Today I am so pleased to welcome Keira Andrews back to Joyfully Jay. Keira Andrews has come to talk to us about her latest release, Kick at the Darkness, a book I totally loved and adored! She has also brought along and exclusive excerpt and great giveaway. Please join me in giving Keira a big welcome!
When I sat down to write my new book Kick at the Darkness, I initially didn’t think much about how long electricity would last in the event of a zombie apocalypse. In zombie movies, the power always goes quickly. But then I started wondering what would actually happen. Would we go dark almost immediately? Would the power last a few days? Or would it continue chugging along for months unattended?
For the answer, I of course turned to the internet. Various experts have weighed in, and I found this account extremely helpful. And funny to boot!
How long the power supply would last in the most critical zombie situation depends on two key factors – first, how long a given power plant can operate without human intervention, and second, how long before enough power plants fail to bring down the entire transmission grid. I’ll ignore the side issues of whether the zombies would want to try to run the power plant themselves, or if they would be a union or non-union shop.
In my book, the “zombification” happens very quickly, and I’m afraid Parker and Adam won’t have electricity for long!
Bottom line? My guess is that within 4-6 hours there would be scattered blackouts and brownouts in numerous areas, within 12 hours much of the system would be unstable, and within 24 hours most portions of the United States and Canada, aside from a rare island of service in a rural area near a hydroelectric source, would be without power. Some installations served by wind farms and solar might continue, but they would be very small. By the end of a week, I’d be surprised if more than a few abandoned sites were still supplying power.
Gulp. Another question I had was about water, since my heroes needed to have a shower at one point, both because they were actually dirty, and because I wanted them to have a shower for, ahem, other reasons. But fortunately water pressure will likely last a bit longer, although it depends on several factors.
In all my research, I learned this bottom line: If creepers ever take over the world, our infrastructure will crumble hella fast. So enjoy that sweet, sweet electricity and water while you can!
The problem with getting weapons was, well, getting weapons.
“Does Home Depot stock swords?” Parker asked as Adam drove them back through campus, staying far away from the Oval. “People in zombie movies usually have a big sword of some kind. I can’t believe I’m talking about this for real. This is crazy. How do we even know what weapons will work on them?”
“Most creatures can’t survive decapitation.”
“Right. So swords would be good. Where do swords come from? Like, who sells swords in the twenty-first century? It’s probably all online. Does Amazon Prime still deliver in the apocalypse? But maybe—” He grabbed Adam tighter. “Over there. Are they…?”
Adam slowed the bike as they neared the library. There was a group of people out front. Parker squinted, lifting his hand to block the rising sun. His heart sank. In the daylight, he could see more clearly what appeared to be the effects of the virus, or whatever it was: violently bulging eyes, a jerky motion of the limbs, and hands reaching out with fingers in rictus, curled as if into claws. Blood was smeared on their faces and hands.
But the worst part was the chattering. Their teeth clashed constantly, and over the hum of the motorcycle, Parker could hear a low drone, as if it was coming from deep in their throats. These infected were students, and as the motorcycle neared, they turned, their joints unnaturally stiff.
Then they started swarming towards the bike, moving faster than should have been possible. Parker’s breath came in quick gasps as Adam steered away, seemingly calm as anything. It took Parker a minute to be able to speak again, and when he did, his voice was reedy.
“I think Walmart has guns, right? Too bad we’re not in Boston. My dad has a freaking arsenal. Not that he needs it, but you know. From his cold dead hands, second amendment, blah, blah, blah.”
At the thought of his father, Parker swallowed down the worry that simmered constantly and resisted the urge to let go of Adam to check his phone. They had to be okay. They had to be.
“Or maybe—holy shit.”
Around the bend ahead near one of the campus entrances, an ambulance was toppled on its side, red lights still flashing and engine running. The sun gleamed off the metal, and hundreds of infected crowded around it, their chattering filling the air like cicadas on crack.
“What are they doing? There can’t be anyone left in there to eat.”
“I don’t think they know what they’re doing. I don’t think they’re thinking anymore.”
“Doesn’t seem like it. That could be us. That probably will be us.”
“There’s a sporting goods store a few blocks from campus. Let’s check it out.”
“Uh-huh. Sounds good.” Parker couldn’t look away from the horde of infected, who lunged toward them with bent fingers and arms outstretched as they zoomed by. “How are you on gas?”
“Fine for now. We’ll fill up as soon as we can.”
The tangle of streets beyond the school came into sight, jammed with abandoned cars. “What do you think it’s going to be like off-campus?”
“I guess we’re about to find out.”
To reach the main road, they had to get uncomfortably close to the carnage. There were more bodies—and more infected. Parker caught glimpses of seemingly uninfected people as they weaved through the obstacle course the road had become. There was a flash of blonde hair behind a car; a rifle pointed from a window; two people holding hands and ducking behind a van.
“I think the store’s the other way. By the hamburger joint.”
Adam didn’t slow. “No, it’s this way. A couple more blocks.”
“Are you sure? I swear it was that way.”
“Have you been there? How do you know?”
