I am excited to welcome author Ryan Hill, who is celebrating the release of his new urban fantasy, Dead New World.
Zombies aren’t mindless anymore.
Before the world fell into chaos, the undead existed only in the imagination. Now, more of them walk the earth than living. Zombies move about freely, while humans entomb themselves inside concrete barricades to stay alive.
All that, while the leader of a powerful cult – known only as Reverend – becomes the next threat to the rebuilding United States. Believing zombies to be God’s latest creation, making humanity obsolete, he wants to give every man, woman, and child the chance to become one. With his combined army of humans and zombies, he may well get his wish.
Best friends Holt and Ambrose went up against the Reverend once. Holt lost a foot and a zombie bit Ambrose…though he survived the virus, only to become a human-zombie hybrid, reviled by the living and unwelcome among the dead. When the Reverend kidnaps the woman Holt loves, the race is on to save her from a fate worse than death.
Make sure you stick around to the end. We’ll be giving away $25 giftcard to Amazon or Barnes & Noble – winners choice.
Interview with Ryan Hill
Literary Escapism: For those of my readers unfamiliar with Dead New World, can you give us a brief look at your novel and what readers can look forward to? Something we haven’t seen yet?
Ryan Hill: When a religious zealot’s army kidnaps the woman he loves, seventeen-year-old Private Stanley Holt risks everything to save her. Accompanied by his best friend, a survivor of the zombie virus, Holt will face zombies, maniacs, and an evil he never saw coming: humans.
Readers can look forward to a novel full of action on a grand scale, a la BLACK HAWK DOWN. Unlike pretty much every zombie story ever created, a select few humans can actually survive a zombie bite. The infection leaves them forever changed, as they’ve become human-zombie hybrids capable of communication with the zombies.
LE: What was it about this world that made you want to share it with everyone? Was there something that inspired you when you began dreaming about this new world?
RH: My main inspiration, and the biggest reason I wrote Dead New World, was the idea that some humans can survive the zombie virus. No virus is ever 100% lethal, and I’d always wanted to see a zombie story reflect that. I’ve never seen it before, and the idea is full of possibilities. Everything else fell into place after that.
LE: What was your inspiration when you created your characters? How did you determine how they were going to interact with each other?
RH: Dead New World takes place seventeen years after the zombie outbreak began, so many of the main characters have only grown up knowing the world to be a terrible, zombie-infested place. The U.S. is trying to rebuild itself, but there are so many zombies out there, the going is very slow. I wanted to give those characters a lived-in feel. The older characters, ones who remember how the world used to be, are all filled with regret over something that happened to them once the outbreak began.
A major factor in figuring out how these characters interact has to do with Ambrose, Holt’s best friend. He survived zombie infection, and as such is kind of trapped between two worlds. Some humans treat him like they would anywhere else, but others fear and despise him. They hate that he’s now part zombie, and some even want him dead.
LE: Why Holt and/or Ambrose? What was it about Holt and/or Ambrose that drew you to them and want to tell their story?
RH: Holt is the eyes and ears of Dead New World. The story is told from his point-of-view. He’s probably the most level-headed character in the story, and because of that he is in the best position to introduce readers to this world. Ambrose, being part zombie, is trying to figure out if he’s still human, or if he’s more monster now. I really wanted to dive into their story, and explore all of the possibilities they had.
LE: Can you introduce us to a few of the side characters that we’ll be meeting or who will play an important role to/for Holt and/or Ambrose?
RH: The most important side characters are The Reverend and Nancy. The Reverend believes zombies are God’s new chosen creatures. As such, he wants to give everyone a chance to become one and step into the light, if you will. He controls an army known as the Horsemen, which is made up of both humans and zombies.
Nancy is a nurse who saves Holt’s life early in Dead New World. While recovering, the two fall for each other. They’re not stationed in the same place, so Holt breaks things off before being sent back to Fort Bragg. He still carries a torch for Nancy, and when she’s kidnapped by The Reverend, he’s willing to risk everything to save her.
LE: Was there any character that didn’t make as big of an impact on the story that you thought they would? Was there a character who stayed on the page longer than you thought they would?
RH: One character who stuck around longer than I’d expected is this mad man named Tobey. He’s been living out in the wild among the zombies for too long, and has a screw or two loose. I wanted Holt and Ambrose to encounter all sorts of characters on their journey to save Nancy, and Tobey wound up being the most interesting, at least to me. I’d initially planned to have him show up in one scene then disappear, but I found a way to put him back in the story at another point. He creates quite the moral dilemma for Holt and Ambrose.
LE: What kind of reading experience are you hoping to create for your readers? What do you want them to come away from your books saying, thinking, and feeling?
RH: More than anything, I want readers to be entertained by my books. Making people think and having an impact on them emotionally is one thing, but I don’t know that it’s possible to do that unless they enjoy the story. I also try to write different stories. My debut novel, The Book of Bart, is more humorous, so I want readers to have a good time (and hopefully a good chuckle or two) reading it. Dead New World, on the other, I want readers to be excited by the action and the horror, and with the zombie hybrids, hopefully they’ll walk away feeling like they read something wholly original in the genre.
LE: What drew you to writing urban fantasy as opposed to other genres?
RH: It’s just more fun, really. Sure, I could write about bored housewives and the lengths they go to fill that empty hole inside of them, but that’s not what I like. I write books that I want to read. I love zombie novels. I love books that make me laugh. Writing in urban fantasy allows me to write what I love, and throw in a paranormal slant on top of it. For me, books should be an escape, and urban fantasies allow readers to not only escape into a book, but escape into a completely different world.
Meet Ryan Hill!
Growing up, Ryan Hill used to spend his time reading and writing instead of doing homework. This resulted in an obsession with becoming a writer, but also a gross incompetence in the fields of science and mathematics. A graduate of North Carolina State University, Ryan has been a film critic for over five years. He lives in Raleigh, NC, with his dog/shadow Maggie. Ryan also feels strange about referring to himself in the third person.
Thank you Ryan for taking the time to stop by Literary Escapism!
As part of his tour, Ryan is giving away a $25 giftcard to either Amazon or Barnes & Noble – winners choice. For even more chances to win, make sure you’re also stopping by one of these fabulous sites: Buy Zombie | LuLo Fangirl | I Smell Sheep | Stuart Conover’s Author Page | I Read Indie | Romance Junkies | Drew Hayes Novels | Indie Authors, Books, and More | Horror Tree | Paranormal Book Club | Run With Jackabee | Sizzling Book Blog | Wicked Lil Pixie | Literal Addiction | Bea’s Book Nook | Not Everyone’s Mama | Tanya’s Book Nook