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Saturday, January 10, 2015

Dead Of Winter by Daryl Banner —Top Reads Published in 2014 —Interview


No one said being an Undead is easy.

Winter’s Second Life became a lot more complicated when the Living moved into her hometown of Trenton. Undead neighbors fight with their Breathing ones. Food is sparse. And, worst of all, the season is taking a change for the colder.

A desperate plea for help to a neighboring city turns deadly and soon Winter finds herself facing an old friend from her past whose plot to annihilate all life on the planet may have everything to do with her.

And what about the man-with-the-heartbeat in her house? Is there even room for love in such a ruined, unforgiving world?

New friends are made. Others are lost forever. In the dead of winter, no one is safe.

Do you have a deleted, alternate, extra or outtake scene to offer?

- - First, let me say how honored I am to have Dead Of Winter chosen for your best books of 2014!! I know you read so many good books, so it's really, truly an honor. Now, on to the question! I don't have an extra scene that I've actually written. But there was a scene I had originally planned to have where our main character Winter happened on a spider-web-ridden forest, which foreshadowed a certain character's existence long before you meet her. The scene ended with her freeing Gunner (or possibly little Megan) from a very sticky web and succeeding in encountering an enormous cockroach, but I didn't include the scene as I felt it was extraneous and - despite the action - would've slowed the momentum of the book.

Who or what has been your biggest inspiration when it comes to writing?

- - Sometimes my stories are a series of key scenes or moments that I can't wait to get to, as I tend to write in order, from beginning of the book to the end, to keep an organic build and a natural momentum. That flow really keeps me inspired. Sometimes it's even music I'm listening to, which kind of provides the 'sound' element that you don't get from just reading, that inspires me and keeps me on fire as I write.

Out of all of your books, which was the most fun to write?

- - I have to say Outlier is one of the most fun experiences I'm having in writing, probably because it is like writing many stories in one, as it switches POV between 8+ main characters, some of whom never meet or even know of the others' existence. So the story constantly feels fresh, exciting, and surprising. Also, it's my first 'adult' book, which is lending me the uninhibited freedom of, plot-wise, going wherever I please -- whether sexually, violently, or otherwise. I'm currently working on the second book in the series called Outlier: Legacy.

What all genres have you written, and do you plan to try anything you haven’t for future writings?

- - So far I've mainly stayed contemporary, or in a branch of science-fiction, like my urban fantasy series Outlier, or my post-apocalyptic The Beautiful Dead trilogy. I would like to write a full-on Fantasy (in my style, of course) at some point. Also I'd like to try a few contemporary stand-alone books soon, as I haven't written a contemporary in over 4 years.

Zombies or living dead are a fairly popular subject matter right now, but your story is like nothing else I’ve seen.  When and how did the idea for The Beautiful Dead series first come to you?

- - Thank you!! To be honest, the idea of The Beautiful Dead came from many places all at once. I had actually never intended it to become a full book - let alone a trilogy! While I was writing "super psycho future killers" I took a much-needed creative break and played a lot of World of Warcraft. Also, I was reading some fantasy books at the time and somewhere between the fantasy and the video game world and my obsession with 'clearing away a world and starting fresh' led me to writing a tiny story (which eventually became the first two chapters of The Beautiful Dead) about a young woman rising from the earth as an Undead and finding herself having to quickly adapt in a world where everything's dead -- and then encountering a handsome human with a heartbeat at the end of the tiny story. I think what makes my series different is that I don't pull inspiration from zombie lore or 'undead books'; Instead, I pull inspiration from 'fantasy' and from magic. That's probably why I have things like warlocks and necromancy threaded through the trilogy rather than viruses and guns. Oh, and there's spiders now. Big spiders. Sorry about that.

Which is your favorite—composing music, writing, acting or drawing?

- - Each becomes my favorite when I'm doing it. When the music's flowing, I don't care about anything else. Then when the words are flowing, I forget the music and the acting. Then sometimes, it's all happening at once, and I'm writing while the music is flowing and my characters feel like a bunch of tiny-me's, acting on the page.

What are you working on presently?  Tell a little about it please.  

- - Right now, I'm working on the second book in the Outlier series called Outlier: Legacy, as well as the final book of The Beautiful Dead trilogy called Almost Alive. I can't give any teasers just yet, but I'll tell you a little about either one:

In Outlier: Legacy, every POV character is finding themselves in far more peril than they've ever been in. Everything that exists in the first book is multiplied tenfold in the second one, and the 'death count' is getting unsettingly high, even for me as the writer. Not everyone's ending is happy, and none of the characters are safe. Also, I'm introducing three new POV characters, all three of whom you met in the first book but whose voices were never fully realized. And they're *all* out for blood.

In Almost Alive, and without spoiling anything that may have occurred in its previous book Dead Of Winter, we find ourselves in a very, very changed setting. The Undead are losing their grip on the world and life is thriving where once it was nearly gone. In this changed world, Winter finds herself face-to-face with problems that have been boiling to a head since the very first book. Feared characters from the first book return, beloved characters from the second book are back, and there is even a surprise or two waiting to reveal themselves in this third and final book, where Winter and her friends reach the conclusion of their undeadly story together.

Thanks again for picking Dead Of Winter as one of your top reads for 2014. I'm thrilled and can't wait to share my next books with you! Here's to an awesome 2015!

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