Today, I’m turning over my blog to the wonderful Amanda McNeil.
I hope you enjoy the guest post and excerpt of Waiting for Daybreak.
Amanda has been gracious enough to offer 1 lucky commenter an ecopy of her book.
SCROLL DOWN TO THE RAFFLECOPTER FORM BELOW FOR ENTRY TO WIN AN E-COPY OF WAITING FOR DAYBREAK.
CONTEST ENDS JULY 30TH, 2012
Waiting For Daybreak started with a simple question: what if instead of being the minority, the only people left were people struggling with mental illnesses? From that simple what-if moment, the entire world and story of Frieda evolved.
Frieda is surrounded by zombies. For the most part, this zombie virus is typical, but there’s one key difference. The virus only affects the mentally healthy. So, since Frieda has Borderline Personality Disorder, she’s immune. She just has to avoid being eaten.
A lot of post-apocalyptic works explore how a mentally stable person is slowly driven crazy by their situation. I decided to flip this on its head. Frieda’s situation helps her overcome her mental illness. She goes from self-loathing, crippling depression, and an inability to successfully advocate for herself to people to growing and becoming a more complete person.
I think too often post-apocalyptic stories go to a dark place and stay there. I wanted to use the scifi genre settings I love to tell a story that does the opposite. I’m a big believer in the basic concept that struggles and tribulations lead to triumph. People with mental illnesses struggle with a dark, scary world that others don’t have to face every day. I hope that this book can help others experience that and empathize, but also give some hope to those for whom mental illness isn’t a story; it’s a part of their life.
My eyes have adjusted to the dark in a way they never used to back when Boston was perpetually lit with street lamps. Losing electricity was actually the thing that bugged me the least about the whole incident. Guess that's one way being raised in the country prepared me for this. A bottle of vodka sits next to me. Although I know it's almost purely superstition, I drink it whenever I worry that I'm getting sick or have been exposed to something. My daddy always said that alcohol is better for you than any medicine. Smiling, I take a swig, and it gives the old familiar pleasant burn down my throat. That's one positive thing about society falling apart. So much free liquor from raiding the package stores. Plus you don't have to keep it refrigerated like beer.
I set the bottle down and grasp my therapy journal. The entries used to be so full of anger. Why me? Why is my brain like this? Why did she do this to me? I can't trust anyone. Now it veers more toward, I'm so alone. Anger has a hard time staying bottled up inside you when you have to physically fight to stay alive. Instead of battling the world in my brain, I'm battling it in reality.
The world went crazy, and I got saner. That's the definition of irony right there. Or maybe it's just all relative. Anyone would look sane compared to the Afflicted. Not to mention compared to the politicians and military strategists who got us into this mess to start with.
I take another swig, swishing it around in my mouth before swallowing.
I always had a sneaking suspicion that all that drama with the Middle East would lead to no good, but of course I never would say so. People would only accuse me of being pessimistic at best and racist at worst. In fact, it has nothing to do with what I think about people in the Middle East. It has everything to do with what I think about politicians. They're power-crazy assholes, each and every one of them. They step on us little people willy-nilly in their power-crazy trips, and people who normally would just shrug at each other's existence, or even be friends, are informed by politicians that they are enemies. Too bad not enough people realized it to stand up to the big bullies before they went and ruined everything.
I catch myself in the obsessive loop and stop. No use crying over spilled milk, I tell myself. No use crying over spilled milk.
Obsessively thinking the same thing over and over again is a symptom of my illness, and it happens more when I'm bored. It used to bug me, but now it just helps pass the time. It's hard to explain the obsessive thoughts to someone who's never suffered from them. They fly by at break-neck speed in a circle that catches you in its loop like a snare, and you're flying around as if you're caught on a demonic merry-go-round.
One that I come back to quite frequently:
If I hadn't called in sick to work because I was depressed because I'd dissociated the night before then I would have been at the epicenter of the outbreak in Boston. I wonder if I would have survived? Did I only survive because I dissociated the night before? If I hadn't called in sick to work because I was depressed....
Dissociation. It was always the number one issue I had with my illness back before the incident, and now it's still my number one fear. Blacking out. No recollection of entire portions of my life where I'm still moving around and doing things. If the reports from people who were present for my dissociative moments before the incident are any indication, I don't tend to make smart decisions when dissociating. I'm rash, angry, and violent. Heck, if my brains were leaking out my nose you could probably mistake me for one of the Afflicted. You can probably see why this behavior isn't the best for survival when surrounded by an apocalyptic society still booby-trapped with the Afflicted. On the other hand, rash, angry, and violent could make for some seriously awesome Afflicted ass-kicking. Maybe that's really why I've survived this long.
Amanda is an energetic, masters degree educated, 20-something happily living in an attic apartment in Boston with her shelter-adopted cat. She writes horror, scifi, paranormal romance, literary fiction, and urban fantasy. She has previously published short stories and a novella.
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