When I first announced the release of my short story collection The Deadlands: And Other Stories, I said it would include eleven stories. However, if you look at my recently redesigned website, you’ll notice it mentions twelve. Shortly after the original announcment, I slipped one more story into the mix, one that I’m excited to share.
The Insomniac takes place in one of Richmond’s most famous locations, Hollywood Cemetery. Two presidents are buried there, James Monroe and John Tyler. Even the Confederacy’s only president, Jefferson Davis, was laid to rest in Hollywood. The cemetery remains an active burial site, and it’s a beautiful place, one I visited just prior to writing my short story.
Sometimes my stories start with a character. In this case, the concept came first. What if everyone who dies becomes a zombie and the only reason we don’t know it is because they’d all rather sleep? What if one of them couldn’t?
My main character to this story isn’t the zombie, though. Instead, I came up with a 12-year-old girl named Abby. This creative kid has learned the truth about the dead, and she’s even found a way to make money from it. She’s sly, sweet, and I loved telling her story.
The story was a last-minute addition to the collection. Even though it’s not very long, my editor admitted her gut reaction was to say “No” to avoid letting the collection get too long. Then she read it, loved it, and was thrilled to add it. To say I was excited doesn’t cover it, because a writer can’t hope for a better reaction from their editor than that.