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Daniel I Russell - Writer of Horror Fiction

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

On the Couch With... Rebecca Besser

It's been a while since I've had a visitor at the blog. My lonely rantings in the dark tend to put off outsiders. Anyway, as part of her blog tour, I thought I'd ask a few questions to my old friend Rebecca Besser following the rerelease of her novella Undead Drive Thru, a book I originally purchased in 2011.

We talk zombies (of course), life in general and intimate torture! We have also discussed via Twitter (@BeccaBesser and @danielirussell) the rules of nude Wednesday. And it is Wednesday. We live in the future out here in Australia.

So without further Apu, the return of On the Couch With...


1.       With the Undead Drive Thru release imminent, are you in a position to discuss the reasons why this novella has changed publishers?

Indie presses and their drama is what happened. The press I originally had the book published with had issues because of some of the shady dealings of the owner. A lot of people boycotted their books, and sadly, my book was stuck there until the contract was over. I managed to absolve my contract early.

I then had the entire series planned out when another indie press showed interest. This time, the owner of the press had a public fit about finances, insulting the authors they’d signed because they wouldn’t’ renegotiate their contracts to help pay for the cost of publishing their own books. I hear now that the press is going to revamp their business this coming year – hopefully they’ll figure out how to keep it afloat. And hopefully, there won’t be any more toxic outbursts from the owner. If those continue, even with the business end under control, no decent writer will want to be published there.

The decision to self-publish is established on the basis that I know how to edit, format, and produce books already from work I’ve done for indie presses in the past. I’m not going into this blind or stupid. I’m just hoping to do the best I can for my titles, knowing that there isn’t going to be this variable in another person who is going to do something stupid and cause people not to buy my books. I won’t have to worry about someone else’s actions affecting my sales.

The first release has a decent amount of great reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, so I’m hoping the book will sell itself once people read it and share their enjoyment of the title with their friends. And, obviously, I’ll do my best to reach as many new readers as possible.

2.       Originally published in 2011, and with the recent resurgence of zombie-themed entertainment currently in vogue, how do you think the book has aged in the last few years? Do you find it more relevant now?

I wouldn’t say it was more relevant; it was originally published just as zombies were starting to become popular in culture. As far as how it would hold up now, I think it still stands on its own as something entirely different than the “norm” of zombie literature.

Undead Drive-Thru is a step out of the normal zombie plague. The book contains only one zombie, and with only one zombie I can show people up close and personal how relationships and one’s outlook on life and emotions can be altered. The emotions involved with putting down a loved one in the zpoc are often visited, but I close in on that single emotion and magnify it with a character that will do anything not to killer her spouse.

3.       While reading Undead Drive Thru, it reminded me of true old school Point Horror books, in particular, The Waitress by Sinclair Smith due to the diner setting. With the lack of sex and profanity, what demographic was this originally written for, and has this changed since hitting the shelves?

The book was originally written for a YA readership, up to adult. The youngest readers that I know of that have enjoyed the book have been in the 5/6th grade. (13-14 years old). But the book has been enjoyed by many, many adults (as reviews on Amazon for the original release have clearly shown).

There is no profanity in the title, so it’s a book that a family can share. I’m not sure that the sequel will be AS clean, but I won’t go hog wild or anything.

4.       As a busy mother and wife, how do you find the time?

I do most of my work while my son is at school and my husband is at work. But, still, many evenings will find me on the couch with my laptop while we’re watching TV. That way, I’m still with my family, but still getting something done. Summer and weekends are harder, I just have to get pushy about getting some time to do what I need to do.

Basically, I do what I can, when I can.

5.       Write what you know, is what they always say. Have you had any experience in the food service industry that gave the story a distinct flavour?

I only worked as a waitress once, but have been employed in the fast food industry a couple of times. I know how the buildings are set up, etc., so I’m sure that helped.

6.       Have you ever been tempted to give up writing or at least lost a little faith in the business? What did you do to get through it?

Yes, I have lost faith – multiple times. It’s hard not to. But, I remind myself of the success I’ve had so far and tell myself if I keep going, I’ll only accomplish more. Besides, writing makes me happy. It literally changes my mood. If I don’t write for a long time, I get really grumpy. If I write a blog post, a chapter, or a paragraph, I’m instantly happy and feel balanced again. I couldn’t stop now if I wanted to. I’m a writer – it’s who I am and there’s nothing I can do about it. To me, that means I have no right to ever think about giving up, because I would be killing a small part of myself in the process.

7.       You’ve edited several anthologies over the last few years. Have you any plans to add to this list of titles?

I don’t know… Editing anthos takes a lot of time and that’s not something I have a lot of these days. I can’t say that I won’t, but there are no plans for an additional one in the near future.

8.       At my workshop, I like to discuss the intimacy of pain. Chopping heads off left, right and centre can lose its impact pretty quickly! I find that us horror writers have particular sensitive parts and fears of fears of specific tortures. What’s the worst thing we could do to Rebecca Besser?

Sharks scare me more than anything. So, don’t put me in a shark tank or anything like that. I guess that would be eaten alive with no hope of getting away, huh? LOL

9.       Have you ever, in your personal opinion, crossed a line in your writing? Or at least toed it pretty closely?

Yes. On a couple of occasions I’ve pushed things. I can write comfortable, and I can write graphic in-your-face stuff that will make you cringe. I can also write stuff that’s just…wrong.


10.   How can we get hold of you in a zombie-emergency? (Yup, the ol’classic sell your pages last question!)

I’m not hard to find. I’m on Twitter, Facebook, have a website, and a blog!

AND, if you’re a US resident and want to find out how buying an ecopy of Undead Drive-Thru can enter you for a chance to win two signed paperbacks, go here:

And here’s some direct links to Undead Drive-Thru:


Posted by Daniel I. Russell :: 6:02 pm :: 1 comments

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