I’m not sure if you know this about me but zombies are my favorite monster. They scare bubbles out of me. They’re also perfect metaphors for how people act nowadays, which is an added bonus. They really are one of the best storytelling tools in genre fiction to tell a very human story about a girl who wasn’t at all prepared for the zombie apocalypse. Samie Sands is doing just that with her AM13 series. Let’s dive in, shall we?
AM13 Series Book 1
Leah Watton’s practical joke has spiraled way out of control—all to impress a crush…
With a prank online video, Leah hopes to catch the attention of Jake Colton, a cute, blond-haired, blue-eyed co-worker she’s had a crush on for months. But instead of sending it to Jake, she manages to forward the clip to her boss—who buys every gory second.
When mass panic ensues, Leah learns the video is more than a staged act…
The government is calling the virus AM13. As the outbreak spreads, citizens are forced to stay indoors while they assess the gravity of the illness. Most people are quarantined in their homes, but Leah, Jake, and Leah’s best friend Michelle are some of the unlucky few who are stuck at work when the Lockdown occurs.
That’s where she first encounters one of the infected…
Aside from a contaminated woman devouring one of her co-workers, Leah has another problem. Does she do as she’s ordered and stay at work? Or should she disobey government orders and break free to reunite with her family?
She can’t go it alone—after all, Leah has none of the skills needed to survive—but with Michelle and Jake by her side, not even a contagious virus and a sea of the dead can keep her from…
Breaking out of the Lockdown…
AM13 Outbreak Series Book 2
Every attempt to contain the deadly AM13 virus has failed, leaving humanity on the brink of extinction…
The plague is spreading out of control with no cure in sight. Then the government announces its new plan—a sanctuary in an area completely untouched by the infected—as long as you can get there alive and unscathed.
Ethan Watton has managed to survive this long, even with OCD making every day more hellish than it already is…
Ethan’s obsessive-compulsive disorder dramatically affected his life before the infection began. Now he’s desperate to get as far away from the zombie virus as humanly possible. Isolated and afraid, Ethan thinks there is no way in hell he will survive the epidemic.
Alyssa Turner has spent her teenage years prepping for the undead to challenge her zombie killing skills…
Alyssa knows with absolute certainty that she will survive the AM13 virus. She’s read all the books, watched all the films, and done all the research. She’s strong, tough, and a self-proclaimed badass. Any group would be lucky to fight alongside her…until the unthinkable makes her doubt every skill she’s acquired.
Dr. Jones is a scientist who doesn’t understand why he was selected to produce a cure…
Surely there are survivors more experienced in virology than he is. And what will happen to him—and the rest of the species—if he fails? Is the fate of the human race really resting on his shoulders? Or are there others working toward the same goal?
With the zombies multiplying and survivors struggling to make it to the sanctuary, Ethan, Alyssa, and Dr. Jones fight to fulfill their destinies. If they fail, their fate is sealed, and they will join the millions of others who have been…
AM13 Outbreak Series Book 3
Writing books about the horrors of the zombie apocalypse is one thing—but Georgie Blake can’t believe it has become her reality…
She never expected her fictional stories of blood, death, and the consumption of human flesh to jump off the page into the real world. She certainly didn’t think she’d survive this long if they had. As a shy novelist, she was sure she’d be one of the first to die.
Safe in the Sanctuary, Georgie holds on to hope for a cure…
But that’s not all she holds on to. The government has promised the people of the Sanctuary that they can return home. The rumors are rife that there is an antidote on the horizon. But even if not, the infected are dying out, throwing the treacherous AM13 virus to the brink of extinction. If the infection dies out, this horrible nightmare Georgie is living in will be a distant memory.
Until everything that’s right goes terribly wrong…
Soon after meeting some new friends in the Sanctuary, Georgie learns she’s going to have to face the monsters outside the walls if she wants to return to her old life. But for a scared, introverted bookworm, it may be too much to consider…
Will Georgina conquer her fears of the dead to return home, or will she be one of the countless others who has gone Extinct?
About the Author
Samie Sands is a 28-year-old freelance graphic designer who has recently decided to follow her lifelong dream and use her creativity in a new way by writing.
She has a degree in Media Studies and PR and has already had articles published in a number of e-zines, including one of the most popular pieces at Zombie Guide Magazine. She has also had short stories included in a number of successful projects.
She lives in a small seaside town in the UK but loves to travel to gain inspiration from new places and different cultures.
- What is something unique/quirky about you?
A lot of other authors listen to music as they write, but I find it much too distracting! I actually prefer to have the TV or movies playing in the background – as long as they’re completely unrelated to what I’m writing about.
- What are some of your pet peeves?
If I’m a massive fan of a book I find it really irritating if the author forgets to complete a story line that they’ve included in their plot, even if it’s a small one. That’s why with my books I’ve answered any questions that I haven’t in the series with short stories.
- What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?
It’s a varied mix of genres:
Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
The Ghost Files by Apryl Baker
Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella
I Heart New York by Lindsey Kelk
Dead End Road by Lori Whitwam
The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp
Outpost by Adam Baker
You’re the One that I Want by Giovanna Fletcher
Broken by Jodi Drake
Hopelessly Imperfect by Gabriella Cabezut
- What inspired you to write this book?
For the first book in the AM13 Outbreak series, I wrote the book I wanted to read. I’d read a lot of stories based in the zombie apocalypse and I found that the characters were always very capable. It made me wonder what would happen with an ordinary person trying to survive. Leah in Lockdown is normal, girl next door type without any skills to survive. Sometimes she’s flawed and she doesn’t always make the right choice, but that makes her more realistic.
