Thicker Than Blood is one of my top reads for 2015. It's about two best friends attempting to survive a zombie apocalypse. I contacted the authors asking for an interview. They were so kind as to answer all of my questions and give an excerpt on the upcoming novel There Will Be Blood.
Thanks ladies for writing great books and taking the time for us fans.
A true friendship never dies.
Leisel and Evelyn lost everything. Husbands. Families. Friends. Lives that made sense. All they had left was each other, and a friendship that could withstand anything…
Even an apocalypse.
Until one fateful night, the marginal safety they’d come to rely on comes to a vicious and brutal end. With the help of Alex & Jami, both unlikely allies, Leisel and Evelyn are able to escape their shattered sanctuary only to find themselves face-to-face with a much altered, much crueler life where they have to find the way—and the will—to stay alive in a world they no longer recognize.
Traveling across a broken and infection-ridden country; the road-weary group are pitted against endless violence, improbable circumstances, and the ultimate loss.
Everything comes at a price—especially safety, the cost of which could very well strip them of the one thing they’ve tried so hard to cling to: their humanity.
Yet along with all the trials they’re forced to endure, there’s also hope in the form of love. Having loved Leisel from afar, Alex attempts to put the pieces of her fractured heart back together.
But in such a savage world, is there room for love?
In a place of nightmares-made-reality, where the living should be feared far more than the dead, an unbreakable friendship and a love amongst all odds can mean the difference between life and death.
There are friends…
And then there are Leisel and Evelyn.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:
1. What led to your decision to write about zombies? Do you remember the first book, show or movie about the undead that caught your attention? Do you have any favorites?
Claire: It was one of Romero’s first movies that actually caught my attention ‘Night of the Living Dead’ that triggered a lifelong love of the undead for me, and even after all these years, it’s still one of my favourite movies.
The first zombie book I wrote was – ODIUM THE DEAD SAGA – and I wanted to write a character that was realistic and made the same choices that an average person would make, instead of the silly choices that are seen in movies.
Favourite books is a harder one, but I think Tracey Ward’s – WRITING ON THE WALL – series is one of my favourites.
Madeline: What led to my decision to write about a zompoc world? It was something I’d always planned on doing once my current projects were finished but when Claire approached me with an idea for a joint project I was too excited to put it off!
George Romero’s ‘Night of theLiving Dead’ was also my first introduction to zombies, after that…well, now I own every zombie film I can get my hands on, it’s also my favorite genre to read. Oh, wow, my first zombie book…? I honestly have no idea, it must not have made much of impact on me! Ha. Now, I have so many favorites! Claire’s Odium Saga, Daryl Banner’s The Beautiful Dead series, both of Tracey’s Wards zombie series…the list is endless. Basically, if there’s a book about a zompoc world, chances are I’ve probably read it.
2. Thicker than Blood centers around best friends. Beneath Blood and Bone is more of a romance. What can we expect from There Will Be Blood?
Claire: I think There Will Be Blood will be less about love and more about hate and anger. Liv is an incredibly dangerous character to be around. She’s like a black void that sucks you into her anger and hate. Is there any redemption for her? I’m not sure at this point. But as with all the books in the series, there will be some romance, some heartbreak and a lot of twists and turns.
Madeline: ^ What she said. I’ll add that redemption really isn’t a theme Claire and I are striving for. We pick and choose our characters and we simply tell THEIR story. Whether they are redeemed or not, or even need to be, is entirely up to the reader.
3. Do you know how many books this series will have?
Claire: Well, there was only ever meant to be Thicker than Blood, and yet here we are on to the third in the series, so I think we’re both just taking it a book at a time right now.
Madeline: I’ll just add that as our characters developed in Thicker Than Blood we realized there was so much more story to tell, and it simply evolved from there.
4. Can you tell us if the main characters from TTB and BBB will show up in future books?
Claire: No, my lips are sealed on this one. Sorry, haha!
Madeline: Pffft! You’ll just have to wait and see!
5. Did you map out a storyline before writing or did you let the story come to you as you wrote it?
Claire: We loosely plot where we want the story to go and then work from there. I think we both feel better creatively having only a loose plot and letting the rest of the story fall in to place as we write it.
Madeline: I like outlines, but I also like when the story takes on a life of its own and runs in the opposite direction. Which is what always happens when Claire and I write together.
6. What projects are you guys working on together and individually for 2016?
Claire: Together we have – ‘There Will Be Blood’ & ‘Shut Up & Love Me’.
