"Waking Up Dead (End of Days Love)" by Emma Shortt

INTERVIEW and GIVEAWAY
Waking Up Dead
(End of Days Love)
by Emma Shortt
Waking Up Dead by Emma Shortt is on tour with Bewitching Book Tours. You can read my interview with the author below, as well as enter the giveaway to win a Waking Up Dead T-shirt. Make sure you visit the other stops on the tour.
Description
You know your life has hit rock bottom when you’re living off cooked rats and showering once every few months – if you’re lucky. But for Jackson Hart things are about to get a whole lot worse. When her best friend, Tye, disappears hunting for food, kick-ass Jackson’s ‘head south to safety’ plan looks like it’s dead before it’s even begun. But then she meets ex-mechanic Luke Granger, who takes her to his bunker, feeds her with non-rat based food, and offers her protection against the zombie hordes – not that she needs it. She knows how to use a machete and isn’t afraid to.
Jackson was tempted to stay in the city with her rescuer. Food, shampoo and the possibility of finally getting laid, what more could she ask for? But the flesh eaters are getting smarter and the bunker is compromised, so Jackson and Luke have no choice but to make the journey south.
Luke and Jackson team up to find other humans in a road-trip romance for the ages. They travel for thousands of miles with zombies shadowing their every move. They must utilize every resource at their disposal … and then some. On the way, they discover that even if flesh eating zombies are knocking down their door, there’s always time for sex and even love.
Excerpt
Luke struggled for something, anything, to break the silence, and after a moment settled on her bare legs. “Don’t take this the wrong way,” he said slowly. “But why the hell are you dressed in panties and boots?”
She lifted her drink, swallowed some more soda, and scowled again. “My jeans got covered in zombie pus and I have an open wound.”
“You’ll freeze.” He made to shuck off of his jacket and pass it across to her, but she waved his offer away.
“I’m fine,” she said. “My jacket is Gore-Tex. Weighs less than a pound, all weather resistant.”
“You’re lucky to have that.”
“It wasn’t luck,” she replied. “I peeled it off a dead woman.”
“How…resourceful.”
She shrugged. “Not resourceful enough, or I wouldn’t be sitting here freezing my ass off.”
Luke felt something completely inappropriate to the situation stir as he imagined that ass and maybe it was lack of sleep, or the weirdness of actually talking to a person, but he couldn’t seem to stop the words that fell from his lips. “You’re welcome to sit on my lap and get warm that way.”
She turned and met his gaze, narrowing her eyes at his teasing words. “You’re welcome to get to know my blade a bit better.”
Luke laughed. He couldn’t help it, and inexplicably, considering their dire situation, felt his spirits rise. Yes she was giving him a death glare, and yes she’d just lost her friend, and yes the zombies were everywhere…but she was so fucking cute. Maybe there were possibilities here, assuming they survived, of course, but then wasn’t that always an assumption?
“I’m Luke by the way,” he said – thinking perhaps he should introduce himself before he really tried to hit on her.
She narrowed her eyes a little more, tilted her head, and then a heart beat or two later, smiled back. A little dimple appeared in the left corner of her face and Luke swallowed, his chest suddenly feeling painfully, and oddly, tight.
“Jackson,” she said.
And then the pounding began.
Book Trailer

Review
Loved this zombie romance story. The zombies were unique and the romance was real.
Jackson was a lovely female lead. She kicked ass and took names. Though underneath her tough kick ass exterior there was a lot going on. I feel like in a lot of zombie/post-apocalyptic books that people are a little too normal. Everyone just kind of accepts the end of the world and moves on. In Waking Up Dead I’m happy to say that’s not true at all. Jackson has some really issues she’s dealing with throughout the book and they’re presented in a very graceful way. Jackson doesn’t have these issues to force the plot to move along or as story points. The issues, I feel, are what normal, everyday people would experience if the end of the world came about.
The zombies. I love the zombies. The fast, smart, pus filled zombies are so fun. It’s a different zombie than we’re used to seeing. Yes, zombies are all sort of the same but these zombies are smart. They’re learning, evolving and to me it spells the next step in zombie entertainment. Plus, you’ve got to love the pus.
The ending left the option open for a sequel. I would definitely pick up the sequel to this book. So bring it on!
Overall, Waking Up Dead is an amazing, sometimes gory, fun filled novel about a post-apocalyptic zombie ridden world. Anyone who likes zombies will like this book.
Interview With the Author
Hi Emma, thanks for joining me today to discuss your new book, Waking Up Dead.
Thank you for having me!
You’re welcome. Which writers have influenced you the most?
I read an awful lot, sometimes as many as twenty books a month, so I’m not short of inspiration! That being said, thinking back to when I first started writing I was hugely influenced by Anne Rice. Then when I started writing seriously for publication, I was profoundly influenced by Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. I read it when I was in my early twenties and fell in love with the hero and heroine. There’s a scene at the end *spoiler alert* where they are separated between worlds, each pining for the other, and I found it to be so beautiful. I constantly aspire to create that feeling for my readers.
What age group do you recommend your book for?
It’s definitely an adult book, so eighteen plus. Though I’m sure I would have read it when I was sixteen or seventeen!
What sparked the idea for this book?
I’m a big fan of zombies in a really weird way. I both love and loathe them, and actually have a bit of a phobia of them! I thought that if I wrote a zombie-inspired book it might help with my zombie related nightmares … sort of like aversion therapy. For the record it totally didn’t!
But this book was always going to happen; it felt, once I started, that I’d been waiting years to write it.
Which comes first? The character’s story or the idea for the novel?
Most of my books come to me fully-formed. The idea will spark and almost immediately the book will be there in my head including the characters.
Wow, that’s amazing! What was the hardest part to write in this book?
