Local author releases new zombie book
By Hannah Dockery
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Local author Leah Rhyne releases her first in her zombie trilogy Undead America.
It’s no question that for a brief period, pop culture seemed to be taken over by vampire fanatics and Edward Cullen wannabes. Fortunately for those worn out by the Twilight-obsessions, a new trend has arrived that parallels the great classic horror novels and movies … zombies.
Local West Ashley author Leah Rhyne released her first book on Halloween of this year, a fitting date for a book centered on zombies. Zombie Days, Campfire Nights is the first in Rhyne’s trilogy Undead America. “I grew up watching horror movies with my dad and my brothers,” says Rhyne. “Frankenstein, Dracula, the Wolf Man … I’ve had all this horror stuff engrained in my head. My brother made me watch Freddy Krueger when I was 8. This stuff has been with me my whole life.” When the time came for Rhyne to write her own book, she had the perfect set of experiences and unofficial research to draw from.
Though born and raised a Jersey girl, Rhyne has transformed into a true Charlestonian and embraces her newfound Southern culture, with only the faint traces of a Northern accent. Working as a Quality Assurance Analyst at Blackbaud during the day, Rhyne finds time to dive into her passion for writing at night. “I’ve always loved writing,” she says. “This is the first book I’ve released. It’s like a whole new world. It’s so exciting.”
Zombie Days, Campfire Nights chronicles the stories of three different characters during and after the zombie apocalypse. For those wary of zombie themes with too much gore or over-the-top details, rest assured that Rhyne’s novel focuses more on the human characters and their struggle for survival. “My zombies are kind of in the background,” she says. “At first, they are front and center but then it becomes more focused on the people, how they survive, what they do to survive, and what depths they are willing to sink to.”
In book one of the Undead America trilogy, the main characters meet together in New Orleans to join forces in this new, zombie-filled world. The second and third books in the series are currently in the works.
Rhyne’s idea for the book came about in an unusual manner. After a friend encouraged her to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), Rhyne decided to give novel writing a go. In an effort to escape the pains of writers block, Rhyne innocently tweeted one afternoon, “I have no idea what to write about for NaNoWriMo.”
Fortunately, Rhyne’s husband tweeted back at her responding, “Zombie Cows.” Though the response was clearly a joke, it sparked an idea that resulted in an entire novel. “As soon as he said that I thought, oh I can do zombies. Let’s see what I can do with that.” Two hundred and fifty pages later, Zombie Days, Campfire Nights was born.
“It’s been a process, that’s for sure,” Rhyne adds. “But it’s been a fun one. And now? Well…I’m kind of addicted.”