My wife once said to me: “If you were stranded on a deserted island, the single palm tree sprouting from that tiny spot of land would be covered with an interesting story by the time someone came by to rescue you.”
Stories. They are everywhere and everything.
When I started writing THE DEAD as a novel back in 2003, the motivating factor behind my pen was the various stories that could exist in any given world. Surf the channels of your television and you’ll come across a range of them. Walk down a city street and start watching the people around you. Each have a tale in progress. Some of them are great, many of them are…
boring, but they all have their own details. Each contain their own diamonds and rough patches. Each will come to their own conclusions.
As of last year, THE DEAD has been making progress in graphic form with the collaboration of artist Jen Hickman. The comic differs widely from the prose, but the basic themes still apply. Let’s look at the premise:
You die, but instead of waking in Heaven or in Hell, you find yourself in a black room. Not too far past that, you realize that your mind can create details for this room. Suddenly, you’ve created a space all your own, filled with sights and sounds and experience that are unique to you and only you. This is not your room and it can be as small as a closet or as large as a city. The only thing that is not yours are the doors that exists in various locations of your room. Where these doors lead are to other rooms where other people have created other rooms that fit their personalities.
THE DEAD was inspired by stories. I often stand in front of my study’s bookcase and marvel at all the different tales held on its many shelves. Each spine that faces me comes with an entire world between its covers. Simply knowing they exist is somehow comforting. Even as my own story plays itself out at its own pace, in its own existence, I know I can visit another as quickly as I can flip a page.
Make no mistake about it, THE DEAD is filled with stories that take place in The House—even if you haven’t read them yet. For the reader to know that the current story (the one that contains Sam, Alex, Devi, Velouria, Kate and all the rest of them) is only one of a million that are happening at the same time was crucial. In the pages of THE DEAD, readers will see allusions to this expanded world through newspaper articles, info-graphics, segmented tales. Soon they will understand that this window in which we’re peering isn’t all-encompassing, and that the stories that lie beyond the given pages of THE DEAD are simply a drop in a much larger ocean.