Let me start off by thanking you for taking the journey to read this author’s note. It really means a lot to me. What also means a lot to me is that you gave my novel Left For Dead a chance.
I want to tell you a little about it—where the ideas for the stories came from, how I decided to write it, and, well, just putting it together, really.
Over the course of the past six years, I wrote a bunch of short stories. Some were absolutely horrible and should probably never be read. Others were okay. And a few were, in my opinion, good enough to publish.
I always had the intention of putting together a short story collection. I certainly had enough of them. But I didn’t want it to be just any short story collection. You know the type, where it’s just one short story after the next. I wanted to do something cool. Something I haven’t seen before. And then it hit me: What if I put the short stories inside a story? The idea sounded appetizing. In fact, it sounded intoxicating. I wanted to do it. I needed to do it. (In fact, I've even hidden a short story in this website. Can you find it?)
That’s when I came up with the idea for Left For Dead. I’d pick 13 short stories and then create a central story around it, where the characters in that story tell stories of their own. I tried to do it just right, so you, the reader, wouldn’t find it too boring or too confusing. I wanted you to be able to follow the main narrative while simultaneously enjoying the short stories. The moment I began, I realized I had taken on a task that might have been more work than I expected. Nevertheless, I persevered and have hopefully delivered just what I had intended. If not, I apologize.
The idea for the main narrative came naturally: When is the perfect time to tell stories to one another? Around a camp fire! Therefore coming up with the idea to use a group of plane crash survivors who find themselves stranded on a deserted island as the cast of characters was easy. Choosing which short stories to have them tell, however, was a harder task.
I included the ones I liked the most, of course, but I also included some that fit the situation in which my characters found themselves. I wanted to mirror some themes and expand upon them. I also wanted to use some old stories that meant a lot to me (even if they weren’t exactly fantastic). They were my roots, if you will, and they have helped me progress as a writer.
“Flight of Icarus”:
This was an early one. I can’t remember for certain, but I’m pretty sure I got the idea while watching a movie where the hero jumps out of a helicopter to save his life. He, of course, had a parachute strapped to his back. But I asked myself, What would happen if, unbeknownst to him, it was a backpack instead? From there the story bloomed.
“The Cursed Ambulance”:
I wrote this story while writing my novel Bryce. I finished my writing for the day but found that I had a little extra steam left over. This was the result—a Twilight Zone-ish tale about an ambulance driver (a vampire) that sucks his patients’ blood.
“Playing With Dolls”:
This story goes a bit deeper. It elaborates upon the theme that some people, no matter what, dwell on perfection. It shows how it can sabotage that person’s relationships—whether love, work, or friends—and that it can cost them dearly in the end. Having Mr. Kreezle as the wizened proprietor with the creepy name who tries to warn David about his mistakes was the perfect addition to the story.
“That Special Place”:
This story came out of the blue. Sometimes they surprise you like that. Have you ever been in such a rush that you just wished you could magically stop time somehow? Or at least slow it down? Since I’m rarely on time, I do this a lot. I wish that I can somehow transport myself into some magic world, where I can take care of the things I need to take care of, in the luxury of my imagination. I chose to add in Shane’s family and the problem of combating cancer to make the story a little more interesting.
“The Opaque Blindness”:
Have you ever wondered if there is more out there than what meets the eye? If there is some unseen battle that is being fought so close to home—to reality—that you could almost touch it? What if there was? And what if the ones fighting it were of a higher authority? But here’s the catch: What if you could only catch a small glimpse of it? What would happen then? How do you think you would react? I wrote “The Opaque Blindness” to figure that out.
“Sherlock Holmes in the Adventure of the Central Compendium”:
This one was fun to write. After reading every Sherlock Holmes adventure Sir Author Conan Doyle published, I naturally wanted to write one of my own. It was the best way to thank him for his work. I tried to keep the language as original as possible and include all the details the Sherlock Holmes stories are known for. If I’ve used any inappropriately or mistaken any, the fault is entirely mine, not Sir Doyle’s.
“Train of Terror”:
I wrote this one to express my views on conformity. I think standing out, being yourself, acting different, and following your dreams are the most important things anyone can do. The businessmen/women on the train are symbols for the engines in our society that try to do the complete opposite: suck everyone in and conform them.
“House of Justice”:
This creepy little Halloween tale was actually a friend’s dream that she let me write about. I changed a few things and added some symbolism (the seven deadly sins) to spice it up a bit. I think it turned out rather nicely.
“Andromeda of Autos”:
The creepy thing about this story is that it’s true. Well, okay . . . not entirely. But everything before the eerie guy chases Jonathan actually happened. To me. I only hope the eerie guy doesn’t read Left For Dead and decide to come after me. Although, if he does, and I survive, I’ll have some new material for another story!
This story was one of my first. It was short, lacked a lot of thought, and basically relied on a cheap twist as an ending. Yet, it fit Neville’s personality so perfectly that I had to include it.
Have you ever had a vision? Something that you’ve seen that you just know deep down in your heart is true? This is the case for “Dust Man.” It happened while out driving. And although it basically uses the same tricks as above, this story just resonated with me. I included it as a harbinger for the characters in Left For Dead, a warning, if you will, about their imminent deaths.
“Through the Eyes of an Adolescent”:
This is another early piece of work, yet one I had to include nonetheless. There’s just something so perverse about new toys coming to life in the middle of the night and trying to kill a little boy while he sleeps that I had to write about it. There’s also something heroic about the little boy’s old toys coming to life and trying to protect him. The scary thing is that in the story the battle happens while the boy sleeps. The even scarier thing is that someday the bad guys could win.
“The White Room”:
To be frankly honest, I don’t remember too much about what went through my head while writing “The White Room.” I know that may sound like a copout since it’s the last story to explain, but it’s the truth. I don’t remember where the idea came from. What I do remember is that it was an exercise in symbolism and irony. I included it because it fit in perfectly with Vinny and Melissa’s situation while they’re stuck in the cave, trapped, while simultaneously hiding from the zombies.
With that said, I wish to thank you again for taking a chance on my books. If you liked Left For Dead, please write a review on the page from which you purchased it. Also, please check out some of my other novels. You can even email me at VincentBivona@yahoo.com to tell me what you think. I'd love to hear from you.