Well, a little bit of tenacious work finally paid off.
Today, a rather unflattering picture of this mug circulated onto the doorsteps of three Southern Ontario towns, front page. It feels surreal to see the online version, but I haven't yet gotten a copy of the print.
The article is available online at http://www.yorkregion.com/news/local/article/830078--master-of-macabre if you're interested to see the original, otherwise find it below.
Master of Macabre
Avid reader pens his own zombie tale
Tales of terror. Ian Sandusky recently had his first horror novel,Grey Dogs and the Willow , published through the Severed Press out of Australia. It should be on Chapters' shelves this fall. Staff Photo/Susie Kockerscheidt
Ian Sandusky finishes our sentences
• My guilty pleasure is ... watching Sex and the City. I will just come out and admit it.
• The best flavour of ice cream is ... tiger tail.
• If I could have lunch with anyone, it would be ... Chuck Norris, just because he is awesome.
• If stranded on an island, I couldn’t live without ... my BlackBerry, original iPod mini and the Stephen King anthology.
• The TV shows I watch most frequently are ... Bounty Hunter and Criminal Minds.
• My favourite book is ... Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse.
Ian Sandusky couldn’t find a book to fulfill his passion to read, so he decided to write one.
The 22-year-old Holland Landing resident has always been an avid reader.
At a young age, he was miles ahead of his peers, reading novels faster than his parents could provide another one. There was nothing better than curling up with a novel and allowing his imagination to run wild as he quietly turned the pages.
“I’ve read all my life and I’ve always liked post apocalyptic, pathogen-type novels,” he said.
He remembers when his fascination with the horror genre began; his cousins showed him the opening scene of Resident Evil, a PlayStation video game based on the concept of a virus turning the human population to zombies. For months, he would lay awake in bed, wondering what was causing the strange bumps in the night, again allowing his imagination to run wild.
Over the years, he has been attracted to the writing of Stephen King and Dean Koontz and novels such as The Cell and I Am Legend.
“I had just finished a book and realized I hadn’t read a good, pure zombie novel in a while,” he said, sitting in his family’s living room. “So I thought, I know what I want, why not just write it?”
The former Dr. John M. Denison Secondary School student admits it was an odd choice for someone who never excelled at the written word.
As a pre-teen, he tried to write a story, but lost interest after one page and he laughs at the poetry book he made as a child, which he deems an awful display of talent.
“At first, I tried researching and found there are as many ways to write a book as there are strands in a haystack,” he said, rocking back and forth in a recliner. “So I started with a really rough outline and character profiles.”
Not having the background of a typical writer, with boxes of journals and short stories to prove his passion for writing as a child, he surprised himself with how quickly the words began to fill the pages of his first novel, Grey Dogs and the Willow, which is to hit the shelves of Chapters in the fall, having been picked up by Australian publisher Severed Press.
He completed the 326-page novel in about six weeks. His tactic was to throw his developed characters into situations and let them do the talking rather than try to force the plot and characters to react in a way that didn’t fit their nature.
The novel takes the reader on a journey of survival through the eyes of protagonist Carey Cardinal and the story’s secondary characters, twins Keila and Roman.
Men. Women. Fathers. Daughters. Wives. Brothers. All are susceptible and the viral infection is a death sentence. One hundred percent communicable. One hundred percent untreatable. It’s making people insane, turning them feral. Zombies. No end is in sight, and Carey Cardinal has run out of options, Severed Press writes as the introduction to the new author’s work.
“I didn’t really have high hopes for the manuscript and, believe me, I had my share of rejections from agents and publishers before it was picked up,” he said. “When I got the news, I was jumping around in my living room like an idiot and I must have called and sent a text to everyone I know.”
Once word got around in this Brock University student and bar manager’s circles, some found it hard to believe Mr. Sandusky had written a full manuscript. He doesn’t seem the type.
As a music lover who plays the guitar, more would have guessed he would follow a different path.
Over the years, he has earned a second-degree black belt in Kempo Karate after 10 years of training with Robinson’s Karate and also holds a police foundations diploma from Niagara College.
“Most people are surprised, heck even I’m surprised,” he said. “I’m already done the second novel and think this will probably be a trilogy.”
His advice for others looking to write: if it strikes you, do it.