Today in the Stomp corner we have the author of the urban fantasy trilogy, Revivalist, Ms. Rachel Caine. Welcome to The Book Nympho!
Howdy! That’s Texas talk, and in Texas, we know a bit about STOMPING. Yee haw! Also, HI.
You’ve written about vampires, weather wardens and djinns; and now zombies. What made you go with zombies and how did you come up with the idea for your kind of zombies?
I wasn’t originally thinking so much that they were zombies (not in the traditional sense) as people who were “frozen” at the moment of death … not able to live, but kept from death by the drug they take daily. Why is that important? Well, it means if you’re one of the Revived, you’re at the mercy of those who own the drug. Every day. Every breath. And being deprived of it means that you decay in a slow, horrible, relentless way.
That really resonated for me as a metaphor for the way a lot of us in the U.S. live — dependent on our day jobs to obtain medical insurance. Or dependent upon a drug to help keep us healthy. The line between our “stable” lives and the abyss is always pretty damn close.
Plus, the idea of the nanites being able to repair physical damage meant that these “zombies” made kick-ass soldiers, spies, anything that requires physical toughness.
Are you a zombie movie fan? If so which do you prefer? The classic brainless, slow-moving zombies or the fast-moving zombies like in the 28 Days movies?
I think that totally depends on whether I am a reader/viewer (in which case, FAST) or actually *in* the story (in which case, hell, the slower the better, because I am not exactly an Olympic runner). But seriously, they are both terrifying — whether you’re barricaded in a closet with relentless, strong, slow zombies ripping apart your shelter, or you’re running for your life from a pack of fast, equally relentless flesh-eaters, you’re in the kind of situation nightmares are made from.
On the whole, I think I’d prefer to watch the zombie apocalypse from orbit. Maybe aboard the Death Star.
Did you feel like giving your heroine, Bryn a military background would help her become a kick ass heroine vs. someone who didn’t have the same background?
I had a couple of things I wanted to explore about that … first, there’s this myth that women in the military somehow automatically become ninja warriors. Yes, they’re tough, strong, fast, and they have more hand-to-hand training than 99% of the rest of us. But that doesn’t make them invulnerable, and they can still lose a fight (anyone can, any time, for a number of reasons). So I tried to give her that training, which would help her as the story built, but also make her a little more realistic. I had some great feedback from female soldiers, which was awesome.
The thought of the protocol, that anyone can use over your zombies if very terrifying. What made you decided to introduce that idea?
The more I thought about who would make this drug, and why, it seemed pretty obvious that if you’re going to create a bunch of (essentially) invulnerable soldiers, you’d need a way to control them — a set of failsafe commands to maintain the upper hand if things went south. And it’s pretty frightening to think that your personality can be effectively suspended in pursuit of a protocol mission. (I like scary premises. And there’s nothing scarier than the loss of control — first, the body, through the use of the drug, and then of will, through the protocols.)
The fact that Bryn works at a funeral home is great. It gave her late boss easy access to people to revitalize in order to make money. Was that setting your first idea or did you have a different setting in mind when you were plotting the first book, Working Stiff?
I always wanted the funeral home aspect of it. It was an accidental thing, I met a funeral director who was at a convention and I talked to him about what he did. What struck me was both how businesslike it was, and how he viewed it as a kind of very personal thing, that he was the last person who would do something for the person who had passed away. I really wanted to write a character who had that mindset … that had a much more caring attitude about death and dying than we usually imagine.
If the drug Returne was real would you take it?
Well, most of my characters were never offered a choice … but I’m pretty sure I’d turn it down if I was offered it. Even though it makes you virtually a superhero, the prospect of being under that kind of manipulation really scares me.
Then again … Bryn becomes *really* amazing in her personal journey. I think it’s the vampire question … with the downsides, would you still take virtual immortality?
I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t think very seriously about it …
Thank you again for being part of Stomp vs Romp. It was pleasure having you today.
Thank YOU! STOMP FOR THE WIN!
Already addicted to the pharmaceutical drug that keeps her body from decomposing, Bryn has to stop a secretive group of rich and powerful investors from eliminating the existing Returné addicts altogether. To ensure their plan to launch a new, military-grade strain of nanotech, the investors’ undead assassin—who just happens to be the ex-wife of Bryn’s lover Patrick—is on the hunt for anyone that stands in their way. And while Bryn’s allies aren’t about to go down without a fight, the secret she’s been keeping threatens to put those closest to her in even more danger. Poised to become a monster that her own side—and her own lover—will have to trap and kill, Bryn needs to find the cure to have any hope of preserving the lives of her friends, and her own dwindling humanity…
Rachel Caine is the author of a whole bunch of urban fantasy, including the Weather Warden, Outcast Season, and Revivalist series, plus the young adult Morganville Vampires series as well. She’s a huge fan of both stomp AND romp books!
Rachel is giving away 1 signed copy of TERMINATED