Do serial killers and the FBI fascinate you? Do you like getting inside the minds of killers, love being creeped out, sleeping with your eyes open, and feeling like you’re involved in murder investigations? Then join FBI agent and profiler Brandon Fisher and his team with the Behavioral Analysis Unit in their hunt for serial killers.
This is the perfect book series for fans of Criminal Minds, NCIS, Silence of the Lambs, Seven, Dexter, Luther, and True Crime.
Read in any order or follow the series from the beginning: Eleven, Silent Graves, The Defenseless, Blue Baby, Violated, Remnants.
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Meet today’s guest, Carolyn Arnold.
CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international best-selling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.
Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.
Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.
She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada.
Today, she answers a few questions for us and gives us insight into her life as a mystery author.
When you first begin writing a new book, is your main focus on the characters or the plot?
I’d have to say it’s really a blend of both. I approach writing a book without an outline and with merely an idea of the storyline. Oftentimes, I don’t even know the identity of the killer until my characters work through the investigation. Both the characters and the plot are strengthened through the editing process.
Why do you write within your chosen genre?
I love the logical progression and intrigue that goes with the mystery genre. The fact that I love to read mysteries and watch crime dramas has also made writing in the genre only a matter of time.
How much research goes into your fiction writing? What is your approach?
As an author of police and FBI procedurals, a lot of research goes into each of my books. I need to know how real life police or FBI would handle situations, have an understanding of forensics and weapons, as well as a grasp of the human aspect—the interaction between departments of law enforcement and within a department.
I’m grateful to have contacts from law enforcement who are generous in sharing their wisdom and experience with me.
Is there a time of day or night when you’re most creative?
It used to always be the morning, but that’s not always the case anymore.
Describe your writing environment. (Do you prefer noise or silence? Is your work area messy or neat? What do you see when you look around you?)
Oh, I love working in my office for the most part, but sometimes during the summer, I’ll take my laptop outside and write on my patio.
I prefer just above tomb silent and my work area is somewhat messy with papers everywhere… (bows head in embarrassment).
B: Welcome to my blog! Please start out by telling everyone a little bit about yourself –
C: I’m pretty normal in most regards. I’m a wife and mother of two. I’m also a closet book addict. I’m that person that is genuinely not allowed in books stores with a credit card. I’m quite the introvert, although I like to pretend I’m not. We are the owners of a fish, a hamster, and two turtles, along with a stray cat or two that pretend they belongs to us once in a while.
B: Tell us about your books –
C: I have two series books going on at the present. The first being my YA Paranormal Series, Shadow Dancer. There are four books currently published and out in this series. This is a story of a young girl named Sunny:
Sunny has a gift that she has no idea how to use, until she meets Leif, a boy from the kingdom of Acadia, on the other side of the shadows.
Leif teaches Sunny about Shadow Walkers and how to use her new found gifts. As they grow closer and their gifts grow stronger, a threat arrives. The Shadow Guard has been sent to bring Sunny back to Acadia, to determine if she is a threat to the king as the rightful ruler of Acadia.
As Leif and Sunny prepare to defend themselves, Sunny finds that Leif has also been sent to bring Sunny back to the kingdom but for very different reasons. As a battle for possession of Sunny wages, she is struggling to come to turns with her feelings of inadequacy regarding controlling her gifts as well as the hurt regarding the lies and deceit of everyone around her.
The other books continuing on within the series are: Shadow Warrior, Shadow’s End, and Shadow Fire.
The other series. I have going is also YA Paranormal. It’s title is A Howl in the Night, which is the story of Abby:
Sweet Sixteen is supposed to be a turning point in your life. The world is before you in all its glory, just waiting for you to reach out and grab it. Right? For Abigail Staton no, not so much. Not only does she suddenly lose her best friend due to a fight, but suddenly her mother expects her to believe that the father, she has never met, is actually a werewolf. With that revelation, Abby is thrust into the world of two wolf clans who are not only fighting each other, but also fighting for Abby, one of the few females born to the shape-shifters. Her father is determined to pair Abby up with Derek, a very dominant and overwhelming shifter. Abby vehemently balks at this union to disastrous results. When war is declared between the two clans, Abby has to decide what side she is actually on.
