Author Interview: Kate SeRine

We’re excited to be a part of Kate SeRine’s GRIMM CONSEQUENCES release blog tour! And Kate, being the seriously nice person she is, agreed to give us more little known facts behind the creation and characters of her Transplanted Tales. Learning about the motivation of both the author and characters adds such a great depth and satisfied the craving Kate’s created for more of her intriguing Transplanted Tales World. Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway–link at the end!

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The Transplanted Tales: Behind the Scenes

I’ve shared a little behind-the-scenes info about my Transplanted Tales series here and there over the last couple of years, but because Melissa and Jennifer asked so nicely, I decided to divulge a little more.

1)     I’ve mentioned a few times that I hadn’t originally intended Tess “Red” Little to end up with Nate Grimm. What I haven’t said is that I’d planned for him and Trish to end up together. But they’re both better off where they are. 😉

2)     Aside from having a few key scenes in my head when I start, I don’t plan out my stories—not ever. I like to write as if I’m watching the plot unfold as a reader would.

3)     Nate Grimm was inspired by Humphrey Bogart’s characters in Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon, and by my husband, who is a consulting investigator with local law enforcement.

4)     The flirty banter between Nate and Tess is drawn from my relationship with my husband. A couple of our exchanges actually appear in the novel. 😉

5)     The Refuge, a haven for wayward Tales looking for a new start, is very loosely based on the small town where I lived as a child (except there were no Tales there…that I’m aware of).

6)     Many of Old Mama Hubbard’s little sayings in The Better to See You are things my late grandmother used to say. This was my way of preserving her words forever.

7)     Bob “Old King” Cole, proprietor of the Tale pub Ever Afters, is based on my friend and mentor, Marshall “Greg” Gregory. Sadly, my dear friend was very ill when RED released and passed away not long after. He never had the chance to read the book.

8)     RED was the sixth full-length novel I’d completed at the time it was written, but was the first I’d attempted to publish.

9)     Trish Muffet’s ringlets are based on those of my youngest sister. My adorable baby sis has the cutest hair EVER. But, of course, she hates it.

10)  In Grimm Consequences, the villain Demetrius was inspired by actor Andrew Scott. You Sherlock fans would know him as Sherlock’s nemesis, Moriarty. He can pull off seriously freaking crazy like nobody’s business.

moriartyfromkate

 

GRIMM CONSEQUENCES release day April 17!

Grimm Consequences. Transplanted Tales #1.5

You reap what you sow…

Saying Nate Grimm has a dark past is an understatement. Fortunately, no one’s bothered to look too closely at the Fairytale Management Authority’s lead detective and part-time Reaper. And that’s the way Nate wants to keep it. For after centuries of torment and loneliness, he’s finally found happiness with the hot and hard-charging love of his life, Tess “Red” Little.

Of course, his love for Tess is the reason there’s a posse of Reaper judges after him, led by a sadistic bastard acquainted with Nate from once upon a time. Now, Tess will pay the price for Nate’s transgressions unless Nate severs his ties to the transplanted Tales–and Tess–forever. His enemy has the advantage in speed, malice and brutality. But the Reapers have underestimated the depth of Nate’s love and devotion. And the fury of his wrath. . .

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Author Interview: Kate SeRine

Hints and Insight from Kate SeRine

Here there might be spoilers – Beware! Or read all the books in the Transplanted Tales series first – that’s cool.

Red

The Better to See You

Along Came a Spider

Kate SeRine Our first question should be about world building. There’s something…Harry Potter about the Transplanted Tales, in that their world exists in our current world. You don’t ask us to imagine another planet or a Narnia. You don’t ask us to believe that these characters simply exist in our world, like vampires. You ask us to consider two separate worlds residing in one and then make us believe. Amazing. How did you come up with the Transplanted Tales universe?

The idea for the Transplanted Tales came to me during a conversation with my eldest son, who was 8 or 9 years old at the time. We like to have what we call “What if” conversations where he’ll ask me a question that’s totally out there and then we chat about it. The question that day: “What if fairytale characters were living next door to us?” We went on to discuss who it would be, what that Tale would do for a living, and so on. And as we chatted, I started to get a very clear picture in my head of a tough, hard-hitting version of Little Red Riding Hood — all grown up and ready to knock some heads. I practically ran to my computer to get it all down. All the other details just fell into place as I began writing.

