Interview with Aya Knight

Author of The Day I Died

Aya Knight is the bestselling author of The Chronicles of Kale series.

For updates and information on upcoming releases, please visit:

"Imagination is your gateway into fantastic new worlds."

Buy this book

What inspired you to write, The Day I Died?
  • I love stories that take place in a world that's gone through devastation, and yet found a way to survive. Though there are still many dangers lurking in this story, it's a take on how society has evolved after a tragedy. Admittedly, zombies have always terrified me! From a child, watching Night of the Living Dead for the first time, they've always been a 'what if' possibility that gives me chills.
Is The Day I Died part of a series?
  • The Day I Died is part of the Apocalypse Cycle. However, each title in this series is a stand-alone story. They can be read in any order.
Who inspired you to write The Day I Died?
  • A lot of writers have inspired me across the years, but for this title specifically, I'd say Stephen King, George Romero, Dan O'Bannon, and Rick Yancey.
What made you decide on Arkansas for the location of the story?
  • Each of the installments in the Apocalypse Cycle will take place in a different area of the world. For example, The Day I Died takes place in Arkansas, and The Day I Disappeared will take place in Florida. My goal is to capture various forms of devastation, all unique to one another that take (or took) place during the apocalypse. Not too long before working on The Day I Died, a buddy of mine sent me a few nature photos they'd taken just outside of Bentonville, AR. I think that sparked the initial draw since it was really beautiful, and the forest looked so tranquil. I could envision standing there in a world filled with the diseased. The eerie silence that one might feel before hearing the distant shuffle of feet nearby. How that alone could hold you paralyzed in place.
Why zombies? They've been around for ages!
  • Many stories stem from an existing idea. The main thing is to put your own twist on it. Create a story that engages readers. I wanted to tell a story from the zombies perspective. What it would be like if they still held onto their memories and emotions while slowly decaying and losing who they once were. The emotional pain that would occur and inner drive to survive.
Why did you choose the YA category for The Day I Died?
  • I feel like Young Adult books give room for growth. Not saying that adult protagonists can't do the same! But I really enjoy writing about someone who is still figuring out their life when met with trials that push them to their limits.
How did you pace your story?
  • I wanted to hold a pace that would keep the story moving forward. To show that there were constant dangers in a broken world, and you never know what's coming with the turn of each page. My goal with each chapter is to leave you wanting more.
Why is the book set to 16+?
  • Though the story fits into the YA category, I did push the limits on this one. Teens swear. I'm not saying every teenager has the mouth of a sailor, but let's be honest--dropping the F-bomb isn't unheard of in modern society for a seventeen-year-old girl. There's also some scenes where descriptive gore is present. As a mom of two, I had to think of where the scale would tip in terms of age-appropriate content. 16 and up felt like a good recommendation, but of course this is something for parents or readers to decide on their own.
How many books will be in the Apocalypse Cycle?
  • There will be at least 3, but the sky is the limit! If there's enough interest, and I continue to come up with ideas for locations around the world, then there's a good possibility for more in the future.
Where next? What are you working on now?
  • I'm currently working on a novel called (working title) Unyielding. This is an adult thriller that will revolve around a mom and her severely autistic son. I'm very excited about this project and can't wait to share it with everyone! Once Unyielding is finished, I'll begin work on The Day I Disappeared (the next book in the Apocalypse Cycle).
Authors – click here to learn about Profile


She had to die, to find the truth.

Oshin Fletcher lives by three rules: obey authority, don’t draw unnecessary attention to yourself, and above all else, never leave the city walls.

Some say that rules are meant to be broken. For Oshin, her world shattered on the day she was betrayed. A secret meeting leads her beyond the safety of her city. Lured by the ignorance that comes with being lonely and hopeful, Oshin was about to discover just how severe consequences could be. Lost and alone, she waited; no one came. But they did. The infected, the decaying, the undead.

Oshin wakes to find herself in an abandoned house, deep within the forest. Her body was changing, her desire to feed, uncontrollable. She was a marionette—her hunger, the puppeteer. She pivots on a line between life and death. They say the undead are mindless, but Oshin was very much aware. She sets out in an unknown world where the worst evils aren’t the undead, but humanity itself. With only days before the effects of the disease take hold and decay sets in, Oshin must race to find a way back home for a cure. She soon discovers that home is not everything she thought it to be. Dark secrets have been in play since the moment she was born.

An emotionally intense zombie survival story.

Reader Guide:
Young Adult Sci-fi - graphic violence, gore, strong language (Recommended 16+)