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  • Writer's pictureBryan Alaspa

Where did FERAL come from?

The books I write, as I have mentioned before, come from a lot of sources. I can see a news story or someone just walking down the street and - bing - there it is. A story. Sometimes it happens just that fast, but sometimes I get the tiny stone of an idea and it must be rolled around and around in my mental rock polisher until that "bing" happens. Such was the case with my latest novel FERAL.

It started with a story told on Last Podcast on the Left. They did a multi-part podcast about the Donner Party. Of course, I had heard of the Donner Party before, but this podcast went into depth about what happened. The horror of it sunk its teeth into me (if you can forgive that imagery) and I could not let it go.

For those who do now know, The Donner Party was a group of people who were trying to make their way to California and they trusted a man who said he had found a faster route. Once they got into the Sierra Nevadas, they were very late in the year, their wagons got bogged down, and the snow came hard and fast. They were forced to try and build makeshift shelters with animals hides for doors and roofs, and hunkered down. They were soon buried in snow.

The snow went on and on. Eventually a group left to go find help, but those left behind soon ran out of food. Soon, their fellow travelers started to look mighty tasty. When the rescuers did come back, they very literally saw a man carrying a human leg in his hands to take back to his shelter.

Horrifying, but I kept thinking about one part of the story. The part where it was the kids that got left behind, buried in the snow. The strongest set out to find help. The weak and the children were left behind. In my mind I saw a mother trying to keep things together in a makeshift shelters, the snow piled up outside, turning around to find her children turned into demonic things with sharp teeth looking at her as their next meal.

Thus, FERAL was born. However, it took years for it to really come together for me.

So, that is what FERAL is. It is a fictionalized take on the Donner Party. The characters are original, with elements from the true tale borrowed and inserted here and there.

Here's the other thing. When I started writing it, the opening scene actually scared the hell out of me. Yeah, I get asked all the time if my own writing has scared me. With FERAL, it sure did.

FERAL is out now and available in print and Kindle editions. It is my first published by Unveiling Nightmares. I hope you check it out - and then leave a review!

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