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Interview with Ashley R. Carlson, author of THE CHARISMATICS by Ryan Hill

 

The three or four of you who frequent this site no doubt have come across my author interviews, which are the greatest pieces of hard-hitting journalism this side of Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis (fun fast: We both went to NC State). The latest author to go under the knife is debut author Ashley R. Carlson, whose steampunk novel The Charismatics released wayyyy back on Dec. 13. Of 2014. 

Charismatics_FRONT 2.jpg

 

First, congratulations on your debut novel! The lead up to a release can be pretty hectic/stressful. Has any of your hair fallen out during this whole process? You have to be careful out there. ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JOHNNY A DULL BOY.

Thank you! It has been exciting but mostly surreal--a year ago I was tinkering on my NaNoWriMo project and dreaming of finishing a book one day. Now it's actually happened, and The Charismatics is something I'm really proud of.

No hair has fallen out, thankfully. This hasn't been that stressful for me, mostly because I love the process so much. I hired two amazing guys (Stuart Whitmore of Crenel Publishing for formatting and M.S. Corley to design my cover) and they've helped me SO much to create a fantastic product.

Now it's just a matter of marketing it, getting it into readers' hands, and WRITING THE SEQUEL. That part is what scares me.

When you picked up the first physical copy of your book were you overcome with emotion? Did a single tear drop from your eye and land on the cover, prompting a "Shit! It's ruined!" Follow-up question: Did this make you consider flinging yourself into the Grand Canyon?

I actually recorded myself unboxing my first physical copies and posted it on YouTube for my readers. You can find it here.

This is my genuine reaction--I didn't cry, but I was very excited and getting overheated and my entire neck was red at the end of the video. That happens when I get excited/nervous/overcome with emotion--imagine going on a date and having your entire neck/chest red and blotchy when you talk to the person. Basically a neon sign that says "I'M NERVOUS RIGHT NOW ISN'T THAT COOL." So yeah, basically the opposite of cool. 

Admittedly, you're a good-looking woman. Do you plan to use your beauty to help sell books? Hint: you should.

HA all of this after I talk about my gross, red neck. (Jennifer Lawrence moment, perhaps?) I don't know how to answer this question without sounding egotistical or something.

I do think that a person's appearance can help or hinder in selling their product--an author who is put-together, clean, and attractive is going to be someone you put more trust in with their writing than a scruffy, unbathed, scary "Gollum" look-alike (and believe me, I've had those days).

Ultimately though, I want readers to enjoy my personality. I try to be very forthcoming about who I am not only as a writer but as a person, and invite you into my life. My dating mishaps, my everlasting love for Jennifer Lawrence and animals, and my desire to help those in need (I have a charity page on my website that you can see here, and I'll warn you--it's got some graphic photos of animals who have been abused. But it's necessary to see, so that we can help them). So yes, perhaps my appearance will attract the attention of some--but I hope it is a genuineness and compelling writing on my part that keeps them around.

Ryan note: This is a good, albeit serious answer to a silly question. Also, I gave $15 to a foundation in Africa that helps elephants last week. SEE??? I can be charitable too!

Back to THE CHARISMATICS. Every author puts a part of themselves in their work. What parts of the novel were more autobiographical? The forced marriage? Oh! Wait. DO YOU REALLY LIVE IN A STEAMPUNK REALITY???

HAHA! Thankfully our government isn't evil (erm...) and forcing young people into advantageous marriages to further there secret motives. Alas, I do not live in a steampunk reality--it is very much real reality (as in I have an entire house to clean today and a menu to memorize for my new job at an Irish pub nearby).

I would say that the main character, Duchess Ambrose Killaher, is the most autobiographical element to "The Charismatics." She is strong, but her strength does not lie in her physical abilities. She is no Katniss (The Hunger Games) or Tris (Divergent). She is also not a Bella (Twilight), wrapped up in a romantic relationship and not thinking of much else.

Ambrose certainly wants love and companionship, but there are more important elements that come into play in "The Charismatics" besides that--namely that the poor in her world (called denizens) are starving, and live in horrid conditions. And she has the ability to change that, or at least try to.

