In the weeks leading up to the release of AUTUMN: DAWN on 31 May, I’ll be sharing more details about the new books. Today I wanted to whet your appetite by talking about two of the major differences between THE LONDON TRILOGY and the original series. The new books are still unequivocally AUTUMN, but I don’t want you to think this is just a ‘money for old rope’ rehash of the same things I was writing a decade ago, or a trendy new reboot/reimagining. Sure, there are plenty of similarities, but there are some major shifts too.
Before I go on, I need to plug the limited-edition hardcover again because it’s selling fast. Three-quarters of the print run have sold already, so if you’re thinking about ordering, please get in quick. As a reminder, if you pre-order the hardcover you also get:
Well, we have. That might sound like an empty comment, but in the decades since I began writing the AUTUMN books, society has changed dramatically. Don’t worry – the new novels aren’t a heavy-going sociological deconstruction of the last twenty-or-so years, they’re a dystopian adventure with a cast of typical Moody characters: ordinary folks like us, who just happen to find themselves in godawful situations. But there are a couple of differences the books touch on.
The title of this post is part of a line from an old PETER GABRIEL song, and the fact I’m thinking of it as an old song just highlights the point I wanted to make. The song’s called ‘Downside Up’, if you’re interested, and the full line is “The only constant I am sure of, is this accelerating rate of change”. It was released over 20 years ago, but it doesn’t seem 5 minutes. All of a sudden, time seems to have sped up rapidly in my little corner of the world.
I’m telling you this for writing-related reasons, so bear with me.
A couple of weeks ago was the one year anniversary of my heart attack. Last November I turned 50. In March I became a grandfather for the first time. Now, I don’t feel any older or any different than I did at the beginning of 2020, but clearly time is marching on!
Long story short, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and reassessing; working out what I want from life for me and my family, and what I’m hoping to achieve. The first step happens this week, when I return to full-time writing for the first time since 2014. Those of you who’ve been following me for a while might remember that I had a bit of a ‘falling out’ with writing back in 2014 and I got myself a real job because I was in desperate need of a) human contact, and b) a reality check. I happened to find a job that I really enjoyed and that was suited to my skills, and in what felt like the blinking of an eye, the 12 months I’d planned to spend in employment somehow became 6 and a half years. I continued to write throughout, but the time I had to promote and talk about my work dried up. I love what I write, and I’m very proud of the body of work I’ve so far produced, but I regret not being able to make more of a noise about it recently.
That all changes with AUTUMN: DAWN. The book is going to be released on 31 May 2021 as a paperback, ebook and limited edition hardcover. Limited edition pre-orders will be opening within the next week, and ANYONE WHO PRE-ORDERS THE HARDCOVER WILL BE ABLE TO DOWNLOAD AND READ THE EBOOK VERSION OF THE NOVEL STRAIGHT AWAY!
Seriously, I can’t wait for you to be able to dive into the new trilogy. I’m planning on doing a Facebook Live thingy (or similar) shortly before release so that I can answer your questions about the new books.
Please follow me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook to make sure you don’t miss any news. There’s a LOT of stuff on the way.
A couple of bits of AUTUMN news to share. First, an update on the new books. The new trilogy is totally separate from the previous books – they just happen to take place in the same undead world. To make them easier to discern, I’m calling the new novels THE LONDON TRILOGY (you can’t fault the logic – three books, all based in London). The really important news is that book one is just about finished. The edits are being wrapped, and the cover art is in the process of being put together… it won’t be long before it’s unleashed. It’s looking like AUTUMN: DAWN will now hit the shelves in May. Pre-orders will be announced in April, including a strictly limited hardcover edition.
To bring new readers up to speed, and to give old-time AUTUMN readers a blast of nostalgia, I’ve relaunched the AUTUMN website – www.lastoftheliving.net. For now it’s focused on the previous books, but stacks of information about the new trilogy will be added over the course of the next 18 months.
I hope you enjoy all of this, and that my grim AUTUMN stories can still strike a chord in this strange old virus-riddled world of ours. After the events of the last 12 months, it’s been strangely cathartic diving back into AUTUMN. If you have any thoughts, images, or artwork you’d like to see added to www.lastoftheliving.net – AUTUMN or pandemic-related, I really don’t mind – then please drop me a line.
