About Rhiannon Frater:
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 (declared the #1 Zombie Release of 2012 by Explorations Fantasy Blog and the #1 Zombie Novel of the Decade by B&N Book Blog). She was born and raised in Texas where she currently resides with her husband and furry children (a.k.a pets). 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.
You can find her online at her website, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Google +, Amazon, Goodreads, Pinterest, or you can e-mail her at rhiannonfrater at gmail.com.
SK: What are your horror bona fides?
RF: When it comes to books, I love the early stuff by Stephen King. I’m a big fan of SALEM'S LOT, THE SHINING, and THE STAND. I also admire Richard Matheson’s work, and Shirley Jackson. I love supernatural horror, so I love the disquiet that often manifests when I read some of the works of Neil Gaiman. I thought CORALINE was going to be a lighthearted kid’s book, but I slept with the light on by the time I finished. I like the sort of books that creep into your bones and leave you paranoid.
SK: Who or what terrifies you?
RF: Clowns. Clowns terrify me. I have the phobia. I see a clown and my first instinct is to run for my life. That’s probably why I included one in my supernatural horror novel, DEAD SPOTS. I also fear sharks, and again, one makes a very unusual appearance in DEAD SPOTS.
I like to write about supernatural or fantastical occurrences. It’s through the fantasy aspect of horror that we can scare ourselves safely. I firmly believe that the horror genre is a way to alleviate our everyday stress by “surviving” the terrors inside a book.
SK: Are there unique challenges to being a woman in horror or do you feel like gender is irrelevant?
RF: When I started my career, it didn’t really occur to me that I was in a genre heavily dominated by men. This was back in 2005 when I was writing my online zombie serial, AS THE WORLD DIES, that was later self-published, then picked up by Tor. There was definitely some push back from some of the male writers. Not only was I a woman writing about the zombie apocalypse, my primary leads were women. A few gave me a really rough time. Interestingly, later on one of them told me he was intimidated by my writing and jealous of the reader reaction. He apologized for trying to stop me from writing.
It was demoralizing to have some trying to shut me down, but I was heavily encouraged by the positive reaction from the readers. So I kept on writing what I wanted to write and ignored the naysayers.
I occasionally get comments like “I was surprised how scary this book is since you’re a woman.” I’ve also had people ignore me at book signings and head straight to the men. I’ve had both men and women tell me to my face that they read “real horror” and scoffed at my books.
Reviewers are sometimes harder on female writers if they include romance or sex. Men can do it all they like and it’s fine. A woman does it and her book is automatically a romance novel (even if there is gore, monsters, etc). I get really annoyed by the double standard.
Happily, there are a lot more women in the genre now, which makes things easier to some degree. I’m not sure why people regard horror as a “male” genre, but that seems to be changing.
SK: Who are your favorite female horror icons?
RF: Mary Shelley, Anne Rice, and Shirley Jackson immediately come to mind.
SK: What are you working on/promoting currently? Why should folks check it out?
RF: I’m currently writing THE LAMENT OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE, which is the third book in the DARK REBIRTH Trilogy that started with THE TALE OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE. It’s a very dark gothic horror series that takes place in Eastern Europe during the Regency Era. It’s my only historical horror series, and I’m very fond of it.
Of course, I have a ton of other books to read with a wide array of monsters from zombies to Lovecraftian-type beasts. People can find out more about all my books at my website.