Welcome to the 3rd annual zOctober event hosted here on My Book Addiction! I’m super thrilled to have so many fabulous authors on the blog, as well as so many incredible fans stopping by to see what’s new in the zombie world. Thank you to everyone for being here!! Let’s welcome our next author….
by Claire C. Riley
Series: The Dead Saga #1
Publication date: September 2013
Genre: Horror, Zombies
It’s better to die by the gun than die by the dead.
Nina’s life was irrevocably changed when humanity’s dead began to rise.
Now, she lives behind the walls.
The barricaded cities, erected by the government to protect the remnants of civilization, have become a brutal dictatorship- causing the inhabitants within to starve, steal and claw for survival. Life behind the walls has become as terrifying as roaming the zombie-ridden landscape beyond.
Citizens trade what they can to gain food, water, and shelter. Nina has only one currency—her body and she is tired of submitting herself to the greedy hands of the self-proclaimed leaders.
An opportunity to escape presents itself in the fate of a young girl named Emily-Rose. For the price of a stale piece of bread, she is set for banishment from the city, and most likely a horrific death at the hands of the deaders. Nina tells herself that it is sympathy and not self-preservation that makes her follow the young girl out of the walled metropolis, and into the overgrown world beyond.
Unused to fighting the deaders, Nina tries to scrounge for her survival and against her better judgment, begins to care for Emily-Rose. However, when you have a bread-stealing liability providing your only back up, survival seems even tougher. Nina is forced to fight for their lives, and with every zombie slain, she becomes fiercer, faster – a grim reaper with her not-so-sharp butcher’s knife.
Along the path to a safe-haven that might not exist, Nina and Emily-Rose meet Mikey who introduces them to a new life they could not imagine, a life above the ground. However, this new world brings new dangers, and darker shadows than she knew.
Nina finds out that the deaders aren’t the only thing to fear beyond the wall.
And that fear will not be ignored, or Forgotten.
~Interview with Nina~
Nina takes a seat in front of Toni, laying her katana across her lap. She’s filthy covered in zombie gore after a struggle to initially get in the bunker.
“That was some crazy shit out there. How did you get in here without getting attacked?” *waves hand* “you know what, don’t tell me, I don’t want to know. Let’s just get this over with.”
Q1. Submitted by Giles Batchelor:
Which food/restaurant do you miss the most?
Nina: You know, pre-apocalypse I always tried to eat healthy, thinking that’s what you had to do to ensure a healthy life. I was constantly denying myself takeout and doughnuts and such, and Ben—my husband was always berating me for missing out. I really wish I had listened to him. Not only would the extra stored body fat have been useful over the last couple of years, but now I know that none of that shit even matters. The only thing that’s going to ensure a healthy life is a sharp blade, and cutting out my cholesterol isn’t going to do jack for me right now.
So which foods and restaurants do I miss the most? All of them. Chinese, Italian, steak, pastry. I miss them all. I miss food in general. I miss cake. I miss coffee. I miss the ease of a microwave. *leans back in chair* great, now I’m hungry!
Q2. What is your biggest regret from how you handled the start of the outbreak?
Nina: My biggest regret? I don’t have just one. I have many, and they are the regrets that keep me awake at night. They haunt my soul. *Is silent for several moments before speaking again* I wish I had stayed on the run and never gone behind the walls. I wish I hadn’t been such a bitch to everyone, especially Emily. And I wish I hadn’t had so many pee breaks and then maybe Ben would still be here, with me, where he should be. I wish I could have saved more people. I wish I hadn’t been so blind to my own misery and rage. But most of all, if I could go back to simpler times, I wish with all my heart that I would have been more prepared. *shakes head* Damn it, we were all so underprepared.
Q3. The following questions were submitted by Dorothy Cannon O’Keeffe.
What do you consider to be the most important things to have in an apocalypse?
Nina: There are many things that are important to have during an apocalypse from a good solid weapon, clean drinkable water, and somewhere safe sleep at night. But if there is anything that the last couple of years has shown me, it’s that the main thing that you need is someone to have your back. You need someone to exist with you through this nightmare. You need to know that you’re not alone in all of this. Because if you don’t, if you try to exist in solitude, you’re already dead.
Q4. Do you feel men have had the upper hand/control since the start of the outbreak?
Nina: *laughing* Fuck no! They just think they do. *looks away thoughtfully* I mean, they initially assumed more power than women, but I truly believe that women are just as strong as men. Some of the women I have met over the last couple of years—Crunch, Nova—damn those were some tough bitches. They fought with the best of them. But the thing is, men are arrogant, at least the ones that are always trying to assume control of everything. They think that they can run it all and have it all, when in truth, we all need each other to keep this thing we call life from burning away.
