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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

As the World Dies

Todd Jepperson

On July 5th of this year, TOR Books will be releasing The First Days; the first of three Zombie Epics by author Rhiannon Frater. This first release is to be followed on November 8th by Fighting to Survive, the second of the series. I know, new Zombie books are coming a dime a dozen; so, what makes these books special? Strap in and hang on, this is one heck of a ride.

Years ago, the author was a frustrated writer with a great idea. The problem was, she didn’t have any big-time support for that idea. Her ambition fizzled a bit, until a friend with some small sway in the market offered to help her publish her debut novel. She set about editing and re-writing when an image of a woman in a pink bathrobe standing on her porch staring down at tiny fingers clawing at her from under the front door popped into her head. She instantly knew that this woman’s name was Jenni, and she had completely different short story rush over her. She jumped online and posted it to a forum where it took on a life of its own.

Readers clamored for more and Rhiannon sat down to give them what they wanted. In her own words,

“It was like the scene from the Matrix when they jack in and get a massive download of information. Suddenly, the whole story was just there…just sitting in my mind…just waiting to be written.”

Over the next couple of years, she released the story in small bites and chunks to her ravenous, but small, fan base. With each tidbit released, the number of readers grew. By the time the story was finished, it had grown to over three-hundred thousand words and was an amazing success in its sphere. Her readers suggested that she publish the work, so they could get their hands on copies of their own.

The small press which had jumpstarted her back into writing had died before she finished, so she started to reach out to other publishers to get her books from the WWW into reality. Time after time she was met by rejection but, the fans kept demanding; so she (with the help of her husband) decided to bite down and publish the books on her own. The story ended up over sixteen hundred pages long, and was split into three tales: The First Days (2008), Fighting to Survive (2009), and Siege (August, 2009). The first two of which ended up winning the 2008 and 2009 Dead Letter Awards for Best Book (fiction) and the first was named one of the ten best Zombie novels of the Decade.

That seemed to jump-start the interest of those big-timers in New York. Offers from Permuted Press, TOR, and unnamed others were received, reviewed and decided. There was even a 2009 Television option signed, and these stories may or may not make it to a picture tube near you. See folks, big things can happen from small beginnings.

Congratulations to Ms. Frater on her success. You can pre-order The First Days on Amazon or Barnes and Noble and watch for more to come right here on zombies and toys.

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