Individually I have quite a lot on this year. Everything from witches, to vampires, to zombies, to apocalyptic and dystopian romance to even some suspense thrillers! 2016 is set to be a busy year for me!
Madeline: Ditto on There Will Be Blood and Shut Up and Love Me.
I’ve also got the 5th book in my UnDeniable series and the fourth and final book in my Holy Trinity series planned for release in 2016.
7. What were your reactions to being one of the top votes in horror on Goodreads for 2015? (Congratulations!)
Claire: After getting over my shock, I was over the freaking moon! There were some amazing books on that list and to be a part of that is an honor.
Madeline: Thank you! It was such an honor, and making it to the final round was so incredible!
It is the end of the world…
They call him Eagle. Like the grand and beautiful animal that symbolizes freedom. And during these dark times, when humanity is full of nothing but suffering, a man with such a powerful name should be a beacon of hope.
He is anything but.
Her name is Autumn. Though she hasn’t said this name, or much of anything else, in the four years since the fall of civilization. A shell of her former self, and living wild in a cave at the bottom of a ravine, Autumn is accustomed to being alone. She prefers it actually, especially when her only other options for company are either trying to kill her, or worse, lock her up inside their walls.
Captured by Eagle’s people Autumn is suddenly thrust back into the land of the living, though she would hardly call it living. The community of Purgatory is full of sinners, the most evil of which seem to have set their sights on her.
In an act born of anger and defiance, Eagle becomes Autumn’s unexpected savior forcing these two solitary people into one another’s broken worlds. Neither knows quite what to make of the other, but one thing is certain.
To survive Purgatory, they will need to learn how to rely on each other; a feat that could quite possibly teach them how to live again.
ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE SURVIVAL: WOULD YOU RATHER?
LARGE GROUP OR COMPLETELY ALONE?
Madeline: Large group! More zombie bait! ;)
SUBURBS or SWAMP?
Madeline: The suburbs. I wouldn’t have the first clue how to survive in the swamp. I’d probably get eaten by an alligator. Or is it a crocodile? Gah. Cut me some slack, I’m a NY girl.
HANDGUN or CLEAVER?
Madeline: Cleaver. With my luck I’d shoot everything but my target.
CLEAN CLOTHES or MEDICINE?
Madeline: Medicine. Definitely.
FAVORITES TV SHOW, BAND, VEGETABLE, SHOES, and VIDEO GAME
Claire: TV Show- I have too many, so I’ll just list three! TWD, AHS, I used to love True Blood!
Band- I have extremely eclectic tastes. I like a little of everything from Johnny Cash to Feeder, to ACDC to Mudvayne, to Boy Sets Fire…I could go on, but I won’t. Haha! I rarely listen to an album all the way through and generally listen to random songs instead.
Shoes- Doc Martins! Lol
Video Game- I’m terrible at video games, I don’t have the patience. I’m normally my husbands wingman and watch while he plays, telling him where all the bad guys are haha
Madeline: Hm…currently I’d say my favorite show on TV is The Walking Dead. Other favorites include: Pretty Little Liars, Supernatural, Grey’s, Viking’s and The Originals. I’m a big fan of BBC shows, documentaries, and history specials as well.
My favorite band is hands down Social Distortion…with Sublime and Operation Ivy as close seconds. Although I tend to listen to more rockabilly and punk than anything else, I too am very eclectic when it comes to music. If the beat is badass or the lyrics move me, I’ll listen to it, love it and dance to in my underwear when no one is home.
My favorite vegetable? Avocado. Wait, is that a vegetable? Be right back. *runs to google* DAMMIT! It’s a fruit. Foiled again. I’m just going to be safe and say carrots.
As for shoes, that’s like asking me who my favorite kid is… I love shoes and purses and clothing and makeup and I can’t decide. It’s unfair to even ask. I can tell you which ones I wear the most: my Uggs.
Video games! I love-love-love video games. My fav? Child of Light. Even though it came out a few years back it’s still one I love to play. Visually, it’s phenomenal. But when I’m playing with my six year old son we’re all about Mario Kart, Mario Party, and Legends of Zelda.
Fantastical realm dweller Madeline Sheehan is the USA Today bestselling author of the Holy Trinity Trilogy and Undeniable Series.
A Social Distortion enthusiast, lover of mud and anything deemed socially inappropriate, Madeline was homegrown in Buffalo, New York, where she can be found engaging in food fights and video game marathons with her husband and son.