The other title within this series is: The Full Moon rises, which was just recently released in November 2015.
B: What is special about your books that your readers love?
C: I have been told that one of the things my readers like the most is that I have very strong female characters, which are relatable and inspiring. I didn’t start out with that in mind when writing the books, but having a simpering girlie girl as a hero, didn’t mesh well with me. Another perk is I add humor to my characters. Again, this is another relateable attribute for my readers.
B: What should we be looking for from you in the future?
C: I will begin work on the third book in the Howl in the Night series shortly, which I would love to get to my publisher asap. There is a new fantasy story I am already working on. Angels and demons and life and death. I like it. We will see if I can make it work for my readers.
B: Is there any genre you’d like to write for that you haven’t yet?
C: I love the horror genre. Although I have worked in this area in short stories and anthologies, I haven’t taken on a full novel. I would like to break into that genre this year. That’s my goal.
B: What three books would you take with you to read on the beach? Why?
C: This is a hard question for me as I tend to read series books. But if I could choose three series, then I would choose Harry Potter, because, hello, it’s Harry Potter. Next would be a bit of a romance, in the Outlander Series. Something about sunshine on a beach with the outlander books, just appeals to me. Plus it would be a lasting read that I wouldn’t plow through in an hour or two. And last, I would take the Vampire Lestat. The story telling in that novel is suberb. I love that character, evil and ignorant at times though he may be, I enjoy his journey every time.
B: What was your favorite read from the last year?
C: Wow, that’s a good question. I read over 55 books last year. My favorite though I would have to say is a new series that Jodi Thomas put out, called Ransom Canyon. It’s got history and drama and thriller and romance, and it’s got characterization. I am really enjoying this find. Maybe there is another that I liked more, but I don’t recall it right off. This was the book that came to mind first, so that to me says, favorite.
B: Name three titles from your TBR list –
The last of the Raven Boys books coming out soon in April titled the Raven King. That’s a great series by the way. If you haven’t checked it out, maybe you should.
I want to read the King book, the follow up from the Shinning titled: Doctor Sleep.
And lastly, I want to read, Eating Bull by Carrie Rubin. This was just recommended to me, and I think it sounds great! Not your every day hero in an obese teen.
B: Is there anything you would like to share that I haven’t asked you about?
C: No, I think you have covered just about everything. Aside from letting people know that all my books can be found on my blog, with links for information and purchase. Please feel free to stop over and say hello.
B: Thank for stopping by! I wish you all the best with your books.
C: Thank you so much for having me!
Courtney Rene lives in the State of Ohio with her husband and two children. She is a graduate and member of the Institute of Children’s Literature. Her writings include magazine articles, short fiction stories, several anthologies, as well as her young adult novels, A Howl in the Night, and new release, The Full Moon Rises, as well as the Shadow Dancer series (Shadow Dancer, Shadow Warrior, Shadow’s End, and a break away novel, Shadow Fire), published through Rogue Phoenix Press. For a complete listing, visit www.ctnyrene.blogspot com or feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bec: Welcome to my blog! Please start out by telling everyone about yourself –
Dan: Hello Bec and everyone else! Thanks for having me.
I’m originally from the UK but am now an official Australian (I have the bit of paper and everything). I live in a tiny town out in the country with lots of emus and kangaroos but lousy internet access. I have four children, work in finance in the day and write…and therefore have no money.
I’ve been writing since I was twenty-three. I’m now a decrepit thirty-four and should know better. I’ve had many, many short stories published, and my novels/novellas are out and about on Amazon, etc. I was lucky enough to be a finalist for the Australian Shadows Award in long fiction a few years back.
Bec: What is your newest, most recent release?
Dan: This week there’s a bit of a party going on across social networks over the release of Grimorium Verum. Actual parties! With drinks and everything! It’s always more fun to have an anthology release and celebrate with the other authors. Grimorium Verum is a collection of stories based around witches, magic and of course grimoires.
