Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Contagious by Emily Goodwin: Character Interview, Excerpt



Book #1 in The Contagium Trilogy
Emily Goodwin
Genre: Occult horror/zombie
Number of pages: Approx 340
Word Count: Approx 120,000
Cover Artist: SweetDreams 

Book Description:
“I wasn’t afraid of death. If I died, it would be over. My worst fear wasn’t of dying, it was of living. Living, while everyone around me had their flesh savagely torn from their bodies to be shoved into the festering and ever-hungry mouths of zombies. It terrified me, right down to my very core, to be alive while the rest of the world was dead."

In the midst of the Second Great Depression, twenty-five year old Orissa Penwell doesn't think things can get any worse. She couldn't be more wrong. A virus breaks out across the country, leaving the infected crazed, aggressive and very hungry.

Orissa will do anything-no matter if it's right or wrong- to save the ones she loves. But when she discovers that most of the world is infected or dead, she must decide if those lives are worth saving at all.

I grabbed a rifle, sticking my head through the strap. I slung the quiver of arrows and the bow over my shoulder, stuffed an extra clip in my pocket, and stood.
“What the hell are you doing?” Padraic asked, over Argos’ muffled growls.
“I’m going to bring the truck around. Get in the back as soon as you can.”
“No!” Raeya objected. “Rissy, you’ll die! You-you can’t go down there with them!”
“They’re still far enough away I can get to the car.”
“No, they’re not. Stay here and they will pass us,” she pleaded.
“They will find us. Our best chance is getting out of here. Then we can double back for the SUV.”
“Orissa, that is crazy!” Jason shouted. “What if you don’t make it?”
“I have to try.” I moved to the ladder.
“You could die,” Raeya cried, scrambling to her feet.
“You either die trying or you just die,” I told her, feeling like this wasn’t really happening. “I’m not giving up yet. I said I’d keep you alive, and, well, this is the only way.”
     My feet hit the cold cement, shock stinging my ankles. I pulled an arrow, ready to shoot. My breath clouded around me as adrenaline coursed my veins. The zombies were closer than I anticipated. They surrounded the cars, passing them without a second look. Hungry, they followed our human scent. I released the arrow. It zipped through the air and passed through a mushy zombie skull, continuing its lethal voyage into another’s eye. 
I couldn’t do that again if I tried. I ran around the barn, clambering onto the roof of some sort of out building. I fired the rest of my arrows. Two fast zombies raced in front of the rest, stretching their arms out when they caught sight of my movement. Firing the gun would give me away for sure. I dropped the bow, jumped down and held the rifle like a baseball bat. I whacked one in the head and kicked the other in the chest.
Its skin slimed off, making the bottom of my boot slippery. My foot skidded out from underneath me. The zombie I kicked grabbed my foot, bringing it to his mouth. He couldn’t bite through my boot. The M9 was wedged in my waistband, hurting like hell when I landed on my back. I madly thrashed around, retrieving it. I held it to the zombie’s head and pulled the trigger.
Spoiled bits of brain and thick blood splashed across my face. Thank God I remembered to close my eyes. Wiping zombie blood from my lips, I rolled over, shooting the other in the cheek. Dammit, I thought, cursing wasting a bullet. I fired again, this time hitting him right in between the eyes. Yellow brain matter oozed from the bullet hole. I scrambled back onto the roof of what had to be a chicken coup, based on the feathers. I emptied my clip, burying each round deep into the skull of a zombie.
Though they dropped like flies, it didn’t even dent the horrifying number that lumbered toward us. I switched to the rifle, shooting anything that moved. I needed to get off of the roof before I was completely surrounded. I dropped the rifle, shoved another clip into the M9 and jumped off. I sprinted to a silo. I climbed six feet up the ladder, twisting, and shooting.
A zombie moved through the crowd with sickening speed and grace. I had one bullet left. I aimed carefully, lining the scope up with his eye. I paused, thinking he was the best looking zombie I’d ever seen. His eyes met mine right as I pulled the trigger.
A zombie next to him fell to the ground. He put his finger to his lips and walked, unnoticed, through the flesh eating monsters that clawed at the broken side of the barn. When he was at the bottom of the ladder, he motioned for me to come down. I swallowed, not knowing why in the world I would trust this person or who the hell he was walking amongst the zombies. I shoved the empty M9 in my waistband and climbed down, hands trembling almost uncontrollably.
As soon as my feet hit the ground, he pressed himself up against me, pinning me between his body and the silo. Over a black, long sleeve shirt, he was wearing a hairy, moldy leather vest. It was wrinkled and rotten in parts. I wanted to shove him off me when I realized it was made out of zombie skin. Fingers, tied to strings like freaking decorations, hung from his neck. A hand was tied to his belt. I didn’t know what part of the zombie was stitched onto the baseball cap he was wearing.
It was disgusting, having zombie parts rubbing against me. It smelled revolting. So revolting, that the zombies wouldn’t be able to distinguish his human smell from the rotting flesh of one of their own. I closed my eyes and buried my face against his chest.
As if we didn’t exist, the zombies milled by, grabbing at the weak wood that kept my friends safe. I was grateful for this very odd stranger but I wanted to help my friends. A gun fired. My body tensed, thinking somehow one of my friends had gotten a hold of a weapon and shot the guy who was saving me, thinking he was really a zombie.
He put an arm around me, obviously thinking the echoing shot scared me. My fingers closed around the material of his shirt. A zombie stopped, eyeing us hungrily. I pulled the guy closer to me, holding my breath. He inched closer, every part of him pressing into me. Too scared to breathe, I held my breath until the zombie moved on.