In creating your characters and interactions, you’ve used readers’ general feelings and preconceptions of fairy tale and literary characters and both built on that and tore those associations apart. Was that intentional, or just character and story flow? Did you sit down and plan, or are you more organic, like “wouldn’t it be cool if…”? A little of both?

Oh, it was totally intentional! I have a very wicked, twisted sense of humor and have a great time turning all these stories on their heads to come up with something unexpected. Some of the characters were planned—working with Little Red Riding Hood meant I’d need to bring in the Big Bad Wolf in some way, and I figured the “biggies” would have to make an appearance (Cinderella, Snow White, etc.), but the actual twists on those characters often came to me as I was writing or doing research. If I was stuck on what to do with one of the characters, I would do some reading to see if anything about the origin of the story or the story itself would trigger something crazy.

Believe it or not, one of the characters I spent the most time researching was Lavender Seelie’s brother, Puck. Obviously, most people know him from Shakespeare, but Puck has a very long traditional in folklore that predates the Bard.

Red by Kate SeRineSeriously, how did you come up with Snow White as a madam? Jim “Prince” Charming as such a skeeze? And the “Willies” for the Shakespeare characters. Pure genius in a name.

LOL – You know, I don’t know if I’ve shared this with anyone yet, but Snow White’s character in the Tales was inspired by Mae West’s quote, “I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.” And with Snow White being such a pristine, innocent character in name and deed, I couldn’t resist. Same kind of thing happened with Prince Charming. I had a lot of fun turning him into a philandering, unethical a**hole. One of my very favorite scenes in THE BETTER TO SEE YOU was in the beginning when he and Lavender square off. I still chuckle when I read it.

The Willies just sounded funny to me. Shakespeare’s plays can be rather bawdy and the double-entendre made me grin.

So, I guess, basically, I do all this just to amuse myself and hope it entertains other folks as well. 😉

How do you mix all that with such sexy romance, thrilling mystery, and suspense?

It’s funny — I didn’t start off intending to write mystery or suspense, but it kind of morphed into that as I went. I really enjoy reading plot-heavy novels and so that’s what I tend to write. As Red’s voice took on that noir feel, the mystery/suspense elements all fell into place. And, for me, romance is a must in every project. I gotta have a happily ever after.

As for weaving all those elements together? Part of it is practice. I wrote my first novel when I was fourteen, but I guarantee you my writing is way better now after writing numerous other novels and partial novels in the twenty-*mumble* years since then. Part of it is study. I’ve read a little bit of everything from all genres and pay attention to what works and what doesn’t and try to figure out how to incorporate certain techniques into my own work. And then part of it is just instinct. I go with my gut.

The Better To See You by Kate SeRineYou announced last week that you contracted with Kensington to write a novella continuing Tess and Nate’s story, giving us a glimpse into the trials and tribulations of their relationship hinted at in the second and third books. How did the addition to their story come about?

I’d always intended to tell this story. Nate does something rather drastic at the end of RED that I knew he’d have to pay for in some way, even though his intentions were noble and just. The Fairytale Management Authority was pretty understanding, of course, considering he took out a murderer and ultimately saved lives, but those who’ve read RED and already know Nate’s secret, realize that the FMA isn’t the only authority to which Nate has to answer. And they’re less forgiving.

And a contract for the fourth book in the series – congrats! Gideon! Okay, so, bribe, blackmail, pester, chocolate, champagne, whatever it takes. We gotta know. Who is his heroine?

Hehe. Her name is Arabella Locksley, but you wouldn’t know her by that name because the storytellers got her story all wrong… 😉

Any plans for more? Puck, Mary, Snow, Cindy, what’s going on with Lavender’s parents, and the Pigg brothers? Or have different characters and stories been invading that clever mind of yours?

We’ll have to see where the series goes and if it continues. I’d certainly be open to writing more Tales under the right circumstances. I’ve planned books 5 and 6 in which Al Addin and Mary Contrary would both get their page time. And there are certainly other characters who would be coming back to visit. I don’t know that I’d do much with Snow or Cindy—they’re too much fun to use as foils for my heroines.

If I write another novella, it might be fun to do a story with Puck. He’s such an irresponsible, egotistical jerk it has really surprised me how much people like him. But he shows signs of finally growing up and being “tamed” at the end of book 2, so maybe there’s hope for him yet… 😉

All that being said, I do have other projects I’m working on, so I’d be okay with bringing out something new as well.

