Never tell anyone you can write a book in a month.
I thought I could do it. Well, technically, I did do it, at the expense of some sleep and some other commodities. It’s an intense experience, trying to bang out any kind of massive amount of content in that short a span. The reason I thought I could handle The Unofficial Resident Evil Trivia Challenge, a book I have coming out this week (holy crap!), was the fact that for much of my life I was a giant, unapologetic Resident Evil fanboy. I knew a crapload about the video game series that (in my estimation) is responsible for the massive resurgence in the popularity of zombie fiction, games and movies.
So when I was approached by Brandi, the literary agent who signed Nick and me when we were pitching So You Created a Wormhole, with the proposition of doing a trivia book, I was excited. “I can totally do that,” I thought to myself, mentally flipping through the pages of Resident Evil trivia I could remember off-hand. “Easy.”
Oh, what a fool was I.
First off, the timing was extremely tight. Adams Media, my publisher on the project, was up against a tough deadline to begin with: the release of the newest Resident Evil film, Resident Evil: Retribution. To accommodate the publishing process, that meant having the book finished pretty quickly in the spring. And that meant writing it fast.
But even though the assignment called for 800 questions and left a little more than a month to craft them all, I figured the incredible amount of source material would make up for the timing. Between four film adaptations, another film built into the direct game canon, something like 20 games (the actual number eludes me — oh wait, I memorized it, it’s 26 if you count Resident Evil 6 coming out this year), seven novels by S.D. Perry adapting the games and three more by Keith R.A. DeCandido adapting the books, plus comics and toys, 800 questions sounded like a breeze.
It was not a breeze. Banging out 800 questions about anything, even something as diverse and extensive as the Resident Evil franchise, is an enormous undertaking. The handy part was that the book is divided into various chapters that all have a different focus — one’s about hero characters, another’s about villains, another’s about just the games. Eventually, after many viewings of the films, re-readings of the novels, a few replays of the games and a lot of time spent with the Official Resident Evil Archive (an extremely handy volume), I was able to hit all the marks in the book. I also have all four Paul W.S. Anderson films committed to memory at this point.
The day it was due, the all-nighter I’d pulled paid off beautifully. I turned the manuscript in a full 90 minutes ahead of schedule. Then I started my regular day job work.
Finishing The Unofficial Resident Evil Trivia Challenge was an arduous journey, but the book came off looking great. The cover is flashy, the interior design is extremely slick, and it just looks thick, extensive and substantial. It might have been a challenge to turn it around ahead of the movie release, but I think the end result is pretty damn cool and fans are going to get a kick out of it. Hopefully they’ll get a chance to learn things they didn’t already know, or at least get tons of satisfaction out of knowing everything I knew and discovered throughout the process.
So promotion time: The Unofficial Resident Evil Challenge is available wherever books are sold and on your favorite online retailers. I hope if you’re a fan of the movies or games, you’ll give it a look. Hit this link to check it out. I believe you’ll find it both itchy and tasty.* Image property of Screen Gems. *That’s a Resident Evil 2 joke.