Thursday, December 19, 2013

Interview with Rhiannon Frater.

Full Name:
Rhiannon Frater

Do you have a nickname or what do your friends call you?
Yes, but it’s a secret.
You’re no fun.
Bwhahahahaha…some things are better left secret.


Current hometown:

Favorite city and why?
Rome, Italy. The second I stepped off the plane I was enveloped in the sensation of being home.

Birthday / Age:
December 16, which is both Jane Austen and Ludwig Van Beethoven’s birthday. It explains a lot.

How would you describe yourself physically?

How would someone else describe you physically?

The first thing people notice about you is…
Either my weirdly colored hair or my big black eyes.

Hair Color / Eye Color / Race?
Right now its red wine, my eyes are black, and I’m from a multi-ethnic background.

Sexual orientation?
Boringly straight.

Religion, if any?
Christ Follower

Are you superstitious at all?
Sometimes. Depends on my mood.

Any phobias?
I HATE clowns. They terrifying me.

Do you smoke / drink?
I like my margaritas!

Any bad habits?
Of course, but I’m not sharing.
Where’s the fun in that?
I tend to kill characters. How’s that?
I don’t know if that’s so much a bad habit as it is a necessity in the genre of writing that you’re most well known for, but we discuss that a bit further down the line.
Hehehehe…like I said, some things need to stay private.

Current occupation / Dream job:
I’m a full-time writer. I’d like to be a richer full-time writer.
Hey, at least you’re living the dream, if only on a smaller scale.
I’ve been doing this for three years, so I’m thrilled out of my mind.
I imagine so!
What was the tipping point when you realized you could support yourself writing full-time? Was it a certain number of books published or a certain royalty amount or both?
When the advance payments were going to be more than my yearly salary, it was time to make the leap. We weren’t sure if we would make it more than a year, but we have. Sometimes we’re flush, sometimes we’re not. Also, the taxes are hell. But it’s worth it to do what I love.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
Game, watch movies, shop, cook, chat with friends…
By “Game” you mean…
Guild Wars 2 is my addiction, but I like single player games like Fallout New Vegas. I’m dying to play Remember Me.
Did you play Fallout III? And if so, how did you find it to compare with Fallout: New Vegas?
I have yet to play Fallout III. I watched my husband play parts of New Vegas and that’s why I wanted it. It just looked so cool. Plus, the modding community has really added to the game a lot.
Fallout III is really solid.   Lots of replayability.   The expansion packs with the level cap increase from 20 to 30 makes the game a lot more enjoyable too.  If you like New Vegas, you’ll probably love Fallout III.

What is your zombie outbreak survival plan?
Find the nearest rescue center. Our society is so zombie-aware we’ll be fine.
That’s interesting that you mention that. I actually incorporated the concept of regional relocation centers into my current post-apocalyptic zombie-epidemic novel-length book project. Not that I’m trying to turn the interview tables, but I did, and I thought it was interesting that that idea exists in your mind too.
Well, I used to work as a governmental consultant and spoke at length with a county emergency coordinator. They have plans for everything. At least here in Texas.
Coincidentally, the sample chapter that I wrote for my latest book project mostly takes place in a relocation camp in Texas. Weird.
Honestly, we’ll be fine in Texas. We’re all armed to the teeth and have a lot of land. Zombies would have a tough time in this state.

Weapon of choice:
Aluminum baseball bat.

Do you have any special skills?
I’m a writer.

Did you go to college and, if so, what for?

If you went to college, did you manage to pay off your student loans?
A lot of hard work and being broke a lot.

Any pets?   If so, what are they and what are their names?
I have furry babies, but I’ll keep their names to myself.
That’s a bit odd. Are you worried people will steal the names of your pets?
Nope. I just don’t want to divulge them. I have to keep some of my private life private.
That’s fair. Odd… but fair.
They’re the only children I have. 

What is your favorite animal?
Killer whales because they fuck up Great Whites for fun. I hate sharks.

Speaking of pets, any pet peeves?
I hate being kept in the dark about something. I love spoilers!

Favorite / Least favorite Food:
I love a good steak. I hate lima beans.

What is your favorite quotation / motto / saying?
I want to go to there.

What is the best thing that ever happened to you?
I met my husband.

What is the worst thing that ever happened to you?
I’m a survivor of childhood abuse.

Ever had your heart broken? Is there a story worth telling behind your answer?
The 10th Doctor regenerated into the 11th. I’m not ready to talk about it yet.

Ever broken someone’s heart? Is there a story worth telling behind your answer?
I killed off some characters in As The World Dies. Some readers were not happy with me.
It’s a series about zombies. If you don’t kill any characters, then you’re not doing your job as an author. I always say, although I didn’t come up with the saying, that “The fact that it ends is what makes life valuable.”
I warned contributors to my latest book project that not everyone was going to make it till the end of the book. Maybe till the end of the first installment, but I’m not making any guarantees. But I’m also writing in a fair amount of realistic fictional characters so that I can have a few characters to kill off if and when I think it will be narratively efficacious.

