Writing. Culture. Politics. Wandering.
Welcome to the Desert of Man, blogging home to Science Fiction reader and experimenting writer Mack Meijers. From time to time I open the stage to other creative souls to shine a spotlight on them as human beings, their thinking and their work. This time the light shines on Glyn Gardner facing the Spotlight Questions and featuring Apex.
Shall we begin?
My name is Glyn Gardner and I grew up in Grand Prairie Texas, a suburb of Dallas. I was a normal suburban kid; playing football in the front yards (and the occasional street game), basketball in the driveways, and all the other things young boys do. I grew up watching Friday the 13th, and Nightmare on Elm Street, and The Shining. The movies that spoke loudest to me were the Apocalypse types. The Stand and Night of the Living Dead were my two favorites. I’d always been a fan of one other type of movies and books. Those were military in nature. I’d always been fascinated with the military, and guns, and things that went boom.
I graduated from South Grand Prairie High School in 1990. After high school, I took my first steps away from home and went to Southwest Texas State University. In 1994 I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice. Unfortunately, although I wanted to be a cop, I wasn’t able to get on with any law enforcement agency.
So, the next chapter in my life began with a trip to the Army recruiter’s office in San Marcos Texas. The army opened my eyes to so much of the world. I spent 7 years active as a Combat Medic in places like Germany, Kosovo, and Bosnia. It was here in the former Yugoslavia that I learned what real horror was. After seven years of struggling to run faster than my lungs and legs ever wanted to run, I met my soul mate and got out.
I spent the next 5 years following her around the world (she is an Airman in the Air Force). During this time I was able to earn a Bachelor’s in Nursing. As a former army medic, working as a nurse on the floor was never my goal. It always seemed too mundane, and routine. I knew from my first day of nursing school that I wanted to be an Emergency Room Nurse. In April of 2011 my dream came true. I haven’t looked back since
During my travels with my wife, we have had 2 wonderful boys. They are the greatest joy in my world. I realized as I wrote this book that the worst horror for a father isn’t the death of himself or his neighbors, but the safety of his children take priority. My oldest is almost 10, and is chomping at the bit for the day he gets to read his daddy’s book. He’s a bit of a mini-me. And soon, he will get the chance.
Mike and Jen live in a quiet Louisiana community. Quiet, that is, until the dead begin roaming the streets; devouring everything in sight. The couple is forced to barricade their home and await help. Soon the National Guard is sent in the restore order. SSgt Brown and his troopers are the sole survivors of the government’s first response to the Zombie Invasion. Join them as they struggle to survive in this new environment, an environment where Man has been replaced by a new APEX predator. This predator never sleeps, doesn’t feel pain, hunts in packs, and doesn’t ever quit.
Who will survive in this new world, and who will succumb to the ever-growing hoard of undead?
APEX is a non-stop zombie thriller written to compliment such titles as The Walking Dead, and the Crazies. APEX was inspired by such greats as George Romero and Max Brooks.
Join the survivors as they fight the growing mass of dead that now roam the earth.
You can find the book right here!
What was the challenge of this project?
Finding time to write was one of the biggest challenges. I work an average of 42 hours a week and have a wife and two kids. I coach basketball every winter, and my wife deployed to the Middle East last year for 6 months.
Sometimes the creative juices just stopped for a while. In those cases, you can either stare at the computer, re-reading your last chapter, or you can put it away, get on the x-box and shoot people for a while. I found that I was able to get back into it when I just stopped trying for a while. The ideas come when they want to, not when you call them.
My third challenge was publication. I tried to go the traditional route for about 6 months. I just kept getting rejection letters. “Nice, but we’re not looking for zombie books right now.” “It’s good, but it’s not what we’re looking for at this time.” So, I decided to self-publish. That has been a challenge in itself. I got published, but I really don’t have much in the line of support. No marketing or publicity. Basically I was told to make a Facebook page, and get on goodreads.com. I’ve had to do a lot myself. Thanks to people like you, we indie authors can get our message out.
Where was the fun in this project?
Oh, it was amazingly fun; just letting the characters and story lines flow up and down, back and forth. I never knew when I’d start writing in the morning where the story would go. I wouldn’t know which character would die or if I’d introduce another character. It was great.
What stories do you like to hear, create and share?
I’m an old soldier. My favorite stories to hear and create are usually old war stories. We soldiers love to tell war stories. As to what stories I like to create, I’d have to say horror, sci-fi, and military fiction are my favorites.
If you were a teacher, what would be your best lesson to teach?
Perseverance. Don’t ever give up. If you can’t get over the mountain, figure out a way to get under, around, or even through it. Everything is possible if you don’t give up. Or, I could teach some history. I’m a huge history buff, and there are a lot of lessons to be learned from history.
What do you think is the best way to share a story?
I tend to tell stories. I like to see people reactions to my stories. You can tailor your story to the audience if you tell a story. When you write, you have to tailor your audience to your story.
