Twelve-year-old Josh wants only two things in life: to guide his friends, both old and new, across the zombie-infested Texas countryside to the airlift in San Angelo, Texas using his knowledge of zombie lore, and to be reunited with his dad and baby brother at the FEMA camp.
If only he didn’t have to deal with one of the most deadly threats of any zombie apocalypse: a teenage boy determined to woo Josh’s crush, Corina, and take over the small band of kids.
Josh and the Zombie Hunters survived some of the worst situations the zombie apocalypse has to offer in The Living Dead Boy and Lost in Texas. Now they’ll have to make hard choices and risk their very lives to Journey Across Zombie Texas.
What gave you the idea for Journey Across Zombie Texas?
Honestly, real world events such as evacuations from natural disasters and war zones were a huge source of inspiration. In the first two books Josh and his friends are dealing with the outbreak and the evacuation, so for the third I wanted to show more about what’s happening in the world. We get a good idea of how the government and military are handling the evacuations of cities, the battles that are taking place, and how regular folks are taking things into their own hands to save their communities.
Josh, our twelve-year-old hero, and his surviving friends (ages nine to sixteen), are steeped in zombie lore, and over the course of the first two books their knowledge keeps them alive when many others die. So I knew it was time to shake it up a little, and have Josh start to doubt himself. He’s had to kill zombies that were once friends and family, and he is aware of the immense burden he has on his shoulders when he makes decisions for his small group. He wants to get to the San Angelo airlift to be reunited with his dad and younger brother, but circumstances keep derailing his plans. He’s a smart kid, but is he making the right choices to keep him and his friends alive? Should he be ignoring what the adults are doing to save everyone? Or should he keep trying to reach his family?
I not only did research on evacuations, but also on the mentality of twelve-year-old boys. Both were challenging!
What got you into writing in this genre?
I have always loved the George A. Romero film, but never thought about writing in the zombie genre. On a complete lark I wrote what I thought was a short story called ‘Tiny Fingers’ and posted it to a zombie forum. It had a very positive response because of the two lead female protagonists, and readers wanted me to continue. Happily, I realized there was much more of their story to tell, so I just kept writing. It eventually became the As The World Dies trilogy (The First Days, Fighting to Survive, Siege) and it’s published by Tor.
How long have you been writing?
I have been writing since I was ten years old. I’ve been a full-time professional writer since 2011. I’m a hybrid author, which means I self-publish some books, and have others published by traditional publishers. I have four books with Tor, and five with Permuted Press. The rest I have self-published.
Tell us about your past books and stories?
I’ve written 30 books so far. I have multiple series (some finished, others in progress), some standalones, and several short story collections.
As The World Dies (The First Days, Fighting to Survive, Siege) is about two very different women, Jenni & Katie, and the friendship they form when they escape into the Texas Hill Country. They end up a valuable part of a surviving community and the three books detail their story. It’s a pioneering story at its heart. How do you rebuild in a zombie-infested world? What are the challenges? It’s probably my most popular series.
The Last Bastion series (The Last Bastion of the Living, The Last Mission of the Living) is a series currently being written. I have at least three more books coming out in that universe. It’s very much a science fiction take on zombies, and has a future tech feel. It’s a lot of fun because I get to play around with different kind of weapons, robotics, etc. Each book has a different protagonist, which keeps things fresh and allows me to explore all aspects of the last city of the living.
The Vampire Bride Dark Rebirth Series (The Tale of the Vampire Bride, The Vengeance of the Vampire Bride, Lament of the Vampire Bride) are gothic horror. I loved Hammer Films growing up, and I was heavily inspired by them. The story is about a young English aristocrat who ends up the Bride of Dracula. Her battle to be free of him spans the three books. It takes place in the Regency era, so there are castles, carriages, opulent dresses, and lots and lots of blood.
The In Darkness We Must Abide trilogy is a modern supernatural thriller with lots of different paranormal creatures in it. The Pretty When She Dies trilogy is a gritty modern vampire and necromancer story.
