VIRO – Proposal for TV Series – Introduction


And so the task begins, as I start to turn the highly successful VIRO book series into a proposal for a TV series. Over the coming weeks, I will be sharing insights and updates as to how this process is going.  So let’s begin at the beginning.

VIRO – The TV Series Proposal

GENRE: Horror/Science Fiction – Post-Apocalypse

TAG LINE: Four Kids, One Apocalypse

LOG LINE: As a viral pandemic turns the world into bloodthirsty creatures, a boy with special needs looks for his missing mum.

VIRO tells the story of Jake, a boy born with special needs who wakes one morning to find that the world has been catastrophically overrun by a deadly virus and his mum has not come home after work. Determined but unused to being out on his own, Jake sets off to find her.

The book series is set in the south east of England and Season One takes place in Burton-on-Sea, a fictional seaside town modelled on Hastings. The time is somewhere in the 1970s. 

There is no knowing exactly where the virus came from and the point of the series is that no-one will ever know. There is a lot of speculation but no definitive explanation. This makes VIRO darker and bleaker as we soon come to realise that the world will not be saved. 

The story is not a race to find a cure but about finding a way to simply survive. Science, like God, and society, is broken now. It makes no difference, especially to a group of teenage friends who don’t really have time to try and make sense of what has happened.  They just want to stay alive.

VIRO – the Book Series – NEWS FLASH

As a viral outbreak turns the world into bloodthirsty creatures, a boy with special needs looks for his missing mum.

‘The writing style is beautifully compelling, and after the first couple of pages I couldn’t put it down. The author very skilfully creates a world and characters through deceptively simple prose that draws the reader right in. It is a fascinating blend of one-after-the-other edge-of-the seat scares, alongside a haunting narrative about what it is to be human.’

‘Capturing the voice of a young character with special needs (I spent 25 years as a special education teacher/administrator), Taylor’s story of a group of young people coping with a world disintegrating in front of them; with the loss of structure and trust, and with betrayal by the adults who should be protecting them is both uplifting and horrifying. Do not be fooled by the simple language of the narrator: there are hard questions asked and realistic, unsentimental consequences to the apocalypse confronting the children, and an ending that you are unlikely to forget easily.’

‘I absolutely loved this book. Powerful and poignant, VIRO packs a punch. Sad and haunting, VIRO is a new take on the zombie genre. The characters are dynamic and interesting, finding strength despite their horrifying circumstances. Jake is a character that will stick with you long after the final page. The action sequences are thrilling. I was on the edge of my seat!’

Get your copy today – Book One FREE for download HERE

Inteachán – Book Two: A New Signal 2: 7 ‘People missing people’

And then the posters started.

Like petals fallen from the most hopeless of blooms. Handwritten. Photocopied. Badly printed.

Missing people. People missing people.

Everyone who attended the concert never returned home. Including Inteachán.

Though he knew it was helpless, Mac pinned his poster with the rest of them.

Inteachán – Book Two: A New Signal 2: 6 ‘The Weeds of Priory Hall’

Cities normally return to nature after desertion.

Sand can cover office blocks.

Shopping centres fall in on themselves.

Civic buildings lose all semblance of significance.

Sewers clog and silt.

Vehicles return their elements to the earth.

Or house new tenants.

Fountains fall silent.

Slowly, troublingly, desperately, inexorably, the weeds of Priory Hall exerted their cosmic influence on the city.

Inteachán – Book Two: A New Signal 2: 5 ‘It started with the weeds’

As he walked across Front Square Mac felt now that the world was only different.

He knew the First of the TheFive was here. The disturbance was now unignorable. The weight of this fact caused the world to spin ever so slightly out of kilter.

‘I knew this was always going to happen,’ Mac said to himself. And he steeled himself for the worst.

It started with the weeds.

Inteachán – Book Two: A New Signal 2: 4 ‘A Brand-New Loneliness’

Loss hits hard and holds firm and deep and long.

