The Army of the Lost Blog Tour: Lily Herne Interview & Giveaway

Friday, April 18, 2014

It is my absolute pleasure today to introduce my lovely readers to a series that snuck up on me in the best possible way. The Army of the Lost is the thrilling third installment of the Deadlands dystopia series in which mother-daughter writing duo give readers a story unlike no other. Under the pseudonym, Lily Herne, Savannah and Sarah Lotz have crafted a story that embraces both the political climate of South Africa and a backdrop of a zombie apocalypse...and yes, it is that amazing!

The Army of the Lost Synopsis

One of us is dead, one of us is broken, one of us will betray the others and one of us will have to sell her soul to survive...

Eleven years after South Africa was ravaged by the walking dead, most of Johannesburg's survivors are forced to scratch out a living in the filth of Sandtown, an enclave in the old Sandton City mall, ruled over by a minority of rich, self-serving bureaucrats. Tommy, a bullied fourteen-year-old Sandtownite, dreams of joining the Army of the Left, a radical organisation intent on setting the city free of the dead that lurch around its walls. But fate has other plans for him.

Betrayed by one of their closest allies and sold to the highest bidder, Lele, Ash, Ember and Ginger - the remaining Mall Rats - find themselves sucked into the dark heart of Jozi's twisted political system. While Ash is forced to face his traumatic past and Ginger struggles to regain his sanity, Lele goes head to head against Jozi's most powerful manipulator - a man who has sinister plans for her. Meanwhile, left for dead on the outskirts of Jozi, Saint begins her own journey. A journey that she hopes will provide the answers to all of the Mall Rats' unanswered questions.
1. What made you choose a South African setting for your dystopian novel? Did past political unrest play some sort if part?

We live in Cape Town, so familiarity played into that choice quite a lot. At the time we wrote the first in the series, no one had written a walking dead novel set in SA, and someone had to address this appalling state of affairs (!) There is a political element to the novels – it’s almost impossible to write anything set in SA and not include an element of social critique. It’s in our DNA and the fallout from apartheid is still evident all around us. For example, there’s a huge rich-poor divide, which we’ve tried to comment on in the novels.

2. If you could use just five words to describe your protagonist, what would they be, and why?

In the first novel, our narrator Lele is sulky, gutsy, honest, jealous and impetuous. She also has the tendency to be quite rude (although that would make it six!) But as the series progresses, the people and traumatic events she encounters force her to deal with issues and situations with more maturity (she will always sulk though – we reckon that’s her signature emotion!)

3. What do you think sets your books apart from other dystopian novels, and what do you hope readers will take away from reading them?

Lauren’s Beukes’s fabulous Zoo City and Charlie Human’s insanely brilliant Apocalypse Now Now aside, there’s not a great deal of dystopian YA set in South Africa, so the setting probably sets the novels apart. In a departure from the first two novels in the series, The Army of the Lost is set in Johannesburg, and we had a great time coming up with different settlements and considering how the survivors in this city might have corralled themselves out of reach of the walking dead. For example, there’s an almost utopian society who have holed up in the self-sustaining Johannesburg Zoo, and as mall culture is quite prevalent in Jozi, the majority of the survivors are crammed into the Sandton City mall complex, ruled over by a handful of greedy bureaucrats (which isn’t dissimilar to what’s actually happening!) Primarily, we hope readers have a blast reading them!

4. What do you do to make sure your series continues strong from one novel to the next?

As well as (hopefully) including some plot twists that readers won’t see coming, we’ve tried to focus on character development and show how our protagonist have changed after experiencing the various horrible events we’ve forced them to endure. They aren’t the same people as they were at the beginning of the series (and they might not all be alive at the end of it…)

5. If you weren't writing, what would you be doing?

Savannah: I’d be a professional gamer, but as this really isn’t an option, I’d love to be an extra in The Walking Dead.

Sarah: Gosh. Tricky question. I love cars and driving, so I wouldn’t mind being a stunt/precision driver (!)


Doesn't it sound absolutely amazing?! Be sure to check out the other books in the series (Deadlands and Death of a Saint), as well. But for now - here's your chance to win a copy of The Army of the Lost all for yourself! This giveaway is open internationally and will end promptly at midnight MST on 4/25/14. Simply fill out the Rafflecopter for your chance to win! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. That's a a different setting and I
    d like to see more of that

  2. A dystopian set in South Africa? I'm definitely curious now. I know I've mentioned that I'm a little burned out on dystopians, but a new setting could be something to get me out of that mentality.
    Thanks for sharing, Melissa!

  3. Professional gamer! That sounds like fun. Love that we finally have a different setting -- I have some rellies in Durban! :)

  4. I like what she said about the characters not being the same people as they were when the series first started, character growth and change is always something I'm looking for in a story, so that has me really excited to pick these books up. And I'd absolutely be an extra on the Walking Dead right along with Savannah. How much fun would that be? I'm not the best in a car, so it's probably best for humanity that I not become a stunt driver:)

  5. I want to win this series because it sounds very interesting, plus I love zombies!

  6. This is actually the first I have heard of this series. Looks amazing.

  7. I think i have one of the books in this series because the author sounds really familiar. it does sound pretty interesting, but i'm not really sure if it's my type of read. thanks for sharing though, melissa! <33


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