It must’ve been back in early 2013, shortly after I’d finished playing Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword. There’s a character in the game named Fi, and I’m pretty sure that’s where my subconscious grabbed it from.
Normally, I don’t dream about zombies. My nightmares feature a complexity of other compositions and characters that I won’t get into now. And I’m not particularly scared of zombies to begin with. In fact, I’m not very interested in them at all. My friends tended to be, though, which is why I was dragged to see films like Zombieland, which I enjoyed, and The Crazies, which I didn’t so much. I did however, like The Walking Dead, though even by 2013 it was starting to lose some luster.
So zombies weren’t my thing, and I tended not to think about them, much less dream about them. Nevertheless, while I was sleeping all those years ago, a certain scenario began to play out before my (closed) eyes. There was a zombie, in front of a crowd of other zombies, giving a speech. And this zombie was warning all the others that they were consuming too many resources and would have to cut back to survive. This zombie’s name was Viceroy Fee.
When I awoke, I immediately transcribed the contents of the dream. This was an interesting concept to me. Zombies speaking? Running low on resources? Perhaps there was a novel idea in here somewhere. And so the initial concept of Caste of Corpses was born.
The rest came to me later, over the course of a year I spent primarily developing the world of Kings of Ghumai. I don’t know when I decided to incorporate flashbacks, but a class war seemed inevitable back then with just the emergence of Occupy. Bernie Sanders and Trump were hardly in the news by the time I started writing.
Initially, I’d planned on writing one standalone novel between each book in the Kings of Ghumai series. Caste of Corpses was going to be the first. For the zombie scenes, I decided to write in the present tense, just to challenge myself with a writing style that I rarely used and generally abhorred. Flashbacks would be in the past tense.
I began in late 2014, expecting to be finished in six or eight months. That didn’t happen. Instead, writing it became a slog almost right away. Each page had to be dragged out of me. Each chapter became a chore to finish. For whatever reason, I could not focus and crank out this novel.
Of course, over the next year, my entire life went into a downward spiral. These dark times constantly soured my mood and planted themselves into the story I was writing. That was, when I had time to write. I won’t go into the specifics, but damn, it all sucked.
Eventually, about a year after I began, I finished Caste of Corpses. I put it aside, almost sure I’d never look at it again, and started Book Two in the Kings of Ghumai series. At that point, I also realized it was probably a mistake to work on another novel while in the middle of a series. I figured I couldn’t give one my full attention when I constantly had a toe dipped in another. So that was that.
Flashforward a year and half later, and I kept thinking about Caste of Corpses. I spent a year of my life working on it. Was it that bad that I had to lock it away forever? I didn’t know. I’d never read the whole thing. So I opened it up and started reading.
What I found shocked me. Not only were there several concepts that I loved contained within the pages, but the flashbacks almost seemed prophetic in the de-evolution of the country. Of course, there were some references that were already out of date, but generally, it was almost ahead of its time.
So, I decided to work on revising and editing it in my spare time and, depending how it turned out, I’d consider finally releasing it. Naturally, it would no longer be considered predictive but more of its time. I could live with that.
After extensive reworking and revising, I decided its moment had finally come. Caste of Corpses would see the light of day. And then I kept pushing back when I would publish it and it was suddenly 2018.
Now, the time has finally come to send Caste of Corpses into the world. It’s available right now and I would love to know what you think of it. This one could’ve stayed unpublished forever. Should it have? That’s what I want to know.