by Jax Anderson
“SemiViral tells the story of cage fighter Mathew Stemp is known as a hero to some, a criminal to others, and a legend to all who live in northern Utah. As a cannibal virus spreads internationally, the world is torn between Exterminationists and Curists, and Mathew leaves his prostitution business to repair his relationship with his brother and his God. But his journey becomes even more difficult when he meets Shaylee, the victim of both the virus and his brother’s bullying. While battling his ongoing depression, Matt fights to protect his friends from his past.”
Q&A with author Jax Anderson
What inspired you to write this book?
My original inspiration to start writing SemiViral came from a dream I had one night. It was about a high school girl with many social discomforts who obsessed over her good friend. Although the details of my dream are not in line with SemiViral, this dream put me in front of the computer.
The most powerful inspiration for the story was my own depression and social anxiety throughout my childhood. I worked hard to express the battle within myself while trying to develop and sustain friendships with my peers.
How much of this book is drawn from your own life?
Almost all the relationship experiences and fights in SemiViral were inspired by actual events throughout my life. Each character’s personality, as well as their relationships with others, were inspired by my own relationships.
Was the relationship between Matt and Garrett hard to write?
The relationship between Garret and Matt was one of the most difficult to write. Inspired by my own relationship with my brother and what it could have been, I tried to use real experiences with my brother to give it an authentic feel. However, I also chose to influence the experiences in ways that I had wished I had done and write about what could have been. While writing in the relationship, I had the responsibility to show the influence that an older brother can have on his younger brother.
When you meet Matt and Garret in the beginning, the two are not close. When Matt makes the effort to change and create a relationship with Garret, the two find that they don’t get along easily. One of my most important goals with SemiViral was to express the importance of the relationship between brothers and the power of influence brothers have on each other.
In your own words how would you explain SemiViral?
The book begins with Mathew Stemp leaving his partner in crime, Porter, after one last job to kill a man who is infected with an STD that is causing people to become blood thirsty cannibals. Afterwards, Matt leaves his partner, their gang, and his prostitution business behind as he attempts to find his Christianity and pursue a career in mixed martial arts.
It’s not as easy as he had hoped when he finds his younger brother, Garret, bullying a young girl, Shaylee, at school because of her mother’s cannibal infection.
Matt finds that his brother’s behavior was a result of his own influence. To help his brother change, Matt must now befriend a girl who many fear is infected and stand against his old gang to show his brother and community that you can’t judge others without getting to know them.
In SemiViral, you will follow Matt and many others as the world falls apart in civil war between people who believe the virus can be cured, Curists, and those who believe the infected should be exterminated, Exterminationists. Read as Matt trains a team of outcasts to battle bullying and intolerance while the virus affects each of their lives differently.
On the other side of the story, you’ll read as Matt’s ex-partner, Porter, accepts leadership of their prostitution ring. Porter promotes the extermination of all those suspected of infection and those helping them hide. The business leadership is broken and being reconstructed. Porter fights to keep the same high standards of prostitution and extermination that Matt had, but his new partner believes that Porter’s respect for Matt is not violent or powerful enough.
Did you always wanted to be a writer?
I first wanted to write when I was twelve years old. I was asked in counseling for my depression to write in a journal. However, writing the truth was embarrassing and intimidating. Instead, I changed the truth into fiction and created stories out of my real experiences. I used the writing as an outlet for my depression and fell in love with the stories.
What are you working on now?
I am currently working on a few projects. I am typing the sequel to SemiViral, as well as a few short stories about common social struggles that teens suffer from. I have about four additional story lines for novels that I hope to have done by 2020.
A Little Something About The Author:
Jax Anderson got his start in writing when he began keeping a journal as a kid. After finding his life was pretty embarrassing, he switched to fiction. SemiViral began when he discovered many individuals in his personal life were intolerant people. Without calling them out individually, he wrote a book with cannibal style living flesh eaters, prostitution, drugs, and Mormons to address what he had been seeing his whole life in a neutrally opinionated manner. Anderson resides in Utah with his wife and young daughter.
What I Think…
Okay, this book was really easy to read. I actually went through it pretty quickly. Although the language kicks it out of the YA genre a bit, but it’s still pretty good. The story has a lot of action and relationship drama. Plus brotherly-problems. I don’t agree with everything in the book (like with almost every book I read lol), but it’s a really fun interesting book and you should definitely read it.
“Continue to follow the SemiViral blog tour tomorrow at
This book was given to me by Smith Publicity in exchange of an honest review.