Manuscripts Burn


"Manuscripts don't burn"
- Mikhail Bulgakov

Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

"G" is for "Ghoul"

Welcome back, blogketeers!  Today we’re going to be discussing (hopefully briefly) my magnum opus:


The development of THE GHOUL ARCHIPELAGO actually predates any of my other extant novels by a wide margin.  I began working on this piece around 2003 or 2004.  My initial plan was to develop a zombie television series which was, of course, a unique idea for the time.  I had trouble with the fact that a zombie show would necessarily be gory and a television series would be limited by FCC guidelines, which at the time seemed a much more insurmountable issue.

What was more important, though, was that I was limited by my own ignorance.  I didn’t know, per se, how to get a television series made, but I also didn’t know how to get a book published, so neither seemed like a particularly futile effort.  I know now, of course, that television shows are quite simply not made on spec (that is, on speculation, or, rather, by some asshole off the street pitching an idea) whereas novels are.  So I was essentially wasting my time.

My original idea was a sort of “Battlestar Galactica” with zombies.  This does predate the “Battlestar Galactica” reboot by a bit, but in later iterations in 2005 and 2006 I knew that was what I was doing, a wagon train story, essentially, set after the zombie apocalypse, with an ever-diminishing band of mingled civilians and Soldiers travelling from the east to the west across the United States with some mad hope in mind.

I developed a rather lengthy story arc for the series.  Season 1, as I described, was the wagon train story.  Season 2 would then switch focus to the South Pacific.  What I knew about season 2 was that there would be a band of zombie-worshipping pirates on the high seas, and an essentially marooned crew who would be heartened by the appearance of the mainland survivors.  Season 3 was to have been a throwback season, set entirely in the Middle Ages and chronicling an earlier zombie outbreak and explaining the mechanics of the later apocalypse.  Season 4 would have wrapped up all the loose ends.

In 2008 I left the army, and in 2009 I resolved to get published in earnest.  I quickly realized none of my extant work was good enough to get published.  Basically, I had been working under false assumptions for some years, believing people were interested in sweeping, multi-POV stories a la Harry Turtledove.  The most common complain I got about my queries was that there was no single main character to focus on.  It chafed me to have to go back to square one, but I did, and in 2009 wrote BRAINEATER JONES as a lark, with the intention of having a saleable novel.  It sold.

In 2013.

And in the meantime, as I focused on selling BRAINEATER, I returned to work on THE GHOUL ARCHIPELAGO, which as you’ve probably guessed evolved out of the Season 2 proposed storyline for my TV show, which I realize now I had forgotten to mention I was going to call “Flesh.”  TGA evolved and developed so much as a story in those years, and remained so close to my heart that I doubt I’ll ever be able to recreate the greatness of that work.  I consider it my best.  So check it out, I hope you enjoy!

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