On the way home from Genrecon my seven year old son asked me why I like zombies. To spare him nightmares I simply replied that I thought they were wonderfully creepy and lots of fun. I certainly couldn’t tell him that I thought they were the ultimate monster, driven by an insatiable hunger for human flesh and relentless in their hunt for it. They have no conscience, no morals, just the need to feed. (For the record, I like my zombies slow and shambling. Those fast ones freak me out.)
My son’s question got me thinking about all the other creatures that populate the speculative fiction worlds that draw me in again and again. Paranormal, extra-terrestrial, supernatural, mythical or magical, I love them all. And I really love how the lines between the worlds can blur. Talented authors are blending more than one species into their stories, mixing the well-known with obscure or totally imagined creatures, turning what I think I know about the speculative fiction world on its head.
While I do have a couple of ideas for zombie stories in my ‘One Day I Will Write This’ folder, I decided to make reapers the focus of my debut urban fantasy ‘Lost Reaper’. When I started writing the first draft, over five years ago, I couldn’t find many books featuring the macabre little suckers. Since then I have seen more than a few popping up but have resisted the temptation to read them until after I have the next two books in the series written.
For ‘Lost Reaper’ I also had to come up with an entirely new race. At first I toyed with the idea of extra-terrestrials, and then came up with the Tr’lirians. Earth’s original inhabitants, and the root of many angel myths, they have hidden themselves away in a higher plane.
But that all changes when the Grim Reaper resurrects a seemingly ordinary human girl and turns her into a living reaper. Tyler Morgan has one week to discover the truth about her heritage if she is ever to enjoy her second chance at life and with more than one person wanting her dead that is not going to be an easy task.
I really enjoyed creating a new race of beings, and putting my own spin on the Grim Reaper and his underlings, but I’m sure it won’t be too long before those zombie stories start clamouring loud enough to get there turn to shine.
The first dead body I ever saw was my own
For twenty-five year old Tyler Morgan, being murdered was easy. Easy in comparison with working for the Grim Reaper. Jonathon Grimm may have brought her back from the dead in exchange for working as a reaper for her home town, Easton, but she has to find his lost reaper before she can enjoy her second chance at life.
Only … the lost reaper isn’t actually lost. He has a new body, a new life, and no intention of turning himself in.
Tyler begins the grisly task of reaping the souls of Easton’s dead while searching for the reaper. He could be anyone – the intriguing detective, Sam Lockwood: the handsome, wealthy Chris Bradbury; or the serial killer stalking the women of Easton. Women who bear an uncanny resemblance to Tyler.
As the killer closes in and Grimm’s deadline draws closer, Tyler discovers she is fighting a much bigger threat than the Grim Reaper and time is running out for everyone.
About the Author
Shelley Russell Nolan is an avid reader who began writing her own stories at sixteen. Her first completed manuscript featured brain eating aliens and a butt kicking teenage heroine. Since then she has spent her time creating fantasy worlds where death is only the beginning and even freaks can fall in love.
A member of Romance Writers of Australia, Australian Romance Readers Association and Queensland Writers Centre, Shelley regularly attends workshops and writers festivals to meet other writers and readers.
Born in New Zealand, moving to Australia with her family when she was seven, Shelley currently lives in Central Queensland, Australia, with her husband and two young children. They share their home with a demon cat, a deformed budgerigar and two dogs that are fairly normal as dogs go.
Shelley loves to hear from her readers so feel free to contact her on Facebook or leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads.
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