Series: Red Dust #1
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Red Dust is a series of zombie western short stories.
Red Dust: The Fall is the first trilogy of short stories in the Red Dust series. These stories are The Lost Party, Feud and The Last Rider.
The Lost Party
When a party of settlers go missing on the Wasatch Mountains of 1846 America, a lone mountain man tasks himself with finding the lost pioneers. Upon the discovery of the remnants of a diary, George Masterson finds himself pulled into the dark story that befell the ill-fated travellers.
America 1853, seven years since the disappearance of the lost party, the undead have emerged from the wilderness crossing the Great Plains to assault the civilised world. Communication has broken down and settlements now stand alone as the Rising Plague spreads across the eastern border.
In the town of Little Rock inhabitants of the New World thrive to create normality in the midst of chaos. With the arrival of a mysterious rider named Griffin, the true dangers of the town become clear. The illusion of civilisation quickly dissolves as Griffin’s appearance sparks the violent conclusion of a deep-rooted vendetta.
The Last Rider
The Rising Plague continues to spread mercilessly across America, leaving the remnants of the US government to lead a desperate defence in defiance of the undead. Yet in the face of their doom, the beginnings of a civil tension arises, as the Southern State’s succeed, leaving a dire split across the US and its people hopelessly divided.
Isaac, a young courier, volunteers himself to deliver a mysterious package for the Union military. His task will lead him deep into the heart of the unknown, through the decaying civilisation of a country that he can no longer call his home, as his eyes are opened to the horrors of the New World.
Interview with Author Ben Dixon
Can you talk a little about what the book is about?
Red Dust: The Fall is a collection of three interlinking short stories set in the mid 1800’s America (the Wild West) and the outbreak of a zombie apocalypse. The three stories are set over different periods of time and involve different characters whose story lines intertwine in an ever changing and deteriorating world as the zombie epidemic grows more out of control. I think that with the changing of the story line in the world, each story gains its own individual and unique feel.
Where did you get the idea for the book?
We always knew that we wanted to write a zombie apocalypse style book but we were also interested in history and how a historic element could be brought to the story rather than it just have been set in a present day scenario. I think the ‘Wild West’ America was an age that appealed to us, where we could integrate the history to build our own world and the stories within.
What message do you want readers to get from reading the book?
I think that each of the short stories have their own individual messages about morality and similar aspects that I hope the reader can pick up on but I’d also like for them just to be interested and entertained by the story. That once they finish the book, the stories were more than thought they would be and that they made the reader just pause and think about them a little afterwards.
How long did it take to write the book?
I think it took a few months to write all three of the short stories. We did them one at a time and each one came with a learning curve as we began to create more challenging and ambitious story lines.
Who is your favorite character, or what character was the most fun to write?
Personally I had fun with writing all the characters. I think you have to for them to be interesting. I can’t pick an outright favorite but one of the more fun aspects for one character was with Ethan King. He is an outlaw/gunslinger type character and we came up for his motives that he just wants to be remembered in a historic kind of way. It was just fun inventing and writing his story line because of this.
Can you talk about how you wrote it? Did you do any outlining? Did it take you in any unexpected directions?
We did each story individually and we learned something new as writers with each one we finished. This is our first attempt at writing properly and we were not really sure what to expect so I can definitely say that the way in which we planned and wrote the stories changed greatly over the time. For the first short story we just had more of an idea than a structured plan and wrote it in segments at a time. Then one day we had a completely new idea for the ending and had to rewrite the earlier chapters accordingly so we definitely planned a lot more in much greater detail after the first story and always had an idea where we wanted to go. I think that the stories always became deeper than we originally planned as we wrote them and we came up with new, interesting ideas all the time that took them in directions we hadn’t even really thought of but for me that was just part of the process of writing.
If you could go back and change anything in the novel, what would it be?
I think personally for me as a writer I could always go back and change or fiddle with things in the story whether it is for the better or the worse. As they were short stories we were always learning and gaining experience and I would love to go back and apply that to the previous stories. If I had to pick one thing I think, it would have to be to try and build the world more in the story itself.
How did you come up with the cover?
Although I would like to take credit for the cover of our book, it was actually a friend who designed it and brought it to life. We gave him ideas and a theme but he did most of the hard work on this part to create an awesome cover for us.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I don’t really recall a specific age from when I knew I wanted to write but it was something I always enjoyed and knew I wanted to try on a greater level after school.
What are you favorite books and authors?
At the moment I’ve been reading the fantasy ‘Witcher’ series by Andrzej Sapkowski. He is a great inspiration to us because of his ‘Last Wish’ book which is also a collection of short stories set in one world. He manages to build his world so beautifully and in such interesting and unique ways and no story turns how you expect it too in a good way. I also like Bernard Cornwall who wrote the ‘Sharpe’ series. He is a great author who combines history with a fictional character to create a fascinating story.
What are you working on next?
We’re working on the continuation of our Red Dust series, another collection of short stories. But I am always planning ideas for other stories and coming up with other things to write about that I will move onto after Red Dust.
What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
I think the only piece of advice I can give for aspiring authors is just to keep practising or if you haven’t wrote yet but want to just have a go at a short story. It’s amazing what you can learn about yourself as a writer just from putting together a simple story and you always learn something new and gain experience to improve yourself with each thing you write.
They would say that he came from across the sea.
The lone figure astride a horse emerged from the emptiness of the hot, dusty plains that expanded like a sea encompassing the solitary town of Little Rock. In the dying light of the evening sun, it was those who survived on the border of the settlement who witnessed the rider first. The poor and the sick, all victims of the time in which they lived, now stood transfixed, mouths agape and eyes wide as the stranger cantered through the slum like area of ragged tents and rotten cabins, oblivious to the absurdity of his arrival. Even as he trotted right pass them, the borderland residents still believed he could have been a mirage, that their minds had finally betrayed their rationality in the madness of this new world. No one had come from the plains in months, and never before alone, it did not belong to the living anymore.
Upon passing through the fringe of the shanty town, the Stranger made his way down the central road, riding into the heart of Little Rock, passing the traffic of people as they closed shops and businesses before escaping to the false refuge of homes or the ignorant bliss of drinking holes.
Silently and furtively, he studied the canvas that opened up around him, mapping everything to detail in his head. The stranger knew what types of side arms the people carried. He could see from a man’s eyes who would fight, who would run, and who he would have to kill. He did not want to have these thoughts, not anymore, but they were innate, created by a nightmare of past experiences, fighting down in the mud and hell below.
Sam and Ben are giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card. Open internationally. The giveaway starts 11/13/13 at 12 AM Eastern and runs through 12 AM Eastern 11/21/13.