S.G. Browne

B is for Breathers

Breather(bŕ́thər) n. 1 one who breathes; a human being; a living person   2 someone who has civil and constitutional rights   3 a tasty, midnight snack

When I first came up with the title Breathers, I was in a bed and breakfast in Hanalei Bay, Kauai, recovering from the fact that I’m a caucasian man who neglected to apply a strong enough sunscreen.  This was in October of 2003, two years after I’d written the short story “A Zombie’s Lament,” upon which the novel is based.

At first I wasn’t sure the title would work for the novel.  After all, Breathers is a dark comedy about zombies, not the humans who abuse and subjugate them.  Except for the Breathers who work at the SPCA.  But that’s for another blog…

Problem was, I fell in love with the title.  And although I tried to come up with alternate titles that might work, I couldn’t bring myself to lose it.  So I had to make sure the content of the novel supported the title.  Still, my publisher wanted to add a reading line so that potential readers would know it was a novel about zombies, so we settled on the title of the original story it was based upon.  Which was kind of cool.

Officially, the first draft of the first chapter of Breathers was written on October 3, 2003.  I only know that because I have the journal entry for it.  But that chapter isn’t the first chapter.  It ended up becoming the second chapter.  The opening to the novel originally went:

My name is Andy and I’m a survivor.  At least that’s what I’m supposed to say and think and believe.  But I can’t say it, I don’t think it, and the only thing I believe is that this is worse than anything I could have ever imagined.

I finished the first draft of Breathers in February 2006.  The long lag between start and finish was due in part to my personal life and to the fact that I’m a binge writer.  I don’t write every day.  Which is heresy among a lot of writers.  I used to write every day.  From 1990-2001.  Two hours every morning before work and whatever I could get in at night.  But binge writing works better for me now.

I didn’t start out to write a novel that had any sort of social commentary.  I’ve just always loved zombies and wanted to give them a voice, show what undeath was like from their perspective.  I wanted to create a zombie the reader could sympathize and empathize with, so that if he eventually gave in to his instincts, the reader would still be on his side.

Plus I always wondered if it was necrophilia if you were both dead.

Filed under: Breathers — Tags: , — S.G. Browne @ 1:57 pm

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