The characters in the following books in the series came to me as I was writing Lockdown, which was how the series was born, and in the latest book, Not Dead Yet, some of the characters are based on real people who won a competition.
- What can we expect from you in the future?
Right now, I’ve just signed a contract for a completely different book. It’s called Lottie Loves and it’s very different from the zombie apocalypse in the AM13 Outbreak series. It’s a romance book that looks at first loves and the idea of ‘meant to be’. I’m not done with the zombie apocalypse though, I will be writing more!
- Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
If you buy an ebook of any of the books in the series, you gain access to a bonus chapter which delves more into the lives of the smaller characters. I’ve also written some shorts for anthologies to continue on with the world. Unleash the Undead features Michelle, who is Leah’s best friend in Lockdown, 13 includes a story which reveals where the virus came from, 13: Déjà vu introduces a blind character trying to survive, and coming soon are shorts in Undead Worlds and 13: Night Terrors.
- If you knew you’d die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?
Tying up lose ends and hanging out with daughter. If I could magically be anywhere in the world for that last day, it’d be Japan because I just love it there!
- What book do you think everyone should read?
In the apocalypse genre, I would say Outpost by Adam Baker. It’s a zombie style book, but with a real difference. I love it, I could read it over and over again!
- What kind of world ruler would you be?
I would like to say fair and kind, but I’m sure everyone feels that way until the power grips them! I imagine the need to hold onto the power could be quite stressful too!
- Tell us about a favorite character from a book.
I would love to hang out with Georgie from Extinct because as an introvert zombie author I think we would have most in common!
- Describe your writing style.
It’s very character driven, the plot all happens through the eyes of the character so every decision and mistake made are felt very acutely by the reader.
- What makes a good story?
I like a story with twists and tension. I enjoy it when I can’t guess what’s going to happen next, which I found with The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp. Another thing I liked about that book was the unlikable main character. Jack Sparks has his charm but he isn’t instantly lovable which I think makes him more realistic.
- What do you do to unwind and relax?
I love Pokemon Go! Team Instinct, of course.
- How to find time to write as a parent?
It’s not always easy to get some quality time with the laptop, but I do my best to fit some writing in every day.
- What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision?
I didn’t start writing Lockdown with the idea of getting it published, at first I wrote it just for me, so I wrote the book that I wanted to read. I wanted to write something a little different, which I think I achieved. I didn’t even expect anything to happen when I sent the manuscript off to publishers, but I was so pleased when it did. Now, I absolutely love it.
- The advice you would give new authors?
That a terrible first draft is better than writing nothing. Sometimes it’s hard to just get started, but once you get past that hump and you get a general idea down, you can go back and make things right afterwards.
- What are they currently reading?
I am currently reading The Girl on the Train because I recently watched the film. So far I think the book is better…but I usually do!
- How long have you been writing?
I started writing five years ago when my daughter was born, at the time it was a way to pass all the sleepless nights! I was creating stories in my head for a long time before that, but that’s when I first started.
- What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?
I outline, but it rarely works out the way I thought it would. Often the plot takes on a life of its own once I get started and unexpected events come to mind…those are the ideas that I usually like the best!
- Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Extinct?
The main character is Georgie Blake, a zombie author who certainly never expected to end up in what feels like the pages of her book. By the time we get to Extinct, the apocalypse has been going on for a while (although each book in the series can easily be read as standalone!), but she still isn’t used to it. Tom Cleary is another major character and he’s the one who causes Georgie the most concern. She just cannot work out where his motives and loyalties lie…
- Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
I start out with an idea of the characters I want to include in the plot, but as I write new ones often make an appearance in my mind. Also the ones I’ve started out with don’t turn out as planned. I have one idea of them in my brain, but the plot often takes on a life of it’s own and it changes them with it. I prefer that though, I think it makes the end result of them more organic.
- What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
I did a lot more research for the second book in the series, Forgotten, because one of the characters is a scientist trying to solve the problem of the virus. I had to do a lot of in depth research into some very interesting biology then!
- Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
I didn’t know how to answer this one, so I asked my five year old daughter! This is what she said: sharing, cuddling, nice, helpful, and fun…not too bad!!
- How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
I enjoyed writing Georgie in this book, since she’s an introverted zombie book writer. I could relate to her more than any of my other characters. I enjoyed creating a character that always wants to do the right thing, but in this situation since this is a new world, she doesn’t know what the right thing is!
- What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I loved writing all the books in the AM13 Outbreak series because they can all be read as standalone which allows for the introduction of new characters and situations. Some readers love the slightly vapid Leah from Lockdown, others like the plucky teenager, Alyssa, from Forgotten, but the best feedback I’ve had is for Georgie in Extinct. She’s flawed and doesn’t always make the right choice, but I think that makes her more realistic.
- Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?
Georgie is introverted which makes it hard for her to push herself, but she can do it when she thinks she’s doing the right thing. The reader might not always agree with her, sometimes it might be like yelling ‘don’t go in there’ at a movie screen, but I’m sure everyone would make mistakes in panic during the apocalypse.
- Do you have any advice to give aspiring writers?
Don’t give up! It isn’t always easy and you will face rejection and negativity, but as with anything creative not everyone will like your stuff. Just don’t give up and it’ll all be worth it in the end.
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