Waiting For Daybreak Blog Tour – Review and Interview


the book:
by Amanda McNeil, Waiting For Daybreak is a post apocalyptic zombie novel
published in June 2012. 
the author:
is an energetic, masters degree educated, 20-something, happily living in an
attic apartment in Boston with her shelter-adopted cat.  She writes
sci-fi, horror, urban fantasy, literary fiction, and paranormal romance.
 She has previously published short stories and a novella.
is normal?
Frieda has never felt normal.  She feels every
emotion too strongly and lashes out at herself in punishment.  But one day
when she stays home from work too depressed to get out of bed, a virus breaks
out turning her neighbors into flesh-eating, brain-hungry zombies.  As her
survival instinct kicks in keeping her safe from the zombies, Frieda can’t help
but wonder if she now counts as healthy and normal, or is she still abnormal
compared to every other human being who is craving brains?
Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend is the closest I had
ever come to reading a zombie novel. The first half of Waiting For Daybreak
reminded me a lot of it. There is Frieda, our main character: (with her cat
Snuggles) suffering from a mental disorder (which happens to be the reason she
survived this apocalypse), a typical survivor, with a fixed routine and a
lonely life in her apartment. When Freida ventures out of her house (to get medicines for her sick
cat), she meets Mike, another survivor, and the real story starts. 
The book is, on the one hand packed with thrill and
action, and on the other, has a very emotional and thought-provoking side. What I appreciated was, how none of it is overdone: I specially liked the subtlety of the relationship between Mike and Freida. It is commendable, that such short a book about crazy,
brain-eating zombies can seem, in a way, so realistic. It is also great, how
the author has made a person with a Bipolar Disorder seem just quirky, because of the
simple fact that she is surrounded by crazier ‘people’. And that is really the
point of the book isn’t it; the question, what is normal? People often say that
there is no point   in reading science-fiction or fantasy, because it is
of no use to use. But I think, while such a book may not be like a real-life
manual, it does make us question our very beliefs. 
The one thing that I might have had quite a bit of a
problem with is the writing style, which I thought was slightly sloppy in
The ending was abrupt and unexpected, but I guess it made the book different, unique in a way. Also, I would have liked to know a bit more about Mike and his past
life. I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but it does require a little more work. That being said, I had no idea what to expect from a book about zombies, but I loved what I got! Let’s just say, I don’t know if I would recommend it to all the zombie fiction fans out there, but it can be a really good introduction to the genre.

Rating: 3/5
would you describe Waiting for Daybreak in just one line?

A character study wrapped in zombies.
sparked the idea for this novel?

I work as a medical librarian, and I had been reading about fMRI scans of
people with Borderline Personality Disorder showing that their amygdalas are a
different size from those of people without a mental illness. I was
thinking about that while I was walking home from the bus stop (I take public
transit). It happened to be Thanksgiving weekend, and Boston empties
almost completely out as most of the population goes someplace else for the
holiday. The empty streets combined with the fMRI studies made me think:
what if there was a zombie virus to which the mentally ill were immune?  It
just flowed from there.

What part of writing Waiting for Daybreak was the most interesting for you?
I really enjoyed writing the zombie-filled perilous
trek to the MSPCA. It’s where I adopted my own cat from and
reimagining the route as a post-apocalyptic one was incredibly fun.
is the biggest challenge when writing science fiction?
Making it seem plausible. You have to
know enough science to be able to logic it out, as I call it. Is
this a possibility on any level?  People who read sci-fi are
smart. They know when something is more fantastical than
What comes first – plot or characters?
Oh good question!  For me, the plot always
comes first.  Well, I suppose not the entire plot. The basic central
conflict.  Then the characters are formed and drive the rest of the
your characters “borrowed” from real life?
I think the closest to a “borrowed” character is
Frieda’s cat, Snuggles. Although my cat is a tortoiseshell, not
grey, and is not allowed outside. Also, I used to have a downstairs
married couple for neighbors, and they fought all the time, so Frieda’s downstairs
neighbors who she overhears during the outbreak were definitely inspired by
On a more serious note, I’ve had close relationships
with people with diagnosed mental illnesses. So in addition to my
medical/scientific knowledge, I have actual conversations and interactions to
reflect on to say: how would Frieda respond to this? How would Mike? How would
Frieda and Mike interact?

Which authors/books have influenced you the most?
Everything by Margaret Atwood, but especially The
Handmaid’s Tale
. That was the first time I stumbled into scifi
by and about women. It rocked my world.  
I also find myself heavily influenced by Chuck
Palahniuk and Stephen King.
Of course, I’ve been reading the scifi greats my
whole life–Neuromancer, Asimov, etc…  You have to know the past of
the genre to get a feel for the future.
your reading habits changed since you started writing?
Well, I’ve always written, so I’ll answer the
question as since I made the decision to get serious about publishing.
Yes, definitely. It used to be that if I
read a book and didn’t like it or enjoy it I’d say, “Well that sucked” and move
on. Now I sit down and try to figure out why it didn’t work for
me. That helps me know what to avoid in my own writing. I
also do the same for books I love now. You have to actively think
about what you are reading in order to continually improve your writing. 
advice would you give aspiring writers?
First, stop calling yourself an “aspiring writer.”
You either are a writer or you aren’t.  Second, stop stalling and
just do it.  Everyone procrastinates.  Procrastination and
hesitation aren’t signs you can’t write.  They’re signs you’re
nervous and hesitant. Stop being nervous, sit down, and write. No excuses.
Waiting for Daybreak, what’s next?
I have twoish chapters written for my next
novel. It’s a dark fantasy in which the dark gods of Lovecraft fame
have taken over the world and humanity has divided into groups that have vastly
different ideas on how to deal with the problem.  I’m extremely
excited about it because it’s my first book that will be written from multiple

Check out the tour schedule at the author’s blog, to read more reviews, interviews and participate in giveaways!