People have favorite characters and get emotionally attached. I understand them getting upset when a favorite falls. It also shows that I’m doing my job. I don’t kill characters just for shock value. The deaths have to fit in the framework of the story. I owe my readers that much. I hate gratuitous anything for the sake of shock. At the same time, yes, it is a zombie story. People are going to die.
I totally get what you’re saying. That’s why I’m writing in a bunch of “NPC” characters so I can kill some characters I’ve developed without disappointing the contributors too badly with abrupt deaths. But if it’s integral to the story, no one is invulnerable.
I’m a firm believer in “Kill your darlings.”  But I don’t do it for the sake of doing it. I remember reading one horror novel where I rolled my eyes at one particular death that was obviously done just to kill someone in the story. It was obviously a plot device and the author struggled with the story afterward.

What is the best thing you’ve ever done?
I followed my dreams.

What is the worst thing you’ve ever done?
I didn’t follow my dreams for a long time.

If you could kill one person, consequence free, who would it be and why?
I have no desire to kill anyone.

What do you do?
I write horror novels

How did you get started doing what you do?
I learned to read and write. I was doomed immediately.
HA! Great answer! I like the cut of your jib.

What is your advice to other people that want to get started doing what you do?
Write. Write some more. Keep writing.

What are some of the projects you’ve worked on/finished in the past? Give us a little history if you will.
I wrote the As The World Dies zombie trilogy, which is what most people know me for. I also wrote The Last Bastion of the Living, which was declared Best Zombie Release of 2012 by B & N Explorations and the Best Zombie Book of the Last Decade by B & N Book Blog.

What projects are you working on now?
I just finished Dead Spots for Tor and I’m about to start on The Mesmerized for Permuted Press.
Having gone self-published lately I’m interested to know how working with a publisher has worked for you. Did you receive a contractual advance from Tor and Permuted or are they back-end royalty deals contingent on the success of the books?
My advance from Tor allowed me to become a full-time writer. That being said, it’s my self-published royalties that keep things going month to month. Advances can vary from low to high depending on the publisher and country. Usually advances are divided into chunks, so you get it piecemeal. The nice big royalty checks that come in quarterly do make me very happy, but our budget always has to keep in mind that it has to last for X amount of time. I’m a hybrid author (both traditionally published and self-published). I like the mix. It works for me.

You mentioned, in your bio, that you are represented by Hannah Brown Gordon of the Foundry Literary + Media and Brandy Rivers of Gersh Agency. Did you pursue representation or did they pursue you as a client?
Well, I was pursued by a producer to option As The World Dies. That meant I needed an entertainment lawyer. Once he negotiated that original option, he suggested getting an agent. He introduced me to Hannah, who basically pitched herself to me. I absolutely adore her and she’s the one who negotiated the As The World Dies trilogy deal with Tor. Hannah introduced me to Brandy once Hollywood began to seriously come knocking. It’s a very good feeling to have representation in both the film and literary worlds.
I imagine it must be.
I’m definitely considering retaining representation once I have some more self-published works out there. I like self-publishing and having my own publishing imprint, but time spent publishing and promoting my work is time spent away from writing so it would be great if I could work with someone that recognized my potential and was interested in helping me to acquire the supplementary income I need to pay my moderate bills so I can spend my time writing instead of worrying about keeping the wage-slavery plate spinning while writing and working on other projects whenever I can find the time.

What are you watching?
Sleepy Hollow, American Horror Story: Coven, Witches of East End, and lots of Netflix streaming movies.

What are you listening to?
Currently, I’m listening to a lot of soundtracks for background music to my writing.
Coincidentally I do a lot of the same.
I find that instrumental music is much less distracting than music with words when writing.
Which soundtracks do you listen to while writing?
It totally depends on the story I’m writing. I often go for soundscapes like the soundtrack for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
That’s an excellent answer.
I wrote my first novel, published under a pen name, listening to nothing but Through Silver In Blood by Neurosis to help me to channel the darkness I was trying to conjure.

What are you reading?
Most articles for research.

Favorite author / book?
Neil Gaiman is my favorite author and Jane Eyre is my favorite novel.

Favorite band / song?
Nine Inch Nails is my favorite band, but The Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven is my favorite song.

Least favorite band / song?
If I don’t like it, I don’t remember what it was called.

Desert Island Music / Movies / Books: You know the deal. Five of each.
I have no idea. Whatsoever.
That’s fair too.
I pulled the question from the standard survey recently because I was getting too many “How To Escape A Desert Island For Dummies” answers.
I just change my mind from day to day. Hell, hour to hour.

If you could do anything other than what you do now, what would you do?
Rule the universe.
You and me both.   The universe is a pretty big place.
I figure we can split it down the middle.
Hopefully there’s some interesting life forms in the other half of the universe since I presume you’ll be wanting this half.