My story, A Picture Tells, is horror erotica set in the aftermath of WW2 and is my third war-themed story bought by the editor Dean Drinkel (who is awesome).
And as the story is also a reprint from my collection Tricks, Mischief and Mayhem…and was released individually for promotion…it’s currently available for free RIGHT NOW! Head on over to Amazon for a download this weekend, and if you like it, why not consider a look at the rest of the stories in Grimorium Verum? There are other writers in there that are better, more famous and better looking.
Bec: I know you have a thing for clowns… Have you used them to scare the crap out of anyone?
Dan: I have a clown in every room. Literally. A friend of mine confessed to having the most awkward pee ever while being watched by the porcelain jester in the bathroom. We also have a life-size evil clown that was a Halloween prop. He’s recently come off a stint hanging from a tree in the back garden to try and stop our annoying neighbors leering over our fence.
Bec: If someone were going to buy you a book (or ten), what titles would you hope to receive?
Dan: Right now? Sadly, the four psychology textbooks I need for Monday! The university only just announced what we need. It’s either $400 worth of new textbooks or a 6 hour round drive and get them 2nd hand for $300! Goodbye savings!
Extortionate academia aside, there’s a few Marvel titles I have my eye on as always. I still have a few horror novels from Christmas yet to get through, so they should see me with a book in my hand for the next few months.
Bec: If you were writing a Christmas horror novel, what horrors would the plot include?
Dan: The latest full piece I wrote was a novella set at Christmas, actually. In it, a single mum in the late eighties has sectioned herself from society and is trying to raise her unbalanced son. He’s nuts about the latest Saturday morning cartoon show and is desperate for an action figure. As she has promised him that Santa won’t let him down, his mother tries her best to get her hands on one. I’ve described it was a taut, claustrophobic and emotionally distressing version of Jingle All the Way.
Bec: Of all the books you’ve written, which is your favorite, and why?
Dan: I like my novella Critique, and not just because of the Shadow Awards finalist place. It was possibly my first longer piece wherein it was less about torture and gore and people running around with chainsaws. Critique is a quieter, more reserved horror that taps into abhorrence in a completely different way. When I was writing the book, I knew I was pushing myself in a new direction, and pushing my style to become something a little more refined. It’s that push I remember and have tried for ever since.
Bec: Is there anything you would like to share that I haven’t asked you about?
Dan: I’m as open as you like when asked. No subject is ever taboo! Yet I’m always unsure as to what to share and what people would actually want to know. How about readers ask what they want in the comments? 😉
Bec: Thank you for stopping by and being my interview victim!
Find out how to stalk Daniel I. Russell below:
Australian Shadows Award finalist Daniel I. Russell has been featured publications such as The Zombie Feed from Apex, Pseudopod and Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #43. Author of Samhane, Come Into Darkness, Critique, Mother’s Boys, The Collector and Tricks, Mischief and Mayhem, Daniel is also the former vice-president of the Australian Horror Writers’ Association and was a special guest editor of Midnight Echo.
Bec: Welcome to my blog once again, Greg! Please start out by telling everyone about you –
Greg: Greetings, Ms. Besser – it is always such a treat to be featured on your square of virtual real estate. My name is Gregory L. Norris and I am responding to you and the world from one of the platinum sofas in my living room, in an old New Englander house in the mountains of New Hampshire’s North Country. The house is called Xanadu, and it’s my favorite place on the planet. Here, I write stories short and long, in a variety of genres. I’ve been published – and produced a few times for TV and film – since I started sending my work out into the universe. Writing I’ve often said is the heart that beats within my heart. As we speak, writer pals from my local group are on their way over for a write-in. It’s still National Novel Writing Month as of this interview, and I am deep into a fantasy novel called KINGDOMS BE DAMNED that has transported me far into the past, to Iliyand, one of the four kingdoms descended from a lost grandfather kingdom called Jiddoe. I’m part Lebanese; Jiddoe, not coincidentally, is Lebanese for ‘Grandfather.’ I never knew my Jiddo on my father’s side of the family, but my Sitoo – my Lebanese grandmother, her name was Lovey – was one of the coolest, smartest people I’ve ever met. She wrote poetry as a young girl, and I have every one of her original manuscripts safely archived in my home office here.
