Monday, June 25, 2012

Interview and Giveaway with Rhiannon Frater

We are very happy to have Rhiannon Frater on the blog today to answer some questions about her stories and her writing.  Frater's latest book, The Last Bastion of the Living - A Futuristic Zombie Novel - was released on June 12, 2012.  You can read my review here.  

Many thanks to Rhiannon for answering our questions today.  At the end of the interview, you can enter to win a digital copy of The Last Bastion of the Living.  Also, there is also another giveaway featuring an autographed copy of  The Last Bastion of the Living, 2 autographed bookmarks and 1 Rhiannon Frater tote bag.  You can enter for this giveaway at The Bookish Brunette.  We'd love to hear any comments you have!

1) You are known for writing heart-pounding, fear inducing scenes. In Last Bastion of the Living, you wrote with a lot of emotion. How do you write your scenes in a way that makes the reader feel like they are actually there in the book with your characters?

It’s magic. That’s all I can answer. I just try to describe what I see on the movie screen in my mind as clearly as possible. It can be a real struggle to transfer what I’m seeing in my mind to the written page sometimes. I always worry that I’m not translating the story as powerfully as I could be. So when I do hear back from readers that they felt they were inside the story, a part of it, and that they lived it, that’s a huge relief. But I don’t have a real answer as to how I achieve that dynamic. It just sort of happens. Magic.

2) Maria from Last Bastion of the Living, and Jenni from As the World Dies, are both strong, loyal, Hispanic characters. Where did you get the inspiration for these women?

Though both women are Latina, they come from very different cultural backgrounds. Jenni’s ethnic background is Irish-Mexican whereas Maria is of Dominican-Puerto Rican descent. The inspiration for Jenni came from some Irish-Mexican people I’ve known over the years while Maria’s heritage is reflective of a friend of my family when I was growing up.

My mother’s Dominican friend was very dear to me when I was little. She was always so nice to me. I thought she was one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen. She was very fashionable and I idolized her. As I grew older, I learned more about her and found out she had a very tragic past. I was amazed at her strength of will and her ability to be so poised, so strong, and so kind to everyone around her when so much pain had been in her life. I always wanted to write about a strong woman with Dominican heritage. And since Maria lives in a diverse world, I liked having her mother’s family be Puerto Rican.

3) You've said recently that The Last Bastion of the Living was one of your favorite books to write. Why?

It was incredibly hard to write, therefore, it’s one of my favorites. I know that sounds odd, but the premise was so unique and there was so much going on, it was just a massive undertaking to wrestle it into a cohesive story. When I finished, I loved it so much because it was so difficult. The story challenged me immensely and pushed me as a writer. When I finally wrote the last sentence, I cried for quite some time.

Plus, I just love the story as a whole. It just spoke to me in a profound way. Though it is definitely an action-packed sci-fi horror tale, the love story at the heart of it just really touched me.

4) Dwayne is a fascinating character in this book and his relationship with Maria is beautiful. Was it difficult to write him or their relationship?

It was extremely easy. In fact, their relationship and their characters were the easiest part of the writing process. The novel was born out of a dream, so they were the reason I fell in love with the story and wanted to write it. I dreamed the first chapter of the story (not the prologue), and was mesmerized by the profound love between these two very different people. They meshed together in such a wonderful way that I just couldn’t abandon them. I had to write about them.

Dwayne’s role actually became a larger part of the story than I anticipated. I really enjoyed the scenes with him immensely because I liked his mind. I liked his loyalty. Dwayne is quite a bit older than Maria and the knowledge he has gained in his life gives him a lot of inner strength. He knows what he wants. He knows how to get what he desires. He knows how to play the political game. He’s clever and he’s strong. But he’s also a man that deeply loves a woman he cherishes, respects and longs to protect.

He’s an awesome hero.

How could Maria not love him?

5) I really loved all of the betrayal and political maneuvering in this novel. Was that all planned out before you wrote this novel?

