The End of All Things Series by Lissa Bryan
Interview with Lissa Bryan
Did you learn anything new with this book and what was it?
I learn something new, writing-wise, with each book. I still overuse adverbs to an almost criminal extent and my grammar is uneven at best, but I’m getting better. It’s slowed my writing pace quite a bit because I now stop to consider each line as I write it. They always advise you not to edit as you write, but I can’t help it. It’s almost an automatic reflex after having to go back and rewrite paragraphs so many times.
Research-wise, I learned a lot, as I do with each book in this series. Some of it has probably landed me on a Homeland Security watch list, and a lot of it I’ll probably never use, such as how to skin a ‘gator, but hey, it’s always good to learn new things, right?
If you had it all to do over again, would you change anything about the series?
The End of All Things was never intended to be a series. I meant for it to be one book, and I told my editor I thought I could do it in less than 80,000 words. I had “written” it in my head, so I was estimating based on how long it felt in my mind. I was off by a mile. When I crossed the 65K mark, I realized I wasn’t even near the half-way point in the story. So, I ended the first book at what seemed like a good spot and figured I’d do a sequel. But I had other things I wanted to write in the meantime. That was a mistake, too. I should have dived right into writing the sequel.
After I finished writing the second half, I realized I wasn’t really done with these characters. Carly and Justin were clamoring in my mind, insisting there was more to their story. And so I wrote the third volume to complete their arc, though I still hear from Justin time to time, telling me what he’s up to.
If I were writing it today, planning it out as a series from the beginning, there might be a smoother transition, and a more even tone, but in the end, I learned a lot from the experience, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?
There were a lot of challenges. First was in the amount of research it required. I had to think about how every aspect of life would be affected by the end of modern technology, and how my characters could overcome the challenges it would present. That wasn’t easy. I’d be typing along and suddenly it would occur to me, “Hey, would that still work?” and off I’d have to go to see how these modern conveniences function and whether some of them would be able to operate without human intervention.
Psychologically, it takes you to a dark place to imagine the end of the world. It’s a world in which something like 99% of the population has died, meaning I’m writing a world in which I’m likely dead, along with everyone I love. It’s a world in which my loved ones who need modern medical technology wouldn’t survive. It’s a lawless world where the strong exploit and prey upon the weak.
That’s one of the reasons I admire Carly so much. She’s able to see the best in human kind, and she’s determined that the world they rebuild is going to be even better than the one before. She refuses to let the darkness win.
The End of All Things by Lissa Bryan
Publication Date: January 24, 2013
After a terrible virus ravages the planet, Carly Daniels, one of the few survivors, hides in her apartment in Juneau trying to survive the best she can with only occasional forays to gather food. With her is Sam, a wolf puppy she found starving on the streets. He becomes her companion and a reason to continue when giving up sometimes seems like the more attractive option. Still dazed with shock and grief, she hopes for the world to go back to normal soon.
She is discovered by Justin, an ex-soldier who is intent on making his way to Florida before the winter sets in. Justin coaxes her out of her hiding place and convinces her to join him on his journey, because a warmer climate will be their best chance against the extremes of Mother Nature.
Together, they begin a perilous journey through a nation laid to waste by the disaster. Challenges abound along the way. The weather, injury, and shortage of supplies all help to slow them down. In time, they discover that they aren’t the only survivors. Some are friendly but some have had their minds destroyed by the high fever. Then there are those who simply take what they want, leaving Carly and Justin with no choice but to defend what is theirs.
But their journey is not without joy and love. Together, they face every struggle, including an unplanned pregnancy. Despite the perils of bringing a child into a world of chaos, their baby is a new beginning for themselves and a symbol of hope for the other survivors they find along the way.
This is the story of their journey to find a place to begin a new life, and a home in each other.
Tales from the End by Lissa Bryan
(4 Short Stories / Companion Pieces)
Publication Date: February 4, 2014
L.A.'s mayor has declared quarantine to try to halt the spread of the Infection. Pearl sets off across the city to buy supplies, but already the world is changing. Something strange is in the air. The Horsemen are coming ...
When Veronica's mother doesn't come home from work and no one answers the phone when she calls for help, a nine-year-old girl is thrown into the chaos of a world coming to an end. Veronica decides it's up to her to find her family. "Veronica" is the story of a little girl's courage in the face of the end of all things.
"I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud"
They called her Shadowfax-- the mare Carly and Justin found on their travels. But before she was found by Carly, the retired dressage horse was known as Cloud. An unusual tale of the end, told through the eyes of a confused and lonely horse, left in her pasture.
A previously-published bonus story. Carly knows Justin has never celebrated his birthday, and after society crumbled, no one knows what date it is, anyway. But she wants to do something special for him. Celebrating the little things helps them keep hope alive, and as a blizzard rages outside, a small gesture of love warms their home.
The Land of the Shadow by Lissa Bryan
Publication Date: August 21, 2014
Even so, balancing the duties of survival and a growing family isn’t easy. As they emerge as leaders, they face difficult questions about justice in a lawless land, basic human rights, and freedom in a world where strength defines worth. More than ever, they have to rely on one another for strength and support during the darkest of times.
The Crisis is far from over. Their fences won’t keep the world out forever, and a new threat is emerging—a gang of predators who see the town as easy pickings. When danger looms over Colby, Carly must decide how far she’ll go to protect those she loves.
It’s a journey down the long and broken road through The Land of the Shadow.
Shadows Have Gone by Lissa Bryan
Publication Date: March 26, 2015
Carly Daniels knows what it is to suffer loss. She knows what it is to sacrifice. In the two years since a pandemic virus—known only as the Infection—decimated humanity, she’s made choices she never could have imagined. She’s condoned violence in the name of peace and done the unthinkable in the name of mercy. But with Justin at her side, she’s also learned there’s nothing she can’t face and nothing she wouldn’t do to protect those she loves.
But now another threat has arrived in the form of a uniformed man driving an army truck, claiming to represent the remnant of the United States military. Someone has set their sights on their community . . . and on Justin. The struggle to defend their little homeland is far from over, and the visitors may have brought more danger with them than just their weapons.
The shadows are closing in. Carly has to find out whether she has the strength to stand on her own when all of her support has fallen away. What remains when the shadows have gone?
Ghostwriter by Lissa Bryan
Publication Date: October 11, 2012
Unemployed, with her savings dwindling, Sara Howell thinks things are looking up when she lands a ghostwriting job and rents the affordable island home of her favorite author, Seth Fortner, who mysteriously disappeared in 1925.
Strange things happen, making Sara wonder if Seth ever left. When she finds an old trunk of Seth’s letters, she delves into a world she never imagined, filled with love and a family curse it seems only she can break.
Real life isn't so interesting, which is why she spends most of her time writing.