Q5. What makes you feel safe at night?
Nina: *looks confused* Nothing. I never feel safe. In the years since this all started, I’ve never gone to sleep feeling like things will be okay, that I won’t wake up in danger, or that I won’t lose yet another person I care about that day. And you know why? Because we’re not safe. And I don’t know if we ever will be again.
Q6. Do you prefer larger or smaller groups on day to day survival?
Nina: I prefer groups that can handle their own and aren’t full of whack jobs trying to control me and everyone else. Whether that group consists of three people or five people or ten people is irrelevant. *picks up rock and begins to sharpen katana on it*
Q7. Is it harder to kill a zombie child than an adult?
Nina: Are you fucking kidding me with this question? *drags hands through hair and stares at her feet* It’s hard to kill all of them. Not one of the monsters that I’ve killed doesn’t play on my mind. Mother, father, son, daughter, baby, they were all a someone once. They belonged to someone. They loved, and they were loved. Killing zombies is a necessity, I’ve accepted that, but I don’t enjoy it like some people. I’m just not ready to die yet.
So is it harder to kill a kid zombie than an adult one? Not really. It sickens me all the same.
Q8. Questions submitted by Carrie Shaw Jones.
What do you miss most about life before zombies?
Nina: Everything, I miss everything. Hot showers, a working refrigerator, a warm bed and a night curled on the sofa watching a movie with a glass of wine. But I guess if I had to narrow it down to just one thing then I think that JD (from book 1) had it right when he said that he missed the simplest things in life, like waking up with a loved one and enjoying the moment with them without having to get up and kill a zombie every two minutes. Seriously, that shit gets old real quick. I would love for things to be simple, stress free and normal for just a day.
Q9. What are your top three zombie apocalypse survival items?
Nina: A machete or a katana…or a scythe! *looks excited* Okay, so anything very sharp is just a win in my book. Guns are great, no doubt, it means you don’t have to get up close and personal with the deaders, but guns are also noisy as hell and pretty useless when you run out of bullets. But of course I wouldn’t ever turn down a gun. < em>*laughs* Number two would be rope. It’s so ridiculously useful, for like, everything! As a snare, to tie yourself into a tree at night, to pull yourself up a mountain…okay, so that last part is unlikely but whatever, it kinda happened to me when we escaped the Forgotten. So remember, rope is stupidly useful.
And number three? *grins* a damn good pair of Doc Martins, obviously.
Q10. Nina, I’m dying to know how you take care of your monthly visitor during the apocalypse?
Nina: Let me tell you that it’s haaaard being a woman in these times. Like, ridiculously hard. And yes, my monthly friend is a nightmare. Blood attracts zombies…you get the idea. But to give you full transparency on the situation, I can tell you this. I don’t get many ‘monthly visitors’ anymore. I’m too malnourished, and my body too weak most of the time to even consider things like this. But when it does happen, it’s not pleasant, it’s uncomfortable, it’s frightening because of the extra dangers it brings upon me, but it’s also somewhat satisfying. It means I’m still alive, and that I’m still fighting.
But I will say that old clothes get used for that job. It’s unhygienic, no doubt, but that doesn’t faze me anymore. I mean, what are you going to do? It’s not like you can stop at a pharmacy and get supplies. *shrugs*
Q11. Question submitted by Lindy Spencer.
I met you, Nina, when you first started this…uh, shall we call it an adventure? Thinking back, how difficult was it to go from normal life to being the badass woman you are today? Do you have nightmares you don’t talk about?
Nina: I wouldn’t call myself badass, at all, *laughs* but I’ll take the compliment. They tend to be few and far between these days. But to answer your question, has it been difficult? More difficult than I could ever begin to explain. But as much as I can, I try not dwell too much on the bad parts.
I mean, it’s all just one giant smudge of fucking bad of course, but, *shakes head* I’m not making myself clear. *stands up and paces the bunker* it’s all shit, you know? It’s all shit, and everyone is just trying to get through the shit the best they can. Do I have nightmares? Hell yes I do. Will I ever talk about them? No.
Q12. Question submitted by Heather Nielson.
What is your favorite kill?
Nina: Did you miss the part earlier where I said I hated killing these things? *sits back down and glares* okay, so there have been a couple of kills which have been…fun, I guess. Don’t fucking judge me on this, okay?