Bec: What is your most recent release(s)?
Greg: My soon-to-be-released latest is TALES FROM THE ROBOT GRAVEYARD. It’s a collection of three novellas that is due out from the fine folks at Great Old Ones Publishing (www.greatoldonespublishing.com). Each of the novellas concerns a facet of humanity’s relationship to the robots we’ve made in our image. The first, “Ghosts and Robots,” has at its heart the theme of family. The second, “Robot Kind,” explores religion. The final, “The Long Frost,” touches upon mortality and even sexuality/reproduction and survival. There’s a nifty bit of bling attached to TALES: it features an inaugural poem by my good friend, the widely-published poet Esther M. Leiper-Estabrooks, a cover by Eric Chu, the conceptual artist on the recent Battlestar Galactica that ran on the SyFy Channel, and a blurb by Amy Howard Wilson, who was the voice of “Nova” on the brilliant Japanese import from 1979, Star Blazers – that series helped define my world as a writer when I was young and struggling to discover my place on Spaceship Earth. I also think robots are ridiculously cool. Always have!
Bec: Tell us your favorite part of your most recent release –
Greg: There’s a scene in the opening of “Ghosts and Robots” that talks about the longest day in history, the last day as well as a coordinated attack by the mechanical men we’ve created ends the world that was and starts the world that will be. I had the scene visualized – in the old Underdog cartoon from my childhood, there’s a memorable episode I love where giant robots with glowing light bulb heads storm into a city. My version is considerably more visceral, as humans across the globe resort to huge sacrifices to win the war. But during an afternoon when a TV crew was visiting Xanadu to do a segment on my career, the show’s host asked me to free-write on the spot. I wrote that scene under the glare of the spotlight, and absolutely loved the results. It kicks off the first novella in the collection.
Bec: How do you plan to spend Christmas this year?
Greg: We host a Christmas party for our writers’ group friends every year. We have three big all day salons a year – May, September, and December. In September, all of the partygoers were invited to select a prompt from a box. All of the prompts were different. Those prompts are the theme for the reading portion of the party. I got “You’re digging in the garden when you find…” – my story, “Legerdemain in the Valley of Flowers,” is partly complete and I should have a first draft in time for the party. We always do a huge buffet spread, and our Christmas tree covered in German glass bulbs and family heirloom decorations will be up for the Yankee swap. At last year’s swap, I briefly held onto a year’s subscription to Poets & Writers Magazine. This year, Santa already bought me a subscription, so no fear on having somebody else swap me on that count! As far as Christmas itself, we host an open house on Thanksgiving with a huge dinner and homemade desserts, and last year a new tradition of spending New Year’s Eve at a fellow writer’s house with a sit down dinner and readings was born. For Christmas, my husband and I enjoy a big dinner of prime rib and watch movies with our rescue cats. And, of course, I write.
Bec: What is your favorite holiday food, and why?
Greg: That aforementioned prime rib! It’s luscious and decadent. Up here where we now live, there aren’t many choices for where one shops. But we have a fantastic local butcher who provided the most amazing prime rib ever for our writers’ group’s September retreat, which was to a house set beside roaring waterfalls. A second favorite are candy canes. A few years ago, I snagged a couple of candy canes following the Christmas party and found myself enjoying them while I was working on finishing up various stories and a novel. At this time of year, they just add that extra bit of joy when you’re writing!
Bec: If you could have one wish granted to you this Christmas, what would it be and why?
Greg: To be able to enjoy time with my other grandmother, who will turn 98 in 2015! My Grammy Rachel once wrote for the magazine Highlights For Children and was mentioned in The Writer’s Yearbook for her literary excellence. I used to visit her regularly, but since moving there’s a long distance between front doors – however, I’m heading south in just a few days for a visit!
Bec: If someone was going to buy you a book (or ten) what titles would you like to receive?