Do you think you could survive in the wild, on your own?
Maybe. I think I’d do ok. I’m sure I could keep from getting eaten by a bear, or dying from exposure. Now, I might die of starvation. Not sure how hungry I’d have to be to start eating things like grubs and beetles.
How do you get up every morning?
Well, I have an alarm clock that sounds at 0520 on days I work. Then I get up, get the coffee pot going, and head for the shower. After putting on the scrubs, I head into the kitchen for that cup of coffee and my morning dose of news. Somewhere in there I get my shoes on and eat a light breakfast. Then, it’s off to work, saving lives and helping people. I’m a nurse in an Emergency Room.
What is the best thing a friend has ever done for you?
When I was younger a girl accused me of doing something that she knew I didn’t do. Her story changed several times, but her councilor pushed her to get “closure.” My friend Allen Fields stood right there with me in court, on a day he was supposed to be at work. I had my family with me of course, but they had to believe me. Allen knew me and the girl, and he was willing to stand with me.
I knew it was going to be ok. And for the record, it was nothing that bad; just scary to a 16 year old kid.
Have you ever failed? What did you learn from the experience?
Of course I’ve failed. I was never very athletic, or good looking. I lost a lot of sports, and a lot of girls to those same jocks. As a teen, my self esteem wasn’t good enough to learn the lesson I’d later realize. The world isn’t about who’s a good athlete or who’s pretty. It’s about confidence and perseverance. If you try and are confident you will succeed, then 8 out of 10 times you will.
Given the chance, how would you travel the world, where, and why?
I would love to travel the world on a boat. I’m a huge history buff. I’d love to travel to Greece and Italy. I’d continue onto the South of France. From there I’d travel through the Costa del Sol to Gibraltar. If things were a little safer for an American, I’d love to see North Africa, Egypt, Israel. I would go to all those places I’d read about in classic history. Thermopylae, Athens, Sparta, Syracuse, Marseille, the Valley of the Kings, The Wailing Wall, and of course, I’d go back to Rome.
If your life was a book, who would you like to write it?
Oh, I don’t know. I guess Tom Clancy could write it. You know it would be full of excitement and intrigue. There would be a real bad guy in it who I would eventually shoot or push off a cliff or something like that. I’d end up getting a big promotion for it. Oh, and I hope Morgan Freeman is the narrator’s voice. I’d have the coolest life told in the smoothest voice.
What place has knowledge in your world?
I’m an ER Nurse. Knowledge is the most important tool in my bag. I have to know everything from basic anatomy and physiology to biochemistry. I have to be able to recognize anything from Marfan Syndrome to a heart attack to scarlet fever and pink eye.
“Hey Andy,” he shouted to Andy Finch.
Andy was out for his morning jog. He waived to Mike. “You catch that ballgame this weekend?” Andy asked slowing down a bit.
“Which one,” he asked.
“Baseball of course, it is The Series.” Andy continued to slow and jog backwards, waiting for an answer. “Yeah, this is turning out to be…”
What happened next seemed to happen in slow motion. Andy neared the next corner, still running backward. From where Mike stood, it looked like a drunk stumble out and bumped into Andy. They both went over, Andy backwards, and the drunk to the side, both falling out of site. Then the screaming started. It was like nothing Mike had ever heard before.
“Holy Shit, you alright Andy?” Mike cleared his porch steps in one leap. Shit! Don’t let Andy be hurt too bad. In just a second or two, the screaming stopped, replaced by a strange gurgling sound and moaning.
Mike slid to a stop as he rounded the black SUV that was between him and Andy. He couldn’t believe his eyes. The drunk was kneeled over Andy, chewing on his neck. Eating him, like one of those big cats on Animal Planet. It pulled off a chunk of Andy’s flesh.
What the Fuck?
“Hey! What the hell are you doing?”
For months Mike would wonder why he didn’t grab the guy. He couldn’t. He couldn’t make his brain believe what his eyes were seeing. Frozen. Scared. Oh, God. What the hell is this?
Do something. Do something quick! Anything Mike, just don’t stand here. RUN!!!!
And he did. SLAM! Click. Click. What now? He heard Jennifer brushing her teeth. Oh Shit? What do I say to her? What do I do?
He turned to the door, looked through the peep hole. He could see people on the street. Maybe three or four of them were milling around out there. He started to unlock the door. He had to warn them about the drunk.
Stop. Use your head Mike. He went to the window. Something isn’t right. The four figures walked slumped over at the shoulders. One had a blood stain on his shirt. Another seemed to be dragging her left leg behind her in some strange limp.
Dave Wilson, the neighbor across the street, walked out of his front door. Dressed in his Blue work uniform; fiddling with his keys. He must not have heard the commotion. He isn’t paying attention. He doesn’t notice the four figures in the street. But, they notice him.
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You can find the book right here!
Thank you, Glyn Gardner, for your openness and your work!
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