Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Something Wicked Welcomes Rhiannon Frater!

Zombies, Two Kick Ass Chicks, and A Dream Come True
July 5, 2011 ranks as one of the most important days of my life. It’s not my birthday or anniversary, but the official release date of my new novel The First Days. Today my lifelong dream of being able to walk into a bookstore and find my book sitting on a shelf has come true. And I owe it all to zombies and two kickass women named Jenni and Katie.
Five years ago, I had a moment of inspiration while toiling away at my day job. In my mind I saw the vivid image of a woman in a pink bathrobe standing on her front porch gazing down at tiny fingers pressed under the front door straining to reach her. I knew instantly that the woman’s name was Jenni and that her zombified toddler and family were locked inside the house. I could see the terror and disbelief on her face as the world around her spiraled into madness and witnessed her eventual rescue by a woman named Katie. During my break, I wrote what I believed to be a short story and posted it on a forum hoping to get feedback from other fans of the zombie genre. Little did I know I had just started my journey to publication.
That first short story named Tiny Fingers received very positive feedback. Immediately the readers wanted to know when I was going to the next part. I sat back in my chair and wondered if there was more to tell. Almost instantly I had a moment like in the movie The Matrix where I suddenly had the whole story downloaded into my brain. It was a little overwhelming because I knew then I had a massive epic to write.
The adventures of Jenni and Katie became an online hit and gained a huge following. The tale of two women forging a deep friendship while surviving the zombocalypse by fleeing into the Texas Hill Country was a unique take on the genre and fans clamored for more. Both men and women enjoyed Jenni and Katie being portrayed as capable, strong women that did not wait around to be rescued by a man, but saved themselves and others. The readers often described the story as Thelma and Louise meets the zombies meets The Stand. That is a description I still use to this day. I wrote the story in mini-chapters I posted online on an almost daily basis. The As the World Dies trilogy is not just about zombies, action, and horror, but about people working together to survive. A lot of the tale was written while I was on the road for my former day job, and I enjoyed incorporating my experience in rural Texas into the narrative.
When all was said and done, I had enough story to fill three books. The fans demanded that I try to get the books published, so I set about attempting to wedge my stompy Goth boot through the publishing world’s front door. I fired off a slew of query letters and sat back and waited.
I failed. Miserably. For a year. Rejection after rejection poured in.
At the encouragement of my husband, I self-published all three books for my fans. The First Days was the first to be released and to my amazement, the book caught on and sold briskly. Fighting to Survive and Siege followed within the year.
I never could have imagined what happened next: the first two books won the Dead Letter Award in 2008 and 2009, the first book was named one of the best zombie books of the last decade, an option for a possible TV show or miniseries was signed, several publishing houses made offers, I acquired a new agent to handle the offers, and finally I signed a deal with Tor for the entire trilogy. It happened so fast, I was a little breathless.
I’m still breathless.
After so many years of writing and dreaming, I can finally stand in a bookstore and see my novel on a shelf. It’s amazing.
And I owe it all to zombies and two kick ass women named Jenni and Katie.
Thanks, Rhiannon! To learn more about Rhiannon Frater and her books, visit rhiannonfrater.com


Ben Langhinrchs said...

Awesome story. Thanks for sharing it.

Angie Fox said...

Glad to do it! You know how much I like end of the world books. Can't wait to dig in to this one.

Sharon said...

That is an incredible story! That juts makes me smile :)

Casey said...

Congrats, Rhiannon. Great story.

Shawntelle Madison said...

Congrats Rhiannon! I'll definitely check out your books! Sounds like my kind of book. :)