Rhiannon Frater is the author of the “As The World Dies” series and currently is in the process of releasing The Last Bastion of the Living which is a zombie novel that will be taking place in the future. With her past novels being extremely addicting I for one am eagerly awaiting having a chance to read it. In the meantime though let’s sit down with Rhiannon and see what else we can find out about it!
The Bastion was humanity’s last hope against the fearsome undead creatures known as the Inferi Scourge. A fortified city with a high wall, surrounded by lush land rich with all the resources needed to survive, protected by high mountain summits, and a massive gate to secure the only pass into the valley, the Bastion became the last stronghold of the living on earth. But one fateful day, the gate failed and the Inferi Scourge destroyed the human settlements outside the walls and trapped the survivors inside the city. Now decades later, the last remaining humans are struggling to survive in a dying city as resources and hope dwindle.
Vanguard Maria Martinez has lived her whole life within the towering walls of steel. She yearns for a life away from the overcrowded streets, rolling blackouts, and food shortages, but there is no hope for anyone as long as the Inferi Scourge howl outside the high walls. Her only refuge from the daily grind is in the arms of her lover, Dwayne Reichardt, an officer in the Bastion Constabulary. Both are highly-decorated veterans of the last disastrous push against the Inferi Scourge. Their secret affair is her only happiness.
Then one day Maria is summoned to meet with a mysterious representative from the Science Warfare Division and is offered the opportunity to finally destroy the Inferi Scourge in the valley and close the gate. The rewards of success are great, but she will have to sacrifice everything, possibly even her life, to accomplish the ultimate goal of securing the future of humanity and saving it from extinction.
BZ: What inspired you to write in a futuristic zombie setting?
Rhiannon: I had an incredibly vivid dream of the first chapter (not the prologue). It was so real I was instantly drawn into the world of Vanguard Maria Martinez. I was seeing through her eyes, so I saw The Bastion with its high walls, dreary buildings, and propaganda drones roaming the crowded streets. I immediately wanted to explore the world. Also, the relationship Maria has with Dwayne, her lover, was very intense and compelling, so I wanted to know more about them. When I woke up, I knew I would write the story. I just didn’t realize it would end up novel length, or anticipate all the work that would go into creating the world, but I’m so glad I decided to take that journey.
I was lucky enough to have colonel in the Air Force create the military of The Bastion and help me out with their ranks and slang. I also had someone in the medical field give a thumbs up to the virus that creates the Inferi Scourge (the zombie-like creatures). My hubby helped me develop some of the weapons. I also studied up on various aspects of cities being under siege and plagues.
All in all, it was a tough book to write, but so well worth it. I love this book.
BZ: In “As the World Dies” you went with a present day zombie apocalypse, how did you have to readjust with dealing in a ‘future’ setting in “The Last Bastion of the Living?”
Rhiannon: Once I finish with a book, I close the door on that world and move onto the next. It was very easy to plug into universe of THE LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING. It was also a bit of a relief after spending six years in the ATWD universe. It was fun meeting new characters and exploring a new world in a different universe. Also, I love science fiction and post-apocalyptic scenarios, so it was fun to bring it all together in this novel.
Furthermore, the characters were very different from the ones in AS THE WORLD DIES. They are trained military personnel, politicians, and scientists. There is not only the threat of the Inferi Scourge outside the massive walls, but the conflicts that occur among the political and military powers of the dying city.
It was very challenging to write some of the battle scenes that are in the book. The sheer scale of the opening scene in the book was very daunting and took me close to a week to write. It’s epic.
The book is very suspenseful on many levels. Yet, at its heart is a very intense love story between a man and a woman who just want to survive and be together.
BZ: Is the Last Bastion of the Living a standalone novel or the beginning of a series? (Side note: If it is the beginning of a series I have a feeling that I am going to be once again eagerly awaiting the sequels!)
Rhiannon: It’s a standalone novel even though my editor immediately demanded a trilogy when she finished! Quite a few of the early readers (book review bloggers) have asked me to keep going, but I just love how the book ends. It feels perfect to me. I’d hate to try to match that ending in a sequel.
BZ: In the event of a zombie outbreak what animal(s) would you prefer to have at your side and why?
Rhiannon: My Chihuahua and my two cats, of course! They’re my furry babies. I would never abandon them! My husband and I even have a plan on who grabs each pet.
BZ: We’ve previously spoken about who you would have at your side in the event of a zombie outbreak. Let’s mix it up a little and go with which 5 celebrities would you want at your side in the case of a zombie outbreak and why?
Rhiannon: Hrmmm….I’m not much into celebrities per se. Uh. Prince William and his wife, because they would come with a lot of security. So also add in the president and the first lady, because they would have secret service to protect us. And just because he’s such a bad ass in The Walking Dead, Norman Reedus.
BZ: Your novels are clearly works of art and have gotten you a huge fan base. Have you considered expanding any of your series into a graphic novel format?
Rhiannon: I would LOVE to, but I’ve had no offers! I would love to team up on a graphic novel series of AS THE WORLD DIES and THE LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING. It would make me so happy!
BZ: As the World Dies being released got you working with the publisher Tor. Has this changed anything about your writing?
Rhiannon: My editor at Tor, Melissa Singer, has made me a much better writer. She’s pointed out the weaknesses in my prose and has challenged me to delve deeper into my characters. Also, she taught me a lot about continuity and being a bit nitpicky about scene structure. For example, not having an ax or something mysteriously appear in someone’s hand, but actually show them retrieving it. When I read over my rough drafts I always hear her voice in my head. Hell, when I read other people’s books, I think, “Melissa would NEVER let me get away with that!”
BZ: You also are well known for writing about another form of the undead – vampires. In a world ending war where the zombie infection has spread far and wide over the world who do you think would be able to come out on top and why?
Rhiannon: Vampires would. Zombies rot and decay and have no ability to think. Vampires would most likely start protecting humans right away and would have the resources to do it. They’re also very powerful and could destroy large swaths of the undead very quickly. Imagine Dracula decapitating zombies left and right, dissolving into a mist to avoid the bigger hordes, reappearing as a wolf and ripping through them…yeah…epic. So my money is on the vampires. But then again, humanity would be boned, because the vampires would become our new masters.
So we’d have to stage an uprising!
BZ: As most of our readers know you from your zombie series what would you like to tell them about your vampire novels?
My vampires are monsters. They don’t sparkle. They aren’t nice. They may be attractive, but in a way a predator can be to draw in prey. I was heavily influenced by Christopher Lee’s Dracula. The women always lusted him, but he only rewarded them with death.
BZ: Do you have any plans to revisit your “As the World Dies” world in the future?
Only for one last volume in the AS THE WORLD DIES UNTOLD TALES, then I am closing the door on that world. I’ve told the story I wanted to tell and it’s time for me to move on to other stories. I have no interest in a “next generation” trilogy or anything like that. Honestly, I have no desire to see any more characters die. As you know, the death toll in SIEGE was pretty high. I like where the trilogy ended. It felt solid. I would have to come up with a really killer idea to compel me to continue, but right now Tor is more interested in growing me as a horror writer. Therefore, I’m exploring other terrifying worlds and enjoying it quite a lot.
Category: Zombie News