Saturday, November 10, 2012

Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide

One of my favorite things that I get to do when writing any book is research. Ok, maybe that's a little weird and I just proved that I am a huge nerd, but it's actually really fun to learn new things and it's really important to me that my characters know what they are talking about. I've learned a lot of probably useless information about a lot of random things and I know quite a bit about water mythology after writing Beyond the Sea. I actually own a TON of spell books, magical herb guides, magical crystal encyclopedias, divination guides, tarot cards, and runes. I think that stuff is fascinating of course and I also research what Anora's saying/doing. I like facts and getting them straight. 

My research sometimes includes not looking up information in books but instead doing something. I shot a LOT of different guns and even made my own 'zombie heads' to watch explode when hit with different objects. I watched many tutorials and talked to people who do archery so Orissa accurately uses her beloved compound bow. (I just started archery lessons from a friend!) I did a lot of running around and acting out scenes for the Contagium Series too; my friends and I had fun with that! I put 'important items' in bags to test the weight and to see how difficult it was to run/move/fight with those things attached to my body. I felt like I hit the jackpot for gross wound research by being in nursing school and having the chance to go to a wound clinic. I was able to talk to doctors, nurses, and my professors about medically 'realistic' zombies, and I have a very smart friend who has her master's in psych and went over my Phineas Gage crazy theory with me. I run all my fictional medical situations by an experienced ER nurse (who is awesome to help me with that!) to make sure everything is as it should be. 

So, because I was able to put myself into fictional zombie situations and learn what works and what doesn't, I've put together a list of the top ten things I've learned from writing the Contagium Series.

Top Ten Things I Learned from The Contagium Trilogy:

1.) “Preparation is the key to survival”. Have an emergency food stash, weapons, and ammo at the ready. The worst thing to happen during a ZA is to not be ready. Running through your plan will up your chances of making it out alive.

2.) Avoid big cities. Large human population = large zombie population. It's best to have a 'meeting place' of sorts already picked out. Get out of the city!

3.) Be resourceful. Hotwiring cars, picking locks, and making Molotov cocktails in the basement with Grandpa might have gotten you arrested before the zombies, but those skills just might just save your life now. Learn how to adapt what you know.

4.) Wear appropriate clothing at all times. You don’t want to get stuck in the ZA wearing a sexy nurse costume and high heels. 

5.) Include a hot doctor in your group of survivors. God knows you’ll need medical attention at one point or another. It is the ZA after all. (It won't hurt if he has a sexy accent either!) 

6.) Finding a group of good looking soldiers won't hurt either. Having others who know how to handle a gun increases your chances of survival.

7.) Safety in numbers…says zombies (they are quite fond of traveling in herds). When it comes to fast getaways, the more is not always the merrier, so know who in your group can slow you down. Be prepared to leave them or save them…repeatedly. 

8.) Know how to live off the land. Face it: all the supplies you've gathered are going to run out at some point. Knowing how to raise livestock, the ins and outs of farming, and how to identify edible wild plants will be the difference between life and death.

9.) Invest in high quality bow and arrows. Not only is killing zombies next to silent with the quiet whisper of a bow slicing through skulls, but you can get your ammo back. (Just remember to clean off the brain matter).

10.) And finally, under NO circumstances should you seek shelter from a tornado in a parking garage! Those places were creepy before the outbreak. Trust me when I say tornadoes zombies, and blindingly dark parking garages DO NOT mix!

Is there anything you want to add to the list? Let me know in a comment! :) 


  1. Pot roast, hee hee! I've gotten part way through your second book and can't wait for the third.

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  3. I love your graph. I would be like "Cool, all of that crap I've been learning all my life is finally going to come in handy!!!"