Up until now I have written a whole lot of romance – paranormal, contemporary, fantasy, I’m all over the different genres! But in those books the ending was always going to be a happily ever after and, though my heroines and heroes go through some tough times, they’re never in life or death situations.
In Waking Up Dead it felt completely different to that. Although I knew how the book was going to end, I constantly felt like I could kill my hero (Luke) or heroine (Jackson) off with just a few clicks of the keyboard. I know that sounds weird, because I wasn’t going to! But sometimes it was very hard to resist! I put them in some really awful situations and it would have been perfectly realistic to have them die.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
Waking Up Dead is, at its heart, a romance. Yes there are zombies, and yes it’s the end of the world, but I’m exploring the idea of “Where there is horror can there be love?”
It is not an easy road for Jackson and Luke in this story and, when I wrote the scene where their feelings for one another come to a head, I actually felt quite teary eyed! I want the reader to feel like that. In between the scenes of gore and horror – and yes terror, I want you to be scared! – I would like the reader to pause and simply sigh in satisfaction.
How long did it take you to write this book?
About three months, which is quite long for me, but because this is the first in a series I had to plot rather than just wing it!
What is your writing routine?
I don’t have one! I have a day job, two teenagers, a hectic gym schedule, lots of eating to do (you see why the gym is needed), and much research to undertake … so I fit it in when I can. I aim for about 30,000 words a week and feel quite annoyed with myself if I don’t hit it. Basically this means I find myself writing in to the early hours of the morning …
How did you get your book published?
Once it was finished I sent it to number of publishers, including Entangled Publishing (straight into the slush pile). I directed it to Erin (my editor) because she had posted a wish list which included zombie fiction. She emailed me the week of my wedding to tell me it was a yes. I was immensely pleased! It was a great start to my week.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Read, read, read in your chosen genre and then sit down and write, write, write. The hardest thing is to get that first book out of the way. But once you know you CAN write 100,000 words – doesn’t matter how bad – that’s the first step.
You can edit what’s already there, you can’t polish an empty page.
Great advice. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I like to spend time with my family and friends. To watch sci-fi shows, to read, read, read, to run and to read!
Yes … there’s not much on that list because writing takes up nearly all my free time! When my publicists at Entangled asked me for some fun facts about me I was like … ummm … I’m really quite boring!
What does your family think of your writing?
They’re very supportive. I had to give them all signed copies of Waking Up Dead.
They’re also really on board with the more traditional romance. My youngest teen will be like, “Writing your smut tonight mom?”
Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I’m very close to my brother. He’s a biochem student studying for his masters, and there’s only 15 months between us.
He’s one of my bestest friends *waves, hi Andy!*.
He’s taken to handing out flyers for my books though to random people on the train, and putting posters up where they really should NOT be put.
That’s great! Did you enjoy school?
I enjoyed aspects of it. The learning for instance, my fav subjects were physics and maths. I did not like the rules or the regulations. In truth I spent a significant portion of my time in school outside the headmaster’s office or suspended.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
Yes, though we were painfully poor and couldn’t really afford books. My mom made up for it by taking us to the library every Saturday, more to give us something to do than anything else, I think. Some of my best childhood memories are from those trips.
What was your favorite book as a child?
The Lake at the End of the World by Caroline MacDonald. I read this when I was about eight or nine and it was everything a book should be. It’s post-apocalyptic and tells the story of the last girl on Earth … only she’s not. It was brilliantly done, with references to Plato’s The Republic that I did not pick up on until I read it when I was much older.
Who were your favorite authors as a child?
I adored The Worst Witch series by Jill Murphy. I devoured those books!  
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I was 15. I wrote a book, and I use that term loosely, called Crimson Wars. It was an Anne Rice-inspired vamp epic. It was very bad.  
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
I think everything we experience influences us. Whether we realize it or not.  
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Sometimes, and it is always fab when they take the time to drop me a few words. Mostly they email me to tell me how much they enjoyed a certain book and I appreciate that … though I have one reader who regularly emails me full critiques about the work, including how I should have written certain parts and why the character’s outfits were not acceptable. He’s been there from pretty much the beginning J.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
Next month sees the release of the first book in my Club Smex series, Bound by her Best Friend. This is a contemporary, erotic romance series that I am very excited about. The second book (Shackled by the Boss) will be out in December, and then third (Tied to Him) in Jan 2014. Also in Jan 2014 will be my first Entangled Indulgence book, The Seduction Game.
Then in Feb 2014 the release of the second book in my Alpha Collection, Seduced by the Very British Lord …and I’ll stop there!
There will be more zombies too! I should add that, the second book in the End of Days Love series, Waking Up Alive, is being worked on as we speak.
Thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to stop by today, Emma. Best of luck with the rest of the book tour.
About the Author
As a kid Emma wanted to be an astronaut, or maybe Captain Janeway. Because she didn’t really think her career choices through very well she ended up in an everyday geek job, crunching numbers and sighing over syntax. It seemed a long way from the stars, and in an effort to escape Emma decided to get serious about her other passion. Writing.
Several years later and Emma has yet to walk on the moon or sit in the Captain’s chair, but she is still writing. She scribbles stories in all sorts of genres, contemporary, paranormal, post-apocalyptic, historical, sci-fi … if she hasn’t tried it yet she will before long. The only common theme is the romance. A hopeless romantic, everything Emma writes has a love story in there somewhere.
She lives on the west coast of England with her very Greek husband and teenage kiddos. Apart from all things geek reading is her main hobby and she likes nothing better than getting home from a hard day at work and curling up with a book, though sometimes she gets home and writes one instead.
Giveaway
Make sure you enter the tour-wide giveaway for your chance to win a Waking Up Dead T-shirt (open internationally).
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