My special guest today is author Diana Rowland. In addition to her Kara Gillian urban fantasy series, she has a new White Trash Zombie series. The first book, My Life as a White Trash Zombie, will hit shelves on July 5, 2011. I love the title and the cover is simply stunning. From the moment that I found out about this book, I was intrigued. The premise is interesting and once I saw the cover art, I was sold.
Diana Rowland has lived her entire life below the Mason-Dixon line, uses “y’all” for second-person-plural, and otherwise has no southern accent (in her opinion.) She somehow managed to eke out a BS in Applied Mathematics from Georgia Tech, and after graduation forgot everything about higher math as quickly as possible.
She has worked as a bartender, a blackjack dealer, a pit boss, a street cop, a detective, a computer forensics specialist, a crime scene investigator, and a morgue assistant, which means that she’s seen a helluva lot of weird crap. She won the marksmanship award in her Police Academy class, has a black belt in Hapkido, has handled numerous dead bodies in various states of decomposition, and can’t rollerblade to save her life.
Diana is the author of police procedural urban fantasy, including the Kara Gillian-Demon Summoner series (Mark of the Demon, Blood of the Demon, Secrets of the Demon) and the White Trash Zombie series (My Life As A White Trash Zombie.) She presently lives in south Louisiana with her husband and her daughter where she is deeply grateful for the existence of air conditioning.
Many years ago, while I was still writing Mark of the Demon and before I had any idea that I would soon be a full-time novelist, I worked in a morgue as a forensic photographer and morgue assistant. Yes, there were times when it was inordinately disgusting (usually involving decomposition of varying degrees) but for the most part it was interesting and oddly rewarding. I worked in the morgue for less than a year, but in that time I saw more Weird Crap then most people will see in a lifetime.
(And no, I’m not going to go into detail about what sort of weird crap I saw, but I can promise that the good stuff will all end up in one of my books at some point!)
One of the things I learned early on about autopsies was that after the pathologist removes, examines and dissects the various organs of the body, those organs are NOT then returned to the various body cavities from whence they came, but instead are all put into a big plastic bag–which then usually goes between the decedent’s legs in the body bag. This, of course, includes the brain.
The first time I saw a dissected brain being tossed into the bag with the rest of the various innards, I laughed and said, “Hey, this would be a great buffet for a zombie!” (I should mention that it speaks volumes for my coworkers that they found my comment amusing instead of alarming.) I thought a zombie morgue tech was a cool idea, and so it went into my little notebook.* Since this was one of my cooler ideas (in my opinion,) I even did a little mental noodling on plot and characters. I didn’t go much beyond noodling though, since at the time I was working on finishing up Mark of the Demon. So for quite some time my ideas about a zombie in a morgue stayed in my notebook.
A few years later I suddenly found myself in the position of needing to come up with an idea for another series. (You can read my blog post on THAT whole situation here) Somehow I managed to find that old notebook and I started doing some serious thinking about how a zombie would get a job in a morgue. I knew I didn’t want to write about the mindless, shambling sort of zombies. I wanted my heroine to BE a zombie—and more than that, I wanted it to be the best thing that had ever happened to her.
From there I got to know Angel—a young woman with a lousy upbringing, an alcoholic dad, a pill habit, and a felony conviction. If ever there was someone who could benefit from being kind of dead, she was the one!
I’ll be honest—when I first set out to write this book, I intended it to be a comedy. But as I went along I discovered that there was a lot more depth to Angel’s story than I’d anticipated. There was still a healthy dose of humor, but by the time I finished it was mixed in with family drama, mystery, and even a yummy dollop of romance. (Yes, zombie romance!**)
And so there you have it: My Life as a White Trash Zombie—a touching coming of age story… for the undead!
* Most writers I know keep some sort of notebook or recording device on them for those times when Brilliant Ideas strike. I have many notebooks of varying shapes, sizes and colors. I love notebooks. Unfortunately, now my problem is usually finding WHICH notebook contains the great idea that came to me while I was in line at the grocery store or while waiting at the drive-up at the bank. Sigh!
** The tapioca helps. Yes, this will make FAR more sense after you’ve read the book.
Synopsis (Product Description):
Angel Crawford is a loser
Living with her alcoholic deadbeat dad in the swamps of southern Louisiana, she’s a high school dropout with a pill habit and a criminal record who’s been fired from more crap jobs than she can count. Now on probation for a felony, it seems that Angel will never pull herself out of the downward spiral her life has taken.
That is, until the day she wakes up in the ER after overdosing on painkillers. Angel remembers being in an horrible car crash, but she doesn’t have a mark on her. To add to the weirdness, she receives an anonymous letter telling her there’s a job waiting for her at the parish morgue–and that it’s an offer she doesn’t dare refuse.
Before she knows it she’s dealing with a huge crush on a certain hunky deputy and a brand new addiction: an overpowering craving for brains. Plus, her morgue is filling up with the victims of a serial killer who decapitates his prey–just when she’s hungriest!
Angel’s going to have to grow up fast if she wants to keep this job and stay in one piece. Because if she doesn’t, she’s dead meat.
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