Joe McKinney is the contributor for this week’s Take Five, a semi-weekly series where we ask authors to share five facts about their latest books. McKinney’s latest book is Apocalypse of the Dead, a sequel to 2006’s Dead City:
Two hellish years. That’s how long it’s been since the hurricanes flooded the Gulf Coast, and the dead rose up from the ruins. The cities were quarantined; the infected, contained. Any unlucky survivors were left to fend for themselves. One boatload of refugees manages to make it out alive – but one passenger carries the virus. Within weeks, the zombie epidemic spreads across the globe. Now, retired U.S. Marshal Ed Moore must lead a group of strangers to safety, searching for sanctuary from the dead. In the North Dakota Grasslands, bands of survivors converge upon a single outpost. Run by a self-appointed preacher of fierce conviction – and frightening beliefs – it may be humanity’s only hope. But Ed Moore and the others refuse to enter a suicide pact. They’d rather stand and fight in the final battle against the zombies.
1. Joe McKinney logged over one hundred and thirty hours of flight time in police helicopters to write the opening chapter of Apocalypse of the Dead.
2. The character of Jasper Sewell is based on nearly two years of research into cults growing out of the Southern Methodist and Baptist traditions, with special attention given to Jim Jones and the events leading up to the tragic mass suicide at Jonestown.
3. Each of the four books in the Dead World series, of which Apocalypse of the Dead is the second offering, were written as stand alone novels linked by a common universe. All four are heavily influenced by the author’s real life experience as a disaster mitigation specialist for the San Antonio Police Department.
4. Michael Barnes, one of the characters in Apocalypse of the Dead, relates the first recorded zombie encounter in the Dead World series. This encounter takes place in the flooded ruins of Clear Lake City, Texas, where Joe McKinney grew up. To add a touch of realism to the scene, McKinney consulted family photographs from the summer of 1983, when Hurricane Alicia nearly carried his entire subdivision out to sea.
5. Joe McKinney writes all his first drafts out with a ball point pen on notebook paper. Tina, his wife, once bought him a climate-controlled cabinet to store the handwritten manuscripts, but he elected to fill the cabinet with cigars instead.