The online magazine Uncovering Oklahoma featured an interview with me last week concerning my novel, The Apocalypse Sucks. It’s a great piece, and I can’t thank them enough for their interest in me and my writing.
Peggy, let’s start by getting to know you. Who are you, really?
I am a multi-genre author who writes what she loves – everything! I write children’s books, main stream suspense, horror, fantasy, novels and short stories. I am a member of the Enid Writers’ Club, Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, Ozark Writers’ League and Oklahoma Women Bloggers. I spend my days in an office and my nights and weekends making up stories. I live in my hometown of Enid, Oklahoma with my husband and dog and have two children and five grandchildren.
What is The Apocalypse Sucks about?
The Apocalypse Sucks is about friendship – a friendship that survives even an apocalypse. Molly and Sandra live in the corporate tower they used to work in when they were just co-workers. Now they are family. The book includes a cast of characters who have to deal with a world that no one has ever seen. Creatures roam the night sky, food is scarce but mankind has not really changed. It is a dark dystopian comedy about life after the end of the world. I mean if you can’t make fun of the apocalypse, what can you make fun of?
What was the inspiration for the book?
I once worked in a corporate tower and was startled out of my chair by a window washer one day – who waved. The brave man was hanging fifteen floors in the air with a squeegee and a smile. I wrote a story about two women who survived a virus that took out most of the world. They were doing a pretty good job until the bat creature started hanging outside their window at night fifteen stories high. And then they had to make a trip to the mall to replace a worn out bra.
What was your involvement with illustrator, Zachary Brunner, for the book?
The novel The Apocalypse Sucks started out as a short story called Bra Wars. After sending it into a publisher, they asked for five more stories to go with it and the novel was born. The second release in the form of a pulp fiction novel was published by Airship 27 Productions. They contract with a fleet of artists for their pulp fiction and graphic novel lines. Zachary Brunner beautifully illustrated the inside of the book in pen and ink while Andy Fish painted the color cover. The talent in these two artists is astounding and I was excited beyond measure to get to work with them.
What type of apocalypse scenario you think you would most likely survive?
I am not sure I would survive an apocalypse. I’m a city girl. But I would like to think that if I did, it would be with humor and finesse like Molly and Sandra.
Anything else you want people to know?
Check out the characters in The Apocalypse Sucks and see if you identify with any of them. Mankind still had the same problems they always did, but they would never be the same after the virus struck and took out almost everyone they ever loved. I loved creating these characters, warts and all, and hope they still remained human.
I hope you enjoy reading this quirky pulp fiction novel as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Sample from The Apocalypse Sucks
Sandra’s brown curls stuck to the side of her face, coming free of the band that tied them back. The trek was more tiring than she imagined. The trio made the final walk down the sidewalk to the double entrance doors into the mall. Sandra kept the bow loaded and taut.
Prying open the door, they peeked into the deserted mall. No movement or noise. Slowly, they tiptoed inside the darkened building. As their eyes adjusted to the dim light, they made their way down the hall, as quietly as possible. Sandra told herself no one was here—however, her bow was still at the ready.
“The bra shop is down that way,” Molly whispered.
“Why are you whispering?” Sandra whispered back.
“I have no idea,” Molly said louder, then ran around in circles, her arms in the air. “God, I’ve missed you mall! Give me Berry Cloud or give me death!” Molly squealed.
“Simmer down. You might just get your wish,” said Sandra.
“We have to pass Sephora to get to Macy’s, if I remember right. Let’s go to the back and see if there are any cases left. I’ll just die if there isn’t any left,” Molly said.
“Can you please stop talking about death? Anyway, if the lip gloss is gone, you’ll use Vaseline. A big jar of Vaseline will take care of you just fine,” Sandra shot back. Even though she thought it was silly to whisper, she felt like someone—or something—was listening in on their conversation.
Molly rolled her eyes.
“Oh, I hope there are unopened boxes in the back,” Molly said, bounding toward the open door of Sephora. Inside, the shelves had been ransacked. Lady whined as she looked at the jumble of broken merchandise, trying to decide which way to step. The door to the storeroom hung open, revealing more cosmetics chaos. Boxes were ripped open and on their sides. Gingerly, Molly picked her way through the mess, looking for anything that might say “lip gloss.” Perching on top of one box and sliding over the top, she landed behind a mountain of stock.
“I’ve found it!” she shrieked. “Berry Cloud—a whole box full!”
“Shush,” Sandra whispered. Molly’s face popped above a box looking at her. Something wasn’t right. Sandra didn’t hear it—she felt it. A low growl began deep inside Lady, growing as her hackles rose. She backed away from the door as Sandra raised the bow once more. Moments passed, as the women stood still as statues. Nothing.
“We’re not alone,” Sandra said. “Lady heard it, too.”
“Maybe the wind? There are some back doors to this place,” Molly said with a lack of conviction in her voice.
“I don’t know, but grab your lip gloss and let’s get out of here.”
Molly stuffed as many tubes of Berry Cloud in her pockets as they would hold, and then a few in Sandra’s ugly camo pants’ pockets as they headed for the bra shop, Lady in the lead. She seemed to know where they were going. Past the cookie store that no longer held anything edible, on the other side of the dilapidated food court, sat the lingerie shop. The mannequins in the window were leaning at odd angles, their clothes gone. The door to the shop was still locked, but the glass was missing. Climbing up and into the window then down the other side, they pushed by piles of clothing on the floor.
“Oh, so cute!” squealed Molly holding up a pink baby doll nighty that tied in the front. “Bob would’ve loved this one.”
“Eww. How could you stand that jerk? Anyway, I thought it was just that once. Besides, winter is right around the corner,” said Sandra.
“But I love it,” Molly said shoving the lighter-than-air gown into her waistband.
“Help me look for a 36C in these over here,” Sandra instructed. “I’ll try it on in the dressing room.”
“Why not just take them all?” Molly responded. “You can try them on at home.”
“I don’t want to carry them all with me,” Sandra said. “Just help me look, will you?”
“Does it matter?”
“I just wanted to know what you like. Here’s a black lace or, oh, look at that gorgeous purple! Here, 36C in both black and purple. Oh, and a red one, too!”
Sandra snatched the bras from Molly’s hand shooting her an irritated look and walked back to the dressing room. Closing the curtain, she carefully put the bow and quiver on the seat and began to pull the bra from the complicated hanger. The purple was pretty, she thought, and who cared if it showed through her clothes. Wistfully, she ran her ragged thumb over the colorful lace. Ted loved lace, said it was the one thing that made him know he was with a real woman. And Sandra was a real woman, built with curves she didn’t get on the doctor’s table like some women she knew.
She wiped away a stray tear. Silly to think about Ted now. What did it matter? She’d found the engagement ring she now wore on a chain around her neck in his house, next to his bedside table, just inches from the pile of dust in the sheets. Had he been practicing his proposal before the virus hit him?
Stop! She told herself. Sentimentality was for sissies. Comfort and utility were the name of the game now. Survival, not love.
Just as she was pulling up her top to swap bras, she heard Molly scream. Grabbing the bow, Sandra ran from the dressing room, nocking an arrow as she went. Running into the middle of the shop she saw Molly backing up and heard Lady’s low growl once more. Something smelled bad, like burned meat. A noise like paper rustling came from the other side of the room. Sandra jerked her head around.