Dead Spots is a supernatural thriller about a woman who enters the world of dreams and nightmares. The Mesmerized is about a world-wide supernatural event that threatens to kill everyone and only one woman can save us. The Midnight Spell is a fun YA I wrote with Kody Boye.
And then there’s a slew of novellas and short story collections, too.
Whew. I’m just exhausted thinking about all of them!
What is the writing process like for you? What is your writing day like? What have been the biggest influences on your writing?
I have fully-formed intense film-like dreams, and sometimes I wake up and know that I have something special. I write down all the ideas I liked, and see if they bloom into something. By the time I sit down to write a book, I have a pretty good handle on the characters, plot, etc, but I also let things develop as they will.
My usual writing day is just finding a spot in the day to shut out the world and write. There’s a whole lot of other stuff that goes into having a full-time writing career, and I sometimes feel like I have to squeeze in my writing. I usually listen to music while I write (I’ll mess with a playlist until it’s perfect) and write a full chapter before I stop.
As for an influence on my writing, I would have to say it’s an amalgamation of what I like and dislike in other writer’s work. If I read an awesome book where the sentences just flow like liquid, I will study why it’s working. If I read a book where things just annoy me, I try to sort out why, and then not repeat in my own work.
What is your favorite book (other than your own book, of course) and why? What book disappointed you and why?
My favorite genre novel is probably I am Legend. Richard Matheson did such a great job creating a post-apocalyptic world that was truly frightening, and then twisted it on its ear with that ending!
The book that most disappointed me was The Tommyknockers by Stephen King. But he’s not fond of it either. I think we both agree there’s a great story somewhere in there, but it got lost. He wrote it during a bad time in his life, and it shows.
My all-time favorite book is Jane Eyre for many, many reasons, but mostly because Jane is one of the most complex and compelling characters of all-time. Female characters always have powerful roles in my books, and Jane Eyre definitely inspired me in that regard.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
I’m not sure it’s really advice per se, but I admire Jonathan Maberry a lot. He’s such a great person, and he’s very supportive of other writers.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
The Tale of the Vampire Bride took nearly a decade to write. I learned my craft working on that book. I rewrote it so many times. I made so many early writer mistakes. It took a long time to find my voice and my writing method. Once I found my confidence, I rewrote and finished it. It’s my highest rated novel, and it has a very devoted fan base.
For those who haven’t read any of your stories, what story/book of yours do you think best represents your work and why?
This is a tough one.
If you like zombies, read The First Days. If you like vampires, read The Tale of the Vampire Bride or Pretty When She Dies. If you like science fiction, read The Last Bastion of the Living. If you like paranormal fantasy/romance, read In Darkness We Must Abide.
And, of course, read The Living Dead Boy series (The Living Dead Boy, Lost in Texas, Journey Across Zombie Texas)!
What are you doing next?
I’m currently writing two serials. One is on Patreon, for my patrons who support my self-publishing projects, and the other is on the Radish app.
In the Shadow of the Dying World is accessible to my $1 donors, and is a post-apocalyptic tale set in the far future where supernatural zombies roam the deadlands, and necromancers rule from a chantry inside a walled city.
The Impaled Bride is on Radish, and it’s a prequel/sequel to The Vampire Bride Dark Rebirth trilogy. It’s about Vlad Dracula’s great love, and how things went horribly wrong between them. It’s pretty bloody and filled with battles alongside court intrigue, and a doomed romance.
What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Write a lot. Read a lot. Write some more.
Rhiannon Frater is the award-winning author of the As the World Dies zombie trilogy (Tor) as well as independent works such as The Last Bastion of the Living (declared the #1 Zombie Release of 2012 by Explorations Fantasy Blog and the #1 Zombie Novel of the Decade by B&N Book Blog). She was born and raised in Texas where she currently resides with her husband and furry children (a.k.a pets). She loves scary movies, sci-fi and horror shows, playing video games, cooking, dyeing her hair weird colors, and shopping for Betsey Johnson purses and shoes. She’s the co-host of the ZCast, a Z Nation Fan Podcast.
You can find her online at:
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Rhiannon-Frater/e/B0027DLFL6/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Email: rhiannonfrater at gmail.com