I thought I would give you all an update on the VIRO series. What started as a few scratchy notes while I was on holiday two years in Portugal has now become a fascinating experiment in independent publishing.
Book One was launched in March 2018 and has been at Number One in the Amazon chart since May. It is currently free for download for Kindle and this has been an enormous help in getting the book some attention. Book One has currently been downloaded from Amazon 766 times. This is very encouraging. Book One is also currently available for download at Smashwords as well and 84 copies have been dowloaded to date.
Book Two was launched in May 2018 and has been very well received. The following review was left on my Goodreads page:
Having Read Falcon Boy and VIRO, it was with eager anticipation that I started to read VIRO II. Barnaby Taylor has a daring and rich imagination that transports you to new adventures in a re-imagined world, that are vividly written with a fresh and vibrant use of language. The heroes of Barnaby’s books are children on the cusp of their teenage years. I would like to think that this isn’t a coincidence. There appears to be a deliberate opting out in relation to the current generation with Barnaby instead looking to a new, untainted generation to right the world’s wrongs in the guise of the courageous and idealistic young children that inhabit VIRO I and II. Barnaby literally and metaphorically backs the right horse. The purity of the children in VIRO II is evident throughout the book. Jake says ‘I hated violence. I hated violent people.’
In VIRO II, we pick up with the viros (zombies) who are overrunning the world and the small band of children who are trying to survive in this world. The children’s separation from their parents also serves (as it did in VIRO I) as a powerful dramatic device, providing the next generation with the stage and platform to figure out a way forward. Barnaby really understands the mind set of young children and evocatively and beautifully captures their innocence but also their determination and guts to persevere against the odds and you as the reader wants to be with them every step of the way, willing them forward. Barnaby also excels at capturing the petty jealousies and competitiveness that can pervade the group dynamic of young children but equally the intensity and tenderness of their relationships.
To say that this book is a page turner is an understatement. Barnaby can really write an action packed scene with fear inspiring characters such as the Tall Man. Baxter the dog who accompanies the children gives the story the delightful twist of feeling like an apocalyptic Famous Five. Genius. The story is essentially an allegory set in a far more perilous and shaky world and is therefore not only for children but also for adults. Potent messages are present throughout the book. Jake incisively says ‘The world was wrong now. It was bad and broken. I didn’t understand.’ That a new value system is required to fix today’s broken world is also indicated with even the Reverend stating that ‘in order to believe in the Bible, you have to stop asking so many questions and just accept what you are told. And I have always found that hard to do. The world created in seven days? Immaculate conception?’ By the end of the book it’s apparent that the new value systems lies with the children and their unselfish spirit of caring and cooperation, the perfect building blocks of a new world order which the author may reveal in further detail in future iterations of the book as possibly hinted at by the cliff hanger of the book’s ending.
The book is a must read. Barnaby is an exciting and passionate writer. There’s real depth of meaning behind his books. You emotionally engage with and care about the book’s characters. Barnaby’s books also have a strong visual sensibility. His stories particularly VIRO I and II would translate superbly to television and cinema. I am a huge fan of all things zombie orientated and to see the zombie genre reinterpreted from the perspective of children is thrilling. I look forward to more books from Barnaby. He’s one to watch out for. Children, adults and I suspect the film and TV industry people will love this book. I highly recommend it.
Book Two is currently available for 99 cents and the challenge is to convert the free downloads of Book One into purchases of the rest of the series. This is taking some time but I am encouraged with progress to date.
Book Three was released in October 2018 and is slowly climbing up the Amazon charts. I have found that sales of Books Two and Three tend to go together with people buying a copy of each at the same time. Again, the challenge is to convert free downloads of Book One into paid purchases of the other books in the series but there is forward movement here and I am confident that this will keep moving as the franchise continues to spread.
SPOILER ALERT: Book Three also marks the first major character death. I knew that one of the main characters needed to die in order for the series to develop and Book Three is where this tragedy occurs.
Work on Book Four began this week and I am confident that this will be ready for publishing by early 2019. There is still a very long way to go for Jake and the rest of the characters in the series. Also, with each book in the series, the world of VIRO is becoming richer and richer. The writing style is deliberately sparse for this series and it was always the intention for effect to develop over time. Our understanding of the characters deepens in the same way.
ACTIONS GOING FORWARD
- Finish VIRO Book Four.
- Develop a professional relationship that will lead to representation and/or marketing support.
- Explore the possibilities of turning VIRO into a screenplay.