Along Came a Spider by Kate SeRineGive us some inside info on any (or all) of the main characters–stuff that didn’t make it into the book. Thoughts, feelings, background, anything you know about them that we don’t. We love hints and insights!

Oh, wow. There’s all kinds of stuff that didn’t make it into the books. Let’s see…

Tess “Red” Little – Her father was mayor of the village where she lived in Make Believe, which made her affair with Seth even more scandalous. When Nate calls her cell phone, the ringtone is “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult.

Nate Grimm – I reveal a lot of his backstory finally in GRIMM CONSEQUENCES, but I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned that the 1940 Lincoln Zephyr he drives was won in a poker game with Nicky Blue—one of the few times he’s actually beat his closest friend at the game.

Seth Wolf – He’s a big fan of BAND OF SKULLS (he’s wearing one of their concert T-shirts in book 2) and THE BLACK KEYS. His favorite poets are John Keats and Robert Browning.

Lavender Seelie –She likes to make chocolate chip pancakes for Seth on Saturday mornings. And she’s grown very fond of washing dishes (those of you who’ve read THE BETTER TO SEE YOU will know why *wink, wink*).

Trish Muffet – She has several degrees, including an MD, from various colleges and universities, but she never uses the title “Doctor”. Once tried to dye her trademark blonde ringlets brown, but turned them green instead. It was a reeeeeeally long few hours before they reverted to their natural color.

Nicky Blue – Made his initial fortune during Prohibition and expanded his business interests from there. Owns the Tale pub, Ever Afters, but pays Bob “Old King” Cole to run it and be the “face” of the business.

And, oh, all right… I’ll give you something on Gideon. When I write about him, I’m kind of picturing Chris Hemsworth (Thor) with the longish red curly hair of Josh Knowles from the History Channel’s FULL METAL JOUSTING (might have to look this one up if you’re not a nerd like me). Yummy, right? This is such a tough gig. 😉

Thanks, Kate, for being such a good sport and for the great answers!

Evereyone else, go. Purchase and read. Go now.

Author Interview: Ben Monopoli

Words and Wisdom from Ben Monopoli

We haven’t made any secret of our respect and regard for Ben Monopoli. Plainly put, we have a serious crush on the way he thinks. After reading everything he’s written (that we know about, anyway), we really hoped for a chance to pick his brain. Smart, funny, and generous, Ben granted our wish in the form of a short interview. We share those words with you here. Enjoy.

*Spoilers right ahead. If you don’t want to be spoiled, read the books. In fact, read them anyway. Carry on.*

The Cranberry Hush

The Painting of Porcupine City

Homo Action Love Story! A tall tale

Ben Monopoli author interviewWe think we can safely say that your stories don’t follow “the formula” or genre expectation, rules and guidelines. Do you think this affords you as a writer greater character and story development? Allow you to explore the not-so-pretty part of people that most fiction and romance/love stories gloss over or ignore. We can be good people but still have those occasional selfish or uncharitable thoughts, and you do such a good job of showing this. How do you tap into that, and how do you think that differs from mainstream or traditional fiction and romance/love stories?

My books, at least the first two, probably do follow a genre expectation, but the genre is literary fiction (“lit fic” sounds less pretentious), which is what I read most often. I like the navel-gazey books that get into the nitty-gritty of people’s lives. I want a lot of detail, a lot of insight. John Steinbeck is my favorite writer—the amount this man understood about human nature, it’s crazy. You read something like East of Eden and it’s easy to see that it’s everything he knew about everything. He put it all in that book. I think that’s what literary fiction tries to do and that’s what I’m most interested in. My first two books represent everything I knew about life, love, loss up to that point. Part of that is that people don’t always do the right things, they make mistakes that are really obvious and stupid; they do the wrong thing even when they know what the right thing is. But they’re also susceptible to moments of real beauty and, for lack of a better word, magic.

While all three of your novels are unique, the tone, subject, and story from Porcupine and Cranberry to Homo Action is quite different. The first two have a similar feel, but Homo Action is pretty unique. Can you give us any insight from where you wrote the first two stories and where Homo Action came from? Dying to know how you plotted (or pantsed) Homo Action.

