Rachel Aukes

The Savage Dead is just a few days away now, and I figured I would celebrate by showing off my latest discovery in the zombie genre.  My guest today is Rachel Aukes, author of the absolutely brilliant 100 Days in Deadland.  I got a chance to read 100 Days earlier this month as part of an article series on new book marketing Rachel and I wrote together, and after reading Rachel’s book, I knew she had a place here.

Rachel writes speculative fiction to the tune of science fiction, dark fantasy and horror, and writes in those same genres, but with a romantic twist, under the pen name Berinn Rae.  Born and raised on a farm in Iowa, she boasted the biggest comic book collection in town.  She is a skilled pilot and dog lover, and managed to work both into 100 Days in wonderful ways.

She is one to watch, ladies and gentlemen.  But for now, take a moment and read what she has to say on zombies.  Then go out and buy her book!

The Savage Dead is just a few days away now, and I figured I would celebrate by showing off my latest discovery in the zombie genre.  My guest today is Rachel Aukes, author of the absolutely brilliant 100 Days in Deadland.  I got a chance to read 100 Days earlier this month as part of an article series on new book marketing Rachel and I wrote together, and after reading Rachel’s book, I knew she had a place here.

Rachel writes speculative fiction to the tune of science fiction, dark fantasy and horror, and writes in those same genres, but with a romantic twist, under the pen name Berinn Rae.  Born and raised on a farm in Iowa, she boasted the biggest comic book collection in town.  She is a skilled pilot and dog lover, and managed to work both into 100 Days in wonderful ways.

She is one to watch, ladies and gentlemen.  But for now, take a moment and read what she has to say on zombies.  Then go out and buy her book!

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Joe McKinney:  Thanks for joining me here on Old Major’s Dream.  I’m glad you could swing by.  You’re no stranger to zombie fiction.  Would you mind telling the folks out there a little about your zombie-related writing?  How do you approach the genre?

Rachel Aukes:  Thanks for having me, Joe!

I’m one of the newbies here, with only one zombie novel out (more on the way!). When it comes to the genre, it’s simple: I write what I’d like to read. I want a story I could lose myself in, even if only for four hours. We’ve all read books like that. You know the one where you read, oblivious to running children and bored pets, until you finish the last sentence and just lean back and close the book with a sigh. Yeah, that’s the one.

JM:  The zombie apocalypse is happening right now.  Are you prepared?  Would humanity win?

RA:  I’d survive only if I had plenty of luck and good friends on my side. I’m not nearly prepared enough for TEOTWAKI. I live in a Des Moines suburb (would love to move out to the country) and have nothing but a bug-out bag ready. I’m a pilot, so if I can get to a plane, I can get to a better location to ride out the apocalypse.

As for humanity, we’d fare poorly. I’m a realist and see how easily the world as we know it could collapse. Most wouldn’t survive. Morals and scruples would fall by the wayside. Civilization would fall back to a feudal system, and slavery would no doubt rear its ugly head again. But we’d survive and rebuild.

JM:  What’s your favorite zombie book, movie, short story, whatever?  (Please feel free to ramble as much or as little as you like here.  I’d love to know why that story or movie or whatever grabs you.)

RA:  I could really ramble here, so I’ll just shoot of my top three that come to mind:

The First Days by Rhiannon Frater. Jenni and Katie made me fall in love with the zombie genre all over again.

A tie between Dead City by Joe McKinney and The Remaining by D.J. Molles. Their characters are real: they make mistakes, injuries knock them down, and they struggle with what it means to be human in a post-apocalyptic world.

The Gathering Dead by Stephen Knight. Damn, the guy knows how to slam a visual into your head.

For TV, I’ll throw on The Walking Dead to the list. They must be doing something right because every time I tell myself they’re about to jump the shark, they pull me back in.

For movies, I enjoy the tongue-in-cheek humor of Shaun of the Dead. I can watch it over and over and still laugh. Please, Simon Pegg, make another zombie film (funny, serious, it doesn’t matter)!

JM:  What’s your favorite zombie kill scene of all time?

RA:  I’d have to say my favorite is when Columbus kills the zombie clown in Zombieland. It’s a monumental kill because he finally overcomes his greatest fear (clowns), signifying that he’s reached the point in his life he can take on anything. Oh, and I hate clowns.

