As RACHEL AUKES (that's her real name), she writes speculative fiction (science fiction, dark fantasy, horror) because she absolutely loves asking, "what if..." (and she like to kill people off). As BERINN RAE, she writes the same stuff, only with a romantic twist. But, don't worry, because unlike in mental hospitals and online chat rooms, writing under multiple personalities is okay.
Raised on a farm in Iowa, where she had the largest comic book collection of the town. These days she enjoys listen to great music and flying airplanes, preferably of the vintage type.
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I write, read, fly, and get into shenanigans (in no particular order).
On the writing side, I write under two names: Rachel Aukes (my real name) for horror and Berinn Rae (pen name) for romantic dark fantasy and sci-fi romance. When not writing or catching up on my to-be-read pile, I fly old airplanes (vintage WWII warbirds to be exact). When it comes down to whatever I’m doing, I tend to keep my head in the clouds—figuratively and literally.
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
I prefer Dark Fiction because it feels like it covers a broader range than Horror. For example, sometimes I see Dark Fantasy included with Horror, sometimes I don’t. I dislike the term Weird Fiction unless it’s actually referring to bizarre stories. Otherwise, it carries a negative connotation with it.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
I read everything across the spectrum of speculative fiction, although I’ve been on a zombie kick lately, and my current favourites reflect that. My auto-buys right now are Stephen Knight, Rhiannon Frater, D.J. Molles, Hugh Howey, and Brent Weeks.
What are you reading now?
The Remaining: Fractured by D. J. Molles. My to-be-read pile grew too much while I was in my writing cave, and I have a lot of catching up to!
How would you describe your writing style?
I’m a plotter. I need to have a high-level outline of major plot points and character profiles built before I can start on a new story. From there, I like to write my first draft in a rush just to lay out the bones. The second draft is basically a rewrite to add the flesh, and I do one more read-through to get the skin on it before I send it off to my editor.
Describe a typical day spent writing. Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I start off by getting walked by my dog. When she decides she’s done, I have breakfast and then check my email and social media stuff while drinking an orange Sunkist. Then, I kick on my playlist and start writing (in my recliner; the desk thing feels too much like real work). Depending on how well the characters are playing along, I can either write all day and evening or take a lot of procrastination breaks.
What’s your favourite food?
That’s an easy one. Pizza (bacon with extra cheese, yum!). Always has and (probably) always will be my favourite.
What’s your favourite album?
I’m an iTunes user and rarely buy albums anymore, so I can’t think of a favourite album. But I do have favourite artists, and right now it’s Volbeat. Before them, it was Avenged Sevenfold.
What’s the most important lesson you have learned about writing?
Go with your gut. Everyone has advice. Some of it is great, some of it sucks, and some of it just doesn’t apply to you. Listen to what folks so, but temper it with what makes sense for you.
Fame and fortune, or respect?
Respect, although I wouldn’t complain if a hefty dose of fortune came with the respect.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
100 Days in Deadland. This novel was the most difficult because it’s a retelling of Dante’s Inferno, and so every chapter had to directly correlate to every canto in Dante Alighieri’s poem. It was also my first horror novel (my other books are dark fantasy and science fiction), and I absolutely loved writing every page. I can absolutely guarantee that this won’t be my last horror novel.
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
100 Days in Deadland comes out everywhere August 1. It’s Dante Alighieri’s classic tale on the horrors of hell…reimagined zombie apocalypse style! You can learn more on my website or at goodreads.
Up next? I’m taking a short break and then writing a short story tied with 100 Days in Deadland. From there, possibly a sequel…we’ll see!
Thanks so much for having me, Jim!
100 Days in Deadland
A journey through Dante’s Inferno with a shambling twist
The world ended on a Thursday.
In one day, the world succumbed to a pestilence that decimated the living. In its place rose a new species: vicious, gruesome, wandering zombies with an insatiable hunger for the living. There is no government. No shelter. No hope.
Still in her twenties, Cash has watched her friends die, only to walk again. An office worker with few survival skills, she joins up with Clutch, a grizzled Army veteran with PTSD. Together, they flee the city and struggle through the nine circles of hell, with nothing but Clutch’s military experience and Cash’s determination to live. As they fight to survive in the zombie inferno, they quickly discover that nowhere is safe from the undead…or the living.
This is the beginning after the end.