Orissa Penwell is the leading lady in Contagious. Orissa is one tough cookie, but behind her tough-girl exterior is a deep, caring young woman. I’ve tracked her down to ask her a few questions so we can get to know her a little better.

What was the scariest moment of your life?


It’s hard to pick just one at this point. The initial panic and fear I felt when I saw a zombie for the first time sticks out in my memory. And thinking that our little group of survivors might be the only ones left living in the world terrified me more than I can express. Despite the close calls and fear of isolation, nothing has been scarier than seeing someone I love get fatally wounded…and being able to do nothing to help them.

Do you play any sports?


I was a cheerleader for a few years in high school, until I got kicked off the squad…But I’ve been dedicated to taking martial arts lesson for the last twelve years.


What do you do to unwind and relax?


Hah, you’re joking, right? Relax during the zombie apocalypse? If I’m not worried about starving to death or being eaten alive, then I’m hanging out with my few (surviving) friends. Working out is good too, not only to de-stress but to stay in shape. Zombies hate fast food, ya know.

What would we find in your closet?


My combat boots, cloths, a box full of junk food, an M16, my preferred Beretta M9, a black compound bow, a few arrows, knives, bullets, and a couple of shot guns. You can never to too prepared, right?

What one word best describes you?


I would say resilient. Even before the virus outbreak, I had gone through some pretty rough times. Some of those might have been from my own doing, I’ll admit, but I never let it stop me or get me down. And now, despite the heartache, loss, and fear I constantly have to deal with, I’m still going. I like to think that I’m able to bounce back pretty quickly to my old self.



You just won a huge lottery what is the first thing you'll buy?


(Pre-zombies, of course) I’d love to take my best friend and Aunt on a Mexican beach vacation, but since we were currently in the Second Great Depression, I’d pay off my student loans and then buy a small house outside the city. I cannot imagine how nice it would be to not have to pay rent or a mortgage!



Is there a piece of advice that you have received that has really stuck with you? If so, what was it?


Yes, my grandpa told me never to give up just because something was hard. He taught me that the harder something is, the more it is worth it in the end.


I have to go to training now…I’m stuck teaching the noobs how to use the compound bow again. *Sigh* I swear I’m being punished. Thanks, I had fun chatting!

-Orissa Penwell


I would like to thank Laurie for allow me (and Orissa!) to be guests on her blog! It was fun! ~Emily Goodwin

I appreciate the opportunity to chat with you both.  Thanks so much for stopping in!


Emily Goodwin resides in Indiana, where she lives with her husband and many four legged children, including their much loved German Shepherd named Vader. Accused of being a day dreamer, Emily began writing at an early age, making use of her active imagination. She has a degree in psychology and is currently working on her second degree in nursing. Emily likes anything paranormal, 80's rock, going on crazy adventures with her friends, making (and wearing) costumes, Renaissance Fairs, and is an animal rights activist.

 Blog  |   Goodreads  |   Twitter


September 18 Character Interview
Laurie's Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews

September 19 Interview
Books & Other Spells

September 19 Promo
Mila Ramos, Paranormal & Contemporary Romance

September 21 Interview

September 25 Review and promo
The Full Fang

September 25 review
Fictional Candy

And More...

Enter to win a digital copy of Contagious.
Comment on this post for a bonus entry.
Follow the author on Twitter for another bonus entry.
Giveaway ends October 6th 11:59 PM Central Time.



M.A.D. said...

Contagious sounds like such a great zombie novel, can't wait to read it! And kudos to Emily for not only being talented, but also involved with animal welfare rights! <3

Mary DeBorde M.A.D.

Seyma Bennett Shabbir said...

Sounds like a great read and I am obsessed with zombie books and movies

J-9 said...

I'm always looking for a the next great zombie book that will scare the S*** out of me. Plus this is for an indie author, even better.
Thank you for the giveaway
Make sure to check out the giveaways I'm having for my Blogoversary.