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Title: Last Siege of Haven (Undertakers #4)
Publication date: May 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Ty Drago
While away on an undercover mission, Undertaker Will Ritter has made an unthinkable alliance...with a Corpse! But though Robert Dillin (aka 'The Zombie Prince') is indeed one of those alien invaders who animate and possess the bodies of the dead -- unlike the rest of his kind, Dillin isn't evil. In fact, he wants to help. And Will needs that help, because the Queen of the Dead has learned the location of Haven, the Undertakers' secret HQ, and is planning a massive and deadly assault.
With the last day of the Corpse War finally upon them, Will and his friends find themselves in a desperate race to close the Rift between worlds and forever kill the Corpses. But can they do before Haven is overrun?
For that matter, can they do it at all?
When did you start writing?
I started writing at age 3, before I knew how to read. What’s that look like? Well, I’ve seen the old black-and-white photos, and apparently it looks like a little kid with no shirt on, my hair sticking up, and my tongue hanging out the corner of my mouth. I’m sitting on the living room floor with paper and a crayon. After scribbling madly for a while, I’m told, I would hold up my masterpiece and yell out something like, “Cow!”
But, in my head, I was telling a story. :)
What makes you want to write?
My wife once asked me, “Do you really walk around with stories roiling in your head all the time?”
Yes, I do. And getting them down on paper, telling them, is as natural to me as breathing. I’ll stop writing when they pry the keyboard out of my cold, dead hand.
Do you ever get writer's block and what do you do to get over it?
I’ve never really had writer’s block. I’m not even sure I believe in it. I’m never short on ideas, though they’re not all good ideas! LOL!
If I get stuck on a plot point, I usually go for a walk or drive, listen to music, and just … think. Before too long, some kind of answer almost always presents itself. I use a part of my brain that I call the “Idea Machine,” and it hasn’t failed me yet.
Do you have a special way of going about writing?
1) Get the idea. 2) Find the music. 3) Write the story.
The middle one probably confuses you. But every story has its music. I literally listen to all sorts of music until find a “soundtrack” that seems to suit the story I’m trying to tell. Then I’ll make a playlist on my iPhone and play that soundtrack, over and over, while I’m walking or driving, and let the plot take shape in my mind.
I don’t make outlines or, if I’m forced to, I usually ignore them. I’m a “pantser” more than a “plotter.” I like to sit down with a general idea of where I want to go and then let the writing “wander” as it will. It often surprises me.
Do you have any works in progress?
I’ve been hard at work on “Torq,” which is kind of like my take on the YA superhero origin story. With the Undertakers series finished, I wanted to go off and try something a little different. But it’s been a struggle. I’ve had to do a lot of world building and my first vision of the novel didn’t really work very well. Since then, I’ve been hammering at it.
Fortunately, I have a great agent who’s been helping me make sense of it.
What are your hobbies?
My wife Helene and I are avid hikers and kayakers. I recently started studying Korean swordsmanship, just in case there’s ever a zombie apocalypse! LOL!
How did you choose the character names for the Undertakers series?
There’s a lot of my childhood in the Undertakers. When I was kid, I drew comic books that I shared with my friends. They all centered around a group of child-superheroes called “The Kid Kidets.” Well, in a very real sense, the Undertakers are the Kid Kidets grown up, so to speak. Unlike their comic book counterparts, the Undertakers have no superpowers and their secret base isn’t all that shiny and cool. But they fight the good fight. And they’re led, just as the Kid Kidets were all those years ago, by a brother and sister team named Tom and Sharyn Jefferson.
In the same spirit, a lot of the other Undertakers are named for kids I grew up with. And Helene Boettcher, of course, is named after my wife. Now, I didn’t know my Helene when she was thirteen, but I truly believe she had the same courage and independence as her fictional counterpart.
And Will Ritter? “Ritter” is German for “knight” and “William” means “strong-willed warrior.” It seemed perfect for my hero.
Who is your favourite character in Last Siege of Haven?
For the first time in the series, we get inside of head of Tom Jefferson. I really enjoyed glimpsing the amazing mind inside that young leader. As I indicated, Tom and I go back a long way. It was a pleasure sharing him with my readers.
How did you get the idea for Last Siege of Haven?
When you write a series, you have to keep expanding the universe, pushing the envelope. In each Undertakers book, I’ve tried to bring a new dimension to the Corpse War. In LSoH, I wanted to do something that no one would expect, so I dreamed up the idea of good-guy Corpse. My readers will distrust him, of course, just as Will does – at first. That’s part of fun.
What was your favourite part of writing Last Siege of Haven?
Will’s final battle with Lilith Cavanaugh, the evil Queen of the Dead, was wonderful to write. She’s the best villain I’ve ever created; I’m incredibly proud of her. And having her and Will face off at last was a scene I’d been looking forward to penning for years. And, in all humility, I don’t think it’ll disappoint! :)
What are you currently reading?
I just finished Dan Brown’s “Inferno.” I’m also reading “The Enchantress,” the sixth and last book in Michael Scott’s series, “The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flammel.”
What is your favourite book?
“Life of Pi” by Yann Martel
Who is your favourite author?
Lee Child, creator of the “Jack Reacher” series.
What is your favourite film?
Tough one. I have too many. I guess, if you press me, I’ll have to say it’s the first “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. “The Hobbit” didn’t impress me.
What is your favourite TV show?
I’m a “Doctor Who” fan from way back! :)
Chocolate or ice cream? Ice cream! Vanilla or strawberry.
Paperback or ebook? Paperback! Hands-down!
Dogs or cats? Dogs, though I currently have both.
Go out or stay in? Stay-in, but less so now that the weather’s nice.
Summer or winter? Spring and fall! LOL!
About the Author
Ty Drago does his writing just across the river from Philadelphia, where the Undertakers novels take place. In addition to The Undertakers: Rise of the Corpses,The Undertakers: Queen of the Dead, and The Undertakers: Secret of the Corpse Eater, he is the author of The Franklin Affair and Phobos, as well as short stories and articles that have appeared in numerous publications, including Writer’s Digest. He currently lives in southern New Jersey with his wife and best friend, the real Helene Drago née Boettcher.