Greg: Well, I’m a huge fan of so many of my fellow contemporaries. I just got a copy of David Greske’s Dark Tales For Darkest Nights – which is as disturbing as it is fantastic. I read a little bit of everything, from copies of The New Yorker that my library puts in the ‘please adopt’ box at the front door to Harlequin romance novels to free reads online. The first week of NaNoWriMo, I devoured one of the skinny Stephen King paperbacks from when he serialized The Green Mile way. Last year at this time I ate up your novel, Nurse Blood, which was uncommonly good. So I guess to answer your question, anything and everything!
Bec: If I were a Christmas fairy, do you think I would be a good or evil fairy?
Greg: I think your identity would depend upon the time of day, and whether the moon was full!
Bec: What is your most magical memory of Christmas from your childhood?
Greg: My Grammy Rachel always had numerous Christmas trees in her home, a magical house on Foster’s Pond in Massachusetts that no longer exists. There was a tiny fake tree in her kitchen, another on a credenza, a small live tree, and then a huge live tree in the living room, covered in lights. I always thought that was such a neat celebration, spread out over various rooms. One year when I was young, she handcrafted a stuffed lion for me. She’d started work on a stuffed dog but claimed she messed up the pattern, and wrapped him up for me anyway. Those two stuffed animals are still with me, sitting with the other teddy bears from my boyhood in my wonderful office, constant companions over these many years.
Bec: Is there anything I haven’t asked you about that you would like to share?
Greg: Not really, you’re such a fantastic interviewer – and always such a treat to be interviewed by. I will say this. When we first moved here, I briefly attended another writers’ group. Well, referring to that group as being for writers is a generous nod. Mostly, people sat around and behaved cattily and waited for the business portion to be over so they could wolf down pastry. Writing didn’t have much priority there. One of the people in that group apparently didn’t take kindly to my presence and told people it was because she found me ugly. To my husband and my Muse, I’m a centerfold. Just saying. I guess the point of mentioning any of this is that I love being a writer. I love the writing. Even at its ugliest, the writing is still beautiful.
Bec: Thank you for sharing a little bit about you and your book(s). Have a great Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year!
I appreciate the opportunity to muck up Besser’s blog. As I write this I am currently involved in the Winter of Zombie blog tour. I’m pushing my short story collection, ZOMBIES BELIEVE IN YOU and a short story I have in ZOMBIES: MORE RECENT DEAD with Prime Books. Links to those books are at the end of this post.
I’m also doing NaNoWriMo trying to produce the first book of what will end up being an ongoing zombie series. I’m knocking out and starting freelance and ghostwriting jobs hoping to catch up on rent. I’m also joining Richard Chizmar over at Cemetery Dance in his project of rereading all of Stephen King’s work. In my version of the #StephenKingRevisited challenge, I am rereading all of Stephen King’s novels in the order that they were published. I’m hoping to learn something about long fiction through this process. I will blog before and after each book with what I pick up from this experience for those who are interested. I will also link to Chizmar’s posts on the official site and Bev Vincent’s brief history posts he is writing for Chizmar as he reads each book. You can get to those from my link in the next paragraph.
I don’t know what I am doing. I am struggling to put together the word counts that I used to produce somewhat naturally. Some of that is due to struggling with my health. Some of it is being up in my head instead of just producing on the page. The rest of it is doubts about my ability to keep doing what I am doing.
The title of this post comes from Becca giving me free reign to unload on all of it, so here it is. As I fall short a few days on NaNoWriMo, I’m looking at drafting for a few days without tracking the word count. I will then look at the end of the week and see how “just writing” has worked for me.
I don’t think it is writer’s block. I also hold to the new philosophy that writer’s block is just fear and doubt translated into inaction. My job and identity are as a writer. I decided that before I was making a living at it. Now that I’m seeing a bit of success at that I seem to be trying to balk with doubts of my own ability.
Bec: Welcome to my blog! Please start by telling everyone about yourself –
Rhonda: Oh, man. Way to start out with a super tough questions. LoL I’m totally going to cop out and just post a 1st person version of the standard bio I’ve been using lately. 😉
I am driven by a desire to do All The Things. I have been the publisher and editor-in-chief of Niteblade Magazine for over five years now (which is like 25 years in internet time) and am the editor of several anthologies including (most recently) Fae and A is for Apocalypse.
