Rachel Tsoumbakos's book Emeline and the Mutants takes the genre and gives it a curious twist. We have a post-devastation storyline, with humans scraping together an existence following the outbreak of a virulent virus. The virus, however hasn't just created zombies, rather it has mutated most of the population into quasi-mythical creatures. So we now have a world populated by vampires, trolls, faeries, mermaids, and so forth--infective and deadly to the humans whose genetic code gave them some resistance to the initial strain.
Emeline is a great hero, and she appeals to the kick-ass Lara Croft/ Buffy/ Hit-girl fab-boy in me. She's a crack shot, tough as nails, but has a gentler and vulnerable side that is exploited at various stages in the book. Emeline is dragged into a conspiracy-murder mystery within her compound that ultimately leads to revelations and confessions about how the whole viral outbreak began. The action is full-on, and the setting of rural Australia perfect for the story. Rachel introduces some excellent characters, many of them female, and many of them memorable.
When it ended I was chomping for a sequel, although it is a stand-alone work at present. I pitched a few questions to Rachel....
RT: Personally, I think it is because we now live in a constant Nanny-state. Everyone is expected to do and say the right things all the time. There is no room for the Benny Hill's and Porky's of yesteryear. Everything we say and do is watched closely by the PC police. Zombies and vampires (and now Fifty Shades of Grey) are a way to escape this and just think the way we want to without fear of reprimand (unless you're REALLY into Fifty Shades).
The whole interview can be viewed via this link: http://truebloodnet.com/
Me: What do you find the most challenging part of the whole writing process?
Me: Fun question- as an Australian, which do you think was the best Mad Max film?
RT: You know what? I have never seen ANY of the Mad Max movies. Although the song Thunderdome by Tina Turner is one of my favourites. How un-Australian am I?! I will probably need to find a dark hole in which to hide after this interview goes live :P
RT: Okay, I have just finished a complete rewrite of the very first novel I ever wrote. It was originally titled Indiana Meets A Vampire and I wrote it because I figured if a Mormon could write about a sparkly vampire, then so could I! Needless to say, the novel was horrible, but there were a few hidden gems in there and I have dragged it back out into the light of day in an attempt to make it better. It now goes by the title Unremembered Things and will eventually be a trilogy. The story follows Indiana Shamira who wakes up one morning with no recollection of her previous life and a vampire hanging upside down in her cellar. The only thing she knows for sure is that she must keep her memory loss a secret. It everything goes according to plan, this book should be ready for release later in the year.
In the UK
and in the US and Oz