Saturday, April 14, 2012

Author Guest Post-Jessica Meigs on Kick Ass Heroines + A free ebook!

Today's exciting post is by Jessica Meigs, author of THE BECOMING zombies series. Jessica, like me, started off self-publishing, and later signed with Permuted Press.  Her first book in the series has appeared on some of the same lists as THE FIRST DAYS for best apocalyptic and zombie fiction.

It's always exciting to have another female zombie genre writer in the fold and to see her writing about fabulous female characters.  

Enjoy her post!

          I started to read zombie apocalypse fiction back in 2009, when I picked up an e-copy of World War Z and devoured it in two short, somewhat disturbing days of too little sleep and too much caffeine. I loved every single page, and it didn’t take me long to start reading even more z-poc literature. It wasn’t long after that, though, that I started to run into what I viewed as a major problem in the genre: there was next to nothing there geared toward women. There were virtually no female leads; and what women there were trended toward the weak and dependent and victimized end of the spectrum. (And that’s ignoring the ones where the women were merely men with breasts.) Being a woman myself, I saw this as a real problem. I wanted to read about strong, tough women. And it seemed the genre was sorely lacking in that, much to my surprise. It was enough to make one weep.
          I think it was when I read a really bad book (which I’ve infamously refused to name) that featured a female role that could have been a real plus to the genre but most decidedly wasn’t that I was prompted to sit down and write my own zombie book. I wanted to put everything I desired to read in a zombie book into one of my own, including a tough, no-nonsense, I-can-take-care-of-myself woman who is decidedly a woman and not afraid to show it, while at the same time willing to take care of business when the chips were down.
          Thus was born Cade Alton.
          Cade is a thirty-two-year-old Memphis resident who is an immigrant from Israel. Trained extensively in all matters military, she spent seven years in the IDF and, as such, honed some serious sniper skills—a woman so good at what she did that she would have made a great recruit for Mossad. She is a rifle-toting, knife-and-gun-collecting enigma wrapped in a mystery with all the assorted mood swings to go along with it. She’s strong-willed and independent, loyal to a fault, and quite capable of some major butt-kicking whenever the situation calls for it. Oh, and she has a very unladylike habit of swearing like a sailor on shore leave too. Just call it “venting.”
          It’s interesting, at least to me, how Cade came into existence. When I sat down and started to work out what I wanted to happen in my book and who I wanted it to happen to, I knew from the start that there were going to be three major characters that the entire trilogy would revolve around: Ethan Bennett, Brandt Evans, and Cade Alton. I knew too that I wanted Cade to be not only the unspoken leader of the trio but also the most highly skilled. I knew too that I wanted her to be Israeli: where else in the world would a woman be able to gain the military experience and sniper-training than in the IDF? (This was, of course, all planned without having ever read Rhiannon Frater’s ATWD trilogy, so I had no idea that the whole Israeli-awesomeness thing wasn’t original! Great minds think alike, or so the saying goes.) That, however, was as far as I actively planned before I began to write. As a result, a lot of Cade’s background was a mystery to me until I actually encountered situations where it came into play, which made the development of the character that much more interesting to me. For example, I had no idea she was a sniper until she shows Ethan her newest addition to her collection in the second chapter of The Becoming. It just fell in naturally with what I had planned to happen to her throughout the trilogy. Those little things, alongside a lot of other little things littered through the first book alone, ended up creating the most elaborately written character in the entire series.
          Cade ended up having everything I wanted in a female character when I set out to write my books: the toughness, the no-nonsense attitude and the ability to unhesitatingly put down the infected and defend her friends when their lives were in danger. She’s not reliant on any of the men in the group to defend her or protect her—if anything, she spends a good portion of the books protecting them. And even when a potential love interest emerges from the chaos, she doesn’t let that cloud her judgment in the slightest or, for that matter, prevent her from telling said potential love interest just what an idiot he is. (But considering the fascinating interplay between Cade and her love interest, it’s most assuredly a topic for another day; if I were to try to write all about it now, I’m sure that not only would I babble for far longer than I really intend to but it’d most certainly spoil major plot points in books two and three!)
          I remember the exact moment when I realized I might have actually created a truly amazing character: it was when my editor got back with me on the initial edit declaring Cade her favorite character, saying she felt “very real, very believable” and wanting to know who I’d based her off of (nobody—and, as such, I think she’s the most original character I’ve ever written). Since the book’s release, fans have gotten in on the act with particularly positive things to say about Cade, declaring her “a badass with a heart;” “tough and lethal but still very human and capable of emotion;” “an IDF trained badass babe with a rifle;” and many other descriptions that have made me laugh and smile and do all those other silly things authors do when hearing praise. Even Fangoria got in on the game, calling Cade a “Milla Jovovich-Alice-inspired female warrior” (which is high praise, if you ask me). But, in the end, I think Barnes & Noble’s Paul Goat Allen summed Cade up best when he said: “She is complicated and, at times, contradictory—she is a smart, savvy, and an undeniably sexy heroine of the apocalypse…the leader—and the lifeblood—of the group.”

Thank you, Jessica, for that awesome post!

Order your copy of the THE BECOMING today!

Jessica is offering her free novella, BROTHERS IN ARMS, for FREE until midnight April 15.

Click here to get your free Kindle e-book.

Jessica lives in semi-obscurity in Demopolis, Alabama. When she’s not writing, she works full time as an EMT. She enjoys listening to music and spends way too much time building playlists for everything she writes. 

Contact Jessica Meigs 
Twitter: @JessicaMeigs


  1. Jessica is the major reason why beside writing romance (paranormal and contemporary), I wrote my own take on the zombie genre. She and Rhiannon are an inspiration and they truly are kick ass females who write books that are great to read.

    Thank you, both! Loved Jess's explanation about Cade and loved Rhiannon having her appear on this blog.

  2. Thanks! Just grabbed the free ebook, and added The Becoming to my TBR list! Sounds good!

  3. I picked up this book and am really looking forward to The Becoming.

  4. Is there a way to get the books for the Nook from barnes and noble?

  5. I'm sure Jessica will chime in when she gets a chance, but here are my two cents...


    That's awesome! It's always good to hear that someone has been inspired to write their own story because of something I've written.


    A free book is always awesome! And a free one from Jessica...even more so!


    Glad you snagged it!


    You could always download the Kindle app to a smartphone, tablet, or your PC to read the books. I think they're a Kindle exclusive right now.

  6. @RaeBeth: Sorry it took me so long to reply. You can get the novel The Becoming from Barnes & Noble. For the novella, The Becoming: Brothers in Arms, it is only available on Amazon. However, it is DRM-free, which means you can pick it up from Amazon, download it, and put it on any ereader of your choice, not just the Kindle. I hope this helps!


Thanks for commenting!