Interview: Rhiannon Frater
I was previously able to do a The First Days Review from an early copy we received and have to say it was one of the best novels I’ve read in the past year. Rhiannon was kind enough to offer us a bit of her time to do an interview and for any fans of her work it’s a fun one that I hope you enjoy! For those who haven’t picked up The First Days quite yet and are looking for a new zombie novel to read I can’t stress enough this should be at the top of your list!
1. For those who haven’t read the novel, without spoilers how would you describe it?
Thelma and Louise meets zombies!A little longer description is that it’s a kick ass zombie adventure tale about two very different women surviving in the first days of the zombocalypse
2. In The First Days your leads are female characters. While my review should clearly show that I was a huge fan, did you have any worries that a strong female lead may alienate any potential readers?
Not really. I wrote the tale online for myself and a few other zombie fans on a forum. It started as a short story based on a flash of inspiration I had one day at work. I had this really vivid image pop into my mind of Jenni standing on her porch staring at these tiny baby fingers pressed under the front door trying to reach her. I knew Jenni’s zombified family was trapped in the house and that the little hand belonged to her toddler son. When Katie arrived to save her, I never even thought about the fact I was writing about two female protagonists. It was just how the story played in my head. Later, I realized it was a big deal when I ended up with a fan base that consisted of both men and women and they told me they loved the book because it was refreshing to see competent female leads.
I have a lot of fans in the military and they love the character of Nerit, a 62 year old former Israeli army sniper. She’s immensely popular, which I think is awesome.
3. Your characters know about zombies. They exist in media and aren’t something that are brand new to your world, how has that effected how your characters interact with the undead?
My younger brother, Tom, and I always used to talk about what we’d do when (not if) the zombies rose. Those conversations inspired me to have the people in the world of THE FIRST DAYS know about zombies instead of the creatures being a mystery. I liked the idea of some people surviving just because they watched the movies and reacted immediately. I also realized some people wouldn’t want to believe in the zombies because they’re monsters out of a movie, therefore they can’t be real. I felt that foreknowledge of the zombies really added a new dimension to the dynamic of the story.
4. If the zombie outbreak occurred, who are three people (non-friends/family) that you would want with you to help survive the outbreak and why?
Well, I know my blood thirsty nephews and nieces would be fine. Those young’uns are without mercy thanks to video games! They’d probably ditch me to take care of themselves, so I guess I’ll settle on my mom and husband. My mom is a killer shot and an avid reader of military strategy. My husband is also good with guns and very good at planning. For the third person, I’d like J.L. Bourne, author of DAY BY DAY ARMAGEDON. I met him a few years back and I have no doubt he’d kick zombie ass.
5. As an author what is your ideal writing environment?
Very late at night when the world is quiet. I struggle to write during the daylight hours, so I’m pretty much on vampire time.
6. We have a lot of new and unpublished authors that follow Buy Zombie. Do you have any advice to offer them?
I actually wrote a little publishing guide on my blog after I was on a panel at BookPeople in Austin for a special event put on by the Writers League of Texas.The link is here: http://rhiannonfrater.blogspot.com/2011/05/follow-up-post-to-panel-at-bookpeople.html.
7. Who is your favorite author and who is your favorite author of zombie novels?
I don’t have a favorite author per se.There are authors who inspired me to write such as Agatha Christie, Mark Twain, Jane Eyre, Anne Rice, Stephen King, Bram Stoker, and Victoria Holt. There are also some writers who are so amazing that when I read their books I wish I had written them.David Dunwoody, Ann Aguirre, Carrie Ryan, and Suzanne Collins come to mind.In the last year their novels just really blew me away and inspired me.
As for zombie favorite author, I know so many zombie authors that I don’t think it would be fair to reveal my favorite.
8. DO you have a muse? If so can you share who or what it is?
I have a variety of muses. I would say Jenni was my muse for THE FIRST DAYS and its two sequels. Lady Glynis Wright was my muse for THE TALE OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE. Strangely, it wasn’t the lead, but a supporting cast member in PRETTY WHEN SHE DIES who was the one whispering in my ear for that novel. For THE LIVING DEAD BOY AND THE ZOMBIE HUNTERS, it was Josh, the twelve year old hero. Each book has a different muse. I just have to learn to listen to the new voice in my head.
9. So there is the age old debate that always has to be answered, do you prefer slow of fast zombies and why?
Slow. I am a vehement supporter of the slow zombies. Because, you know, I might actually survive if they are slow. If they’re fast, we’re all screwed. But despite my adamant support of the slow Romero zombies, in THE FIRST DAYS they are pretty spry in the beginning, but slow down over time as they wreck their bodies and decompose. The story does take place in Texas. And Texans do own guns. I had to come up with a way that we would lose our foothold very quickly. Having fast zombies was the answer.
10. Do you think zombies are getting too much exposure currently, not enough, or just the right amount?
I’m torn on this one. I think it’s very uneven right now when it comes to the zombie lovin’ in the media.
I don’t feel there are enough good quality zombie films. I’m looking forward to World War Z.
There are some amazing zombie games out right now. I remember when Red Dead Redemption came out and I was disappointed there were no zombies. I was thrilled when they released the zombie expansion. I feel zombies make any game better.
I suspect that because of the success of self-published zombie authors like me, David Moody, and J.L. Bourne with the big publishers, there is now a glut of self-published zombie novels that are pure dreck. I feel it’s a bandwagon people are jumping on without thinking about the quality of the work. Sadly, I fear that if people read enough bad ones, they’ll think all zombie novels are crap. It’s getting harder and harder to find the really awesome novels. And there are some amazing, solid, well-written zombie novels on the market right now.
When it comes to TV, we only have one zombie show, though the producer who optioned THE FIRST DAYS (and the sequels) hopes to change that. I think another good quality zombie show would be awesome for the fans of the genre.
11. What is your favorite zombie novel and movie?
I love Night of the Living Dead completely and totally. It’s so amazing. Dawn of the Dead, the original, is a close second. But that first movie was just perfect in every way.
Since I refuse to divulge my favorite zombie novel, I’ll just say I like mine a lot. How’s that?
12. Is there anything you’d like to say to our readers?
Zombie fans are the best!
I love to hear from my readers, so if you liked THE FIRST DAYS or any of my other novels, please feel free to contact me at rhiannonfrater at gmail dot com. If you’d like to keep track of what is going on in my writing career, the movie deals, etc, you can find my blog at rhiannonfrater.blogspot.com. I have an author website at rhiannonfrater.com, and a website for AS THE WORLD DIES at astheworlddies.com.
The First Days is available on Amazon.
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