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Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer: Guest Post and Promo

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The world is Cassie Fremont’s playground. Her face is on the cover of every newspaper, she has no homework, no curfew, and no credit limit, and she spends her days traveling the country with her friends, including a boy who would flirt with death just to turn her head. Life is just about perfect—except that those newspaper headlines are about her bludgeoning her crush to death with a paintball gun, she has to fight ravenous walking corpses every time she steps outside, and one of her friends is still missing, trapped somewhere in the distant, practically impassable wreckage of Manhattan. Still, Cassie’s an optimist. More prone to hysterical laughter than hysterical tears, she’d rather fight a corpse than be one, and she won’t leave a friend stranded when she can simply take her road trip to impossible new places to find her, even if getting there means admitting to that boy that she might just love him, too. Skillfully blending effective horror with unexpected humor, this diary-format novel is a fast-paced and heartwarming read.

Goodreads Summary


What Made You Write Such a Nontraditional Male Lead?

When offered the dizzying freedom to write on any topic I wanted for this guest spot, I gave a lot of thought to what question I wished someone had asked me about Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know of) that no one had.

I've been asked a lot about zombies, about the heroine, Cassie, and about writing itself, but even though several early readers have commented on how much they enjoy her partner in zombie survival, Norman, and how different he is from what they expected, I've hardly had the chance to talk about him, apart from once being asked if he's based on someone I know.

So what made me write such a nontraditional male lead?

Part of it has to do with personal taste. I've always had an attraction for comedians. Humor takes both brains and guts to pull off well, both attractive qualities, and cheering me up and keeping the world in perspective by making me laugh is often one of the most helpful things someone close to me can do.

There's more to Norman than my own quirky perspective on what makes a good boyfriend, though. In fact, that's sort of the point.

In YA books, and female-oriented books in general, male characters often run together into a sea of square jaws and chiseled abs. There are brooding bad boys and infinitely patient, righteous good boys, that's often the extent of their personalities, and we're supposed to consider that variety. In the worst cases, the archetypal heartthrobs take over the entire story with their competition to be more male and heartthrob-y than each other, and the female character who's supposedly our hero ends up little more than something for them to rescue.

Even when the female characters are more respectfully written, though, the whole practice of writing male characters for the main purpose of making them lust-worthy has a very similar effect to what happens when the same thing is done with female characters in stories written for a male audience, you know, the ones that end up all cleavage and no soul.

When characters only exist to fill a fantasy or be what the protagonist wants, they lose honesty and depth, and so do their relationships with other characters.

I love YA. That’s why I write it, after all, so I'll be the first to note that for every general problem to be found in it, there are plenty of exceptions.

There are good, well-realized male characters to be found in YA, but the vast majority, even of the best of them, are still very much on the tall-dark-and-handsome side. In Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know of), I wanted to do something completely different.

Our hero, Cassie, is a geek who made most of her friends and incurred the ridicule of plenty of her classmates by letting herself get to know boys as human beings. She’s by no means traditional herself, and she’s the kind of girl who could give a less-than-paranormally-ideal guy a chance. That's what Norman is.

He's not based on any of the book boyfriends I pined for as a teenager; he's based on a little bit of every real guy I ever liked in high school.

He's no imposing figure of physical masculine perfection, skinny, short, and unkempt. He's sharply intelligent in some ways, yes, that's always been a must for me, but he's also crass, obnoxious, anarchic, attention-seeking, pretty lousy at reading situations and their appropriate responses, and often has a hard time being serious when he should be. And he's going through his own struggle to adjust to the apocalypse, just like everyone else.

All he has in common with the most traditional YA male leads are the essentials of a good person, the stuff that matters. He can be brave when he has to be. He does right by the people he loves. There aren't enough bad jokes in the world to change or cancel that out.

I had an amazing time writing both Cassie and Norman, their friendship and its evolution, and I really hope that readers will love him the way she does, imperfections and all.

Author Bio:

F.J.R. Titchenell bio:

F.J.R. Titchenell is an author of Young Adult Sci-Fi and Horror fiction. She is represented by Jennifer Mishler of Literary Counsel and currently lives in San Gabriel, California with her husband and fellow author, Matt Carter, and their pet king snake, Mica.

The "F" is for Fiona, and on the rare occasions when she can be pried away from her keyboard, her kindle, and the pages of her latest favorite book, Fi can usually be found over-analyzing the inner workings of various TV Sci-Fi universes or testing out some intriguing new recipe, usually chocolate-related.

Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know of) is F.J.R. Titchenell’s first novel. Her first novel coauthored with Matt Carter, Splinters, will be available fall of 2014.


Other details:

Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know of) is F.J.R. Titchenell’s debut novel, to be released May 6th, 2014. It is a Young Adult Horror-Comedy.

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This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ


  1. bn100 said...:

    Interesting type of character