Stuart Conover (SC): First off if you could let my readers in on what your upcoming novel, ‘The Mesmerized’ is all about?
Rhiannon Frater (RF): A tattoo artist from Austin, Texas is on vacation in Las Vegas with her husband and two young daughters when a horrific supernatural event transforms everyone into a mindless drone. Only Minji and a few others are immune to the phenomena. The mesmerized are drawn into the Nevada desert, many dying gruesome deaths because nothing will stop their trek. Not even balconies, Minji discovers, as she watches people plummeting to their deaths. Even worse, her husband is caught up in a crowd moving toward the second floor railing of an indoor atrium and she can’t shake him or her children out of their transfixed state.
And it only gets worse from there…
SC: Who is your favorite character in the novel and what makes them special for you?
RF: Well, Minji is my favorite. This is her story and it’s her point of view that allows us to witness the dreadfulness of the event. There is another character I like quite a lot. He enters the story later on, but he’s intriguing.
SC: What real life experiences and research did you do when putting ‘The Mesmerized’ together?
RF: Well, I was inspired while visiting Las Vegas. I remember standing outside of our hotel when I suddenly saw in my mind’s eye an image of people in a zombie-like state walking up Las Vegas Boulevard toward the desert while the city burned around me. My husband recognized my “I have a great story idea” look and escorted me back to our suite so I could quickly write out my notes for the novel. Since I was in the city when inspiration hit, it helped a lot with the construction of the story. Later, when I wrote the first draft, I spent a lot of time on Google maps and had a ton of photos saved as references.
SC: You’ve had a lot of experience with the various forms of the undead, what draws you to them?
RF: Well, in The Mesmerized the people are not undead. They’re more like traditional voodoo zombies. Something is controlling them. What was really scary for me is that these people could be bleeding to death, but they had no sense of self-preservation. They would just keep walking into the desert until they died. Not having any control over yourself is such a horrific thought.
As for the lure of the undead, I think it’s rooted in that they make a great backdrop for a character-driven story. They upend your character’s life and nothing will ever be the same again. In The Mesmerized, this is certainly the case. Humanity is on the brink of extinction and only Minji might be able to save them.
SC: Do you have thoughts for working on any other areas of horror in the near future?
RF: Well, I’m not keen on slasher films or books of that sort. I like my horror with a healthy (unhealthy?) dose of the supernatural. Dead Spots, which will be published by Tor in February 2014, is a straight-out horror novel in the tradition of Silent Hill. It’s very unnerving.
I love playing around with post-apocalyptic scenarios, but I do have ideas for some other horrific tales with supernatural creatures, some original creations, others more traditional.
SC: What initially drew you into writing horror?
RF: I don’t know. My muse just has fangs and claws. I thought I’d be a mystery writer. I was wrong.
SC: If you could write a novel with any other author, who would it be and why?
RF: No one. I suck at collaboration. The only person I’ve been able to work with is Kody Boye on The Midnight Spell, but that’s because we’re best friends in real life. We could sit across from each other at my dining room table, discuss the story, and write. Otherwise, absolutely no. I’ve been asked a lot, but I just can’t do it.
SC: Why do you feel that even after what some have described as an oversaturation that there is still so much love for the various undead genres?
RF: The undead have always been a part of human lore. How can we remove them? It’s ingrained in our DNA to be afraid of death. And we cope with that fear through stories about undead creatures. Every time I hear that the genre is “over,” I just roll my eyes.
SC: Will there ever be another ‘As the World Dies’ novel? I’m totally kidding! (For those not in the know Rhiannon gets that question all of the time.) What I meant to ask is how do you feel about the outpouring of love your fans have had for the ‘As the World Dies’ series?
RF: I love it! It means so much to me. You have to consider that I wrote it nearly ten years ago online as a lark. It was just for fun. But people loved it so much I self-published the story as a trilogy (The First Days, Fighting to Survive, Siege). It sold well, Tor picked it up, and now there’s a whole new generation of zombie fans because of The Walking Dead discovering As The World Dies.
I love hearing from new fans. It’s very inspiring. And I’m glad that a story I wrote so long ago has such incredible staying power and garners so much love. It really does blow me away.
SC: What is your most memorable moment from a fan?
RF: I have two different ones.
There was this incredibly tall, massive Hispanic guy who came to one of my first book signings years ago. When he handed me his book, his hands were trembling and his voice was so soft I couldn’t hear him speak. He literally wasn’t breathing. The trilogy meant a lot to him and he was overwhelmed to meet the creator of the characters he loved so much. That really touched me.
Recently, a fan sought me out at a convention to let me know that Katie (my bisexual character) helped him in his coming out process to his family. It was very difficult not to break down crying.
Again, a book I wrote almost a DECADE ago is still touching people. That’s amazing!
SC: Who is your favorite non-horror author and what is your favorite work by them?
RF: Well, I mostly read outside the horror genre, so I would have to say Neil Gaiman.
SC: What is the next project you are planning to work on?
RF: Right now I’m finishing up two series and conspiring with my agent on future projects.
SC: Do you have any information for my readers who would want to find out more about you and your work?
RF: You can find out all about me at rhiannonfrater.com!
It is silence, not screams of terror, which proclaims the end of the world…
Minji Nordim is vacationing in Las Vegas with her small family when she witnesses the beginning of a terrifying apocalypse. When humanity is transformed into mindless drones by a terrifying supernatural event only Minji appears to be immune.
Thousands die instantly, but the other affected people are drawn to the Nevada desert. Nothing stands in the way of the mesmerized. Not fire, not heights, not rubble. As the bodies pile in the streets and the relentless wave of the mesmerized plods into the deadly desert, Minji is trapped in a burning city attempting to rescue her family.
When Minji encounters other unaffected survivors, they band together to survive in a city that is crumbling all around them. With no hope of rescue and the event slowly spreading across the world, Minji and the others must decide who to save among the mesmerized and where to go before the city is in ashes.
Even more unsettling is that Minji senses that the force behind the event is observing them…
Can one woman save her family and the world?
Listing on Publisher Website: http://permutedpress.com/books/the-mesmerized.
Rhiannon Frater is the award-winning author of over a dozen books, including the As the World Dies zombie trilogy (Tor), as well as 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), and 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, dyeing her hair weird colors, and shopping for Betsey Johnson purses and shoes.
You can find her online at:
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Rhiannon-Frater/e/B0027DLFL6/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Email: rhiannonfrater at gmail.com
The grand prize is an autographed hardcover of ‘The Mesmerized’.