A couple of years back, when I was behind the walls, I was helping to secure the top of the wall because it was crumbling away. Anyway, so these deaders came over to investigate what all the noise was. So the guy I was working with, Andy, he gets irritated with them staring at us and he throws this great big handful of cement at one of them, and it sticks, ya’ know. I couldn’t help but laugh, it was like lumpy porridge sliding down its rotten face. So we both begin chucking handfuls of the cement at the deaders, and it’s all fun and games. These things look ridiculous covered in this stuff, and we’re laughing and laughing, and it felt so damned good to laugh like that.
And then as Andy is leaning over to drop another handful on to one of the deader’s heads, he slips. *snaps fingers* And like that, he’s gone.
*stops laughing and looks away* so Andy hits the ground, and he’s dead on impact, of course he is, right, and thank the lord for that sweet mercy. The deaders, they smell the blood straight away and they fucking pounce on him, and just start pulling him apart, hands diving elbow deep into his stomach and pulling out intestines and stuff I don’t even want to describe.
And I just got so damned angry, but all I had was the cement and the stupid orange bucket. So I chucked it at them—the entire bucket filled with the rest of the cement, and this stupid orange bucket hits the side of one deaders head and its skull was soft like fucking baby food. I don’t even understand why, or why, but the bucket just lodges itself in his skull. *looks back up with tears glistening in her eyes* it stops eating my friend and it falls forwards over Andy’s body and the other deader stops eating and is just looking at the one with the bucket lodged in its head like ‘dude, get out of the way, you’re getting cement all over my lunch’ *laughs until she has to wipe tears away* it was the craziest fucking thing. Death by cement bucket.
Q13. Question submitted by San DK
What drives you to carry on when everything is the way it is? What’s the motivation?
Nina: You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve asked myself that exact same question. Why? Why do I keep on going? But when everything gets bad and the bad thoughts whisper to me to end it all, I hear Ben’s voice telling me to be strong, to keep going and to never give up. And so I keep on going. I keep on fighting. And I keep on living. I’m not done with this life yet, no matter how shitty is can be. Ben wouldn’t want me to give up, and so I won’t.
Q14. Do you feel any hope for the future? Or do you think it’s just a matter of surviving for as long as you can?
Nina: To be blunt, yeah, that’s exactly how it is. There is no hope, but I’ll keep on going, I’ll keep on fighting and trying for as long as I can.
Q15. Question submitted by Pheebz Petenstine.
If given the chance for a do over, would you still go over the wall in defense of the young girl?
Nina: *looks thoughtful for several moments* Yes, I would. I only wish I could have done more for Emily.
Toni: Well, I think we’re done for now. Thanks for dropping by and answering these questions for us, and good luck.
Nina: No problem. What else did I have to do with my day? *laughs*
Toni: So, will we be seeing the next installment of your journey soon?
Nina: You sure will. Odium 0.5 The Dead Saga – My full story from the start of the apocalypse to what happened behind the walls – is coming in around two weeks, and Odium IV should be out Late Winter/early Spring 2016.
Toni: So listen, a lot of people have also asked me to find out this one last thing.
Nina: *stands up and heads to the door, she pauses and looks back* What is it?
Toni: Will you be in Odium IV The Dead Saga? Or did the Forgotten kill you at the mall?
Nina: *grins and grips her katana tighter* Guess you’ll all just have to read the next book and find out.
Thank you so much for another phenomenal zOctober, Claire! How awesome to get to sit down with Nina. I don’t know how this can be topped. Happy zOctober to you and Nina. Xx ~ Toni
The Complete Odium Series (so far)
Reading order so far:
Odium 0.5 Nina’s Origin (coming November!)
Odium The Dead Saga
Odium Origins A Dead Saga Novella Part One
Odium II The Dead Saga
Odium Origins A Dead Saga Novella Part Two
Odium III The Dead Saga
Odium Origins A Dead Saga Novella Part Three Nina’s Origin (L.E.A &
D.E.A) Coming Spring 2016
Odium IV The Dead Saga – coming Spring 2016
~About the Author~
Claire C. Riley is a USA Today Bestselling author and #1 Bestselling British Horror writer.
Her work is best described as the modernization of classic, old-school horror. She fuses multi-genre elements to develop storylines that pay homage to cult-classics while still feeling fresh and cutting-edge. She writes characters that are realistic, and kills them without mercy.
Claire lives in the UK with her husband, three daughters, and one scruffy dog. She is a lover of epic romances, eater of cake and hater of sprouts!
Claire’s Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
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