Coldstream-raised author Adam Lewis Schroeder was halfway through a historical novel set in the Okanagan when his imagination veered onto a different path.
The now Penticton-based writer, who has released two historical fiction novels and a book of short stories, took his love of The Walking Dead comic books, and his wife’s adoration for the Jack Reacher book series, and came up with an all-together new idea for a story.
He traded in history for zombies who prefer swine to human brains in All-Day Breakfast.
“We spit-balled how Reacher might get along as a zombie – cross-country missions, kicking ass even while his limbs dropped off, craving bacon instead of brains,” said Schroeder.
About to read from his new book at the Vertigo Voices reading series, Monday at Gallery Vertigo, Schroeder says once the idea of a literary zombie novel stuck, he went with it.
“I’d have to eat heaps of bacon as, you know, research, so in the name of non-stop good times All-Day Breakfast jumped the line in front of the historical piece,” he said.
However, the novel isn’t just “pure, goofy joy,” as described by one reviewer.
All-Day Breakfast also deals with some heavy subjects – cancer, terminal illness, and the loss of a spouse.
“I’d just lost my dad, grandpa and father-in-law and was about to lose my step-dad,” explained Schroeder.
His father, Greg Schroeder, a former lawyer, was an active community member, key in fundraising for the Teen Junction Youth Centre in Vernon and the building is now dedicated in his memory.
Schroeder’s step-dad, Bob Advent, was a former Coldstream councillor and a favourite teacher of many in the community.
Schroeder initially wrote the book in a state of mourning.
“I really loved them all, so I guess it was a combination of what I wanted to write with what I needed to write.”
To add to this, just as he was beginning copy edits, Schroeder himself was diagnosed with Cushing’s Syndrome.
“Which meant I had a benign tumour on my pituitary gland, right in the bottom of the brain,” he said.
The surgery to have the tumour removed had an eerie parallel with Schroeder’s writing.
“I’d written a similar, far less-precise brain procedure near the end of All-Day Breakfast.”
Despite all this, Schroeder has maintained the sense of humour for which he’s known.
“If All-Day Breakfast has one message, it’s to eat as much bacon as you possibly can while you have the chance.”
Schroeder’s first book, the collection of stories Kingdom of Monkeys, announced him an up-and-coming Canadian writer. It was followed by two historical novels, In the Fabled East and Empress of Asia, both of which garnered praise across the country and racked up award nominations.
Schroeder launches All-Day Breakfast at Vertigo Voices Monday, with doors opening at 7 p.m. and the reading at 7:30 p.m. All are welcome, by donation, to Gallery Vertigo, #1-3001 31 St. upstairs. Call (250) 503-2297 for info.