Two things from Kevin Millikin's childhood have stayed with him — a love of the zombie genre and his hometown of Red Bluff.
Both are at the center of the horror author's latest book "Summer of 68," a story set during the events of the movie "Night of the Living Dead" that takes place in Red Bluff.
Millikin, who resides in Washington with his wife and daughter, graduated from Red Bluff Union High School in 2006.
He said he can trace his love of zombies back to his childhood.
"When I was in the third grade I saw the original 'Night of the Living Dead' and it absolutely horrified me," Millikin said. "It was those emotions that really got me into horror and also the creative aspect of it."
Millikin has been writing ever since. Last year he self published two novellas.
"I like to scare people, it's typically just using emotions," Millikin said.
For "Summer of 68" he hooked up with Severed Press, a small publisher in Australia.
"It's all about networking and meeting new people and plus the instant availability of all information," Millikin said of the benefits the Internet has for the up-and-coming writer.
While Millikin has been learning the publishing side of the business, he's also been growing as a writer.
"Summer of 68" is based off of a short story he wrote in 2009.
He said at the time he wasn't happy with it and set it aside to work on other projects.
But a few years ago he went back to the story and wrote what would turn out to be a prologue for his novel.
The story centers around a sheriff in Red Bluff who struggles to grasp the strange and hellish turn of events that ravages not just his small Northern California town, but across the globe as millions of the recently deceased rise from the dead with the goal of eating the living's flesh.
The book features a number of places that will be familiar to those who live in Red Bluff, including one scene set in the Hogsback area.
Millikin said he understands it's natural to see his story involves a sheriff and zombies and draw similarities to the popular television show "The Walking Dead" but he hopes his book can stand on its own.
He says his sheriff character is based off of John Russo's works in the 1960s.
Millikin said "The Walking Dead" has been a mixed bag for those trying to stand out in the horror genre.
While all zombie stories may now get compared to it, it's also opened the doors to major publishers looking for books to capitalize on the surging popularity of the genre.
"I'm just trying to stay true to itself and to myself," Millikin said of the zombie genre.
Millikin said his goal is for the written word to replicate the emotions he felt as a child when he first saw "Night of the Living Dead."
"I hope I did a good job of that," he said.
"Summer of 68" is available through Amazon in both digital and paperback formats.