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Last week, we shared a preview of the first book to be released from our partnership with Inkshares, the crowdfunding book publisher that finds new voices and authors and helps them make their novels a reality. While It’s All Fun And Games takes a look at a real-life LARP universe, the second book from our Inkshares contest, Welcome to Deadland, is decidedly darker.

Described as The Walking Dead meets Lost, Welcome to Deadland, tells the story of a zombie-esque plague that has taken over the world and three survivors who are brought together by terrible circumstance. And though our heroes are fighting for their lives, they’re still people… and they have plenty of other demons to deal with as they struggle to save themselves and humanity.

In honor of the book’s release (and National Book Lovers Day!), we sat down with Welcome to Deadland author Zachary Tyler Linville to find out more about his debut novel.


Nerdist: How did you first get into writing?

Zachary Tyler Linville: I first got into writing after taking a mandatory screenwriting class for my degree. I hadn’t anticipated writing stories, but as the semester went on I became more invested in what I was putting on paper and how it was all unfolding. My professor approached my advisor and suggested some of my other mandatory classes be substituted by additional screenwriting classes, and by the time I graduated I couldn’t imagine be satisfied with any other career choice other than writing. 

N: How did you first hear about the Inkshares contest?

ZTL: I’m a huge The Walking Dead fan, I read every comic issue on the day of release and make a point of watching each episode live, and I watch Talking Dead after each episode and began following Nerdist because of Chris Hardwick. When Nerdist posted an article about the contest I was encouraged by a friend to enter. I had a completed zombie-related manuscript, and everything just seemed to click into place and I figured that even if I didn’t place in the contest I would still be in the same position as if I didn’t enter at all.  

N: What was your favorite part of the contest?

ZTL: Getting to know the other authors. I’m a competitive person, and given the nature of contests in general I hadn’t anticipated the other entrants being as outgoing and supportive as they turned out to be. Over the course of a month and a half I was increasingly in communication with other authors and eventually talking to some of the authors on a daily basis. Since the contest ended I’ve gone to Disney Word with another author and his family, and exchanged Christmas and birthday presents, as well as postcards and reading suggestions, with a group of authors. We’ve maintained our friendships through the past year and talk regularly for writing advice and bouncing ideas off of each other. 

N: What has the publishing process been like, once the book was wrapped?

ZTL: It’s been surreal. It’s still weird thinking of myself as a published author, but the reception thus far has been reassuring and positive. I got to work closely with Inkshares, Nerdist, and Girl Friday in terms of mutually agreeing upon a direction and cover design for Welcome to Deadland, and everyone was supportive and focusing on making sure the end result was the best option in terms of representation of the tone and story elements while being eye catching. Girl Friday provided me with an excellent editing team that pushed the story to a greater level than my initial manuscript had been, and I’m proud of the story they encouraged me to tell. 

N: What advice do you have for future contest hopefuls?

ZTL: Never doubt yourself or your abilities, and stay up beat. The contests are a marathon, not a race, and they’re going to test your stamina and drive. You’ll meet new and wonderful friends, and their encouragement will reaffirm your story’s worth. Have fun, enjoy the ride, and know that you can do it. Crowd funding can be difficult, personal outreach and communication is more beneficial and promising than statuses and tweets that get lost in a newsfeed (although those help as well).

Welcome to Deadland is available now on Amazon, in Barnes and Nobles stores, and other independent booksellers.

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