Well, these characters tend to surprise you! LOL. Honestly, when I wrote a summary of what I thought was going to happen in the story I never anticipated the duplicitous nature of the political maneuvering that Dwayne would get caught up in. I remember telling a friend that halfway through the book I realized I was not only writing a sci-fi horror novel, but a political thriller and a love story all rolled into one. I had to literally go back and start pulling chapters apart and laying out scenes in a different order. It was a massive undertaking but it was also very exciting. Weaving the entire story together was challenging, but worth it.

And as I said, these characters can surprise you. That Mr. Petersen….

6) Can you explain your writing process? How did you get from the idea of a futuristic zombie novel to a finished product?

I had an incredibly vivid dream about Maria and Dwayne waking up in The Bastion. I got to see their world through their eyes and it immediately snagged my attention. At first I thought it was going to be a short story, but then it evolved into something much more intricate and powerful. Because I had to work on the revisions for the books in the AS THE WORLD DIES trilogy throughout the end of 2010 and all through 2011, I had a lot of starts and stops while writing THE LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING. I pretty much gave up on writing anything new until I turned in the revision for SIEGE. Then I dove into THE

LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING and basically enjoyed the ride. The editor of my self-published works is a very busy woman. She also edits for three publishing houses along with her personal clients, so I knew that I wouldn’t be able to get an edited eArc to the reviewers in time for them to read it before the blog tour. That’s why I sent out the unedited version. But once she sent back the redline edit, I was able to fix up what needed tidying. The last step is the copyeditor going over the manuscript. My husband and I always read the final version just before publication one more time.

7) What can we expect after Last Bastion? Any future zombie novels?

I’m done with zombies for a while. I don’t anticipate writing any in the near future. I have some post-apocalyptic stories I’d love to write. Also, I have the PRETTY WHEN SHE DIES trilogy to finish and the next installment in the VAMPIRE BRIDE series to write. The only thing zombie related that will come out this year is the last of the AS THE WORLD DIES UNTOLD TALES volumes. After that, my story ideas are zombie free. I’m a horror writer, so I would like to explore other types of monsters and the supernatural. Also, I’m experimenting with paranormal YA and some sci-fi ideas.

8) Which authors and/or books inspire you to write novels in the UF/horror genre?

I haven’t been reading much horror or urban fantasy in the last year. I tend not to read in the genre I’m writing. I’ve been reading a lot of YA of late. I have really grown to love Scott Westerfeld, Susan Kay Quinn, Suzanne Collins, and Ally Condie. In horror, I love J.L. Bryan. He also dabbles in YA and sci-fi. In science fiction, I really loved Ann Aguirre’s Sirantha Jax series. She recently let me read the almost final version of the last book in that series. It was amazing!

Once I’m done with my zombie stuff, I have a slew of zombie and post-apocalyptic books waiting for me to read while I write my YA book and my vampire novels.

9) What do you do when you're not writing?

I watch TV shows on Netflix or Hulu, play video games, shop, browse bookstores, visit friends, sometimes travel, go dancing at the Korova in San Antonio, and spend time with the hubby when I have free time. But a lot of time when I’m not writing, I’m working on some other part of my writing job.

10) What's your favorite book that you've read in the last year?

This is rough. It’s probably a three-way tie: JENNY POX by J.L. Bryan, EXTRAS by Scott Westerfeld, and OPEN MINDS by Susan Kay Quinn.

11) What is your favorite Austin hang out to eat or to go out to?

Probably Amaya’s Taco Village. Their margaritas are amazing!

Thank you so much for joining us on the blog, Rhiannon!  The Last Bastion of the Living is a fantastic book with a very new and interesting premises.  I urge all zombie and UF/horror readers to check it out!

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Vanessa theJeepDiva said...

Thanks for the interview & giveaway!

erin said...

Thanks for a fun interview and giveaway!

Congrats on the newest release!

Braine @ Talk Supe said...

I'm not really into zombies but everyone who've read this is raving about it.

Cassandra (The Book and Movie Dimension blogger) said...

Thank you for the interview.
Can't believe haven't heard about The Last Bastion of the Living. Going to have to pick up and read.

traci16 said...

Great interview...cant wait to read this book!!!

Pam ( said...

Great interview, and thanks for the giveaway!


Denise Z said...

Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to share with us.

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