Stevie Kopas is a pretty awesome person. I've been lucky enough to deal with her both as a book blogger and an editor, and she's one talented chick with a lot of good stuff out there, so if you haven't read any of it, you need to head on over and check her out. Want to learn more about her Breadwinner Trilogy? Keep reading.
The Breadwinner Trilogy & Second Thoughts
Sometimes, when I sit and think of what could have been, I often wonder about my first series of books, The Breadwinner Trilogy. Now, while the trilogy as it stands is pretty loved by fans and what I would consider successful, I can't help but sometimes go back and wonder how things would have panned out if I'd gone the route I initially intended.
I don't normally read old drafts, but for the fun of it, I recently decided to revisit the original short story of The Breadwinner (2012), before I ever even self-pubbed it. It's nice to remember how this amazing writing journey of mine began, and hey, sometimes it's fun to think of the "what ifs" in life.
If your'e familiar with The Breadwinner Trilogy, then you know the ups and downs of our main cast of characters and then ultimately the fates they all meet in the final book, All Good Things. If you're not, let me give you a bit of spoiler-free insight to get things started.
Samson is a sleazy defense attorney up to his ears in money, his wife is as nefarious as the word gets, and their lives are changed forever when the zombie apocalypse comes to their Northwest Florida town. On the other end of the spectrum we have teenage siblings, Veronica and Isaac, one the model child, the other... eh, maybe a little on the slacker side... living in a small apartment in the city with their father who works multiple jobs to support the family. As things usually go in the zombie apocalypse, people are forced into situations they otherwise would never encounter, and thus begins the stories of some of our characters in the existing Breadwinner universe. Children forced into adulthood, a father willing to do anything for his family - no matter the cost - and everyday people living their worst nightmares. When the stories of Samson and Veronica finally intertwine, it's almost like the fates were in their favor and they were just what the other needed at their darkest hours. I could go on and on about how great these main characters are, or I could tell you how horrible they could have been.
Don't worry, this is not the way events in the existing Breadwinner universe play out, so the following will be simply me, the writer, giving you an inside peek at how things could have gone according to the original short story that I wrote before I decided to scrap the whole thing and turn it into three novels.
The original story was much darker and took a different approach to the story. Instead of seeing events unfold from the start of the apocalypse, nearly a year has already passed, and Samson was really the main focus of the story as we followed him scavenging for food and supplies for his family (hence the title, The Breadwinner). Samson witnesses quite a few atrocities beyond the undead, his fellow humans are not on their best behavior, and while he might have represented these vile people in court at one time, he's not to keen on interacting with them in a post-apocalyptic world.
Samson stumbles upon a post office one afternoon and while he rummages through old, unopened packages, a young girl by the name of Veronica shows up.
Veronica is dirty and skinny and Samson is immediately reminded of his own daughter; it's clear that Veronica needs help, but she's so non-communicative that it's hard to understand exactly what kind of help it is that she needs. It's finally revealed that she has a brother, and he's badly hurt, so Samson, wanting to be the good guy in the new world, decides that he's going to be the one that saves these teens.
After quite the trek back to where Veronica and her brother are staying, Samson begins to sense that something isn't quite right... but just a little too late.
One Veronica and Samson arrive at the pizza parlor, it's revealed that Veronica's brother doesn't exist at all, and three men (Ben, Andrew, Clyde) and a woman (Juliette), all armed to the teeth, are waiting patiently for Veronica to bring home dinner.
After this crew of thugs tortures Samson nearly to death, he reveals that he lives in an upscale, gated community and promises the group any of the mansion homes inside - along with any of the supplies that they want. He's already previously informed Veronica that he had a family, and so Samson realizes that he has failed in protecting them because although she hasn't said anything, he doesn't trust her not to tell the rest of her group.
The group decides not to kill and eat Samson and instead allow him to lead them back to the gated community: Franklin Woods. Once they arrive, an unfortunate series of events occurs including Samson's son playing outside and being spotted by the group, his daughter being bitten by an eater (a zombie), and his wife, Moira, who's quite innocent in this version of the story, fighting for her life.
In the end, Veronica is the only one left who hasn't been infected or murdered, aside from Samson's dying daughter, and she watches her as she dies and then turns, the story ending as she contemplates what she may eventually become, and whether or not she deserves it.
So, with that reveal of how the story of The Breadwinner could have been, I truly am happy with the direction I ultimately decided to take. I think while the original story still intrigues me to this day, when it was all said and done, I think I'm glad I decided to scrap it and start fresh.
But, what do you think?
If you've already had the pleasure of reading The Breadwinner Trilogy, do you think this would have panned out to be a better story? Or, if you haven't read it, which version of the story do you think you would have enjoyed more?
Wait, what am I saying... if you haven't read it, then what are you waiting for??
Happy Halloween, everyone!
About the author:
Stevie Kopas was born and raised in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. She is a gamer, a writer and an apocalypse enthusiast. Stevie will never turn down a good cup of coffee and might even be a bit of a caffeine addict.
