"To find out what a story's really about,' the Librarian said,

'you don't ask the writer. You ask the reader."

- SNOW & ROSE by Emily Winfield Martin

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Undertakers Takeover Blog Tour: How "The Undertakers" Came to Life by Ty Drago

Today, I have the pleasure of welcoming author, Ty Drago, to the blog!
He is going to share with us how he came up with his middle grade 
"rag-tag teen army vs. zombies" series, 

How "The Undertakers" came to life.
by Ty Drago

"When I was a kid, I drew a lot of poorly drawn comic books, most of which centered around an army of child superheroes called "The Kid Kidets". I was eight, you see, and didn't yet know how to spell "cadets". Sue me.

The Kid Kidets were captained by a brother and sister team Tom and Sharyn Jefferson. This army possessed a broad variety of superpowers, from flight to telekinesis to weather control, and their secret headquarters was an installation below the Antartic ice. Whenever trouble brewed somewhere in the world, this installation would rise up from the ice and the Kid Kidets would sally forth into the world to right all wrongs. 

Their adventures continued for a long time until, at last, my superheroes faced an enemy they couldn't defeat. I grew up. And I forgot about them. 

For thirty years. 

Then, when my son was twelve, he asked me to consider writing a novel for his age group. And, while thinking about it, I suddenly remembered the Kid Kidets. A child's army. An interesting notion, but still only half of a story. I needed a villain. 

Comic book bad guys have never appealed to me. Take, for example, the Joker. He never wins, yet he's always so sure he's going to! I feel like taking him aside and saying, "Dude! It's Batman: 672, Joker: 0. Where's the confidence coming from?" So those guys were out.

Then I turned to the classics. Vampires. Did we really need another vampire novel? I didn't think so. How about werewolves? Thing is: I'd always seen werewolves as good guys. As a kid, I wanted to be a werewolf. I used to stand under the full moon, straining up at the sky, all the while thinking, "Come ON!" Of course, it never happened. I did get hairier as I got older, but I'm pretty sure that's something else. 

Finally, I considered zombies. Zombies are cool. They're scary. They've got parts falling off of them and have bugs and worms crawling under their skin. Good gross appeal. But an army of children fighting a zombie invasion that no one knows about? Really? True, grown-ups are thick, but I couldn't help thinking that if waves of the walking dead were attacking, even the adults might pick up on it after a while. 

All of which demonstrated the big problem with zombies as villains: zombies are really, really stupid. They are. If anyone reading this is a zombie and I've offended you, I'm sorry. But zombies are moaning, shuffling morons. 

But what if they weren't? What if they were smart, and fast, and organized? What if they had the means to disguise what they were, to project an illusion to the world that they're just normal men and women? And what if the only people who could penetrate this illusion were kids, rare kids, "lucky" kids? 

And so the Undertakers were born. They don't have superpowers. They can't fly worth a darn. And they certainly don't live in a secret base in Antartica. 

But they are still captained by a brother and sister team named Tom and Sharyn Jefferson." 

"Just goes to show you: you're never too old to have a happy childhood!" 


ABOUT THE SERIES - The Undertakers

Release date: April 1st, 2011

"On a sunny Wednesday morning in October, a day that would mark the end of one life and the beginning of another, I found out my grouchy next door neighbor was the walking dead. When you turn around expecting to see something familiar, and instead see something else altogether, it takes a little while for your brain to catch up with your eyes. I call it the 'Holy Crap Factor."

Forced to flee his home and family, twelve-year-old Will Ritter falls in with the Undertakers - a rag-tag army of teenage resistance fighters who've banded together to battle the Corpses. 

Release date: October 1st, 2012

"Twelve-year-old Will Ritter and his rag-tag army of teenage resistance fighters may have triumphed over the Zombies last time, but that's the thing about the dead: they keep coming back.

A new Corpse leader has crossed the rift and taken command on the invasion: The Queen of the Dead is even more brilliant and ruthless than her predecessor, and her ambitions are even deadlier. Will and the crew must somehow rescue his mother, prevent an assassination, and show FBI Agent Ramirez the truth about the Corpses - and the danger the world faces. 

But how do a bunch of kids prove to a grown-up that monsters are real?"


"I'm a twice (soon to be THRICE) published novelist who makes his home in Southern New Jersey with my beloved wife and son. I also have a beautiful daughter, but she makes her home elsewhere these days (sniff!).

My short fiction has appeared in SPACE AND TIME MAGAZINE, HAUNTS, AFTER HOURS, PANDORA, MIDNIGHT ZOO, PLANET MAGAZINE and AMAZON SHORTS. Another story snapped up the Grand Masters spot in Fortress Publishing anthology titled "Yesterday, I will." I've also published articles on the craft and business of writing, in such venues as WRITERS DIGEST. 

Sounds halfway impressive, doesn't it? Well, I wish I could tell you that I write for a living. Sadly, I don't; at least - not yet. I'm actually a business analyst for a large pharmaceutical company. What's a business analyst you ask? Sorry. Not a clue. 

Writing has been my passion for as long as I can remember. I've authored no less than a dozen novels and scores of short stories. Most of these have found homes as bound manuscripts on my office bookshelf, waiting for their moment in the sun. That's the way it is for most authors, I'm afraid." 

A huge thank you to Ty Drago for stopping by my blog today! 
And a thank you to Sourcebooks for making it happen :) 

1 comment:

  1. OMG This sounds so cool! You know me and my love of zombies! And yeah they're fricking stupid as dirt but they NEVER EVER STOP EVER! Smart zombies just gives me the chills, dude! WTF is that about? *sobs while rocking back and forth*


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