So in that sense, I feel a kinship with her--I have always felt the desire to help those who are struggling, especially children and animals. A lot of time however, life and excuses can get in the way. So in The Charismatics Ambrose has to make a choice--whether she is going to keep making excuses, or whether she is going to buck up and do something about the problem. 

What's your idea of a good steampunk? What the heck is steampunk? Does it involve "steamy" punks? Is it like punk rock, but with smoke machines to simulate steam? Maybe it's some new kind of drug the kids are taking...

I didn't set out to write a steampunk novel, that's for sure. I don't even know a lot about the culture, aside from the general definition: 

Victorian science fiction. What makes my book "steampunk" would be the clothes that they wear at times (fancy top hats and "fascinators") and dresses or suits. Think of the elite of Victorian times--similar to that, except that this is an alternate universe, not set in the future or past. So they also have sneakers, and pants... it just has some of those themes/undertones of elaborate dress from that time period. Also, the transportation is steampunk-inspired--there are no cars, because the nobility live in floating cities over the poor denizens. So they use airships and copters and zeppelins to get around--all flying machines in various sizes. Aside from that, my book is more fantasy-inspired. There is a supernatural realm forbidden to speak of, and invisible companions, and winged horses... all my favorite things.

Speaking of drugs, were there any hallucinogens involved in creating THE CHARISMATICS? Alcohol? Surely you had some drug of choice.

Probably sounds like it after I just described The Charismatics, doesn't it?! No, no hallucinogens or drugs or alcohol of any kind. Honestly, I don't drink much and especially when I'm writing--I need my mind clear. For me, the drug is when I get so wrapped up in a scene I'm writing that I can see it playing out in my head lie a movie. THAT is magical. 

Name three of your favorite authors. And yes, I can be one of them.

HA. Well number one is Ryan Hill, obviously. I don't read as much as I should, because a lot of books lose my interest. I find that adult books are too descriptive or deal with things I don't care about, and that young adult books can sometimes be too juvenile and also deal with things I don't care about.

Not a great thing for an author to say, is it?

There are a few authors that will always have my heart though, and they are:

-J.K. Rowling (of course).

-Gail Carson Levine. She wrote Ella Enchanted, a book I've read close to fifteen times. I have a lot of inspiration from her woven into my own novel.

-Stephen King. I am getting into his work--I find that sometimes he can detail things too much and I get bored, but MAN does he know how to build suspense. He's a master. 

Now play the marry f--k kill game with them.

With the authors? Oh geez.

I'd probably marry J.K. Rowling since she's insanely rich and could fund my writing career until I can myself.

I'd f--k Step--oh no. But I don't want to kill Gail Carson Levine.

Want to know which author I would f--k? PIERCE BROWN, author of Red Rising. That guy is gorgeous. 

Ryan note: NOT AS GORGEOUS AS ME!!!!!

So, why get into writing? Is it because you can't count? Science too confusing? I know those two things played a big part for me.

Basically. I have no other skills.

According to my third grade teacher on one of my writing assignments, "I should write a book." So it must be something I've shown promise with for a long time. Just took me a while to realize it--now that I have however, I never want to stop. Ever. 

Tell us, in haiku format, why we should buy THE CHARISMATICS.

A secret realm of

Dangerous dark rebellion

Is waiting for her

I looked up what a haiku was. Hopefully I got it right. Thanks so much for this Ryan, it was the most fun I've had today!

Ryan note: Yes, this is correct. Also, the lack of people not knowing what a haiku is disturbs me, and I may have to make it a mission in life to educate people about them.

Bio

Ashley R. Carlson grew up wanting a talking animal friend and superpowers, and when that didn’t happen, she decided to write them into existence. She lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with three (non-talking) pets and one overactive imagination. Follow Ashley R. Carlson’s writing at ashleyrcarlson.com, on Twitter @AshleyRCarlson1, and facebook.com/ashleyrcarlson1.1.


Book Blurb

An arranged marriage. A corrupt government called Legalia. A forbidden spiritual realm.

