Welcome to Unabridged Bookshelf's stop on the Dead Spots Blog Tour! Today I have not only a review of Dead Spots, but also an interview with author, Rhiannon Frater herself. Make sure to check out everything going on during this tour by clicking the banner above.
About the Book
Author: Rhiannon Frater
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date: February 24, 2015
Genres: Adult, Horror,
In the dead spots, dreams become reality, terror knows your name, and nightmares can kill you.The stillbirth of Mackenzie's son destroyed her marriage. Grieving, Mac reluctantly heads for her childhood home to seek refuge with her mother, who constantly reminds her of life's dangers.Driving across Texas, Mac swerves to avoid hitting a deer...and winds up in a dead spot, a frightening place that lies between the worlds of the living and the dead. If they can control their imaginations, people can literally bring their dreams to life—but most are beseiged by fears and nightmares which pursue them relentlessly.Mackenzie's mother and husband haunt her, driving her to the brink of madness. Then she hears a child call for help and her maternal instincts kick into overdrive. Grant, Mac's ally in the dead spots, insists Johnny is a phantom, but the boy seems so real, so alive....As the true horrors of the dead spots are slowly revealed, Mackenzie realizes that time is running out. But exits from the dead spots are nearly impossible to find, and defended by things almost beyond imagination.
About the Author
Rhiannon Frater was born and raised a Texan. Though she has lived in various towns all over the
state, she finally settled in Austin, Texas where she met her husband and worked as a governmental consultant.
During her travels for her job, she was inspired to write the story of two women fleeing into the Texas Hill Country in an attempt to survive the zombie apocalypse. Originally published as a serial online under the title As The World Dies, she later self-published the series in three novels to satisfy the many fans of the story. The first novel in the series, The First Days, won the 2008 Dead Letter Award for Best Book (Fiction). The second book, Fighting To Survive won the 2009 Dead Letter Award in the same category.
The As The World Dies books were purchased by Tor in 2010.The first book, The First Days, was released in July 2011 and received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. The second, Fighting To Survive, was released on November 8, 2011. The third book, Siege, was released in April 2012.
She is also the author of over a dozen independent works such as The Last Bastion Of The Living (declared the #1 Zombie Release of 2012 by Explorations Fantasy Blog and the #1 Zombie Novel of the Decade by B&N Book Blog). Her next novel for Tor, Dead Spots, will be published in 2014.
Rhiannon continues to live in Austin, Texas with her husband and is now a full-time writer.
She is represented by Hannah Brown Gordon of the Foundry Literary + Media and Brandy Rivers of Gersh Agency.
1. How did you choose the horror genre to write in?
I don’t feel I chose horror. It chose me. For a very long time I thought I would write mysteries, but I was terrible at it. Then I realized my muse has sharp fangs and claws and decided to roll with inspirations I found in my nightmares. After I wrote my first horror tale, I knew I had found my niche.
2. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Agatha Christie, Charlotte Bronte, and Laura Ingalls Wilder had a big influence on me when I was a young girl simply because they were women writers and wrote books I loved. I wanted to be just like them and write stories that readers would enjoy.
3. What was your favorite chapter (or part) of Dead Spots to write and why?
This is a tough one. I don’t have a favorite per se. Each chapter had its own challenges during the writing process. The most difficult for me to write was the shark scene because I am absolutely terrified of sharks. It probably gave me the most nightmares. So I can’t say it’s a favorite chapter, but I can say I’m very proud of it. That was me facing my own fear inside Dead Spots.
4. What was the hardest part of writing Dead Spots?
Mackenzie is an imperfect character and doesn’t always make the right choices. She struggles a lot in the book with her grief and fears. Showing her progression throughout the story was not always easy. I often had to sit back and ponder her internal journey. Mackenzie isn’t a flashy heroine that somehow always knows how to save the day. She sometimes really screws up and doesn’t act in her best interests. I’ve written about plenty of female characters who really have it together, who know exactly what they’re capable of and are quite competent. So to write about a woman at the start of that journey to strength and wholeness was exhausting at times, but also rewarding.
5. Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you would love to work with?
The story feels whole to me. At its core it’s about Mackenzie coming to terms with loss, who she wants to be, and what she really wants out of life. That journey comes to a solid conclusion in my mind. Though I adore Mackenzie and enjoyed meeting some of the others caught in by the dead spots, I am not sure there is more to be mined out of that universe. I suppose I could write an endless series of stories about people being caught by the dead spots and the fears they endure, but then I’m afraid it would be all about the scares and not the actual personal journey.
Of course, I love a complicated heroine, so I’m sure I will always write about them.
Thank you Rhiannon for allowing me to interview you!
My Review of Dead Spots
Rhiannon Frater has taken my worst nightmares and turned them into a novel I could not put down. I mean you cannot have a book about a world caught between dreams and nightmares and not have killer clowns and zombies. The main character, Mackenzie, is so broken when her story begins it broke my own heart seeing her go through such devastation and tragedy. I loved watching her slowly fight back against herself and her grief as she fought to stay alive in the nightmare world and dead spots.
Rhiannon Frater has a simple elegance to her writing when handling the grief of a mother who never got to be one. While that is the ultimate loss for any mother, she also handles Mackenzie’s return to life when she could have just given up with a fierceness that captured me and had me rooting form the sidelines. Then Rhiannon Frater took some of the things that terrifies so many including myself, made them worse, but also showed how to fight back against the things we fear most.
I was not sure if I would be able to get into the concept of dead spots and a world of nightmare and dreams. I am a huge fan of Rhiannon Frater, so I trusted that she would write it in a way that would invoke my own nightmares, but also in a way that made you experience the story right along with the characters.
Rhiannon Frater has again created a horror masterpiece that has emotional depth, and showcases the vulnerabilities we all have inside of us. I truly felt Mackenzie’s grief and fear throughout the novel. I am glad I decided to give Dead Spots a shot, and I know that if you are a fan of horror, you will be too.
**Unabridged Bookshelf received this book, in exchange for an honest review**
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