Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Blog Tour Guest Post: Rhiannon Frater

The Creation of Vanguard Maria Martinez of 

Rhiannon Frater

People often ask me how I create my characters. The reality is most just show up in my head in dreams, or sometimes day dreams.

Maria Martinez was born in a dream. It was an incredibly vivid one that immediately sucked me into the reality of The Bastion. When you read the first chapter (not the prologue) of THE LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING, you're reading exactly what I saw in my dream. I was an omniscient observer to Maria’s interaction with her older lover, Dwayne, and their conversation.  My mind’s eye camera swung around them, observing the small flat as they talked, before I caught a glimpse of the enormous dying city just outside her window. I was instantly intrigued with the world and Maria’s story.  When I awakened, I knew that one day I would write about her and the story of The Bastion.

A lot of times readers assume I base characters off a real people. Their appearance, mannerisms, etc. Though a character's traits might end up inspired in some way by someone’s voice or traits, I don’t base my characters on real people. In fact, my characters often don’t resemble anyone I know in real life, or even a celebrity.

Maria Martinez created in The Sims 2
I love the Sims 2 and use the character creation tools to create my novel characters. I find having a representation of my characters helps me in the writing process. I made a Sim of Maria almost as soon as I dreamed about her.  This Sims model of her is pretty close to how I saw her on the movie screen in my mind.  People often ask me to “dream cast” her for film. I always pick Michelle Rodriquez because of their common background, but Maria was not cultivated in her image.  And though I love the cover of the book and feel it captures the essence and power of the plot line, the model is not a lookalike to my internal vision of the character.

Once I had her visual down, I entered Maria's information into yWriter. It’s a free program I use to write all my novels. It has a cool option to create a character directory and it’s a much easier way for me to track the physical traits of my characters.  Sometimes when writing character details may alter a bit, so I often update the character information.

Here is a look at Maria’s entry.

I can also make sure I keep the biographical details of characters straight by using the same option, but under another tab. I update the biography as I write sometimes because characters tend to surprise me. Sometimes I have to set a project aside to finish up revisions on another, so it's always good to have a way to refresh my memory quickly.

I spend a ton of time daydreaming about characters before I ever start writing their novel. I like to know the character before I dive into a project. It makes it much easier to write about them once I understand their personality, their fears and ambitions, and background. A well-formed character basically writes itself.

I really don't know how characters are formed in my imagination. Like I wrote earlier they tend to show up in my dreams, but I love the process of uncovering all the details about them and helping to bring them to life in the pages of my story.

Vanguard Maria Martinez is definitely one of my favorite characters. I'm so glad I was able to tell her story in THE LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING.

Keep reading to find out more about the book, author and giveaway.

The Last Bastion of the Living: A Futuristic Zombie Novel
The Last Bastion of the Living: A Futuristic Zombie Novel 
by Rhiannon Frater 
BUY: Amazon
A walled city surrounded by lush land, protected by high mountain summits, and fortified by a massive gate to secure the only pass into the valley, The Bastion remained humanity’s last hope against the fearsome undead creatures known as the Inferi Scourge. On one fateful day, the valley gate failed and the Inferi Scourge overran and destroyed the human settlements outside the walls, trapping the remaining survivors inside the city. Now, decades later, the last remaining humans are struggling to survive in a dying city of dwindling resources…and dwindling hope. 

Vanguard Maria Martinez has lived her entire life within the towering walls of steel. She yearns for a life away from the overcrowded streets, rolling blackouts, and food shortages, but there is no hope for anyone as long as the Inferi Scourge howl outside the high walls. Her only refuge from the daily grind is in the arms of Dwayne Reichardt, an officer in the Bastion Constabulary. Both are highly-decorated veterans of the last disastrous push against the Inferi Scourge. Their secret affair is her only happiness. 

Then one day Maria is summoned to meet with a mysterious representative from the Science Warfare Division and is offered the opportunity to finally destroy the Inferi Scourge in the valley and close the gate, reclaiming the lost lands and energizing the populace with renewed hope for the future. The rewards of success are great, but she will have to sacrifice everything, possibly even her life, to accomplish the ultimate goal of securing the future of humanity and saving it from extinction. (pic and summary from Goodreads.)

Rhiannon FraterABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Rhiannon Frater was born and raised a Texan. Though she has lived in various towns all over the state, she finally settled in Austin, Texas where she met her husband and worked as a governmental consultant. During her travels for her job, she was inspired to write the story of two women fleeing into the Texas Hill Country in an attempt to survive the zombie apocalypse. Originally published as a serial online under the title AS THE WORLD DIES, she later self-published the series in three novels to satisfy the many fans of the story. The first novel in the series, THE FIRST DAYS, won the 2008 Dead Letter Award for Best Book (Fiction). The second book, FIGHTING TO SURVIVE won the 2009 Dead Letter Award in the same category.

The AS THE WORLD DIES books were purchased by Tor in 2010.The first book, THE FIRST DAYS, was released in July 2011 and received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. The second, FIGHTING TO SURVIVE, was released on November 8, 2011. The third book, SIEGE, will be released in April 2012.

She is also the author of THE LIVING DEAD BOY AND THE ZOMBIE HUNTERS, PRETTY WHEN SHE DIES: A Vampire Novel and two novels in the Vampire Bride Series (THE TALE OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE and THE VENGEANCE OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE). All her works have been optioned for either TV or film.

Rhiannon continues to live in Austin, Texas with her husband and is now a full-time writer. She is represented by Hannah Gordon of the Foundry Literary + Media agency. Find out more by visiting her website.

Rhiannon is giving away an ebook copy of THE LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING.
To enter just tell me what's your favorite zombie book or movie. 
Make sure you leave your email address in your comment. 
Winner will be announced on Friday.

To enter the MAJOR blog tour giveaway

The major giveaway is: 
1 autographed trade paperback of THE LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING 
2 autographed bookmarks 
1 Rhiannon Frater totebag


  1. Thanks for a fun post and interview! Congrats on the new release!

    I love! The Walking Dead :)


  2. My fav zombie books (hands down) are the As The World Dies Series! Zombie movies include 28 Days Later and Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland and Dawn of the Dead!


  3. And so I sound like a copy cat ... Shaun of the Dead is amazing, and of course who doesn't love The Walking Dead. :-)


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