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Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."

Friday, February 12, 2016

Women in Horror Month #8: Rachel Aukes, Author of THE DEADLAND SAGA

Welcome back, boils and ghouls, to Women in Horror Month!

I was just pleased as punch when today's guest agreed to come on the blog.  Rachel Aukes (pronounced "oaks" if, like me, you were wondering) is, first of all, a genuine big name and one of the most popular horror writers I've ever interviewed, so I am hyperventilating just a bit.  But I'm also a big fan because we've been in two anthologies together: FAT ZOMBIE and AT HELL'S GATES.

But rather than force you to listen to me glurge any further, let's just meet the author and jump right in to the interview!

About Rachel Aukes:

Rachel Aukes is the author of 100 DAYS IN DEADLAND, which made "Suspense Magazine’s" Best of 2013 list. Rachel lives near Des Moines with her husband and an incredibly spoiled sixty-pound lap dog. When not writing, she can be found flying old airplanes and preparing for the zombie apocalypse. 

She can be reached on social media: 

And you can join her free newsletter!


SK:  What are your horror bona fides?

RA:  Good horror will always be character-driven, delving into the deepest, darkest parts within us. That’s why I love writing it—that exposure of the human element. Regardless of fads and socio-economic impacts on the genre, horror will always remain focused on the darkness within, and good stories are timeless. There are so many amazing stories out there that I'll just touch on the ones that drew me into the dark... As a kid, I was absolutely obsessed with comic books (okay, I still am). Through comics such as "Weird Tales," I was introduced to fantastical, terrifying stories of horror.  
After those early comics, I ventured into Poe’s tales, and many of them remain my favorites. It wasn’t long before I read I AM LEGEND by Richard Matheson, the story that story shaped me most as a writer. In that story, with a slight shift in perception, the monsters aren’t perhaps the worst thing to fear; sometimes the worst thing to fear is ourselves.

SK:  Who or what terrifies you?

RA:  My fears tend to run along the "this could really happen" path. EMPs (electromagnetic pulses) top my list of what could screw up our modern, comfortable lives in the blink of the eye, especially with the risk of EMPs increase every year. Oh, and big spiders... they really freak me out. 

SK:  Are there unique challenges to being a woman in horror or do you feel like gender is irrelevant?

RA:  I've found horror to be the most progressive genre in which I've written. From the writer side, I've found gender to be irrelevant. I've never experienced editors, agents, or other writers discriminate against gender... or any other demographic, for that matter. Maybe I've been lucky, but I tend to think the horror industry is full of some pretty damn good folks.
Gender is a bit more noticeable from the reader side. I've received several email from readers saying they gave one of my books a shot based on someone's recommendation and that they were surprised they enjoyed it. This sounds like a normal fan mail except that in these email they explicitly pointed out that they rarely or wouldn't read anything written by a woman. Too fluffy, too romance-y, that sort of thing. So, there's a stereotype still hanging out there, but I'm glad to see women horror writers winning over male readers, one reader at a time. 

SK:  Who are your favorite female horror icons?

RA:  My favorites have the gift for writing main characters that blur the lines between good and evil. My favorites cover a broad range, from the superstars--Mary Shelley and Anne Rice--to some fresh newcomers--Rhiannon Frater, Shana Festa, and Sarah Lyons Fleming

SK:  What are you working on/promoting currently? Why should folks check it out?

RA:  I've recently wrapped up the three-part DEADLAND SAGA with the final book, DEADLAND RISING. It was an absolute blast writing zombies, and I suspect I'll get the zomb-itch to write more down the road.


The conclusion of the critically acclaimed DEADLAND SAGA

Winter has arrived.

It has been nearly one year since the zombie hordes claimed the world. As the plague eats away at its victims’ bodies, the Fox survivors search for a safe place to rebuild what they have lost. But a dangerous new threat has risen, hunting them from every direction. To survive, Cash, Clutch, and their small band of refugees must put their faith in a group of strangers and a new government with radical plans. It will take all of the Fox survivors’ strength and courage to endure in this barren, hostile world. Even that might not be enough.

(DEADLAND RISING is a journey through Dante Alighieri's PARADISO, the classic tale on the seven virtues… zombie apocalypse style!)


The entire trilogy is also now available.


  1. Thanks for hosting me, Koz! I'm looking forward to another collaboration with you!

    1. Thanks for being with us! And I'll happily ride your coattails any old time. Did somebody say DEADLAND IV? Yes. Yes, they did.


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