A reader and writer of dark paranormal romances and zombie horror, plus a ton of other things to give you chills!
She lives in the United Kingdom with her three young daughters, husband and one scruffy dog!
Claire C Riley’s 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.
THERE WILL BE BLOOD – SNEAK PEEK
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THERE WILL BE BLOOD
(Thicker Than Blood #3)
Coming in 2016
© Madeline Sheehan & Claire C. Riley 2015-2016
I was going to kill them.
Lying flat on my back on the cold stone cement, I brought the top half of my body up, almost touching my elbows to my knees. What number sit-up was I on? I didn’t know, I’d lost count. This was my routine. Pushups until my arms burned, sit-ups until my stomach cramped and then I would run in place until my legs felt like jelly and I could no longer stand.
Every last one of them, I was going to tear to shreds. Even if I had to do it with my own two hands, I’d find a way to destroy them all.
Nobody treated me this way.
And yet, lately, everyone had been treating me this way.
First Eagle and his little peeshwank bitch, and now Jeffers.
Rolling over, I pushed myself up and leaned my back against the wall damp and dirty wall.
Jeffers. Couyon. My nostrils flared. God, what I wouldn’t give to see him die, watch as the life faded from him, useless man that he was. With any luck, he was dying right now, from the bullet I’d sent through his side. A smile crept across my face as I prayed he’d already bled out. And if not, then I prayed for an infection to set in.
My smiled deepened. I hoped it was a painful, and horribly slow death. I hope he felt himself rotting away.
It was the least he deserved for letting Eagle and his whore leave Purgatory, and then for locking me away. And after all I done for him, been for him. He’d locked me away!
Through narrowed eyes, I glanced around my prison cell. It was the same room I’d locked others in over the years, forcing them to wait in darkness and solitude before presenting them with the fight to their death.
It wasn’t any better than the shack I’d grown up in, though this may have actually been somewhat cleaner, and was devoid of the many smells of the swamp I’d once lived. Also blessedly absent was my bon rien papa: a drunk who couldn’t keep a job…or his hands to himself.
My hands balled into fists and I squeezed until I felt my nails split the skin on my palms. Bowing my head, several strands of greasy hair fell over my eyes. How long were they going to keep me in here, feeding me their leftover slop! Me!
I had no idea how much time had passed. There were no windows, no light except for the slivers that shone from the hallway when a pair of guards would come to bring me my meals or to empty the bucket I was forced to use as a toilet.
Always two guards would come, sometimes three, as if they didn’t trust me to behave. I giggled. They were right not to trust me. I could not be trusted and neither would I ever behave.
My gaze dropped to my lap at my crisscrossed legs and bare feet and my smile fell away. I was filthy, my jeans and top were smeared with dirt from the floor and walls, as were my feet, and I was soaked with sweat, and god only knew what else.
I’d promised myself long ago I’d never be filthy again.
I’d promised myself a lot of things over the course of my thirty years on this earth, and yet every time I thought I’d managed one of my goals, something always got in my way.
This time it had been Eagle.
It had always been Eagle I’d wanted, never Jeffers; sad sack of shit that he was. But Eagle hadn’t wanted me, he hadn’t wanted anyone, and I’d been forced to settle for Jeffers if I’d wanted to be anything other than one of the many whores Purgatory offered.
I wasn’t a whore.
But then, finally Eagle had wanted someone.
Just not me.
Footsteps in the hall had my ears twitching. They grew louder, closer; the dull pound of hardened rubber against cement telling me one of two things. Either it was time to eat, or time to switch my bucket.
My heart beat sped as anger coursed through me. How long would I be kept in here? And, how could Jeffers do this to me?
The chains on the door jangled loudly, followed by several wooden creaks. I took a calming breath, and when that didn’t work I tried grinding my teeth and squeezing my fists tighter, worsening the pain radiating through my hands.
“You will get through this,” I gritted out softly. “You’ve lived through worse.”
The door pushed open, and light flooded the room. So accustomed to the dark, even the florescent light from the lamps strung to the halls was enough to momentarily blind me and leave me seeing spots.
While I blinked repeatedly, the footsteps grew closer, much closer than they normal did until I could practically feel the large presence looming over me.
I stayed utterly still, not willing to as much as breathe in case this was it. Would it be a swift death? Or would I be taken to the pits, forced to fight a rotter or worse, one of my own fighters?
I would lose. I wasn’t big enough, wasn’t physically strong enough to go up against any one of my fighters. And after all I’d put them through, they’d undoubtedly take pleasure in prolonging my death.
