Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Rhiannon Frater - Speculative Fiction Writer

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing this week's Speculative Fiction Writer, Rhiannon Frater. She is the award-winning author of the As The World Dies zombie trilogy. My kind of fiction!

Q: You could have chosen any place in the world for your characters to hole up in during the end of days, yet you chose to keep your setting close to home. What were the perks & drawbacks to writing about a setting familiar to you, as opposed to choosing one you must research or create?
Actually, the characters are in a setting that is not familiar to me. I live in a big city.  I’ve not experienced the small town community that exists in the book. I observed how these small towns operate during my former job and was exposed to the reality of a small town. I remember marveling at how a city secretary knew the name of every person in her town and where they lived.  I was amazed.  During my travels, I absorbed the whole energy of these small towns and the people who lived in them and transferred that into Ashley Oaks.  It was a great experience.
I think the only book I have written so far where I didn’t have to do research on the location was PRETTY WHEN SHE DIES because it takes place mostly in Austin, Texas where I live.  That made writing a whole lot simpler!

Q: What was your inspiration for Nerit’s character and do you know anyone with similar military background?
I was inspired by three women I met at various points in my life. One was a young Israeli woman that inspired Nerit’s name, the other two were older Israeli women who were beautiful, intelligent, kind, and former Israeli snipers.  While speaking to one, she explained that women made better snipers than the men because they are better shots and she shrugged off her talent as if it was nothing really unusual.  She alluded to having taken lives, but didn’t seem particularly ruffled by this fact because she was doing her job. I marveled that someone so normal could have done something so extraordinary.
Nerit was born in a split second when I was writing the book and saw her standing on top of the old hunting store. I instantly understood the character and what she was all about.  I think she is such a popular and fascinating character because she is the person who does what no one else can do. She is the master of doing the monstrous and terrible, yet retains her dignity.  I love the fact that she’s 62, a woman, and yet a complete bad ass.

Q: Did you do any research on psychopathology to write about the after effects on your character’s psyche?
A ton of research.  Both by reading and speaking to people who have gone through terrible calamities.  I was able to talk to survivors of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina and it gave me enormous insight into the mind of someone going through a life-altering experience like a national disaster.
Also, I read up on historical events that adversely affected humanity and how we survived. I remember one article that really struck me was how humans survive through community. That was just a profound realization. Most of the time zombie fans are in love with the lone survivor, or the groups of people fighting and destroying each other, but the reality of our history is that in the end we survive because of community.
As for the personal struggles, I did a lot of research on battered women for Jenni.  The real challenge was Calhoun. Since Calhoun is schizophrenic, I had to understand how the illness affects his perceptions. I watched several videos where they depicted how someone who has schizophrenia and is unmedicated sees the world. It was extremely eye opening.
I’m a firm believer in creating realistic characters.

Q: If you were stranded on a desert island (with electricity?) what 3 things could you not live without?
My computer, my husband, my pets.

Q: What book would you absolutely have to have with you, and why?
My novel THE TALE OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE.  It is the one book I definitely wrote just because I wanted to read it. 

Q: What 5 words would you use to describe yourself?
Texan, author, Goth, goofy, boring.

It’s the End of the World as We Know It
But all is not lost.  A hundred or so survivors of the zombie plague have defended their new home—the fortified town of Ashley Oaks, Texas—against ravenous zombies and cruel bandits.  They have gathered supplies, established a civil government, and even found love among the ruins.

An excellent tactician who has led the town’s defenders more than once, Katie has made peace with the loss of her beloved wife.  She is remarried and pregnant with her husband’s child.  Jenni, a zombie killer beyond compare, fled an abusive husband and formed a new, loving family with her stepson, his dog, and her new love.  Jenni’s still the first to volunteer for any dangerous mission—but now she has a reason to survive.

A deadly supply run leads to the discovery of hundreds of survivors trapped in a failing shopping mall, their lives controlled by a power-hungry U.S. Senator and the military men and women who follow her.  News that there are civilians living in peace outside the mall is earth-shattering for all of them.

The final battle for the fort—and, in a way, for the soul of America—is about to begin. 

Rhiannon Frater is the award-winning author of the AS THE WORLD DIES zombie trilogy and the author of several other horror novels.  She was born and raised a Texan and presently lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and furry children (a.k.a pets).  She loves scary movies, sci-fi and horror shows, playing video games, cooking, dying her hair weird colors, and shopping for Betsey Johnson purses and shoes.

You can find her online at:

Thank you, Rhiannon. I'm sure boring is not a word anyone would you use to describe you! I can't wait to start reading the As The World Dies trilogy.

I will be back next Monday, when I'll be starting the seven day countdown to my next cover reveal. Have a great rest of the week and weekend.


  1. Great interview Ellie. Seige sounds intriguing.

  2. Goofy goth - I like that!
    You really did a lot of research for this book, Rhiannon.

  3. This book sounds awesome, and hey, love your hair color! Yes, we do survive through community. I was without power for five days (in NYC) during Sandy, and the best parts of it were when we were hanging out with others, sharing tips and stories.

  4. Cool sounding story, Rhiannon. I love your hair, too.

    Happy Wednesday, Ellie :)

  5. I loved the interview and hearing about all the research Rhiannon did about psychological traumas and behavior. I bet her characterizations are very deep and complex. I also like the wisdom of her deciding that humanity survives because of community. (Not so sure of the wisdom of mentioning her computer before the husband though. But at least he made it in the list before the pets! lol)

  6. Very cool cover -- and the research that went into the story. Also like how you'd take one of your own books on a deserted island, and that you wrote it with yourself in mind as your first audience.


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