This week is the 12th annual READ AN EBOOK WEEK. I’ve talked previously about how important eBooks were to me when I began my career. In the early days there seemed to be an endless debate about which is best – print or digital. The answer is both! And audiobooks are equally grand. As long as people are reading (and authors and publishers are being properly compensated) who cares how they’re doing it!
As usual, here are a few shameless plugs to mark the occasion. Indie eBook firm SMASHWORDS are big supporters of Read an eBook Week. Here’s a link to their huge sale to mark the occasion. You can find a couple of my books on the site if you’re interested. I know it’s not released until next week, but if you want something fresh, new, and a little bit unhinged, THE BLEED: RAPTURE is out next Tuesday. And finally, if you’re new to my work and fancy loading up on some of my standalone novels, can I recommend the CHAOS THEORIES boxset?
It’s March. How did that happen? Hopefully everyone’s doing well and feeling a lot better about the world than we were this time last year. I’m happy to be able to confirm that THE BLEED: RAPTURE hits the shelves later this month. The second book in the BLEED trilogy by CHRIS PHILBROOK, MARK TUFO and myself is released on 16 March as an ebook, paperback (link to follow), and AUDIBLE EXCLUSIVE audiobook. So happy with the way book 2 has turned out. There’s only one letter difference between this and last year’s RUPTURE, but this volume is a whole different beast. A whole different load of beasts, actually. I think you’re going to enjoy it.
The series rounds out in September with ARMAGEDDON. For now, though, here’s a taste of what to expect from RAPTURE…
Some sad news to share. STEFAN CUSH from THE MEN THEY COULDN’T HANG died suddenly last week from a heart attack. He was 60. As many of you may remember, TMTCH made a memorable appearance in the first HATER novel. While I was writing the book back in 2006, I was in touch with Phil ‘Swill’ Odgers from the band who’d enjoyed the AUTUMN books. We got chatting and he made an off-hand comment about adding him as a character in a future book. I’d just written the scene in HATER where Danny and Lizzie are at a rock concert and all hell breaks loose when one of the band members starts attacking the others, mid-set. Cut a long story short – the band in the book became TMTCH, and it was Swill who did the attacking, but the rest of the lads were very accommodating and they all made an appearance. I was lucky enough to see the band a few years later, and they were magnificent.
There’s not a day goes by when I don’t think about how lucky I am to still be alive after my heart attack last April. Since my illness, I’ve been in contact with many people who’ve either had a heart attack themselves or who’ve lost loved ones. Very sadly, a member of my family passed away unexpectedly last weekend after suffering a massive heart attack. Without wishing to preach, I’d urge everyone to be aware of their own heart health. I know that health services around the world are under unprecedented strain right now, but please do seek advice if you have any concerns. If I’d not received such brilliant treatment from the NHS last April, I doubt I’d be here today.
How’s everyone doing? I hope you’re staying safe and sane during these astonishing days, weeks, and months. As inconsequential as my writing feels at such a tumultuous time, I thought I’d give you a quick update and let you know what I’m up to.
As anyone familiar with my frequent radio silences will know, if I’m not posting on here, it usually means I’m busy writing. My main focus over the last few months has been AUTUMN: DAWN, the first novel in the new AUTUMN trilogy. I’m still on target to have book one wrapped in the next month or so, and I’m planning for a late April release. It’s been so refreshing to have had the space to plan the whole trilogy as a single project beforehand, and I can honestly say the book’s been a joy to write so far. I do have a nagging concern at the back of my mind, though… are people really going to want to read my grim, germ-infected, post-apocalyptic zombie stories after everything we’ve been through? I hope so. You can decide for yourself as I’ll be sharing more details very soon.
Also coming up is the second book in the series I’ve been writing with MARK TUFO and CHRIS PHILBROOK. THE BLEED: RAPTURE hits the shelves and the ears (it’s another AUDIBLE exclusive) on 16 March, and you can pre-order it here. Book two is an absolutely full-on, non-stop ride which sets up the mother of all apocalypses. THE BLEED: ARMAGEDDON will bring the series to an end in September.
Like many other people, the last year was one of huge changes for me personally, and the ramifications of those changes are still unfolding. It’s almost a year since my heart attack now, and I turned 50 last November. Those milestones, combined with the impact of the ongoing pandemic alongside other personal and professional developments, have made me want to review my priorities, ambitions and aspirations.