RA:  I’ve always felt the best and most effective horror is trying to investigate what we think of ourselves and what it means to be us.  Washington Irving’s tales, for instance, generally grapple with the question of what it means to be an American in the post-Revolutionary War period.  Nathaniel Hawthorne battled with the intellectual promise of a nation rising to international credibility while simultaneously choking under the yolk of a Puritan past.  Stephen King made a name for himself chronicling the slow collapse of the American small town way of life.  What do you think the zombie and its current popularity is telling us about ourselves?

As I mentioned above, our easy, comfortable lives are dependent on a fragile system (which we seemingly have no control over) that could fall down like a house of cards. Economics, environment, biology…all pose risks to our world. The news drills this message into our brains every day. Zombies give us an outlet to ask ourselves the tough question. What if shit hits the fan? What would you do? What should you do? Zombies give us a “safe” way of thinking about a real world that could be far scarier than any horror novel. 

Joe McKinney:  Thanks for joining me here on Old Major’s Dream.  I’m glad you could swing by.  You’re no stranger to zombie fiction.  Would you mind telling the folks out there a little about your zombie-related writing?  How do you approach the genre?

Rachel Aukes:  Thanks for having me, Joe!

I’m one of the newbies here, with only one zombie novel out (more on the way!). When it comes to the genre, it’s simple: I write what I’d like to read. I want a story I could lose myself in, even if only for four hours. We’ve all read books like that. You know the one where you read, oblivious to running children and bored pets, until you finish the last sentence and just lean back and close the book with a sigh. Yeah, that’s the one.

JM:  The zombie apocalypse is happening right now.  Are you prepared?  Would humanity win?

RA:  I’d survive only if I had plenty of luck and good friends on my side. I’m not nearly prepared enough for TEOTWAKI. I live in a Des Moines suburb (would love to move out to the country) and have nothing but a bug-out bag ready. I’m a pilot, so if I can get to a plane, I can get to a better location to ride out the apocalypse.

As for humanity, we’d fare poorly. I’m a realist and see how easily the world as we know it could collapse. Most wouldn’t survive. Morals and scruples would fall by the wayside. Civilization would fall back to a feudal system, and slavery would no doubt rear its ugly head again. But we’d survive and rebuild.

JM:  What’s your favorite zombie book, movie, short story, whatever?  (Please feel free to ramble as much or as little as you like here.  I’d love to know why that story or movie or whatever grabs you.)

RA:  I could really ramble here, so I’ll just shoot of my top three that come to mind:

The First Days by Rhiannon Frater. Jenni and Katie made me fall in love with the zombie genre all over again.

A tie between Dead City by Joe McKinney and The Remaining by D.J. Molles. Their characters are real: they make mistakes, injuries knock them down, and they struggle with what it means to be human in a post-apocalyptic world.

The Gathering Dead by Stephen Knight. Damn, the guy knows how to slam a visual into your head.

For TV, I’ll throw on The Walking Dead to the list. They must be doing something right because every time I tell myself they’re about to jump the shark, they pull me back in.

For movies, I enjoy the tongue-in-cheek humor of Shaun of the Dead. I can watch it over and over and still laugh. Please, Simon Pegg, make another zombie film (funny, serious, it doesn’t matter)!

JM:  What’s your favorite zombie kill scene of all time?

RA:  I’d have to say my favorite is when Columbus kills the zombie clown in Zombieland. It’s a monumental kill because he finally overcomes his greatest fear (clowns), signifying that he’s reached the point in his life he can take on anything. Oh, and I hate clowns.

RA:  I’ve always felt the best and most effective horror is trying to investigate what we think of ourselves and what it means to be us.  Washington Irving’s tales, for instance, generally grapple with the question of what it means to be an American in the post-Revolutionary War period.  Nathaniel Hawthorne battled with the intellectual promise of a nation rising to international credibility while simultaneously choking under the yolk of a Puritan past.  Stephen King made a name for himself chronicling the slow collapse of the American small town way of life.  What do you think the zombie and its current popularity is telling us about ourselves?

As I mentioned above, our easy, comfortable lives are dependent on a fragile system (which we seemingly have no control over) that could fall down like a house of cards. Economics, environment, biology…all pose risks to our world. The news drills this message into our brains every day. Zombies give us an outlet to ask ourselves the tough question. What if shit hits the fan? What would you do? What should you do? Zombies give us a “safe” way of thinking about a real world that could be far scarier than any horror novel. 

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2 Comments

  1. Thanks so much for having me stop by, Joe! I LOVED The Savage Dead and can’t wait until the world gets to enjoy it as much as I did!

    Reply

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