Guest Post from Chad A. Clark Author of Behind our Walls

This guest post is by Chad A. Clark, author of the end of the world novel Behind Our Walls. It’s fascinating and encouraging to see some of the influences that inspire people to write books. Growing up in the 80’s, I can sure relate to a lot of Chad’s inspiration! Thanks for sharing Chad! I encourage all of you other guest posters and readers to chime in and leave a comment and follow/say hi to Chad A. Clark.

behindourwallsSeveral years ago, I wrote a short story, titled Tomorrow’s Memory. It is set in an apocalyptic future following some undefined event in which the governments and societies of the world have collapsed. The main character is a man in his early twenties, traveling with a female companion. Along the way, he decides to start keeping a journal and the story consists of his entries in that journal.

I have always been fascinated with what the landscape of the end of the world might look like. And what I mean by that is, we have seen no shortage of films and books, laying out scenarios by which our society could meet its ultimate destruction. And while I have certainly enjoyed these stories, I also wanted to try going in a different direction. I was interested in the perspective of the people on the ground and how their lives are affected, where they go from here.

Just as an example, one thing that has always captivated me about the film Cloverfield is how it is essentially the telling of the Godzilla story, but from the perspective of the screaming mob trying to get away from the monster. This was the sensibility I tried to bring to this story. In an age where we depend so much on technology for our information, what happens when the world crashes down around us and the only means of learning about things is from the mouths of people you encounter on the road. People you may or may not be able to trust.

These were my favorite aspects of writing Tomorrow’s Memory and it would eventually spark my desire to write a full length novel in that same universe. It was from the seeds of that initial story that Behind Our Walls would eventually grow.

I didn’t want this to be a supernatural story. There are no zombies. I didn’t want this to be a techno-thriller. I wanted it to be a human story. I wanted to take genuine characters and see how they handled complete immersion in a hostile and violent environment. What would it look like if a group of survivors were to try and rebuild on the ashes of a society and start over?

The book I wrote was originally much longer and offered a few more backstory and clues as to what caused society’s downfall. In the end, I decided that I was being too ambitious and that it would be better to quickly immerse the reader in the world of this story. I wanted to challenge myself to bring the reader closer to the experiences of the characters.

Behind Our Walls is a dark book. It presents a bleak picture of our humanity and what people could be capable of, if left alone with each other and to their own devices. But I think there is also a hint of optimism there as well. As I wrote this, I definitely wanted to bring to bear all of the beautifully grim fiction I had read over the years but I also wanted to avoid the idea that all hope was lost. At the end of the day, I still believe in the inherent goodness of ourselves and I think that should be evident as the story draws to a close.

This book, as the rest of my writing in general, is driven by my love for dark fiction. There are any number of sources I could point to as the origins for my narrative sensibilities. As a child, I was reading at a very early age and by the time I was ten or eleven, I was given a fair amount of liberty in terms of what I was allowed to read. It wasn’t long before I found my way to the likes of Stephen King and Robert McCammon.

And of course, no discussion of the eighties can rightfully leave out the incredible horror movie franchises that came about. There was a special immediacy and dark reality of the practical special effects of the day. Watching slasher or zombie movies, you had an uncomfortable feeling that you were being made privy to something that you weren’t supposed to see.

All of this acted as a brine of sorts, in which my narrative outlook would start to develop. I love the visceral experience of the horror genre. I love the view you get of humanity in the reflection of horrific events of a story. I love reading and writing books with dark content because it forces you to be a part of the process. You have to bring your own morality to bear and evaluate the things that are happening and how they make you feel. That’s what I think all good art should do.

And if I can accomplish that at least some of the time with my own writing, I will consider myself to be a success.


Chad A. Clark

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Days With the Undead

Written from a uniquely Canadian perspective, Days With the Undead, an apocalyptic book by Julianne Snow follows a crew of survivors as they travel around North America in order to escape the zombie apocalypse. The pandemic rapidly spreads from Toronto’s Saint Michael’s emergency department after Brooks VanReit, patient zero, attacks the first victim. Fortunately, a small group of survivors that had been preparing for some type of disaster event is able to mobilize just in time before the outbreak rapidly overtakes the city and begins to spread out of control. The story is presented in a journal format as the protagonist Julie, a pathologist, documents their journey. Rather than choosing a hunker down type of strategy, the crew of forlorn Canadians chooses to stay on the run, travelling full circle, down to the southern United States, then over to the west coast then back up to Canada and eventually back over to northern Ontario. Although running is an understandable strategy, given their situation, it is unclear why they choose to travel the way that they do. Regardless, the zombie pandemic is spreading fast and they can’t seem to outrun the undead in their travels. Days With the Undead has a few surprises in store and strays slightly from the traditional zombie apocalypse scenario to include some unique zombie incarnations. Overall, this is a fun apocalyptic book and unique journey through the zombie apocalypse.

