books.
10) What are your hopes for this novel?
That’s a tough question for me. I’ve never had any real interest in pursuing writing beyond the hobby that it is for me. I want people to enjoy what they read and I want them to enjoy it enough that they trust me to get my next book. When I see people read more than one of my books I know I’ve done something right. That’s plenty for me.
11) What do you have in store next for your readers?
I’m always writing so my “next” big thing seems to change from week to week. The second book in The Decaying World Saga is already in the second edit. I’m hopeful to have it through the process and ready for the publisher by the end of the year. As a slight curve ball I’m also in talks with another publisher about releasing a YA series I started writing years ago, so I’m sure I’ll be pretty busy in 2016.
About the Author
Michael W. Garza often finds himself wondering where his inspiration will come from next and in what form his imagination will bring it to life. The outcomes regularly surprise him and it’s always his ambition to amaze those curious enough to follow him and take in those results. He hopes that everyone will find something that frightens, surprises, or simply astonishes them.
Thunderclap Campaign for the book: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/36214-tribes-of-decay