Welcome to William Burke, author of Voodoo Child!
Why Black Sheep Make the Best Heroes
Why Black Sheep Make the Best Heroes
by Willam Burke
A while back, I was sitting with a friend drinking a few beers and talking about various creative projects, past and future. He insightfully pointed out that almost all my work, whether it was documentaries or fiction, revolved around outsiders. I’d never made the connection before, but I knew he was right. You can keep your highly trained Delta Force Operators or nobly ordained Knights of the Round Table—give me a ragtag band of renegades any day. I love characters who say things like, “I stick my neck out for nobody,” or, “I’m here to get paid your highness,” and then wind up risking their lives for a good cause.
That love of outsiders hasn’t dimmed. In my novel Voodoo Child, Book One: Zombie Uprising the heroes include a blackballed ex-army pilot turned marijuana smuggler, a Voodoo priestess who’s infatuated with reality television and a burnt out mercenary struggling with PTSD and alopecia. They’re led (if you could actually lead this bunch) by Maggie Child, a female army helicopter pilot who wouldn’t be defined as an outsider per se, except that she’s a professed atheist thrust into a world where Voodoo spirits and supernatural mayhem are part of day-to-day life. This eccentric band is all that stands between humanity and the zombie apocalypse. Trust me; you’re in good hands.
As a writer I enjoy thrusting black sheep characters into situations where they’re forced to work together for the greater good. In the course of their struggle they discover virtues they never knew they had.
I think this tendency stems from my childhood addiction to Marvel comics, whose superheroes were never accepted by society despite all their good deeds. The X-Men are outcasts fighting to protect the very public who despise and fear them. The Hulk is a Freudian rage monster just as happy destroying super villains or the US Army depending on which direction he’s pointed. Daredevil is blind and his alter ego is marginalized by society for his disability. Even Spiderman can usually be found on the NYPD’s most wanted list.
This was the brilliance of Stan Lee who channeled all our childhood insecurities and teen angst into his superheroes, making them marvelously (no pun intended) flawed and somehow much more relatable. Despite their superhuman powers, Lee’s creations remained underdogs. The only exception might be Thor who happened to be a god. But his family up in Asgard was a dysfunctional train wreck, so even he carried some relatable emotional baggage.
I’m not saying Marvel Conics invented flawed heroes that struggled with personal issues. Raymond Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe was the best of many tarnished angels that traversed the neon jungle reluctantly doing the right thing. Old pulp westerns were filled with ex-outlaws who found redemption by pinning on a badge and protecting the innocent. These sort of jaded characters always existed in “grown up” books, but I think Stan Lee made outsiders acceptable for all ages, influencing a generation of readers and creative minds in the process.
You can see Marvel’s footprints all over modern pop culture. The original Star Wars trilogy was deeply rooted in Greek mythology and Flash Gordon serials, but those loveable rogues Han Solo and Chewbacca would have been right at home in the Marvel universe. Modern romance novels are filled with handsome scoundrels who are eventually redeemed by love. Aren't the tragic werewolves and vampires of the modern paranormal romance genre the ultimate outsiders?
I admit to always cheering for the underdogs and renegades. I’ll listen to the Ramones over Led Zeppelin or watch an edgy B-movie over some bloated Hollywood blockbuster any day of the week. But I like to think my love of outcasts also stems from the deep-seated hope that human beings are intrinsically good and that, just maybe, there’s a little hero hiding in us all, waiting for that moment to shine.
Book One: Zombie Uprising
Horror/Paranormal w. Action/Adventure
June 17, 2016
The forces of darkness are out to destroy mankind… Too bad they never reckoned on facing Maggie Child!
Army chopper pilot Maggie Child has a reputation for being fearless, professional and, above all, rational. But when she's shot down over Iraq her well-ordered life spirals into a paranormal nightmare. Alone, wounded and surrounded by hostile forces, Maggie is rescued from certain death by a demon straight out of Dante's Inferno. Then, barely alive, she's abducted by a private military corporation conducting insidious medical experiments.
Her escape from their covert hellhole lands her on a Caribbean island where an evil voodoo spirit and a psychotic female dictator are conspiring to unleash an apocalyptic zombie plague. Then she uncovers the most terrifying secret of all—her own destiny. It seems a Voodoo oracle has ordained her the only warrior capable of saving humanity from a supernatural Armageddon … whether she wants the job or not!
But saving the world isn't a one-woman job, so she teams up with a trio of unlikely heroes—a conspiracy obsessed marijuana smuggler, a Voodoo priestess with an appetite for reality television, and a burnt out ex-mercenary. Together, they'll take on an army of the walking dead, with the fate of humanity resting in their eccentric hands.
Voodoo Child, Book One: Zombie Uprising is the first novel in a new horror series packed with supernatural thrills, rousing adventure, dark humor, Voodoo lore and plenty of zombie stomping action. But a word of warning; don't shoot these zombies in the head … because that just makes them mad!
It's the legions of hell versus Maggie Child … and hell doesn't have a prayer!
Voodoo Child, Book One: Zombie Uprising by William Burke is a fast-paced horror novel with quirky characters…Reviewed by Kim Anisi for Readers' Favorite
About the Author
After two years of ghostwriting, William Burke has released his first novel VOODOO CHILD, Book One: Zombie Uprising. It's the first installment of a new horror series chronicling the exploits of Maggie Child and her Voodoo priestess partner Sarafina as they battle to save the island of Fantomas from the wrath of evil Voodoo spirits.
The author was raised on a diet of late night creature features, comic books, Mad magazines and horror stories. As a result every volume will be packed with eccentric characters, dark humor, chills, zombies, ghosts, monsters, military hardware and plenty of stuff blowing up.
Prior to writing Voodoo Child he was the creator and director of the Destination America television series Hauntings and Horrors. He has also written scripts for two Cinemax television series, Forbidden Science and Lingerie, which he also produced. He has also written magazine pieces for Fangoria and the Phantom of the Movies Videoscope among others.
William began his film and television career as a perfectly respectable video engineer at the venerable United Nations. Budget cuts shifted him to becoming a production manager and assistant director on an array of New York based indie films. With that experience under his belt he relocated to Los Angeles where he eventually produced sixteen feature films and two television series for the Playboy Entertainment Group. After years of producing T&A extravaganzas, kickboxing epics and gangster rap videos, he created a self financed television pilot entitled American Mystery Tour. Canada's CTV picked up the series under the title Creepy Canada, which was then re-titled Hauntings and Horrors in the USA. Since then he has successfully produced three series for HBO/Cinemax as well as documentaries and other … stuff.
After hundreds of hours of film and television production he is basking in the freedom of the written word, where small budgets and giant egos are only memories. He lives in Toronto.
If you enjoyed the first adventure please visit www.williamburkeauthor.com where you'll find lots of interesting information about Voodoo and military hardware, along with excerpts from Sarafina's personal diary AND, as a gift to readers, the author will be serializing a prequel novella
Author interview video: https://youtu.be/SXanlSkmHEI