After a lifetime of solitude Mac now found himself unable to deal with a brand-new loneliness.

There simply is no substitute for presence.

‘I’m a selfish cowardly fool,’ he told himself.

‘That a man should send a child to stop the darkness.’

Inteachán – Book One: The Song of the NotBeSpeak 1: 29 ‘The Rock Star’

‘Look,’ said the Rock Star, ‘she’s awake.’

Inteachán opened her eyes.

‘Where am I,’ she asked the Rock Star. His eyes were hidden behind giant sunglasses.

‘Where we want you to be,’ he replied. The Rock Star smiled.

‘We know all about you, Inteachán,’ he sneered, ‘and your silly baby quest to save the world.’

Inteachán didn’t respond. The Rock Star continued.

‘We know you are the puppet of that old doddering fool of a professor. He says where and you race off on your fool’s errands.’

Inteachán still didn’t respond. The Rock Star loomed large over her.

‘Mac may think he knows what is going on but let me tell you he hasn’t got a clue.’

Inteachán – Book One: The Song of the NotBeSpeak 1: 23 ‘The Fomhóire’s Howl’

Inteachán starts to climb the slippery rope. Her small arms are strong. She pulls herself hand over hand. What was once a simple sigh is now a deafening shriek. A shriek that will consume her if Inteachán doesn’t get away.

The rope sways violently. Inteachán climbs faster. The shriek swells again and now starts to fill the night. With a final kick Inteachán is free of the darkness. Quickly now she unties the rope and lets it fall to be swallowed by the Fomhóire’s howl.

Off the Radio and Other Scary Stories

Voices from beyond.

Imaginary friends.

Unsettling sights.

New houses.

Dead dogs.

The scares go on and on.


Off the Radio

‘I haven’t seen this for years,’ Mum said. ‘I used to record music off the radio with it.’

We were in the attic. I didn’t know what it was. Mum saw I was confused.

‘It’s my old cassette player.’

Mum picked up something else from the tin. It was a small box with two wheels on it. There was some writing on it. Mum read it out loud.

‘Top of the Charts, May 1982.’

She showed me the player.

‘You push this button.’

A door in the top popped up.

‘You put the cassette inside.’

Mum pushed the small box into the slot. She put the lid down. There was a clear plastic window. There was also a row of buttons along the bottom. One said ‘Rec.’ Another said ‘Play.’ Mum pushed down the ‘Play’ button.’

I looked through the plastic window. The two wheels started turning. Mum was all excited. She was smiling. This made me excited too. I smiled at her. She hugged me.

‘This makes me feel like a teenager again.’

A wobbly voice came out of the recorder. It was strange and angry.

‘?eM dEbRUtsiD OuY evAH yHw .DLrOw eHT lLa 4 MrAH sI tNAw I Lla’

The Taylor Detective Agency and Other Scary Stories

Voices from beyond.

Imaginary friends.

Unsettling sights.

New houses.

Dead dogs.

The scares go on and on.

The Taylor Detective Agency

My name is Ellis. My friends and me are detectives. Olaf and Izzy and Windy. We are the Taylor Detective Agency. We all live on the same street and meet every day under the Waiting Tree in my garden. We do lots of detective things. These are the stories of our adventures.

It is Tuesday morning and there is no sunshine. I am sitting under the Waiting Tree waiting. We meet every morning in the summer holidays. We are a team. We work together well. That makes us better detectives. It was my Dad’s idea to form the agency to give me and him something to do. I carried the notepad and a pencil. He carried a camera and a telephone. We would walk around the streets near my house looking for clues. Once we found some pieces of pasta that must have fallen from a shopping bag. Dad said that was the Case of the Broken Spaghetti.

Another time we found a dead bird – Dad called it the Case of the Bird That Doesn’t Fly Anymore. I would write down any important details in my notebook and phone them through to Mum at home.

‘Mum, we have found a dead bird – D-E-A-D.’

