Welcome to Roxanne's Realm, today we have an interview with Christine (C.A.) Verstraete, author of Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter.
Roxanne, thanks for letting me visit your blog.
Thank you for being a guest.
Let's start with - Do you write in different genres?
I have written science fiction, but not “hard” sci fi, to fantasy, but seem to lean more towards horror. Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter was a way to turn history on its ear and give an explanation to what was in actuality a horrific crime.
If yes, which is your favorite genre to write?
Horror definitely, along with zombies and the supernatural. I like the possibilities you can conjure up, and I like writing what I like to read or watch on TV or in movies.
What book are you reading now?
I’m reading Gone by Michael Grant (apocalyptic YA) and Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran. (historical.)
What books are in your to read pile?
Too many! And I can’t resist picking up another one if I see something that sounds good!
What is your current “work in progress” or upcoming projects?
I actually just thought up an idea I want to explore more. I’d started a horror-mystery-themed story a while ago and realized it’ll fit perfect, with some changes, into a new idea I want to do as a supernatural-based story set in Lizzie Borden’s world. I’m not ready to put Lizzie aside yet.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Here’s part of Chapter Two from Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter:
Q. What time did you come downstairs?
A: As near as I can remember, it was a few minutes before nine.
—Lizzie Borden at inquest, August 9-11, 1892, Fall River Courtroom
Lizzie staggered to the bureau mirror. A wild-eyed woman stared back. Mousy brown hair stuck out around her head in a disheveled halo. Spots of blood and gore dotted her clothes and face. She broke from her trance and looked up in alarm when someone called from downstairs. Oh, no, Emma! She couldn’t let her sister come up here!
“Lizzie? Is everything all right?” her older sister called. “What is Abby doing up there?”
“It’s nothing.” Lizzie forced herself to sound cheery and called back from the doorway like nothing was wrong. “No need to worry. I’m helping Mrs. Borden pick up a box she spilled while cleaning. I’ll be down in a minute.”
Lizzie hurriedly ran back into the room, grabbed a cotton gown, and dipped it in the jug of water on the bureau. She rubbed the bloody streaks from her face, hair and hands. Her blue morning dress was too soiled and stained to fix. It would have to be discarded. For now, she put on the old pink wrapper Mrs. Borden had left hanging in the closet and tied it around her waist.
She inspected herself again for any errant spots, and seeing none, rushed from the room. It was only when she got halfway down the stairs that she saw the red blotches on her shoes. Oh, no! She looked around and seeing nothing of use, pulled down her plain white petticoat and thoroughly wiped the tops of both of her sturdy black shoes. She breathed hard, fearing Emma’s appearance any minute. The bloodied undergarment tucked out of sight under her voluminous skirt, she almost got down the stairs when she remembered—the hatchet!
Every nerve on edge, she rushed back upstairs and peered into the room. Mrs. Borden’s body lay slumped on her knees beside the bed, like she’d been praying. Choking back tears, Lizzie pulled the hatchet free from where it had hooked her stepmother’s raggedy hairpiece and let the blood-drenched braid drop to the floor. A jagged Z remained on the back of the dead woman’s scalp, a gruesome memento of her fate.
A horrific image of a gory Mrs. Borden flashed in Lizzie’s mind. “No, please, no,” Lizzie muttered. She pressed the side of her temple. “I can’t think of that now. I can’t.”
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I do enjoy reading a lot of different authors, from historical by Deanne Gist and Michelle Moran or the small town stories of Debbie Macomber, to Stephen King and Dean Koontz. I like how King can make the horror seem a natural part of a character’s world and the historical aspects of Gist’s work. Moran also has a way of making history come alive.
Do you have to travel much to do research for your books?
Isn’t the Internet an amazing thing? I remember having to go to the library to look things up or use an encyclopedia. Or pick up the phone, though, that is still required at times for certain research.
Do you have a song or playlist (book soundtrack) that you think represents this book?
As terrible as it sounds, I think a John Philip Sousa march played loud on the gramophone—he was very popular at the time—would be perfect to drown out the screams. (And yes, I know you’re laughing.)
Just for fun questions
If you could keep a mythical/ paranormal creature as a pet, what would you have?
A dragon would be cool. Until it burns the house down…
If you could spend a day with anyone from history, dead or alive, who would it be, and what would you do? What would you ask them?
I’d love to meet Cleopatra. She’s a fascinating woman in a man’s world. I would wonder what things she struggled with and what influenced her to make the decisions she did.
Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter
Genre: Horror/Dark Fantasy
Publisher: Imajin Books
Date of Publication: Sept. 13, 2016
Number of pages: 232
Word Count: 74,000 +
Cover Artist: Ryan Doan
Every family has its secrets…
One hot August morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden picked up an axe and murdered her father and stepmother. Newspapers claim she did it for the oldest of reasons: family conflicts, jealousy and greed. But what if her parents were already dead? What if Lizzie slaughtered them because they’d become zombies?
Thrust into a horrific world where the walking dead are part of a shocking conspiracy to infect not only Fall River, Massachusetts, but also the world beyond, Lizzie battles to protect her sister, Emma, and her hometown from nightmarish ghouls and the evil forces controlling them.
Christine (C.A.) Verstraete enjoys putting a bit of a “scare” in her writing. He stories have appeared in various anthologies and publications including Mystery Weekly, Happy Homicides 3: Summertime Crime, Siren’s Call Magazine, and more. She also is the author of books on dollhouses and a YA novel, GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie.
Her latest novel is Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter.
Learn more at her website, http://cverstraete.com and her blog, http://girlzombieauthors.blogspot.com
Twitter: @caverstraete https://twitter.com/caverstraete