Leah Rhyne First off, I just wanted to thank you for sharing your book with me and stopping by the blog for a chat!
LR: Seriously, thank YOU! I am always excited to chat!
As a child, were you into books or were you more a video game/movie kind of a girl?
LR: I was definitely more of a movie girl, though I could kick some serious ass at Super Mario (the original) and Sonic the Hedgehog! I loved my movies, though. I remember begging my parents to take me to Blockbuster to rent something on a Friday night, watching it, dreaming about it, and then waking up and watching it again on Saturday morning.
I was way into horror and sci-fi, even then, though I’d have told you my favorites back then were Dirty Dancing and the Man in the Moon. It’s movies like The Shining that have stuck with me, though…
What book was the first story you fell in love with?
LR: Gah, that’s a hard one. I mean, really…the first? I remember loving the classic girl books of the 80s and 90s – The Babysitters Club, the Ramona Quimby books, etc. I LOVED A Wrinkle in Time – it’s still one of my favorites, even now. And I loved the idea of The Secret Garden – finding a space just for me.
But it was IT by Stephen King that terrified me for an entire year, and still has me skittish around storm drains…when my daughter hit a whiffle ball the other day and it went down the storm drain? I wouldn’t even let her close enough to peek down. You never know where Pennywise might lurk…
What inspired you to pursue a career as a writer?
LR: It’s been a series of unexpected events, really. I never expected to write a book…but once I started, I couldn’t stop. Now I’ve written three. Leaving work to write was a bigger decision, one only made possible with my husband’s support, but I couldn’t be happier about it. Though I have to admit…I do miss daily adult conversations.
You are obviously a horror buff, can you share what some of your favourite scary movies are?
LR: For zombies, I’m all about Dawn of the Dead…I think it’s one of Romero’s best, and with Sarah Polley and Ving Rhames, you sort of can’t go wrong.
Other favorites, over the years, include Poltergeist, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and The Shining. I LOVE the made-for-TV version of IT, even though it effs up the story on so many levels. And then…did the Angel of Death/melting faces scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark mess anyone else out there up as much as it did me? Because…yikes! That gave me nightmares!
LR: Well, it was supposed to be a contemporary YA novel…but then I got bored and added zombies. I love the idea of putting people first…by the middle of the book, it’s clear the zombies aren’t the real threat – it’s the people you have to look out for. I follow three very different characters who survive the zombie apocalypse in very different ways.
There’s Jenna, who’s closest to me. She and her boyfriend sort of accidentally survive by the seats of their pants and become bad-asses along the way.
Then there’s Sam, a college dude who gets picked up by a crazy, zombie-killing militia. Only problem? They don’t just kill zombies.
And then we have Lola. Poor Lola. She’s been beaten down her whole life, in the most literal sense. She’s sort of my nightmare of what I could have become in a very different life. I feel bad for her, and simultaneously want to slap her across the face and tell her to grow a pair.
The characters are so well-rounded, are any of their traits inspired from real life friends?
LR: Aw, thanks! Well, Jenna is definitely closest to my own voice. She talks like me, thinks like me. Sam was a mix of guys I knew in high school and college, and I love him. Lola…well, I am serious…I had one experience with a guy once that told me I never wanted to become like Lola, so she’s sort of an outlet of that.
Currently, what are you reading?
LR: Teacher’s Pest, a Lovecraft Middle School book by Charles Gilman (it’s Middle Grade horror! Love it!), and also Blood, Ash and Bone by my good friend Tina Whittle.
What’s in store for your fans this year?
LR: I’m so excited about 2013. It’s going to be a good year. I’ve had a couple short stories accepted by magazines, and then in October, Undead America 1 will be released in print, along with the ebook version of Undead America 2! I can’t wait to show people what’s in store for the gang! And the thought of holding my book in print? It about makes my head explode!!
Any closing thoughts?
LR: I think that’ll do it! Thank you so much for having me, and for giving me fun questions with which to play!!
Web site: http://www.leahrhyne.com/