I spelled out the word carefully so that she could write everything down.

‘We request permission to proceed with the investigation.’

‘Roger that,’ said Mum. ‘Permission to proceed.’

Olaf is my best friend. He lives next door and only has to climb over the garden wall to meet me under the Waiting Tree.

‘I think I saw something important today,’ he says. ‘I was looking out my window and I saw it.’

I get out my notepad and pencil.

‘Now begin at the beginning and tell me what you saw,’ I say.

‘It was Mister Birdfoot,’ says Olaf. ‘He had a big box that he put into the boot of his car.’

Mister Birdfoot lived next door to Olaf and all the kids in the street think he is a bit mad. He has bright red hair and lived alone. Mum said his wife had died recently. Just like my dad.

‘Why would Mister Birdfoot have a big box?’ asks Olaf. ‘What has he got inside it?’

I say I don’t know. Windy appears.

‘Hi Windy,’ we say. ‘Mister Birdfoot has got a big box and we are wondering what is in it.’

‘I don’t know,’ says Windy. ‘It sounds like a job for the Taylor Detective Agency.’

Windy thinks that we should sneak into Mr. Birdfoot’s house and take a look.

‘We should sneak into Mr. Birdfoot’s house and take a look.’

Olaf doesn’t like the idea of that. He thinks we might get caught.

‘I don’t like the idea of that. What if we get caught?’

‘Get caught doing what?’ asks Izzy who has just sat down next to me.

‘Sneaking into Mr. Birdfoot’s house,’ I say. ‘Olaf saw a big box and we think it is a mystery for us to solve.’

‘I hope so’ says Izzy. ‘I love us solving mysteries.’

‘I have a plan,’ says Windy. ‘We should all sit on the bench opposite Mr. Birdfoot’s house and wait to see what happens next.’

‘Follow me,’ says Olaf. ‘Don’t forget your notepad, Ellis.’

‘I have it here,’ I say, patting my small rucksack. ‘I’ve also got my pencil and a tape measure.’

‘Why a tape measure?’ asks Izzy.

‘Just in case,’ I say. ‘My dad always said you never know what you might need to know.’

It makes me happy to remember what my dad used to say. But it makes me sad that he’s not here anymore to say it.

‘I’ve got four apples,’ says Izzy. ‘One for each of us as always.’

‘I think that my bottle has some water left in it,’ says Windy. He shakes it to see. We all hear the slosh.

It was later. We had been waiting a long time. All the apples were gone. And the water. I felt a bit strange.

‘Maybe we shouldn’t be doing this.’

Olaf pointed at some bushes.

‘Would you feel better if we were hiding?’

‘Hiding,’ said Izzy. ‘I love hiding. Let’s do that.’

I looked at the bushes. They were big. It would be safe there.

‘Yes,’ I said. ‘Let’s hide in those bushes.’

‘We can still see Mr Birdfoot’s house,’ said Olaf, ‘but he won’t see us.’

It was more later when Mr Birdfoot finally came home. He stopped his car.

‘Ssssh!,’ said Olaf. He put his fingers to his lips.

Mr Birdfoot opened the boot of his car. He looked around. He didn’t want anyone to see him. We kept watching. I felt scared and safe together.

Mr Birdfoot got out the big box. It was really heavy. He looked around again. The box had all red stuff coming out of it. The red stuff fell on the pavement. Mr Birdfoot went inside his garage. When he came back he had a big brush and a bucket of water. He scrubbed the red stuff on the pavement until it went away.

It was the next day. Me and my friends sat under the Waiting Tree. Olaf and Izzy and Windy. We talked about Mr Birdfoot.

‘Who carries a box of red stuff around in their car?’ Olaf says.

‘I don’t know,’ said Izzy.

‘Me neither. I don’t understand.’

Windy had an idea.

‘I think this is definitely a job for the Taylor Detective Agency.’

‘Me too,’ said all of us.