Duchess Ambrose Killaher was just seventeen-years-old when exiled to Shinery—a city of snow and darkness—to marry a man who despised her, finding her only solace in an invisible companion named Roan.

Now as the poor starve in the streets below and rebellious acts become a frequent occurrence, Shinery holds its yearly celebration to commemorate Legalia’s rule. But when Ambrose stumbles into a hidden courtroom and witnesses a violent murder, she is thrust into a secret world of the supernatural—one that could endanger everyone she cares for. With the help of a handsome stranger, Ambrose learns of the past Legalia has covered up, and that she alone possesses the power to stop their unspeakable plans for the future.

Find it on Amazon and Goodreads now.


Fall into Fantasy Week 5: J.P. Sloan's THE CURSE MERCHANT by Ryan Hill

 

Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!

Week 5: The Dark Choir Series
Book One: The Curse Merchant
By J.P. Sloan

Dorian Lake spent years cornering the Baltimore hex-crafting market, using his skills at the hermetic arts to exact karmic justice for those whom the system has failed. He keeps his magic clean and free of soul-corrupting Netherwork, thus avoiding both the karmic blow-back of his practice and the notice of the Presidium, a powerful cabal of practitioners that polices the esoteric arts in America. However, when an unscrupulous Netherworker interferes with both his business and his personal life, Dorian's disarming charisma and hermetic savvy may not be enough to keep his soul out of jeopardy.

His rival, a soul monger named Neil Osterhaus, wouldn't be such a problem were it not for Carmen, Dorian's captivating ex-lover. After two years' absence Carmen arrives at Dorian’s doorstep with a problem: she sold her soul to Osterhaus, and has only two weeks to buy it back. Hoping to win back Carmen's affections, Dorian must find a replacement soul without tainting his own. As Dorian descends into the shadows of Baltimore’s underworld, he must decide how low he is willing to stoop in order to save Carmen from eternal damnation... with the Presidium watching, waiting for him to cross the line.

Buy it from: Amazon  Barnes & Noble
Add it Goodreads

ABOUT J.P. SLOAN

J.P. Sloan is a speculative fiction author, primarily of urban fantasy, horror and several shades between. His writing explores the strangeness in that which is familiar, at times stretching the limits of the human experience, or only hinting at the monsters lurking under your bed. 

A Louisiana native, Sloan relocated to the vineyards and cow pastures of Central Maryland after Hurricane Katrina, where he lives with his wife and son. During the day he commutes to the city of Baltimore, a setting which inspires much of his writing.

In his spare time, Sloan enjoys wine-making and homebrewing, and is a National-ranked beer judge.

Find J.P. Online:
J.P. Sloan's Fistful of Fiction  Facebook  Twitter  Tumblr


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Fall into Fantasy Week 4: Marsha A. Moore's Enchanted Bookstore Legends by Ryan Hill

 

Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!

The Enchanted Bookstore Legends
Book One: Seeking a Scribe
Book Two: Heritage Avenged
Book Three: Lost Volumes
Book Four: Staurolite
Book Five: Quintessence
By Marsha A. Moore

Seeking a Scribe: Enchanted Bookstore Legend One by Marsha A. Moore

Lyra McCauley is a writer and loves fantasy novels, but until she opens a selection from bookstore owner Cullen Drake, she has no idea he’s a wizard character who lives a double life inside that volume…or the story’s magic will compel her from the edge of depression to adventure, danger, and love.

His gift to Lyra, the Book of Dragonspeir, was actually her copy, misplaced years ago. Lost in her pain following divorce and death, she fails to recognize him as her childhood playmate from the fantasyland. Friendship builds anew. Attraction sparks. But Lyra doubts whether a wizard is capable of love. She’s torn—should she protect her fragile heart or risk new love?

Opening the book’s cover, she confronts a quest: save Dragonspeir from destruction by the Black Dragon before he utilizes power of August’s red moon to expand his strength and overthrow the opposing Imperial Dragon. Lyra accepts the challenge, fearing Cullen will perish if evil wins. Along with magical animal guides, Cullen helps her through many perils, but ultimately Lyra must use her own power…and time is running out.



