Published by: Booktrope Publishing
Publication date: October 27th 2015
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult, Zombies
Seventeen-year-old Krista must quickly figure out how she’s going to survive in the zombie-destroyed world. The one advantage humans have is that the zombies hate humid environments, so they’re migrating west to escape its deteriorating effects. The survivors plan to construct a wall at North Platte to keep the undead out, and Krista has come to Nebraska to start a new life.
Zombies aren’t the only creatures she has to be cautious of—the other survivors have a dark side. Krista must fight not only to live but also to defend everything she holds dear—her country, her freedom, and ultimately, those she loves.
Join Krista in her quest to survive in this thrilling apocalyptic novel by Pembroke Sinclair.
Life After the Undead by Pembroke Sinclair
I will never understand peoples’ fascination with the apocalypse. Why would you waste so much time and energy worrying about something you can’t change? Besides, most of the time, it never comes to fruition, anyway. Remember Y2K? I don’t. I was too young, but I’ve heard stories. What a hullabaloo that was. People were so afraid of computers failing and throwing society back into the Dark Ages, they stockpiled supplies and moved into the wilderness so they could get away from technology. Why would they move to the wilderness? If technology was going to fail, wouldn’t they be just as safe in a city? I guess they were afraid when it did, everyone would go crazy and start killing each other. Either way, it didn’t happen. I wonder how those people felt afterward.
Then there was the whole 2012 scare. This one was supposedly based on an ancient prediction, so you know it was reliable. Are you kidding? Even the Mayans didn’t believe their own ancestors’ “vision.” What happened was there had been a tablet that had the Mayan calendar carved into it. The end was broken and faded, so no one knew what it said. Our culture, being the pessimistic lot we are, automatically assumed it was an end-of-the-world warning, but, again, nothing happened on December 21, 2012. Christmas came and went, and I think everyone everywhere, even the skeptics, had a little something more to be thankful for. Life went on as usual, and all those doomsayers faded into obscurity.
The day the world did end was pretty nondescript. By that I mean there was no nuclear explosion or asteroid or monumental natural disaster. There weren’t even any horsemen or plagues to announce the end was coming. The world ended fairly quietly. I couldn’t even give you a date because it happened at different times depending on where you were. It was never predicted, and I’m sure a scenario no one even considered. Who really thinks the dead are going to rise from the grave and destroy the majority of the population? No one but Hollywood, and we all know those are just movies, but that’s exactly what happened. Those of us who survived were left wide-eyed, mouth agape, trying to figure out what to do next.
There were a few who were able to pull their heads out and organize those left behind. They made sure the populace had food, shelter, and protection. They were saviors, the United States’ heroes. Life wouldn’t have gone on without them, and it was pretty difficult those first few years after the zompocalypse.
Sometimes it’s difficult for me to remember what life was like before the rise of the undead. I was a teenager, though I hesitate to say normal. I wasn’t deformed or anything, but my classmates thought I was strange. I had a fascination with the dark, the macabre, although I wasn’t a Goth or Emo. I read books and magazines about serial killers. I didn’t idolize them or want to be like them—hell no—I was fascinated with how evil and black a human’s soul could get.
I wanted to be a psychologist and work with the criminally insane, maybe figure out why they did what they did. Apparently, when you’re fifteen, your friends think you’re weird if you have desires to help someone other than yourself. While they were worried about becoming popular and getting the right boyfriend, I tried to figure out how to make society better.
Of course, those dreams will never come true. Society doesn’t exist. Everything I once held dear is gone. I lost my parents to the horde, like a lot of kids. Unlike some of the others, mine weren’t taken by surprise or in some freak accident. They were taken because of their own stupidity. Some days I miss them a lot, but others I believe they got what they deserved. I might sound callous and uncaring, but what about them? Why would they abandon their fifteen-year-old daughter? It used to keep me up at night, trying to find the answer to that question, but I’ve given up asking it. No reason wasting time on things that could’ve or should’ve been.
As I stare out the passenger side window of the semi, I’m reminded how bleak the future has become. The truck rolls down a once heavily traveled highway that has been reduced to a cracked trail. Gas stations and towns dotting the landscape have been abandoned and are crumpling into the weeds that are taking them over. There are a few areas that still resemble pre-zombie destruction, and these are the military outposts set up along the road, used for protection and refueling. I use the term “military” loosely because there is no formal military anymore. It’s a rag-tag group of men and women who were lucky enough to get guns. I chuckle to myself. It’s been two years since I was last out in the world, and a lot has changed since then. I still remember the day the zombies attacked. It’s as clear as if it’d happened yesterday.
Behind the Story: Life After the Undead
By Pembroke Sinclair
I am fascinated with zombies—obsessed, if you will—and I have been since the first time I watched Night of the Living Dead many, many years ago. When I get really stressed out, I often dream of the undead and have to find ways to fight against them. That is where the inspiration for Life After the Undead came from.
The dream occurred several years ago, and while I don’t remember the exact details, I recall that my spouse and I were hiding in a small town while all of the zombies were migrating through. They were heading West so the humidity didn’t cause them to deteriorate faster. I woke up and thought, “Hey, that’s a great idea!” So I fleshed out the story.
It started out as a short story focusing on one small snippet in time. That story was published somewhere (I can’t remember and it’s no longer linked on my blog), and then I decided to expand it into a novel.
The first attempt was an adult novel. I’m fairly certain there were some cuss words in it and a bit more carnage. I decided to send out queries for the story to agents. For the first round, I sent it to 31 agents, all of which rejected it, except one who suggested I turn it into a young adult novel and then resubmit.
So I did. This required me to clean up the language a bit, take out some of the gore (although it still has its fair share), and make my main character a bit more naïve. I believe I also changed it from third person to first person. I sent it back in, feeling pretty good, and then she rejected it. But that didn’t discourage me. I sent it out again as a young adult novel.
For the second round, I queried 28 agents, all of whom rejected it. After that, I sent it to a few indie publishers, and one of them picked it up. I met a book cover designer online who painted (honest to goodness painted!) covers, so I commissioned him to create the cover.
The way the deal worked was that he would send the cover idea, then it was up to the publishing company to put on the title and my byline, which they did. The artist was then free to sell the original painting, which he did. However, I decided that I liked it so much I wanted one for my collection, so I asked him to create me another with my title and byline on it. It wasn’t something he normally did, but he did it for me. The painting proudly hangs in my house.
Life After the Undead is one of my favorite stories. One of the things I like so much about zombies is that they allow me to explore the question of what it means to be human. That’s a theme that runs through a lot of my books. Plus, I just really like zombies.
As the years went by, I wanted to breathe some life back into the story (pun intended), so I decided to republish with another publishing house. This allowed me to go back and make edits, expand the story and take out some things that bothered me, and I got a new cover.
It was a lot of fun to go back and reread the story and make changes. I’m feeling pretty good about the story, and I think it’s closer to my vision of how I originally imagined it. Every time I reread it, I find a new aspect that makes me enjoy the story all over again. I would have imagined that after all this time and changes the story would get old, but it hasn’t. It’s still one of my favorites.
Jessica Robinson is an editor by day and a zombie-killer by night (at least in her books). Since the first time she watched Night of the Living Dead, she has been obsessed with zombies and often thinks of ways to survive the uprising. In addition to her nonfiction book, under the pen name Pembroke Sinclair, she has written YA novels about zombies and the tough teens who survive the apocalyptic world. She has also written nonfiction stories for Serial Killer Magazine and published a book about slasher films called Life Lessons from Slasher Films.
You can learn more about Pembroke Sinclair by visiting her at: