The release party is all set for May 17th, 2:00pm-4:00pm, at Barnes & Noble Fullerton. You can join the Facebook event here to keep aware of any updates. Shares and RSVPs make me do happy dances!
The book will be available all over on Tuesday and is already available on Amazon!
10 Things You Didn't Know About F.J.R. Titchenell
2: Minus the zombies, my husband and I actually did most of the road trip the characters of Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know of) take. We went even further, all the way to Maine.
3: I have dual American and Australian citizenship. My mother is Australian.
4: Yes, I like vegemite... (You can read the full list here)
The Creation of Cassie Fremont
Even in those days, while writing a very standard fantasy story, I wasn't someone who would or could write a standard golly-gee romantic and naive heroine. Audrey from The Accidental Changeling was a jaded, sarcastic little con artist, and I think the biggest problem the series had, other than being ill-timed and a generally rough early work, was that, while Audrey and her world were both decently fleshed out, they were smothering each other. I kept having to come up with increasingly convoluted reasons why she kept letting herself get caught up in the manipulative mentor's master plan and the two love interests' lifelong pissing match instead of saying, "Screw this, I'm not playing anymore."
Her common sense limited the standard tropes I could embrace, while the tropes I couldn't avoid really limited her chances to be herself.
Lucky for me, I'd also spent those three years delving into full-on horror geekery, and my habit for fantasy was beginning to feel more like a childhood relic than who I really was.
That's when Cassie came along... (You can read the full article here)
Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (And Its Author)
How did you become interested in writing? My life has always been about stories and books. My earliest memories are of the reading circle my parents used to take me to when I was little. I started making up my own stories at the same time I was learning to read. It took me until my late teens to feel confident enough to share any fiction I'd put any real heart into, though. Until then, I spent a while trying out other art forms that didn't make me feel quite so exposed, like theater and music, but they were never a substitute.
Explain the plot of Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I know Of). Well, Cassie becomes the first zombie slayer by accident and happenstance when she sees the first zombie rise and, because she's a geek, instinctively smashes its brain. She survives the apocalypse because she's being kept in a holding cell by the very confused cops, and when the last traces of organization are gone, she escapes to find her friends barricaded in the resort where their parents would have been... if there were any of their parents left. Most of her friends. Lis is missing, stranded in New York City where she was visiting her father. And "friends" is a loose term for some of the group that's left with Cassie in Hollywood. With nowhere else to go, together they embark on an epic road trip across zombie-infested America to find their lost friend, and along the way, they have to learn to get along, keep their sanity (and sense of humor!), and start their lives over. Cassie and her best friend, Norman, can definitely use the chance to see each other in new light.
The beginning of the book is quite shocking (to me, at least!). How did you manage to keep such a lighthearted tone for your main character in such a dark situation? As my theater teacher used to say, comedy and tragedy are two sides of the same coin. If someone else slips on a banana peel, that's comedy, if we slip on a banana peel ourselves, that's tragedy. When we see pain, we either want to cry, or we want to laugh, or both. It's a twisted defense mechanism we have, and that Cassie has a lot of, and as a writer, you have a lot of power over which reaction to invite... (You can read the full interview here)
Book Review: Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know of)
The book is written from a first-person viewpoint and in the style of a running memoir or journal. That is something you don’t see all the time, and it worked rather well. Cassie, the main character, has a lot of spunk and she has an edge to her that works well within the confines of the story. As the zombie outbreak gains steam and she and her friends are thrust into survival mode as they try to make it from California to New York to rescue a family member, Cassie has to make some tough decisions. She also has to deal with trying to keep the group rolling along with as little tension as possible. At the beginning of the story a character known as The Boy Scout takes charge of the group, using is rather obsessive Boy Scout training to try and keep them all safe. He knows what he is doing for the most part, but he still buckles under the pressure from time to time... (You can read the full review here)
Blog Tour & Giveaway: Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know of)
Why zombies? I never actually made a conscious decision to write a zombie story. Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know of) just popped into my head one morning, the whole first chapter materialized in a few hours, and I knew I had to follow it.
I already loved zombies, as big brainless targets for silly action, and as a foundation for stories both light and dark about how characters live in a world without the structure and civilization we know.
It wasn’t until I started writing the book that I realized how much teenage girls have been left out of the fun side of zombies. The grim side has been well covered in YA, but zombie comedies tend to be more grown up guy-oriented, and I wanted to share that half of the zombie equation with new zombie geeks, especially girls.
Have you always wanted to write for a YA audience? Was there anything you felt was harder or easier once you started?Apart from a brief time in college when the novelty of adulthood led me to try adult contemporary fiction, yes, I’ve always been a YA person. Those are the books that cemented my love of books in general and helped me through some of my toughest times, so those are the kinds of books I wanted to create.
Characterization got a lot easier for me once I started getting the hang of things. That was always a big concern for me, getting a feel for who I’m writing about, and I’d call it one of my strengths now.
Outlines, on the other hand, have remained surprisingly hard for me. I’m an outline person. I like to have a plan, I like technical details, and I’m one of those annoying people always predicting how storytelling conventions will compel other people’s stories to end, yet when I sit down to lay out the outlines for my own books, I spend an embarrassing amount of time wrestling with the blank page... (You can read the full interview here)