Apocalypse Z

Originally written in Spanish by Manel Loureiro, Apocalypse Z: The Beginning of the End vastly exceeds all expectations that one may have for a zombie apocalypse novel. Apocalypse Z is a harrowing story about a man and his cat Lucullus as they struggle to survive the first months of the zombie apocalypse. This apocalyptic book is flat-out awesome! Apocalypse Z is literally jammed packed with the most terrifying, vividly horrific scenes straight from the end of the world, zombie apocalypse hell. From the larger cities to the Spanish countryside, Spain has become a massive graveyard haunted by the most vicious zombies ever imagined, existing only to tear the living to shreds. The protagonist is a mild-mannered man who lives with his most faithful, loyal companion, Lucullus, the neighborhood tomcat, after he recently lost his wife to a horrible car accident. He is no hero. In fact, he’s a paper pushing lawyer and he’s absolutely scared out of his mind. He might have followed the herd to the slaughter in the so-called “safe zones” if it weren’t for the fact that they didn’t allow pets. Facing incredible odds from the start, he is pushed way beyond his limits. “…a def ear to fear.” Love and loyalty overcome paralyzing fear of hell on Earth. He doesn’t get many breaks and he makes plenty of mistakes. Indeed, he is an unlikely survivor. He is not an ex-special forces commando. He has limited experience with weapons and killing, or re-killing the undead, which is certainly not something that comes easily for him. (***NOTE: if you are a “mall ninja” who thinks you are going to shoot your way through the end of the world this book might not be for you…and by the way you’re an IDIOT…yes you…)

Apocalypse Z is a uniquely human story. In a world overrun by the living dead, humanity is rediscovered. A rarity for the genre, Apocalypse Z evokes real emotional response. It made me so angry that I wanted to grab that Ukrainian ship captain and hang him up from a crane by his balls (don’t worry, he gets what he deserves in the end). It has moments of despair as well as some great laugh out loud moments. A book that creates a visceral response is rare. Perhaps that is what separates a good book from a great book. Even if zombies aren’t your thing, Apocalypse Z is an excellent story and in my opinion is an absolute must read.


The world is on the verge of a new ice age in Jacqueline Druga’s blockbuster apocalyptic thriller Torn. Torn is entertaining apocalyptic novel with a great sense of humor, however some of the events and the fact that these events coincide, lead to the creation of a mostly improbable, unlikely scenario. Reading it is a lot like watching Hollywood blockbuster movie. It is as if the author sat down and came up with a number of different apocalyptic scenarios and worked diligently to cram all of it in to one book. An apocalyptic recipe, if you will: First add in some solar flares, pandemics, a little radiation, pole reversal and a new ice age. Mix thoroughly. Next, randomly garnish with hordes of snakes, swarms of bugs and bird attacks which really adds to the shock value. The story revolves around a small group of friends and acquaintances, among them scientists and reporters, as they begin to understand the gravity of the apocalyptic events that are about to unfold. What begins as a series of unrelated, bizarre phenomena turns out to be the initial events leading to a magnetic pole reversal that will lead to a new ice age brought on by cyclical solar events. Torn actually resembles the movie Armageddon in terms of its structure (discovery, preparation, solution), however, in Torn, there is no happy ending, at least for humankind in general. Scientists exchange ideas on how to prevent and/or alter apocalyptic solar and geological events but to no avail. One cannot fault writers for constantly recycling stories and ideas (mostly everything has been done before hasn’t it?) but fiction is more easily digested when this process is a little less obvious. On the bright side, this apocalyptic novel certainly has a great sense of humor, mostly through character interaction, which is thoroughly enjoyable. Torn is worth reading but might be best suited for those readers that have only a passing interest in apocalyptic fiction and are looking mostly for a little action, adventure and quirky romance.