I often wonder about normal people, and by normal, I mean anyone who was smart and didn’t end up working as an entertainer or an artist for a living. I wonder about their jobs. More specifically, I wonder about how their jobs relate to their sleep patterns.
Do nurses wake up at 4am thinking about a patient’s medication? Do schoolteachers wake up at 4am thinking about their lesson plans?* Do mechanics wake up at 4am with a solution to fix muffler bearings?** (Disclaimer: I don’t know if muffler bearings are a real thing or not, but my knowledge of automotive repair is slim enough that it could fit into Nickolaus Pacione’s bibliography of professional sales).
I ask because I woke up at 4am, bolting upright in bed fast enough that I startled my cat, Mad Max, who had been sleeping on my chest. He glared at me and then settled back down next to the fireplace, but I barely noticed, because the reason I’d woken so suddenly was that I’d figured out what to do with the Clickers.
CLICKERS, for new readers, was a horror novel by J.F. Gonzalez and Mark Williams. It was intended to be a homage to the “munch-out” horror novels of the Seventies and Eighties — things like James Herbert’s RATS series and Guy N. Smith’s CRABS series. Especially the latter. You can buy it in paperback or ebook here.
CLICKERS earned quite a dedicated fan-base for its time, and had the distinction of being one of horror’s first true ebooks. Unfortunately, Mark Williams passed away before it ever saw publication. When the book became popular and fans asked J.F. for another, he asked me if I’d like to take Mark’s place on the sequel.
We wrote CLICKERS II: THE NEXT WAVE together (available for purchase here). That was followed by CLICKERS III: DAGON RISING (available here) and CLICKERS VS. ZOMBIES (available here). We had plans for at least two more Clickers related projects — a comic-book series called HIGH PLAINS CLICKERS (which would have been set in the Old West) and a new novel called SOUTHERN FRIED CLICKERS. Unfortunately, J.F. passed away before we ever got to write those.
I’ve talked at length on two podcast episodes (here and here) and a little bit on the forum as well (in this thread) about my reluctance to do anything more with the Clickers, and how, although J.F.’s loved ones would like to see it continue, and the fans would like to see it continue, I didn’t feel right doing one on my own.
Which is why I bolted upright this morning at 4am, with an idea in my head of how it could be done — of how I could deliver one last Clickers blow-out to the fans, and do it in a way that would be respectful of J.F. and Mark, and also in a way that would involve all of their friends and peers.
More on that later. Right now, I need coffee…
*Author Sarah Pinborough has assured me that when she was a schoolteacher, she often woke up at 4am to solve schoolteacher-related problems.
**Author Christian Jensen, who also works as an auto mechanic, has assured me that auto mechanics also get up at 4am with solutions to problems. He did not confirm if muffler bearings were a real thing, though.