Another great author joins the ranks of the Apocalypse Weird: David Bruns, author of Weapons of Mass Deception and The Dream Guild Chronicles. And his new book, The Seal Bearer, has a surprise: David brought back one of my characters from my own AW book, Immunity! Can you guess which? David is going to tell us right here on Chimeras.
DB: I asked to guest post on Elena’s blog today to make an open confession to the world: I stole one of Elena’s characters for my new novel. You know what else? I don’t regret it, not one little bit.
But I should probably start at the beginning.
Elena and I have both written for the Apocalypse Weird multiverse, a place where we’re encouraged to “borrow” from one another. In fact, that’s one of the big draws of writing in a collaborative world like Apocalypse Weird.
Let’s Talk About the General.
One of my favorite evil characters from Elena’s AW novel, Immunity, is General Naga, a mysterious figure from the Orient. Elena first introduces the general through dialogue:
“He’s from Thailand, or Vietnam, maybe. And I’m not even sure he’s a real general, you know? He wears a uniform but I think he’s more of an extremely wealthy Asian who doesn’t quite know what to do with all his money and so he decided to donate it to H7N7 research.”
Well, if you’ve read Immunity, you know that the general’s plan was more apocalyptic than philanthropic. Elena writes Naga into a brutal torture scene and drops a few tidbits about his association with drug production in the Golden Triangle.
My AW novel, The Seal Bearer, takes place in Southeast Asia, home territory for General Naga. Starting on the island of Singapore and heading north through Malaysia, Thailand, and into China, The Seal Bearer is sort of an apocalyptic roadtrip.
I used to live in Singapore and have traveled through the region many times, so I was completely comfortable with that part of the world as my setting. What I needed was a bad guy. Not just any bad guy, but one who would light up the page with his crafty malice. Then I remembered General Naga. One email to Elena later, the general was making a debut in my story.
Naga 2.0 is an elusive character. Everyone talks about him, but the general doesn’t actually make appearance in the flesh until chapter 27:
“Trent knew the man before any introduction had been made. The general studied him with eyes that glittered under low-hanging lids. The man had heavy jowls and a lumpy body that poked bulges in his black uniform in the strangest places. He licked his thick lips with a deliberate slowness as if savoring the taste of a fine wine.”
As I folded Elena’s General Naga into the story, something odd happened: The more I wrote, the bigger he grew, until the general was the main character on the side of darkness.
Trust Your Instincts
Okay, I didn’t exactly steal General Naga. I did get permission from Elena before I used her character, but consider this: She trusted me to treat her artistic creation with respect. I mean, I could have done anything to her character.
Instead, I took the character foundation of General Naga and added to him. If either of us wants to use the general in a future novel, we’ll have a much richer character to draw on.
To me, that kind of sharing between fellow authors is one of the best things about writing in a multiverse.
In the lucky 13th installment of Apocalypse Weird, we take the apocalypse to Asia…
For billionaire gaming tycoon Trent Baird, the in-and-out business trip to Singapore was just a blip in his otherwise self-absorbed existence. Do the deal and get back on a plane to LA.
But when a global pandemic traps him on the island nation, the situation goes sideways fast. Martial law, rumors of zombies, and a girl named Karma, who claims the tattoo on his chest is a talisman in an ancient war against evil. Abandoned by his friends, Trent takes the only escape option left—a thousand mile overland journey to a mysterious hideaway deep in the Himalayas.
As he fights his way north, Trent faces the awful truth. He is the Seal Bearer, and dark forces are coming for him.
EEG: Congratulations David and thanks so much for guest posting on Chimeras today! Check out David’s website and get free books when you sign up for his newsletter!
I should also add that my friend and retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Mike Martin helped me a great deal when researching the background story for General Naga.