In addition, I am a writer whose work has been included or is forthcoming in dozens of publications including Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast, Imaginarium: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing (2012) and Mythic Delirium.
Bec: What is your most recent release(s)?
Rhonda: I’ve had some poems and short stories published in various places in the past few weeks, but my most recent publication where mine is the only name on the cover would be White Noise. White Noise is a collection of a whack of poems I wrote about the zombie apocalypse. They are mostly reprints (meaning they’ve been published elsewhere first), but this is the first time they’ve been gathered together in the same place.
Bec: What genres do you most like to read?
Rhonda: Everything. I’m not kidding. I read everything. For Niteblade and anthologies I read a lot of short speculative fiction and novel-length spec fic fills a lot of my leisure reading as well, but I don’t ONLY read that genre. I also love nonfiction, literary fiction, classics. P.G. Wodehouse and Charles Dickens are very near the top of my list of favourite authors, for example. Though that love of classics isn’t very well represented in it, here’s the list of books I’ve read so far this year according to Goodreads. Quite a variety, but no more than I’d expect on anyone’s bookshelfs. J
Bec: What genres do you most like to write?
Rhonda: I think I prefer fantasy and horror because while there are definitely rules, they feel far more bendy than when I’m writing something which is more strictly “mainstream” (for lack of a better word choice).
Bec: I know you’ve recently been to a couple conferences… Would you like to share a little bit about those with us?
Rhonda: This year I attended three conventions: When Words Collide, World Fantasy, and Pure Spec. All three had awesome and totally different things going for them. When Words Collide is where we launched (and sold out of) FAE, an anthology I edited for World Weaver Press. It was also the first time I was ever on a panel at a convention so that was frightening in the best possible ways.
At World Fantasy not only did I get to meet up with people I’d only seen before online (which is what happens at every convention, amirite?), but also both anthologies I edited this year, FAE and A IS FOR APOCALYPSE were represented in the readings. And I got to talk to people about them, and sign copies. At one point, I even had a line of people who wanted me to sign their books. Okay, okay, it was of three people, but dudes – it was a line!
Pure Spec takes place right here in Edmonton, within walking distance of my house even. That alone makes it pretty awesome, but it’s also fantastic to get a chance to hang out with local friends and talk about work and everything else. J What’s more, this year at Pure Spec was the first time I read any of my work out loud in public. I was taking part in the Character Death Match (which is as awesome as it sounds) and I was eliminated in the first round BUT I read my whole excerpt without fainting or throwing up so I still count it as a win. LoL
Bec: Which holiday do you like better: Thanksgiving or Christmas? Why?
Rhonda: Christmas, most definitely. I kind of feel like Thanksgiving isn’t as big a thing in general up here in Canada than it is in the US and I could be wrong about that, but it’s definitely not as big a deal in my family. Christmas, or as I prefer to call it, Giftmas (because we celebrate a secular version of the holiday), is something I look forward to all year long. My extended family is very large and when I was younger Christmas was a raucous affair with loads of relatives, tons of presents and far, far too much food. Now my immediate family (husband, daughter, and myself) tend to make Giftmas a much more low-key affair, but we still have tons of presents and far too much to eat and drink.
Bec: What is your favorite Christmas themed book?
Rhonda: I’m a huge fan of Dickens’ Christmas stories. Not just A Christmas Carol, but also The Cricket on the Hearth and The Chimes (I haven’t read his others yet). I also love The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and, though I haven’t re-read it recently, I loved The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.
Bec: Is there anything you would like to share that I haven’t asked you about?
Rhonda: I’ll add in the obligatory promo part. LoL
Bec: Thank you for stopping by and sharing yourself with us. Have a great holiday season!
Find out how to stalk Rhonda Parrish below:
“Rhonda Parrish is a shapeshifter with talents to match her every incarnation- magpie tenacity for picking the shiniest submissions, nightingale notes for crafting tales, and bright, feline eyes for seeking out her photographic subjects. She balances on the knife-edge of darkness and light, a sorceress of both realms.” – Sara Cleto
Sixteen-year-old Rebecca Herrera Hayes faces every teenager’s biggest nightmares: bad skin, bad hair, and worse . . . turning into one of the living dead.
