Author Interview: Meredith Russell

Good afternoon Meredith! Congratulations on the release today of your new M/M romance ‘Dead Things’...

I just have to say that he blurb for the new book is awesome...

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A deadly virus rages indiscriminately across the United States and then beyond. The survivors face a new terror--the undead creatures created in the wake of the infection.

Devin Reid is part of a group surviving out of a high-security penitentiary near Kansas City. Resources are limited and it's down to a handful of people like Devin to meet the demands on food and supplies. The newly-made monsters are hungry, and the survivors risk their lives scavenging the cities and highways.

On one fateful venture, Devin finds something, someone, with the potential to change a dark future, destined for blood and heartbreak, into one of hope and second chances. He finds Noah Weber.

* * * * *

RJ: How the hell did you come up with a story this immense and sweeping?
MR: It’s hard to remember where the story began really. Certainly, I have always been a fan of the horror genre in books, movies and TV, so I decided to start with something I know and love. I went with zombies just because it offered lots of possibilities to explore human reaction and the need to survive. It was quite interesting looking things up - like what would happen with power and food and things we take for granted. Not necessarily the usual backdrop of a romance story, but I have to say it was fun to create this world for my characters to exist in.

RJ: What I like most is that even though this is a huge canvas that you focus on the relationships at the core of the story. Devin is an incredibly strong and determined character - how did he have to change from his normal self to become such a heroic character?
MR: We don’t really see Devin pre-virus, we have glimpses into what his life was like but that is all. We learn a little about his background, how he was in the army and capable of looking after himself. He used to have a boyfriend and a job and a life, but he lost all that and in a way shutdown. He was all about surviving and protecting the remaining people he cared about. As part of a larger group, he then became essential in the protection and organisation of those people too. I guess he kind of locked away his emotions and it made him good at what he needed to do - survive.

RJ: What about Noah? How does he change because of the raging virus?
MR: Again we have glimpses of what Noah was like. He worked on the family farm. He had a brother and a sister and a dog. But like Devin, he lost all that and had been alone for several months before Devin turned up at the farm. Though it’s obvious things have affected Noah, at first he’s rather sarcastic and stand-offish, there’s still a bit of the old Noah there. Compared to Devin he’s more willing to make connections and at ease with the situation.

RJ: This is your first full novel. How was it different writing this to writing the shorter story Sex and Cocktails? Or writing The Art Of Words with me?
MR: All three experiences have been great. The Art Of Words was a wonderful introduction to the world of published writing. The process of writing with you, RJ, was easier than I thought. I was surprised at how easily the story flowed between us and it was a relief that so many people said our styles matched up. That had been my main concern, would the story jar as it swapped between us? Also I loved that although we had a rough guide of who the characters were and where we wanted them to end up, it was really up to each of us to think for ourselves. But I think spookily, we kind of both headed in the same direction, so no scary surprises along the way :)

Sex and Cocktails is a short, summery story for a special submission. It was always going to be a short, hot, fling kind of story, but it was my first solo story and I was proud of what I’d done. Dead Things, however, gave me the opportunity to write about something larger - more characters, a slower build up of the main characters relationship with each other and other characters. I was able to give them some kind of history and have influences in their lives. I think novels are where my heart’s at. I like to build worlds and depth, and Dead Things let me do that.

RJ: So what are you working on next?
MR: Well, as YOU already know, I am co-authoring a new story with RJ Scott. It’s a straight up romance novel set on an island in the Bahamian Cays, with a side of angst, just the way we like it. After that, I currently have nothing started alone, but I have a couple of possibilities, one being a sequel to Dead Things.

RJ: Awesome... I can’t wait to read it... thank you so much for spending the time chatting to me over the miles... HUGS Rj XXXX

MR: Thanks for having me :)

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