After reading her ZA novels “The Undead Situation” and “The Undead Haze”, and the stomach-churning work that is “Pulse”, I had the chance to interview the author herself. And here it is!
Good morning! Imagine we’re in a choose-your-own adventure novel. You wake up with the sun; there is no need for clocks in this technology-free world. Besides, that would just draw attention to your hiding place, and no one wants that. The first thing you reach for is:
My sidearm. Danger is everywhere and my gun is never far from my personage!
Ah! That is a wonderful choice. I think. Probably. More about this mystical world later. Now, on to more important things! Where do I start? Author, graphic designer, blogger and cos-player. That seems like a full schedule. Do you have a secret structure to your day you could tell us without having to kill us?
It is overwhelming and some days I really feel it. My secret is that I am really good at prioritizing and staying focused. Once work is out of the way, my first priority is my authorship. I’ll work on my manuscript in any way I can and while I’m doing it, I don’t check Facebook or screw around doing other things. Once I feel satisfied with my progress on writing for the day, I’ll move on to something else, like design or cosplay. I try not to watch TV or browse the internet unless I know I’ve made at least some progress on whatever projects I have going on.
As a highly creative and also easily stressed person, it’s easy to feel like I have to get everything done every day. My other secret is that I recognize when projects can be done later in the week, or sometimes not at all, and schedule out accordingly.
I’m still alive. I’m taking that as a good sign. Other good things happening right now are the World Cup, and the Undead Haze. Firstly, the World Cup. Stop laughing about soccer for a brief second, and let us know if you have any sporting allegiances or skills – I see lots of pictures of you looking down scopes?!
I have absolutely no sporting allegiances. I’ve never cared for sports since I was a kid, and don’t see that changing any time soon, heh. As for skills, I do go shooting and am dabbling in archery.
Secondly, the Undead Haze. This is the second book of a trilogy, and it is primarily written in the first-person perspective of a man. I also write like this; did you find getting in to the ‘male’ mindset difficult? Have readers ever told you that you’ve got it wrong (or alternatively, nailed it?)
I actually find it difficult to write from a ‘female’ perspective (as is traditionally understood), so writing from Cyrus’s perspective feels very natural to me. I’ve never had anyone say “You can tell a woman wrote it.” I’ve read multiple remarks, some in surprise, that a woman wrote it because it reads as though a guy did.
In the Undead Haze I see CVS growing as a character. In the first book, I was rooting for him to lose limbs. In the second, I find myself caring about his fate. Is this evolution going to continue? Did you always have this journey planned for Cyrus?
Yes, it continues but perhaps not in the way you anticipate. Cyrus’s evolution is heavily reliant on the people around him and how they make him perceive himself. Wow, that was a mouthful. I always knew Cyrus would undergo personal transformation—for better and worse. The experiences that make him who he is usually come to me as I write, whereas who I want him to become in a more general sense has always been in my head.
What would be your favourite one-liner quote for inspiration, to writers of any genre and gender?
One that I read recently that I absolutely love is, “There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” –W. Somerset Maugham.
There are thousands of articles out there telling us how to write, what to write, what not to write, tips, tricks, etc., that bog our minds down. But at the end of the day, take it with a grain of salt.
When you write, what is your noise of choice?
I have to have complete silence to write. I can’t have anyone in the room either when I’m writing. It’s a very meditative, solitary activity for me. When I do graphic design or cosplay I typically listen to trance or classical though.
You’ve just got back from Crypticon – it looked like a helluva party. What’s your favourite Con memory?
Ahh! So many cons, so many awesome memories. One that I always think is funny and weird, was my first zomBcon. Malcolm McDowell was there. I was off eating lunch in kind of a side area and he and his handlers walked by. He looked at me with those piercing blue eyes, then the food. He then reached out and lightly caressed my chin with lightning speed (that’s the weird part) and said, “That looks delicious.” Winked, and left. Celebs can be pretty strange sometimes!
Back to that mystical world. Your post-apocalypse works feature different personalities. I’ve read about couples (in Pulse) and loners (in the Undead books) as well as a spectrum in between. You’ve reached for your useful item (did I say it was a good pick). Would you then choose to be in a group, or surviving on your own in a PA situation? And why?
This is a hard one. Unfortunately—and this probably comes off as clear in my Cyrus V. Sinclair series—I think most people would act irrationally and selfishly at the cost of others in a PA scenario. I would be more likely to go solo than be part of a group for my own safety. That being said, there can be safety in numbers. If I was totally unable to go solo, I would try to stick with individuals with similar moral framework who were strong independently, but even stronger in a group. You’re only as strong as your weakest link.
What’s next for Eloise?
Right now I’m working on Pulse: Retaliation, the second in the Pulse trilogy. I finished the last Cyrus book and that will be coming out early 2015. My writing speed has increased dramatically the past year!
And finally, how can readers and fans best reach out to you?
You can contact me on any of my social media venues, sign up for my mailing list on my website, or plain old email me.
Fan page: https://www.facebook.com/eloisejknapp