Almost 7 years ago, I’d had a gutful. I fell out of love with writing in a big way and re-joined the real world to try and re-establish my connection with reality. It’s now time to head back in the opposite direction, with a return to full-time writing looming and a stack of new projects on the horizon.
For now, though, it’s back to AUTUMN: DAWN (big action scene to write tonight – one person corralling about 10,000 dead bodies singlehanded). I will be back with regular news, updates and recommendations in the coming weeks. Until then, I’d like to belatedly wish you a Happy New Year. Here’s hoping 2021 is infinitely better than 2020 was!
Over the years, many people have found their way to my books via the AUTUMN and HATER novels or through the collaborations I’ve worked on with other authors such as THE BLEED and THE FRONT. As a result, it sometimes feels like my standalone novels fall through the cracks. For that reason, I’ve put together a reasonably priced eBook box-set of three already reasonably priced books – STRAIGHT TO YOU, TRUST and STRANGERS.
Hard to believe today is the 10 year anniversary of the mass market release of AUTUMN. It had been around for another 10 years prior to that, of course, first as a very basic free download, then as an independent release through Infected Books. I just happened to be on holiday in New York with the family at the time, and I’ll never forget the buzz of walking into Barnes & Noble on 5th Avenue and finding copies on display in the wild (see picture below). It was the beginning of an unforgettable period in my career.
Fast forward a decade, and here I am writing AUTUMN novels again! I thought the series was done and dusted in 2013 with the release of AUTUMN: THE HUMAN CONDITION, but over the last couple of years I found myself thinking more and more about the world of AUTUMN, and I came across a new story I really wanted to tell.
Go back to 2001 when I started sharing AUTUMN online for the first time, and it was a very different world. The Internet was just starting to get its claws into everyday life (and that was part of the reason I started giving the book away for free at the time), but we were nowhere near as reliant on the web and our phones as we are today, and the idea of social media hadn’t yet raised its ugly head. The surviving characters in the first AUTUMN books were isolated from the rest of the world at the exact moment everyone else dropped dead, immediately unable to contact anyone else. No one to ask for help. No one to answer their thousands of questions. Nothing but absolute, unending, suffocating radio silence.
So, how would things be different today? Maybe the last few hours and days before the power dies and the networks fail will be enough time for those desperate survivors to communicate and coordinate? Maybe they’d be able to piece together what was happening from the global population’s dying digital remains?
And there’s another huge difference between the people who survived the AUTUMN epidemic back in 2001 and those who’d make it if the events of the book had taken place in 2020. Zombies! Back in the day, there was an unwritten rule that the people in zombie stories didn’t know what zombies were, but after a couple of decades filled with THE WALKING DEAD and its variations, 28 DAYS LATER, and countless other zombie books, TV series and movies, it seems unlikely that any survivors would now be that naive. They’re going to have more of an idea of what’s going on and how they’re going to have to deal with it, and they certainly wouldn’t be as green as Michael, Carl and the others were in the first scenes of AUTUMN. Maybe that’ll be their undoing, because the living dead in the AUTUMN books certainly don’t play by the same rules as other zombies. It would be wrong to assume and underestimate what they’re capable of…
But I guess the biggest immediate difference between the original series and the new trilogy, is scale. The groups of survivors in the original series were small in number – usually less than 30, hopelessly outnumbered. Not the case for my new characters, who have to deal with the zombie apocalypse in the middle of London. This means there will likely be hundreds of people left alive, but they’ll be surrounded by literally millions of zombies. In the original books you could go for hours without seeing one of the walking dead. This time around, there are hordes of them around every single corner. I’m having a blast writing these new books. The whole trilogy has been scoped out in detail, with the intention of writing and releasing the novels in quick-fire succession during 2021.
So happy birthday, AUTUMN. Here’s to a brand new chapter beginning early next year.
I’m incredibly excited to announce that CRAIG PATON has agreed to design the covers for the new AUTUMN trilogy I’m currently writing. I couldn’t be happier. Craig has produced some iconic covers for me over the years – TRUST, AUTUMN: THE HUMAN CONDITION, STRAIGHT TO YOU and STRANGERS. Recently, he’s had a huge amount of success with KILLTOPIA – a cyberpunk graphic novel he created alongside writer DAVE COOK.