By now you know that the death toll in this novel is high. Of course, I can never beat the first novel where I killed the world off except for a few survivors. And, honestly, if I kept to zombie tradition, no one would be standing at the end of this novel. But, you see, I think the doomsayers have it wrong.

The “As The World Dies Zombie Trilogy” was inspired not only by the heroics of 9-11, but of other disasters as well. The media and writers love to concentrate on the terrors and evils of natural and man-made disasters, but I am always fascinated by the heroics and selflessness of many people in times of crisis. Watching just every day folks scrambling to save complete strangers without much thought to their own safety is inspiring. I’ve sat mesmerized in front of the TV watching brave people try to dig through rubble, mud, and debris to save others or dive into the ocean to save someone who has been attacked by a shark, or scramble to get supplies to desperate survivors they don’t even know.

It is popular to buy into the concept that if our world went to hell, people would be reduced to barbarians. I think an element of the survivors would be just that, but I also believe that a greater number would work hard to rebuild our communities.

Together we stand or alone we die.

Looking over the long history of humankind, we have not always been the noblest of God’s creations, but we have managed to rise above our faults to build nations, vast cities, communities, and families. Every day we live our lives within the confines of the rules we have created for ourselves and expect others to do the same thing. We aren’t perfect, but we’re doing a much better job than we give ourselves credit.

The “As The World Dies Trilogy” is the tale of a human settlement carving out a new life in the midst of a hostile environment. It is a story humanity has repeated over and over again throughout history. And like history, “As The World Dies” is a story about people.

If you have read this last tale or skipped around to check out the fates of your favorite characters, you now know that major characters die in this book. In fact, one of the two leads dies saving the lives of those she loves. This was not easy to write, I can assure you, but I knew it was her fate from the moment I wrote about those tiny fingers pressed under the door. But that is the reality of being a pioneer in a hostile country. Death and life always dance together and I could not deny that reality.

When this series started, I stated that originally I believed I was writing a short story. That idea lasted for less than three hours. In a very short time, I knew how this story ended and the major plot points along the way. I always knew who would live and who would die except for one death that was a real shocker. The journey from the tiny fingers under the door to the newborn fingers gripping Katie’s fingers was long and sometimes overwhelming. It feels solid to have the series end with the beginning of Katie’s family after beginning with the death of Jenni’s family.

But is this the end for the fort on the hill?

I am planning a short story volume that will highlight some of the supporting cast in the series. It will be released in 2010. And I will never rule out diving back into deadlands to see how Bryce, Jason and Juan’s children are shaping their new world as they grow older.

Writing this last volume in the trilogy has not always been easy, but it tells the story I wanted to tell. In the end it is the tale of two women who find a rare and powerful friendship at the end of the world and help rebuild a new one through love and sacrifice.

It’s been one hellvua ride with Jenni and Katie. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.