Who would you want to meet that you haven’t met? You get three choices: Alive. Dead. Fictional.
Trent Reznor, Ludwig Van Beethoven, and Lady Glynis Wright (from my novel The Tale of the Vampire Bride)

What’s the best and worst job you’ve ever had?
My best job is writing full-time.  My worst job was working at a fabric store.

Anyone you recommend I interview that you can put me in touch with?
Lots of horror authors.
That’s cool.
Anyone you know interested in subjecting them to the interview process to promote their past and current work, feel free to put them in touch with me.
You do the introduction and I’ll handle the follow through.
I don’t really ask anyone if they want to be interviewed anymore as I’m only two months and just over 60 interviews in on this weird experiment and I’m getting requests for interviews without soliciting anyone anymore. And considering I’ve easily asked over 200 people if they would like to be interviewed and only been able to follow through with just over 60 interviews I’d rather interview people that are interested in being interviewed and see the value of participating in the interview process as a way to promote their past and current work than to pursue parties that aren’t really interested in being interviewed. It’s a waste of both of our respective time and effort if an interviewee can’t be bothered to finish what they’ve started.

Thanks for letting me subject you to being interviewed!

About the Interviewee:
Rhiannon Frater was born and raised a Texan. Though she has lived in various towns all over the state, she finally settled in Austin, Texas where she met her husband and worked as a governmental consultant.
During her travels for her job, she was inspired to write the story of two women fleeing into the Texas Hill Country in an attempt to survive the zombie apocalypse. Originally published as a serial online under the title AS THE WORLD DIES, she later self-published the series in three novels to satisfy the many fans of the story. The first novel in the series, THE FIRST DAYS, won the 2008 Dead Letter Award for Best Book (Fiction). The second book, FIGHTING TO SURVIVE won the 2009 Dead Letter Award in the same category.
The AS THE WORLD DIES books were purchased by Tor in 2010.The first book, THE FIRST DAYS, was released in July 2011 and received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. The second, FIGHTING TO SURVIVE, was released on November 8, 2011. The third book, SIEGE, was released in April 2012.
She is also the author of over a dozen 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).
Rhiannon continues to live in Austin, Texas with her husband and “furry babies.”  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 is a full-time writer.
She is represented by Hannah Brown Gordon of the Foundry Literary + Media and Brandy Rivers of Gersh Agency.

You can find her online at:
Website: &
Email: rhiannonfrater at

OPTIONAL: Prove you’re not a replicant.

Question 1:
A tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun beating its legs trying to turn itself over but it can't, not without your help, but you're not helping. Why is that?
Because I’m dead.

Question 2:
Describe in single words, only the good things that come in to your mind about your mother.

Compassionate, intelligent, beautiful.

Question 3:
It's your birthday. Someone gives you a calfskin wallet.


Question 4:
You've got a little boy. He shows you his butterfly collection plus the killing jar.

Great, my kid is Ted Bundy.

Question 5:
You're watching television. Suddenly you realise there's a wasp crawling on your arm.

Walk calmly to the front door and hold my arm outside until it leaves.

Question 6:
You're reading a magazine. You come across a full-page nude photo of a girl. You show it to your husband. He likes it so much he hangs it on your bedroom wall.

I frame it.

Question 7:
You're watching a stage play. A banquet is in progress. The guests are enjoying an appetizer of raw oysters. The entree consists of boiled dog.

Banquet table gets upended.

RESULT: You are not a replicant.

About the Interviewer:
Scott Lefebvre has probably read everything you've read and can write about whatever you want him to write about.
Mostly because when he was grounded for his outlandish behavior as a hyperactive school child, the only place he was allowed to go was the public library.
His literary tastes were forged by the works of Helen Hoke, Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Edgar Allan Poe, and H. P. Lovecraft.
He is the author of Spooky Creepy Long Island and a contributing author to Forrest J. Ackerman’s Anthology of the Living Dead, Fracas: A Collection of Short Friction, The Call of Lovecraft, and Cashiers du Cinemart.
His reviews have been published by a variety of in print and online media including Scars Magazine, Icons of Fright, Fatally Yours and Screams of Terror, and he has appeared in Fangoria, Rue Morgue and HorrorHound Magazine.
He is the Assistant Program Director for The Arkham Film Society and produces Electronic Music under the names Master Control and LOVECRAFTWORK.
He is currently working on a novel-length expansion of a short-story titled, "The End Of The World Is Nigh", a crowd-funded, crowd-sourced, post-apocalyptic, zombie epidemic project.
Check out the blog for the book here:
Check out the Facebook Fan Page for the project here:
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Check out his publishing imprint Burnt Offerings Books here:
And here:
Check out his electronic music here:
And here:
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Follow his Twitter here: or @TheLefebvre
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Join the group for The Arkham Film Society here:
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