Series Description:

The Enchanted Bookstore Legends are about Lyra McCauley, a woman destined to become one of five strong women in her family who possess unique magical abilities and serve as Scribes in Dragonspeir. The Scribes span a long history, dating from 1200 to present day. Each Scribe is expected to journey through Dragonspeir, both the good and evil factions, then draft a written account. Each book contains magic with vast implications.

Lyra was first introduced to Dragonspeir as a young girl, when she met the high sorcerer, Cullen Drake, through a gift of one of those enchanted books. Using its magic, he escorted her into the parallel world of Dragonspeir. Years later, she lost that volume and forgot the world and Cullen. These legends begin where he finds her again—she is thirty-five, standing in his enchanted bookstore, and Dragonspeir needs her. 

When Lyra reopens that enchanted book, she confronts a series of quests where she is expected to save the good Alliance from destruction by the evil Black Dragon. While learning about her role, Lyra and Cullen fall in love. He is 220 years old and kept alive by Dragonspeir magic. Cullen will die if Dragonspeir is taken over by the evil faction…Lyra becomes the Scribe.

Purchase Links:

ABOUT MARSHA A. MOORE
Marsha A. Moore loves to write fantasy and fantasy romance. Much of her life feeds the creative flow she uses to weave highly imaginative tales. 

The magic of art and nature often spark life into her writing, as well as watercolor painting and drawing. She’s been a yoga enthusiast for over a decade and is a registered yoga teacher. After a move from Toledo to Tampa in 2008, she’s happily transformed into a Floridian, in love with the outdoors. Marsha is crazy about cycling. She lives with her husband on a large saltwater lagoon, where taking her kayak out for an hour or more is a real treat. She never has enough days spent at the beach, usually scribbling away at stories with toes wiggling in the sand. Every day at the beach is magical!


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Excerpt from Seeking a Scribe:

Chapter One: Licorice Memories
The smell of anise greeted Lyra as she opened the door to Drake’s bookstore. It took her back to happy childhood memories. Licorice-shoe-string-rewards for following her parents’ requests to stay on the dock while they secured the family’s pleasure boat to its trailer. The aroma brought a fleeting remembrance of times long gone, a treasure now that her folks had recently passed. At ease with the familiar scent, she settled into browsing through rows of antique bookcases.
The shop owner stuck his head around a set of shelves. “Do you like tea?”
“Yes, I do.” Before she could finish speaking, he disappeared. “Is that the wonderful smell?” she called out.
Kitchenware clinked in the back room. Receiving no answer, Lyra followed the noises, scanning collections as she walked. This bookshop appeared established, but surely she would have remembered it from her last visit to the Lake Huron village five years ago. Books were her passion, especially fantasy. She paused in front of that section and studied its titles.
The owner appeared, holding a pewter tray with a teapot, two cups, sugar jar, spoons, and napkins, which he laid on the corner of an old library table. She watched him carefully pour the tea and hand her a cup. He was about her age, mid thirties or a bit older, and handsome. His medium brown hair, peppered with gray at the temples, grazed his shoulders in wavy layers, and his beard was trimmed into a neat goatee. He wore long shorts, a knit golf shirt, and sandals—typical casual attire for this island resort community.
She set down her bag from the drugstore and accepted his offer with a smile. “Thanks. My name’s Lyra.” She blew across the hot surface of the tea to cool it and then inhaled the anise-scented steam. She closed her eyes to fully enjoy the memory. “Ah!”
“Afternoons of boating and licorice with your parents? Right?” he asked.
Her mouth dropped open. How did he know that?