My only option was to escape. To somehow fight my way out of here. I only hoped I had enough strength to accomplish it. The lack of sunlight, and what little food and water they’d been giving me had left me weaker than I’d felt in a long time.
How long had I been in here?
I blinked against my watery eyes, attempting to put a face to the shadow above me.
Golden brown skin, a shorn head of black hair, dark yet soft eyes, and unfairly symmetrical and handsome features. And beneath his baggy clothing, I knew there was body built specifically to please a woman.
Ademar—known as Adam around Purgatory—was here. But why? We might have shared a few orgasms, but I hadn’t been born yesterday. The man hated me as much as everyone else did.
“Jeffers is dying.” His tone was oddly blank, devoid of his usual good nature. It threw me for a loop, having never heard him sound so…cold. Adam wasn’t cold—even after all he’d been through. He was infuriatingly happy and uncommonly good.
“So fucking what?” I shot him a nasty smile and shrugged my aching shoulders. He knew Jeffers meant very little to me. The man had always been and would always be a means to an end. He’d never loved me, and I’d never loved him. We served a mutual purpose to one another, even though his purpose in my life had always been far from satisfying.
Now, Eagle… That had been a satisfying man. Until, he too, had become weak and useless.
Adam dropped down on one knee before me and I shot a glance at the door. Two guards stood there—guards that had once taken orders from me—with their weapons pointed at my head. I couldn’t take them, but if I lunged, maybe I could catch one of them off guard, take their weapon and shoot my way out of here.
“Only a few of us know,” he continued. “Tryin’ to keep the peace and all. But Jeffers doesn’t have a successor lined up—
“He did,” I spat, feeling a surge of bitterness. “Eagle.”
Adam’s brow rose. “Yeah, puta, not much good that does us now, does it?”
“What do you want, pretty boy?” Craning my neck, I glared up at him. “Did you come here to gloat?” I laughed loudly. “Go right ahead, I don’t give a fuck what you think.”
“We’re staging a coup before all hell breaks loose.” His deep voice was considerably lower as he let me in on his secret. Pausing, he shot a glance at the two guards by the door. “Only a few of us are in on it.”
Shock rippled through me. A coup? Adam, and whoever his merry band of misfit guards were, were going to overthrow Jeffers reign? My shock bled quickly to excitement.
“You need me,” I purred, unclenching my fists and reaching for him. He slapped my hands away and I fought the urge to punch him. He hadn’t found me so repulsive not all that long ago. He hadn’t slapped me away then.
“I do,” he agreed, grimacing. “You’ve been a figurehead here a long time now. I’m going to need your support on this if I want them to listen to me.”
“If you want them not to riot and kill you,” I corrected him, forcing myself to sound as sweet as cane sugar. “Get me out of here, and I’ll make sure the crown passes to you. And me of course,” I added.
Cocking his head to one side, Adam stared at me, his expression still unusually blank.
“You’re misunderstanding me,” he said softly. “I don’t want the crown. I want the power so I can change this place. But these people are too used to being treated like animals. That’s where you come in. You show your support of me, they’ll trust me, and then slowly I’ll start to change things.”
“And what about me?” I hissed. Now that I understood what he wanted—to use me like a whore for his own gains—what would happen when I was of no use to him anymore? What would my fate be?
“You’ll do as you’re told,” he whispered cruelly. “Exactly as you’re told…or you will die.”
I opened my mouth, and Adam held his hand up. “You will die in this room. Alone. You won’t have some grand exit, you won’t be able to take anyone down with you. You’ll wither away right the hell here, until there’s nothing left.”
My insides were trembling, raging, as I stared up at him. He was no better than the others. No better than any man I’d ever encountered. He wanted to use, and use and use, and then discard when the worth had run dry.
No matter how hard I fought, I would never be one of them: one of the women who was cherished and revered for her strength and tenacity. I would always be the piece of garbage I was born to be. Like gratin, usually forgotten about and thrown away.
“Fuck you,” I hissed. “Fuck your coup, and fuck you!”
Adam jumped to standing. “Goodbye, Liv.”
My heart racing, my thoughts spinning, I watched with both anger and sorrow as he headed toward the door.
I couldn’t die in here. Not after everything. I had to make this work somehow. Somehow I would find my legs once again and I would use them to trample them all. I would make them all pay.
I just needed time. Time to form a plan and gain allies. And Adam would unknowingly give me that time.
As the guards parted and Adam moved between them, I scrambled to my feet.