Saturday 30 October 2021

Interview with Rhiannon Frater By David Kempf

Rhiannon Frater is the award-winning author of the As the World Dies zombie trilogy (Tor) as well as independent works such as The Last Bastion of the Living. She also co-hosted the ZCast: a Z Nation Fan Podcast, interviewing the cast and crew of the SyFy show. Born and raised in Texas, she currently resides with her husband and furry children (a.k.a pets) in South Texas. 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.

When did you first become interested in writing?

As soon as I learned to talk, I was a storyteller. I told elaborate tales with very well-defined characters. My mother found it very entertaining. Once I discovered books, I knew I wanted to be a writer.

How did you get involved in fantasy/horror?
I write about what I fear. I thought for a long time I would be a mystery or science fiction writer, but when my muse showed up she had sharp teeth and a lust for blood.

I honestly believe I inherited my love of horror from my grandfather. I lived in Texas and he was in Ohio when I was growing up, so I rarely saw him. He passed away when I was pretty young. Yet, my mom says I’m a lot like him in my love of horror films and books. So it must be genetic!

How would you classify the genre you write about?
When I started out, I called myself a horror writer. But I noticed that reviewers and readers classified my novels as anything but horror most of the time. A reviewer defined my zombie series (with all its blood, death, and gore) as chick-lit. If you look up the definition, As The World Dies is definitely not in that genre. Horror seems to have a very narrow definition in the minds of some, so I mostly call myself a speculative fiction author. All my novels have an element of horror in them. I absolutely love supernatural and gothic horror.

Why do you think horror and fantasy books remain so popular?
Horror provides a safe way to be scared. That’s very therapeutic. We live in stressful times. Fear, anxiety, and depression are a common part of life for many. Horror allows us an outlet for those feelings.

As for fantasy, it’s a way to be a hero vicariously through the characters. We can be the savior of not only ourselves, but others. Again, very therapeutic.

What inspires your stories?
My dreams. I have very vivid dreams with full plots and well-rounded characters. Most fade when I wake up, but the ones that stick in my head have a good chance of becoming novels.

Do you like writing about vampires or zombies more?

They’re very different, but I lean toward vampires. They’re powerful, but confined by their limitations, which I find challenging to write about. I also love the trappings that come with the lore. I can explore the human condition through a monstrous being in a very exaggerated way and have fun doing it.

When I write in the zombie genre, it’s all about the people. The characters have to not only resonate with me, but the readers. You have to care about them. I was told by more than a few readers that you can swap out the apocalyptic event the characters are facing and the stories would still work. The zombies are the backdrop, the constant threat, the personification of death. It’s the characters that make the difference. I want people to read my zombie stories and feel like they’re with friends (and sometimes enemies).

What do you think the difference between American horror and British horror is?
Well, this is based on the novels I’ve read and films I’ve seen, so I might be wrong, but it seems to me that British horror is a-ok with destroying the heroes and unhappy endings. I know a few UK films have a different, happier ending when released in the USA.

American horror swerves back and forth on what is popular, usually dependent on what’s going on in the country. I do think we tend to have more “happy” endings.

What are your favorite horror books now?
My favorites I’ve read this year are:
House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland
Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall
The Cold by Rich Hawkins

What are some of your favorite horror movies now?

I really enjoyed The Nun. I just watched it for my October Moviefest. I loved the gothic atmosphere. I have a soft spot for gothic horror.

I also enjoyed the Fear Street movies on Netflix. I didn’t expect to, but they were quite good.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment as an author so far?
The first thing that comes to mind are the people who tell me that my books provide an escape from the real world and their troubles. I’ve had several cancer survivors tell me that reading or listening to my novels during chemotherapy made it more bearable. That means a lot to me. It’s why I write.

Do you have any advice for new writers?
Read a lot. Write a lot. Write some more. Write until you find your voice and your genre. Write about what you love. Keep writing until you finish a book. Don’t give up.

What is your opinion of the new self-publishing trend?
I started out self-publishing before I got my deals with Tor. It is a great responsibility to self-publish. You have to make absolutely sure it is the best book possible before you put it out. Finding a good editor is vital.

Self-publishing is also great for writers who have a great story, but can’t find a home for it. My first agent and my editor at Tor told me the same thing: a story can be fantastic, but if the publisher doesn’t believe it will sell, they won’t acquire it. Maybe it’s too niche, or the market is glutted with that type of story, or maybe a novel in that genre bombed. There are lots of reasons a publisher might pass on a good book. Self-publishing allows authors to bring that story to readers and not just sit in a dark trunk.

What are your current projects?
I am working on a ghost idea for my agent to pitch to publishers and I’m writing a zombie novel to self-publish.

Please in your own words write a paragraph about yourself & your work today.
I am a full-time writer living in South Texas with my husband. I love everything spooky. I’m goth, so I definitely look like someone who writes vampire novels. Every day is Halloween in my life.

What are you doing for Halloween this year?
It is my 14th wedding anniversary, so we’ll have a romantic dinner and enjoy the Halloween festivities in our area. It’ll be a lovely, spooky night!

You can find her online at:
Online Store:
Amazon Author Page:
Email: rhiannonfrater at