He slurped from his cup. “Go ahead, take a sip. My folks gave me the same reward for taking my kid sister along on bicycle rides.”
Forgetting all about the tea, she asked, “How do you know my childhood memory?”
“Taste it.” His lips curled into a sly grin as he took another gulp.
She cautiously took a tiny sip, just enough to wet her lips and the tip of her tongue.  The flavor flooded her mouth, and her mind swam with wonderful memories. The taste transformed into that of gigantic popcorn balls the sheriff’s wife down the street made for Halloween trick-or-treaters, accompanied by images of Lyra’s costume—a red, fringed gypsy skirt borrowed from Mom. Next came a pumpkin flavor and vision of holding a cold piece of “punky-pie” in her five-year-old hand. Another swallow returned her experience back to anise. “What is this? How did you know?”
“Let me introduce myself.” His grin spread into a smile as his eyes met hers. He took a step closer. “I’m Cullen, Cullen Drake, and I know many things. What I don’t know is what sort of books you like to read.”
His keen interest caused heat to rise in her cheeks. “Well, actually I have several favorites, all fantasy and magical realism. You have a number of authors I like in this section.” She turned to refer to the shelves behind her, but found non-fiction hunting guides instead. “This case held classic fantasy a moment ago!”
Cullen put down his cup. “It moved. It’s over here, and I have just what you want.” He slid an old-fashioned library ladder along its track, set the locking device, and climbed straight up to the top shelf.
Lyra followed, walking between four comfortable leather club chairs grouped on a Persian rug. A portrait of a young girl and a man wearing a cloak caught her attention. Something seemed familiar in the child’s smile.
The noise of books sliding on shelves distracted her. She moved to the base of his ladder and glanced up. The ceiling of embossed tin panels decorated with Victorian teardrop chandeliers and paper Chinese dragons made a unique combination, to be sure.
But Lyra was more curious about the strange happenings in the store and its owner.  He was certainly odd, although not the bookish, geeky sort who usually ran bookshops she frequented. He had an athletic frame and strong legs.
“Can’t find it!” he exclaimed and quickly descended. His brow furrowed, he dusted off his hands on his shorts. “I’ve got to find that volume for you. If you don’t mind me saying, there’s a sadness about you. The book will make you happier than you’ve been since those days of licorice shoe strings.”
“After magical tea and shifting bookcases, I almost believe you.” She laughed to cover her concerns. Even four months after it was final, she worried that the loneliness she felt after her divorce blazed like a beacon on her forehead. But, Cullen knew so much—it startled her…actually, intrigued her. Her ex didn’t ever see inside her, didn’t want to. This man read her as though he knew her. Did he? He seemed so familiar.
“Once I find that book, I promise, you’ll be pleased.” He stroked his goatee. “Hmm. Where did I last see it?” The twinkle in his gray-blue eyes captivated Lyra. “Will you be here for the week? I can look for it and call you later.”
“I’m staying the rest of the summer with my elderly Aunt Jean. She owns a lovely cottage at the end of Walnut overlooking Lake Huron. I thought I’d keep her company and give her time away from her nurse during my teaching break. While I’m here, I plan to write my novel.”
“Great! You’re a writer? What do you teach?”
“Yes, and I teach American Literature at Southern University in Florida. Seems like you already would’ve known that since you jumped into my childhood memories,” she stammered, attempting some humor. Taking a long draught of the tea, her mind filled with memories of her pet dachshund wiggling next to her, displacing a row of dolls. Another part of her past he knew—impossible! Her forehead beaded with sweat.
“No, only thoughts associated with a lot of emotion, like the happiness of snuggling with your dog.”
“How?” she exclaimed, shaking her head. “I don’t understand.” Her mind swam, trying to grasp what happened. She desperately needed some fresh air. With trembling hands she set the cup down.
“I realize it must seem odd, but the book I’m looking for will help explain.” He leaned closer with a smile that somehow reassured her. “This is Saturday. If you can come by next Wednesday morning, I think I should have it for you by then…if you’d like.” He paused and looked into her eyes, waiting for a reply.
“Yes…I’m curious.” In spite of the confusion, she found herself agreeing. “Wednesday will work.”
“Fine. Let me take down your number in case I can’t find it.” He walked to the counter and located a notepad and pen. She dictated her number and full name, which he repeated, “Lyra McCauley, a lovely Celtic name for a pretty lady.”
“I think I need to go now. Thanks for the tea.” With shaking fingers, she collected her shopping bag and headed toward the door.
He escorted her out and offered his hand to shake, the corners of his goatee lifting into an inviting grin. “Enjoy the rest of your weekend.”
Lyra smiled and looked into his eyes, trying to discern his unusual clairvoyant gift. “You too.” The initial touch, of his palm against hers, sent electrical shivers along her arm. She jerked, yet didn’t let go, fascinated by the strong emotions flashing through her mind—attraction, excitement, and acceptance. After an awkwardly long pause, she dropped his hand, half-stumbled over the threshold into the sunshine, and took a long, deep breath.
She ambled to an outdoor café a couple blocks farther down Tenth Street, while her mind buzzed with questions. How did he know those things about her? She dropped onto a seat at an empty table, shaded by an umbrella. He was fascinating and frightening at the same time…and familiar. Her divorce and loss of her parents left her lonely. He intrigued her.
“May I get you something to drink while you look over the menu?” The waitress interrupted with a bright young voice, a college student working a summer job.
Startled back to reality, Lyra murmured, “Just water, please.” Alone in a crowd of lunch goers, her thoughts returned to the bookstore and many unanswered questions.
The waitress placed a glass of water in front of her.

