May 27, 2015
Welcome to our Tour Stop for
Last Siege of Haven (The Undertakers #4) by Ty Drago
presented by Month9Books!
Ty Drago stops by the blog with a special note to you readers about writing and the Undertakers books!
Follow the rest of the tour by clicking on the banner above.
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!
<p><p>While away on an undercover mission, Undertaker Will Ritter has made an unthinkable alliance...with a Corpse! But though Robert Dillin (aka 'The Zombie Prince') is indeed one of those alien invaders who animate and possess the bodies of the dead -- unlike the rest of his kind, Dillin isn't evil. In fact, he wants to help. And Will needs that help, because the Queen of the Dead has learned the location of Haven, the Undertakers' secret HQ, and is planning a massive and deadly assault.<br /><br />With the last day of the Corpse War finally upon them, Will and his friends find themselves in a desperate race to close the Rift between worlds and forever kill the Corpses. But can they do before Haven is overrun?<br /><br />For that matter, can they do it at all?</p></p>
When I published the first book in my five-book (plus one novelette) middle grade horror series, “The Undertakers,” one of the questions I got most often from fans (kids, parents, librarians, teachers, etc.) was this: “How did you make your characters seem so authentic?”
Well, there’s a long answer and a short answer. The long answer involves my childhood and the friends who shared it with me. It involves the poorly drawn comic books I used to author and share with the kids in my neighborhood. And, finally, it involves the invaluable input of my son, then twelve-years-old and now twenty-one, who became my guide when it came to all-things-pre-teenager.
The short answer is: I get kids, or at least I like to think I do!
Either way, that conviction is what enabled me to add complexity and depth to child characters ranging in age from eleven to seventeen. There’s Will’s reckless courage, Helene’s resourceful independence, the Burgermeister’s unflagging loyalty, Tom’s nobility, and Sharyn’s playful bravery and martial expertise. Even the secondary Undertakers, such as the quiet and wounded Amy, the brilliant but socially awkward Steve, and the forever-angry Alex, were drawn from memories of my own days attending three (count ‘em: three) different junior high schools. My family moved around a lot.
Which made it all the harder when, in the fourth and penultimate Undertakers novel, “Last Siege of Haven,” I killed one of those characters off.
I won’t say which one; you’ll have to read the book if you want to know that.
What I will say is that writing the scene broke my heart. This was a character I’d known for years, and penning her (or his) last words took a much bigger chunk out of me that I’d thought it would.
How odd it is to get that attached to a figment of your imagination. But the grief was so unexpected and profound that I had to fight to keep myself to backpedalling. After all, as some might say, a writer is the “god” of his universe. I made the rules and, theoretically, I could change them. If I wanted to, I could save this character, whose death was hitting me so hard. And I could do it through nothing more than the judicious use of my BACKSPACE key.
But the truth of it is that a writer is not the “god” of his universe. If anything, a writer is its slave. When I started the Undertakers Series, it was with a very clear and specific goal in mind: To tell a scary and powerful story about children fighting a desperate war against monsters that the grown-ups around them don’t even know are there. I promised myself and, as the series progressed, my readership, that I wouldn’t flinch from the horrors of war.
There can be no victory without sacrifice. Wars have casualties.
Soldier die. Even child soldiers.
So, in the end, I kept true to my promise and the story remained intact. There was no last minute rescue, no contrived and magical solution, and no white knight riding in on a shining steed. Just a brave Undertaker doing, as they always do, what has to be done for the good of all.
When the book gets released, I expect I’ll get some letters.
Rest in peace, my friend. You did me proud.
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