Stevie is the author of The Breadwinner Trilogy. Book 1 and 2, The Breadwinner and Haven were originally self-published in 2013 and 2014. The Breadwinner Trilogy was picked up by Permuted Press in May of 2014 and the second editions of both the first books were released in March and April of 2015. The third and finally installment of The Breadwinner Trilogy, All Good Things, debuted in May of 2015.
Kopas also participated in the At Hell's Gates horror anthologies and all profits are donated to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. Her short stories, Nefarious, Patient 63, and Spencer Family Tradition can be found in the first two volumes of At Hell's Gates.
She currently resides in Panama City Beach, Florida and tries to spend as much time as she can in the sun.
Stevie is also the Managing Editor of the website Horror Metal Sounds and a writer for the site. She is an avid reader and watcher of horror and post-apocalyptic fiction (especially zombie-poc).
Stevie's official website can be found here and you can connect with Stevie on Facebook and Twitter.
About the books:
The end of the world is not glamorous.
In a matter of days the human race was reduced to nothing more than vicious, flesh hungry creatures.
Criminal defense attorney Samson struggles to keep his family safe and his sanity intact when the world comes apart at the seams. Veronica, the high school track star, races to get her brother out of their doomed city. Ben, a military veteran, is forced to come to grips with the end of the world as he fights the undead. Andrew, a police officer, struggles to maintain some sort of humanity in a world overrun by death and destruction.
There are no heroes here, just survivors, and they all have one thing in common: who you once were can no longer determine who you will be in the face of catastrophe.
The Breadwinner, book 1 in The Breadwinner Trilogy, thrusts you head first into post-apocalyptic Northwest Florida and will leave you craving more.
Having barely escaped the clutches of the undead, the survivors of The Breadwinner are headed into the unknown to continue their search for solace in the post-apocalyptic landscape. Once a paradise for the living, the city of Haven is now crawling with flesh hungry creatures - yet it could be their only hope.
Veronica, Samson and the others take a chance on the promises of Gary, a solitary survivor. Is the light-hearted newcomer all that he seems or are there sinister motives hidden behind his hospitality?
Can Michelle and Lulu, two ordinary women faced with extraordinary horrors and obstacles, make it to safety? Or will they each become just another undead face in the hordes roaming the streets of Haven?
When tragedy strikes, worlds collide, and the survivors must band together against their common enemy. But remember, who you were does not determine what you will become in the face of a catastrophe. The dead may no longer be their greatest threat.
Welcome home. Haven is hell.
Locked up safely behind the walls of their glamorous beach resort, our survivors have grown comfortable, almost forgetting that the undead was still on the prowl in the streets below. But when the group loses one of their own under mysterious circumstances, they begin to question whether or not staying at the resort is their best option.
Friends turn on one another and once gain, the group finds themselves back on the apocalyptic streets of Haven, battling the dead. The biggest threat yet emerges and a traitor is revealed, proving once and for all that the flesh hungry creatures infesting the city are not the group's greatest foe.
Will our survivors be able to make it out alive one last time?
The final book in The Breadwinner Trilogy is a non-stop, post-apocalyptic race to the finish line. Murder, lies, capacity, and a seemingly never ending onslaught of the dead are just some of the challenges our group will face.
Fates hang in the balance but one thing is certain: the end of the world is not glamorous, and All Good Things must come to an end.
Family, friends, lovers...
Those are just a few examples of the strong bonds that hold humanity together. But when the dead begin living, and the living start to die, who will remain connected, and who will be torn apart?
Never Say Die: Stories of The Zombie Apocalypse, explores how different relationships are put to the ultimate test when the end of the world comes crashing down around them.
Some will live, some will die, but one thing is for certain: Some bonds don't break.
Jack: Years after the zombie outbreak decimates the population, Jack's sister is mysteriously taken. Will he be able to find his sister, or better yet, once he finds her, will he be able to accept what she has become?
Gordon & Elena: The morning of an estranged couple's divorce is about to get a lot more stressful when a mysterious illness turns out to be more dangerous than anyone expected. Will the two be able to set their differences aside before their journey's end?
Patient 63: After a terrorist attack, civilization crumbles when a lab-created virus infected over half the world's population. Dr. Henrick Kennedy has found the vaccine in his sixty-third patient, a former infected, but his intentions are anything but good. Graham, a lonely janitor, has fallen in love with the imprisoned Patient 63. But is love enough to save the world, or will love be the means to its end all over again? (Previously released in At Hell's Gates, Volume 2: Origins of Evil)
Rosie: A little girl is given a vaccine to protect her from the impending zombie apocalypse, but when things don't go as planned, Rosie and her mom must find a way to escape their home and make it to the evacuation zone alive. The human race may depend on it.
Trevor: A troubled young man makes the decision to end his life, but when the dead come back to life and his city is overrun, Trevor has suddenly found the will to live again, only this time he realizes he has found a new purpose in life: Revenge.