She almost hated to drink and remove the sweet aftertaste of anise from her tongue.

Author Interview with RESTLESS IN PEACEVILLE'S Pippa Jay! by Ryan Hill

 

I recently spoke with Pippa Jay, author of the new novel Restless in Peaceville, about zombies, Pixar, and '80s music. How did she do? Could she handle my hard-hitting expose? Read on to find out...


Restless in Peaceville has a very unique premise for a zombie novel, reminiscent of Warm Bodies and Breathers: A Zombie's Lament. What inspired you to write a zombie novel in this style?

Thank you (and off to look up Breathers now). Well, I have to blame Warm Bodies, Dead By Sunrise, Karen Y. Bynum, Terry Pratchett, Danielle Fine, and YOU (ed. note: AWWWE). And being too curious about the whole zombie mythology after watching Warm Bodies. I wanted to know where the brain-eating came from, because I'd read stories with zombies that weren't like that at all, so it got me thinking, "What is a zombie really like?" The mindless Hollywood, flesh-eating monstrosity or the rather tragic figures I'd read in other books? And then one of my friends mentioned Louisiana voodoo. After I started researching, muse just got hooked on the whole idea and forced me to write it. 


Is Restless in Peaceville told in first person? How do you narrate from a zombie POV? Is it kind of like Hodor, only with brains?

Yep, Restless is my first book in first person, lol. I found caffeine and sleep deprivation produce quite a zombie-like state, so I'd just get up really, really stupidly early and write without coffee. And occasionally stumble around the house in that condition so I knew what it felt like. In the book I compare it to having your whole body go to sleep and never wake up again, but unfortunately you can still think, which Luke would rather not do. People with insomnia might have some familiarity with that feeling.


Since you wrote a zombie novel, I'm going to assume you're a big fan of zombie novels. That said, what are some of your favorite novels that involve either: love stories, werewolves, or vampires that don't shine? Also, what's your favorite Pixar movie?

If we're talking vampires, I was a big fan of the Anne Rice novels, especially Pandora and The Body Thief, or Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett (vampires, witches, and a lot of dark humour). Pixar - Wall-E. He's so cute!


You're having a dream involving zombies. You're trapped, about to be bitten/dismembered/eaten up by moldy teeth. Some sexpot shows up to rescue you. Is it Norman Reedus, Brad Pitt, or Simon Pegg? Why?

I've had those kind of dreams frequently, but NOBODY EVER SHOWS UP TO RESCUE ME!! Um, you think Norman Reedus and Simon Pegg classify as sexpots?! *pats Ryan on the head* There, there. If I'm forced to chose one, it would be Brad Pitt. Because the other two are...not so attractive? Yeah, I'm that shallow. (ed. note: Just trying to think outside of the box with names :-D)


What's up with pop music these days? It sounds like over-produced '80s gunk...amirite?