Adam exhaled sharply. “I’ve lived here for five years, Parker. I’m sure.”
“You better be.”
Parker pointed. “There, there! Sporting goods. Huh. You were right.”
The parking lot held only a few vehicles, and the store was dark. Adam cut the engine and they sat there for a moment, glancing around. It was unnerving how deserted the streets seemed in less than twenty-four hours. Parker hadn’t thought it would be possible.
“What do you think?” he asked Adam quietly.
In the distance, a woman shrieked.
Without another word, they both dismounted and hurried to the double set of doors. Parker tried the right one, but it was locked. He yanked on the left. No dice. “I guess we can break a window, huh? Not like someone’s going to arrest us. Actually, that would be great if they did. Throw the book at us. Lock us up safe and sound. Okay, how do you break a window?” He looked around for something to throw.
“Wait.” Adam was doing that thing where he held up his hand and listened intently. He sniffed loudly. “There are people inside.”
“Huh?” Parker peered through the glass. He could just make out the shapes of aisles, but with the sun bright overhead, he mostly only saw his own reflection. And Jesus he looked like hell—pale with dark splotches under his eyes, and the congestion and sore throat weren’t going anywhere. His kingdom for a venti mocha. “I don’t see anyone.”
Adam sniffed again, listening with his head cocked. “I’m positive.”
What the fuck? “Okay, you apparently have supersonic hearing, but what’s with the sniffing? Is there some epic BO going on in there?”
Adam did the strangest thing: he blushed. “Of course not. I think there must be people in there because the doors are locked and I heard voices. You didn’t hear them? And I’m sniffing because I have a cold.”
“Oh. Okay.” It made sense—maybe they were both coming down with it. Then Parker’s stomach churned, and he prayed it wasn’t what had infected the others. Surely if it was they’d be eating someone’s face by now, wouldn’t they?
Parker rattled the door. “Hello? Someone in there? Open up. We come in peace. Hello?” He thumped on the glass. “We’re going to break it in a minute, so just open the door. Please?”
In the silence that followed, Adam sighed. “I guess that’s one way of going about it.”
“You have a better idea?” Parker glanced around to make sure his shouting hadn’t attracted any infected. Down the block he could see movement, and expected the chattering to reach his ears any moment. “Shit.” He turned back to the glass. “Seriously, we need you to open the door. Now.”
“Time to break it,” Parker said, but Adam was somehow already returning from a nearby car with a tire iron. He raised it over his shoulder, and Parker scurried back out of the way.
“Wait!” A female voice cried from the shadows of the store. A moment later three faces appeared faintly in the glass beyond the reflection of the parking lot.
Parker returned to the door. “Hi. We’re just looking for weapons. We’re not going to hurt you. We’re not infected. See?” Parker motioned back and forth between himself and Adam. “We’re okay. Can you please open the door?”
The young women looked around Parker’s age. They glanced at each other, and then back out at Parker and Adam. One of them leaned her head in and whispered to the others.
“We won’t hurt you,” Adam said.
Their heads shot up, and they stared mutely.
Parker whispered to Adam, “Okay, that bionic hearing is a little creepy, dude.”
Adam didn’t reply. Instead he pressed against him and wrapped his arm around Parker’s shoulders. “My boyfriend and I don’t mean you any harm. I swear. Please unlock the door.”
Boyfriend? Parker opened his mouth, but the question died on his tongue when Adam dug his fingers into Parker’s upper arm.
“So they don’t think we’re going to rape them,” he hissed.
Oh, right. Parker cleared his throat and smiled at the girls. He was aware of the unnatural noise of the infected getting louder to the east. “Look, I get that you’re scared. We’re scared too. I totally would’ve died last night, but he saved me.” His heart tripping, he put his arm around Adam’s waist. “Me and my boyfriend here, we really need to get some weapons. Please? We won’t hurt you.”
Adam looked to the left and tensed. “Open the door. We can help each other.”
As the girls exchanged another glance, the chattering swelled…
Copyright © Keira Andrews
To live through the zombie apocalypse they have to survive each other first.
College freshman Parker Osborne is having the worst day ever. He humiliated himself trying to pick up a cute guy, he hasn’t made any friends at school, and his stupidly hot jerk of a TA gave him a crappy grade on his paper. He’s going to drop Adam Hawkins’ film class and start fresh tomorrow after he’s had a good sulk.
But Parker’s about to find out what a bad day really looks like—if he can survive the night.
A virus is unleashed, transforming infected people into zombie-like killers. After these quick and deadly creepers swarm campus, Parker only escapes thanks to Adam swooping him onto the back of his trusty motorcycle. Now they’re on the run—and stuck with each other.
When they’re not bickering, they’re fighting off the infected in a bloody battle for survival. Their only hope is to head east to Parker’s family, but orphaned Adam has a secret he’s not sure Parker will accept: he’s a werewolf. Can they trust each other enough to find some light in these dark days?
After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, paranormal, and fantasy fiction, and—although she loves delicious angst along the way—Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”
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Keira has brought a backlist book to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Wednesday, June 3rd at 11:59 pm EST.
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