Zombies, Run! is a phone app that lets you run for your life from a horde of zombies.You can use it walking or on a treadmill, but I use it to run (until my recent ouchy knee, anyway. Now I walk). You listen to a storyline (you're Runner 5 and you are sent out on various missions) that is interspersed with your own music. My favorite part is that you can turn on zombie chases that last for a minute. If you don't go 20% faster than you were before the chase started, then the zombies close in. Interval training, anyone?
But now I love Zombies, Run even more because I wrote Episode 43 in Season Three!
It all started when I was listening to an episode about nine months ago. In the episode, the survivors (who are all English because the game is set and taped in England) had made contact with survivors in Toronto. And the person they made contact with said that in the pre-zombie-apocolypse days, she had been a poet and novelist. Then she said her name was Margaret Atwood. I laughed out loud in the middle of my dead-quiet early morning neighborhood. I just figured Atwood was famous enough they could "borrow" her. But the more the character playing Atwood talked, the more I realized it might actually be Atwood. When I got home, I googled and it was her!
So I tweeted about it, and Naomi Alderman, who created the app and is a novelist in her own right (which is how she knows Atwood), responded and asked if I wanted to write an episode. You can see how long I took to respond.
But how do you write what is basically a radio play? It was tough! Nothing but dialog and maybe a few sound effects (mostly zombie moans). If you want listeners to "see" things in their imagination, then one of speakers has to describe it. "Do you see that pine tree up ahead?" or "It's behind the zombie with the missing arm."
The other thing that made it had was that I was basically writing a mission that was about 50 missions ahead of where I was. There were references that needed to be woven in to events and people I didn't have any knowledge of. That's where Naomi came in. I did a couple of drafts, but she took the last draft and wove in the continuity.
The second half of Season 3 was released a few weeks ago, so of course I had to listen to my mission even if it was way out of order. You can't imagine what a thrill it was to hear my words being said by voices (Phil Nightingale as Sam Yao and Eleanor Rushton as Janine) that I would recognize anywhere.
If you would like to hear a teeny-tiny snippet, check out my website: http://www.aprilhenrymysteries.com (scroll down the page a bit)