I recently read and reviewed River of Souls by T.L. Bodine and had an absolute blast with the story. Her writing style, character development, and ability to include many very powerful elements into the action-packed storyline had me absolutely hooked. When T said she would be interested in an interview, I was so excited to get some questions over to her to learn more!
Today, I’m so pumped to share that interview.
Let’s dive in!
Interview with T.L. Bodine, author of River of Souls
Who is T.L. Bodine?
T.L. Bodine writes dark fantasy and horror. She’s interested in uncanny, fantastic things, and the way real people with real problems interact with them.
When not writing, she can usually be found watching horror movies, playing story-heavy video games, or experimenting in the kitchen.
She lives in New Mexico with her husband, David, and two small dogs.
What is your first memory of writing for fun?
When I was little, I had imaginary friends — a whole cast of them, with their own world and overdramatic adventures that I’d act out by myself running around the backyard like a wild child. I decided around the time I was 8 that I should start writing their stories down. I think my dad still has the only surviving copy of this epic tale 😉 What is writing if not hanging out with your imaginary friends, right?
How many books have you written?
I’ve got three novels + 2 books of short stories up on Amazon, plus a new release coming out in September. I’ve also got four books up exclusively on Wattpad right now, all in varying stages of being polished and prepared for wider releases and/or other opportunities.
What are some of your other interests outside of writing?
I really enjoy cooking and I’m really interested in urban homesteading type stuff — gardening and food preservation and that sort of thing. I am unfortunately terrible at growing food but it hasn’t stopped me from trying. Otherwise, I play a lot of video games with my husband, binge horror movies on the weekends, and spend time with my dogs and pet rats.
Are you also a reader?
Very much so! Books have been lifelong companions for me. I am however a very slow reader, so it takes me forever to work through my TBR pile. I’ll usually get excited about a new book, buy it….and finally get around to reading it two years after everybody has stopped talking about it. Woe.
What genres do you reach for the most?
These days I read almost exclusively horror and thrillers, although if something catches my eye or I get a strong recommendation for something else I’ll give it a try. I’m currently reading Consumed by David Cronenberg, which is turning out every bit as weird and unsettling as his films!
Do you have an all time favorite book or author?
Gosh, that’s a tough one. Stephen King and Neil Gaiman are huge influences that got me interested in the types of stuff I love today. Among fresher, contemporary names, I have to say Paul Tremblay and Grady Hendrix have never steered me wrong — I’ve loved every single book either of them have put out!
Book Related Questions
River of Souls was a very fresh take on the typical zombie storyline. What was your inspiration for this tale?
RoS actually had a long, weird journey that started all the way back in 2004 with a political dystopia concept. I ended up scrapping the whole thing after several years and multiple drafts, but I loved the characters so much that I wanted to keep them around. Watching Warm Bodies in theaters gave me the spark I needed — I rushed home that day and very excitedly called my brother to tell him I knew how to fix my book! Just turn everyone into a zombie!
My brother, of course, thought I’d gone a little bit insane, but I knew I was onto something. It would take many more years (and being put on the backburner while I wrote several other things) before it all came to fruition. I guess it’s fitting in a way that River of Souls is pretty much the reanimated, resurrected version of that earlier story!
River of Souls tackled some very tough topics such as alcoholism, substance abuse, suicide, and so much more. Each element fit into the overall storyline so seamlessly. How did you decide which topics to tackle?
As a reader, I have a lot of respect for stories that don’t flinch or pull punches, so that’s the kind of writer I want to be as well. If you’re going to tackle a subject, you have to do it as honestly as possible, which can be really vulnerable and messy — but that’s what makes them good, I think.
So with RoS, I set out to explore what might really happen if this scenario were playing out in the world. What types of people would be most strongly affected by the social disparities created by a reanimation virus? Historically — people who are already in vulnerable populations. Class, race, sexual orientation, substance abuse, mental health, all of that gets very tangled up in real-life issues of discrimination. So it just made sense to me that the people struggling the most with this new zombified way of life would be folks already struggling along some other axis of oppression.
The sequel to River of Souls is coming out in September, which I am SO excited for! Can you give us a tease at what’s to come?
Thanks — I’m excited too! The sequel is titled HOUSE OF LAZARUS, and it picks up very shortly after RoS ends. Without spoiling anything, I’ll say that this one delivers more of the same body horror, New Mexico Gothic vibes and found family from the first book, with a deeper mystery to delve into and a fresh set of characters to introduce. It’s coming out Sept. 21, and digital pre-orders are available now.
Just one last question; Where can readers find you?
Thanks for reading!
Thank you again to T. for diving into this interview so quickly!
If you all haven’t yet read her work, I highly recommend it. If you pick up River of Souls now, her next book will be right around the corner.