Becca’s life changes forever when her cousin Spence comes back to their small Wisconsin town carrying a deadly secret—he’s becoming a zombie, a fate he shares with her through an accidental scratch.
The Z infection, however, has mutated, affecting younger persons like her, or those treated early enough, differently. Now she must cope with weird physical changes and habits no girl wants to be noticed for…
But time is running out… Most of all, she needs to find something, anything, to stop this deadly transformation before it is forever too late…
I also have an adult zombie novel featuring a historical person and a real life crime that I just finished and am now sending out to publishers. It’s quite… different.
Bec: How do you plan to spend Christmas this year?
Christine: Relaxing with family and friends. It’s always a nice time.
Bec: If someone were to give you a book (or ten) as a present, what titles would you like to receive?
Christine: Wow, I have so many I want to read. I want to read Stephen King’s recent books, Mr. Mercedes and Revival; Angela Scott’s Anyone; I have several from Heather Graham’s Krewe of Hunters series to catch up on. And I want to read Fall of Night, Jonathan Maberry’s sequel to Dead of Night. I know there are many others but I can’t remember them all. Then there are tons more on the Kindle to read yet. I have enough to read until I am 80 I think.
Bec: How many books do you currently have out?
Christine: Several as I write in different genres: I have a nonfiction, how to book for miniatures collectors, In Miniature Style II; a kid’s mystery, Searching for a Starry Night, A Miniature Art Mystery; and stories in several anthologies – the latest is in Athena’s Daughters. Plus the stuff I am still working on.
Bec: Is there anything you would like to share that I haven’t asked you about?
Christine: How many pets I have? (One dog right now. We used to raise dwarf seahorses, too, but they don’t live long.)
How I came up with a character who’s part zombie? In GIRL Z: MY Life as a Teenage Zombie, I didn’t want to do an all-out disaster and zombie fighting book as I figured there were enough of those. I wanted to show what happens to a girl when her life is turned upside down when she turns part-zombie. So the book has a character with a bunch of odd quirks and teenage angst plus adjustments to make. And there are bits of odd humor.
Bec: Thank you for being my interview victim! Have a great holiday season.
Christine: Thank you! And I hope your holidays and new year are also wonderful!
An old lady Z in a ratty housecoat, the puffs of hair left on half of her head still sporting pink curlers, her mouth ringed with blood like she’d missed while applying her lipstick, limped toward us from the opposite direction.
She stumbled along, taking mincing steps in dirty pink slippers. A small plastic handbag dangled from a chain around her arm. I watched her progress, unable to shake the thought of somebody’s grandma heading to a tea party before she went missing.
Carm’s poke at my arm barely registered, my focus solely on Grandma Z shuffling along. “Bec? You good?” my cousin asked.
I shook my head, but didn’t trust myself to answer. My eyes blurred and got a little moist. I’d never expected this sudden stab of emotion. Up until now the Zs hadn’t bothered me, but this little old lady was different. She could’ve been anybody’s charming little grandma who unfortunately had somehow become infected.
I couldn’t do it. Not this time.
As if she sensed my hesitation, Grandma Z gave another little growl and reached for me with chubby hands, her fingers pocked with rot, bits of bone sticking out. I stared at her and screamed when Carm pushed me aside. “Bec, watch out!”
Carm pumped her gun, the paintballs hitting the senior Z full in the face. She made mewing sounds like a baby and grabbed at her dripping flesh.
It was too much for me. I averted my gaze. The sight of her agony and the reality of her body falling to pieces bothered me like it never had before.
Bio: Christine Verstraete is a big Halloween fan who enjoys a good scare or two. Her short fiction has appeared online and in anthologies including Timeshares and Steampunk’d from DAW Books, and Athena’s Daughters from Silence in the Library. She also is the author of GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie. Learn more at her website, http://cverstraete.com or her blog, http://girlzombieauthors.blogspot.com.