Welcome to The Book of Apex Volume Four Blog Tour. If you’d like more info, Andrea at Little Red Reviewer has the full schedule of interviews, guest posts, and reviews. Looking at the schedule, I have to say, February is going to be a good month.
Today, I’m hosting author Cecil Castillucci who wrote Always the Same. Till it is Not which is a must read in The Book of Apex Volume Four. She was more than willing to answer a few questions for your reading pleasure. But first, a quick intro:
Cecil Castellucci is the author of books and graphic novels for young adults including Boy Proof, The Plain Janes, First Day on Earth, The Year of the Beasts and Odd Duck. Her picture book, Grandma’s Gloves, won the California Book Award Gold Medal. Her short stories have been published in Strange Horizons, YARN, Tor.com, and various anthologies including, Teeth, After and Interfictions 2. She is the YA editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books, Children’s Correspondence Coordinator for The Rumpus and a two time Macdowell Fellow. She lives in Los Angeles. She has a new book coming out February 25, 2014, Tin Star. More about her and her work is on her website: http://castellucci.wordpress.com/.
1 – I enjoyed Always the Same. Till it is Not immensely. It’s a different take on the zombie idea. Can you tell readers about your inspiration for the story?
To be honest I don’t like zombies. I’m afraid of them. I’m afraid of their shuffling. Of their rotting bodies. Of their eating brains. Of their rambling and relentless groaning. They freak me out. But I was at a shindig and I met Angela Kang who is a writer and producer on The Walking Dead. I told her I’d likely never watch the show, because, you know. Zombies. She told me I should give it a chance. I went home that night thinking about zombies and wondered how I would write a zombie story. The idea was born when I started thinking about how in zombies there is always an infection. A bite that transmits something. I thought what if the infection was becoming human? I thought about the zombie invasion winning and how everyone would be turned and wandering the earth and if there was no one else to infect, maybe infection would swing back. So the story is about becoming other, just like you do when you become a zombie, only in this world other and different is becoming human. It was an exercise and I’m pretty happy with it! For the record, after I wrote it I went and watched The Walking Dead, and I love it!
2 – Every author has a different approach to the writing process. Can you tell us how you prepare to write and a little bit about your process, if there is one? Is it different for each book or story you write or do you have a system you try to follow?
It is a little bit different for every project but many parts of it stay the same. For example, I usually know I’m really going to write a story if I get a flash of the beginning and ending all at once. I usually write those down and then I fill in the middle and build a kind of skeleton. Then I fatten up the baby! With each story I usually have a little exercise or game or challenge for myself. So, like I said, in this one, the challenge was to make a zombie story where the infection was different than what we expected. In my new novel Tin Star I wanted to see if I could write a human who in order to survive has kind of become an alien herself and then is confronted with humans again. I also have different themes that I work on till I’m done. Humanity being a current fave! But then it’ll change and morph into a different emotional question for the next few stories that I’ll write. I also try to write the parts that I am excited to write and not worry about it being in order. Then I mix things around, swap and switch, until I find that right skeleton. Then it is revise, revise, revise. For me it is essential to get words on the page. Any words. Because even if they are all the wrong words, you have something to work with. I don’t have a schedule per se. But I do give myself deadlines. I’ll say, OK I’m only going to work on this project for the next two weeks (or two months) and that’s my time to dream and play within that world. But what I love about process is that it is ever changing and that no two authors write the same way.
3 – You mentioned you have a new book coming out. Can you tell readers about it?
Tin Star is book one in a two book sci fi series. It’s about a girl named Tula Bane who is abandoned and left for dead on an alien space station at the brink of a galactic war. She’s the only human and humans are not really known or liked in the galaxy. It’s about her trying to survive when a lot of bigger political stuff happens and humanity is trying to make itself better known in the galaxy. I was inspired by Casablanca.
4 – I love sneaking a peek at people’s bookshelves. What are you reading right now and is there a book you can’t wait to get to?
I just finished The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and CM Kornbluth. That was great. I have Hild by Nicola Griffith on my night table. But I’m traveling as I write this so I’ve got two books loaded up on my kobo: City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte, Cocaine Blues – A Miss Fisher Mystery by Kerry Greenwood and Uncharted Territory by Connie Willis.