They had music in the '80s? *blinks* Must have missed that. ;)


How do your zombies move? Fast? Slow? Thriller style?

They each have their own style of moving. Luke, my main character, tends to stumble around, because he's always been a bit kind of slow and clumsy, and being a zombie just emphasizes that. He complains how Annabelle moves like a dancer, all graceful like, and he resents that a lot! But when he needs to he can move surprisingly fast. There's a third zombie in the story, which again moves quickly, but there's not much of him left so he's no weight to carry around.


What did you think of the World War Z movie? Did you read the book? What about Peter Jackson's Dead Alive? Isn't it the grossest movie ever made?

Not seen, not read, and not seen. Sorry, I haven't watched the classic zombies much! Do I lose my zombie club membership for that confession? I've seen Warm Bodies, Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland and Deadheads, and read zombies in Terry Pratchett and Piers Anthony books. Other than that I'm a bit of a novice in the zombie department.

 

Zombies have survived all of sorts of things recently. Sparkling vampires, shitty George Romero movies, even The Forest of Hands and Teeth (don't even get me started on that one). Why do you think zombies are still appealing? What about them appeals to you?

I think they have a wider appeal than some supernaturals because people like to be scared, because zombies are possibly more credible than vampires and werewolves when it comes to the types of undead that could actually exist, and perhaps because people are afraid and yet also fascinated by what might happen to us after death. I guess it's morbid curiosity. After all, a zombie is just a dead version of a person rather than a glamorized blood sucker or shapeshifter. I also think that a lot of people just like to see zombies getting their heads blown off. In my case, I was fascinated by the way Isaac Marion had taken something with a pretty grim reputation--a monster--and yet I empathized with the character and wanted him to get his Happily Ever After in Warm Bodies. Terry Pratchett had done the same with his zombies in Reaperman, Witches Abroad, and the Nightwatch books. Going back to the original Haitian folklore, I learned that zombies are dead souls summoned back and forced to serve the bokor (sorcerer) who raised them. They're quite tragic figures. I wanted to explore that and the idea that zombies aren't just ravening monsters--that they're still the person they were before, and just maybe it's the desperation and horror of their condition that drives them to do the things that give them such a bad reputation.

 

In haiku format, tell us why people should red/buy Restless in Peaceville.

Two lost undead souls,

seeking a place in your heart

to rest forever.

 

Purchase links for Restless in Peaceville:

 

Fall into Fantasy Week 3: The Undead: Playing for Keeps by Ryan Hill

 

Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!

Week 3: The Undead: Playing for Keeps
By Elsie Elmore

When an undead woman with serious de-comp issues stalks sixteen-year-old Lyla Grimm, her hope of rescuing her rock-bottom reputation takes a back seat. Survival definitely trumps the in-crowd.

Her corpse-following scare reeks of a major prank and coincides with the arrival of Eric. He’s the hot new guitarist in her brother’s band. But Eric’s arrival isn’t by chance. He’s a Grim Reaper dispatched to find out why Death’s clients aren’t staying down.

As Eric realizes that Lyla can wake the dead, he jockeys for control of her gift. His uncanny way of appearing when she needs him most earns her reluctant admiration. But the closer he gets to Lyla, the less sure he is of his plan. The dead are easier to deal with than living emotions. 

Gossip explodes, the Grimm family implodes, and desperation sets in. Death wants the gift and a soul. Lyla and Eric face hard choices with hidden consequences. Sometimes life’s choices aren’t really choices at all.

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ABOUT ELSIE ELMORE:

Elsie Elmore lives in North Carolina with her husband and two kids.

With a science education degree, she never imagined she would someday write stories that challenge the laws of nature. She loves the color red, has an appreciation for chocolate and coffee that borders on obsession, and wishes fall temperatures would linger year round. 

Elsie is a member of several writing organizations: RWA, SCBWI, and WSW. The Undead : Playing for Keeps is her debut novel. Find her on the web: on twitter at @ElsieWriter, her blog at elsieelmore.com, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/elsieelmorewriter.


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