A couple of weeks ago I got a follow on my twitter @densewords (a rare event) from @kevandsteve. Curious as to what their "Indie Publishing Adventure" might be, I checked out their various podcasts via their website.
Kev and Steve are new to fiction and are entering the self-pub world with a spirit of adventure and experimentation. Their magnificent octopus is officially released today.
This is Episode 1 of their serialized zombie apocalypse experiment, Left Behind, which sees a couple of very ordinary blokes coming to realize that all is not well with the world around them.
Left Behind is light-hearted and humourous and distinctively British though apparently this does not mean that it in any way resembles Benny Hill.
Anyway, they let me take a look at the first episode, so I did a sample edit on the first couple of chapters. Issues with POV, character consistency, setting, some vocabulary oddities notwithstanding (of which the best was thermidor as a place to keep cigars), the characters are strong and likeable - remind me in no small way of the work of Ray Kingfisher - and the story is simple and obvious. It's the combination of these factors that makes the story both likeable and readable. As in all Zombie Apocalypses, as a reader you want to watch the characters discovering the changes in the world, trying to understand, come to terms with, and survive them, and the characters are made strongly enough in the first couple of chapters that you can get a pretty shrewd idea of how well (or, more likely, badly) they're going to handle it.
Usually when I do an edit, I like to go through it with the author over Skype, so last night, that's what I did, and Kev and Steve recorded it for the next edition of the IPA Podcast, and you will be able to listen to me trying (and failing) to make them cry by telling them everything that's wrong with their writing, and one or two things that they're getting dead right.
You can listen via iTunes, Spreaker or here! I'll be on episode 006 which airs tomorrow morning.
Find out more about Kev & Steve: