Apocalyptica: Book One of Ran / by Josh Guess

That's the cover for Apocalyptica, the first volume of what I intend to be my main series once I finish The Fall with book six. It's exclusive to Kindle and Kindle Unlimited, and it's the most fun I've ever had writing a book.

I don't want to spoil anything, but I do want to say a little something about it, the genesis of the book, and why I love it so much.

Before I wrote Victim Zero back in 2013, I had this idea for an end-of-the-world scenario where the lines between living and undead were much more blurry. In the middle of this situation was a woman. She came to my mind not fully formed, but I knew the broad outlines of her. I didn't have to construct her the way I have many of my other characters. I knew how she'd react and the sort of things she'd say, even if I didn't yet know the specifics.

Turns out her name was Ran Lawson, because she thinks her legal name, Randie, should be reserved for strippers.

Ran is the sort of leading lady I've always wanted to see in a post-apocalyptic novel but never run across. She has a Mysterious Past™ that gets explained throughout the course of the book. She's part pastiche and part homage to the many women in my life who have inspired me, from my friend Sarah's indomitably stubborn will, to my mom's brilliant ability to absorb and connect facts, to my wife Jessica's almost suicidal work ethic.

Ran is smart and flawed and funny and honestly a little weird. It even came as a surprise to me as I was writing her that she could be simultaneously outspoken and deeply insecure.

And with this series, named for her, I'm leaving behind the constraints of the genre. I'm exploring at least half a dozen ways the virus affects people, from creating your standard zombies to leaving people alive but fundamentally altered into something less (or more) than human. I've written a lot of survival stuff, and there will be elements of that. I've written a lot of fights and battles, and there will certainly be more of those.

But Ran will touch a lot of new territory for me. One book in the series will be a heist book, just one set with the zombie apocalypse as its background. Another will be a kidnap thriller. I'm leaving it as an open-ended series because the overall story, the larger arc, is Ran herself. I look forward to the freedom to expand on the many small things I've included in this first book as potential stories of their own. I've laced a lot them into the narrative to give them space to grow.

I hope you pick it up here, if you haven't already, and I hope you like it. If you do, leave a review and totally feel free to rave about it to your friends. Without your support, I don't have the privilege of doing this job.

I think you'll like it. In fact, I think if you've enjoyed Living With the Dead or The Fall, you'll love it to pieces.

Only one way to find out.