Jul. 21, 2022

Beer and Zombies

You know what goes with everything? Beer.

Beer and pizza? Yup. Beer and barbecused chicken? Yup. Beer and a sunset on the beach? Absolutely. Beer and that time you accepted a dare to run naked down Main Street at two in the morning? You'd better believe beer went with that!

And you know what else goes with everything? Zombies.

Think about it. Zombies used to be just for Halloween. Then Michael Jackson released his Thriller video, and suddenly, everyone was into zombies. And it seemed there wasn't a literary genre for which zombies weren't a perfect fit. Horror? The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman. Classic? Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith. YA lit? The Girl with All the Gifts, by M.R. Carey. Not only does it seem like zombies really DO go with everything, it seems like they've been done to almost every genre.

Except one.

That's where I come in. Many of you know that I write adult thrillers and murder whodunits, and so it should come as little surprise to you that I write delightful children's books as well. This is how balance is achieved in my life.

I self-published Kaylee's Choice, about a struggling ten-year-old who dreams of being a champion Irish dancer, in 2006, and it really took off, spawning a seven-book series that sold over 10,000 copies. This led to a couple of additional Irish dancer books, some which even had elements of science fiction or fantasy.

As you might imagine, writing these stories has been wonderful fun. And this October, I'm going to be adding another YA title to my library. Which might cause you to wonder: 'Rod's written about Irish dancers coming of age, Irish dancers and science fiction, Irish dancers and magical fantasy. What's left?'

And the answer, of course, is Irish Dance and Zombies.

The new book is an affectionate and humorous look at competitive Irish dance and will capture the sometimes extreme lengths that dancers and parents will go to in the name of the sport. In Irish Dance and Zombies, thirteen-year-old Molly lives in one of the fortified compounds that house the surviving, uninfected humans following an outbreak known as The Poisoning. There are only three reasons anyone ever risks life and limb to leave the compound: As part of a hunting party to scavange food. To seek out fuel to power the generators. Or to travel to an Irish dance competition.

This may seem a bit far-fetched, but my daughter, Haley, was a competitive Irish dancer, and I've witnessed firsthand some of the extreme behaviors, such as the mother who put sharp stones in the heel of her daughter's dance shoe to make sure she stayed up on her toes. Or dancers getting spray tans so their legs would contrast with their white poodle socks. Or paying the equivalent of tuition at an Ivy League school for a sparkly competition dress. Or the father who built a huge wooden stage for his daughter to practice on that covered most of his backyard. Okay, that last one was me, but you get the point. Irish dancers and their parents will do anything for dance!

So it's pretty clear that if there was an actual zombie apocalypse, and if leaving your heavily-fortified compound meant there was a 90% chance you would be devoured by the living dead, none of this would not deter Irish dancers and parents like me in the least. Thus, it's possible that, one hundred years from now, Irish Dance and Zombies will not be regarded as Speculative Fiction, but rather as Historical Fiction.

So enjoy a beer, and enjoy a fun story about zombies and dance. Now we know that beer and zombies truly do go with everything. And this fall, you'll be able to read all about it.