Just like the undead characters in her first book, Laura Hansen is back with a new novel and a new philanthropic endeavor for local schools.
Hansen, a cancer biologist and professor at Creighton University, has written her second young adult zombie book, “Avalanche of the Undead,” now available on Amazon and at the Bookworm and Baker’s supermarkets throughout the Omaha area.
As with her 2012 book, “Cruise of the Undead,” Hansen will donate 10 percent of what she makes on her second novel to Bellevue and Omaha public schools. She’s also donating copies of the books to schools and local libraries.
“It’s a fun thing for me,” said Hansen of Bellevue. “The books are very well-received among young adults, but they also have an appeal for older readers. On top of it, being able to give back to the community where my family lives, where my sons go to school, is a wonderful opportunity.”
As with her first book, Hansen’s second novel revolves around two brothers, Charlie and Jack, who are modeled on and named after Hansen’s own sons, Charlie, 16, and Jack, 13. Other characters from around the community have also found their way into Hansen’s books.
“I wrote the book my boys wanted to read,” Hansen said of her approach to writing. “I have teenagers who had a passion for reading and the way it all started, it’s kind of an accidental thing.”
The books began as a bedtime exercise where the family would take turns writing up parts of a story and then sharing them. Hansen began writing a paragraph a night to share with her sons. The novel grew from there.
“It’s a family project that turned into a novel,” she said.
As a biologist, Hansen knows a thing or two about how living things work, but when it comes to the undead she defers to another authority.
“The zombie expert in my house is Charlie,” she said. “I’ll be working in one direction and run it by him and he’ll say, ‘No, Mom, this is how it works.’ ”
To date, through sales and donations of the first book, Hansen has given more than $1,400 to schools including the funding of a $500 scholarship given by Bellevue Public Schools to a graduating senior.