The Cranberry Hush and The Painting of Porcupine City were finished before I knew m/m romance was even a thing. Maybe that makes them seem fresh to the m/m crowd, because they weren’t influenced by it. They both ended up in the m/m category for marketing reasons, because, I don’t know, writing gay characters narrows your audience so you want to go right to the readers who are looking for that. Originally I was targeting my books at 20something gay male readers; I had no idea straight women would be so receptive to stories about gay dudes, but it’s been a nice surprise. And since that audience embraced my first two books so much, I kind of wanted to play in their sandbox. That’s where Homo Action Love Story came from. It was sort of on a dare. My friend Maggie supplied the name “Boots McHenry” and told me to write a bodice-ripper about him. I think of it as something very “other” from Cranberry Hush and Porcupine City. I couldn’t bring myself to call it a novel, so I call it a tall tale. But I think it’s fun and a nice change of pace.

Ben Monopoli author interviewLoved the detail in Cranberry about bisexual people not being limited to who they can fall in love with – such an intriguing idea, especially for a writer. You’ve mentioned you weren’t sure about that aspect of Cranberry, but it was such a great arc and detail. Thoughts, insights, comments?

In my head Vince was bi from the get-go, and in all my early drafts he was longing for something he knew wasn’t possible: for Griff to fall for him. It was a type of denial. But that just never rang true to me. It took me like five years of working on the book before I realized what Vince’s bi-ness would actually mean for him and the way he relates to other people. What he feels isn’t willful denial of Griff’s straightness, he just doesn’t understand straightness at all—or gayness, for that matter. A person who’s attracted to both genders would find it hard to understand how someone could be attracted to only one. So that’s where Vince is coming from: He loves Griff and he can tell Griff loves him too, so what’s the problem? What’s Griff’s hurdle? Can the hurdle be jumped? Vince doesn’t know. I think that’s a sweeter, sadder thing to deal with.

Cranberry Hush (and Homo Action, to an extent) is about something a bit different, not the “usual” story – the girl wishing her gbf could be straight, or even the gbf wishing he could be straight for his best girl friend, or gbf wishing sbf could be gay, like Cranberry appears to start, but this dealt with the straight male friend wanting to be gay for his best friend. And why does just knowing the fact Griff wished he could be gay for Vince give the happy sighs and make it easier to accept for Vince and (most of) the readers?

I think part of the pain of unrequited love is that it makes us feel a little silly, maybe a little invisible. We go around feeling like, “I love him and he has no idea and wouldn’t care even if he knew.” Unrequited love makes us feel small. So when Griff takes Vince to the lighthouse, it puts them on equal footing for the first time in their friendship. Griff recognizes everything Vince feels and welcomes it, and values it, and is envious of it. That helps Vince realize that what he feels isn’t even quite unrequited, it’s requited in its own way, it’s just something that’s not going to work out. And that’s sad, yeah, but it’s a lot easier to deal with. It’s a lot more affirming. One of the most important realizations of Vince’s life is that he hasn’t been being silly.

And, if you will, settle a personal debate between J and M. How much of Griff wishing he could fall in love with Vince was altruistic – he just truly wanted to be able to love Vince – versus being somewhat selfish and wanting to belong to someone, to go back to the salad days of college. He just broke up with what he thought was his One (and tried to get back with her – tried to sleep with her when they stayed), which he considers to be the end all, be all of life. Who is really the one fooling himself, so to speak – Griff or Vince? How much was all that Griff honestly trying to figure out if he was straight or gay, or how much was trying to get back to what he considers his comfort/goals? Maybe M read way too much into it (and maybe J let her own personal history blind her).

Griff is a guy who’s maybe too eager to be in love. This is part of what draws him to Vince, because he’s entranced by the idea that Vince as a bi guy can love anyone. Griff sees that as having endless possibilities.

Griff is very earnest, and as a result he gets his heart broken a lot. Every person he invests all his emotion into ends up breaking his heart. His breakup with Beth comes at a pretty fragile time in his young adulthood and he feels totally adrift afterward. So he reaches for the person he knows would never break his heart. And maybe that would be a little selfish if Vince didn’t need so badly to be reached-for by Griff, but he does. And it’s not altruism on Griff’s part—he’s not trying to do Vince a favor. He needs Vince and Vince needs him. That’s just love.

I never meant to suggest that Griff is questioning his straightness, though. What he’s trying to find out is whether his love for his male friend can override his straightness, if it can become everything he needs in his life if he’ll let it. He wants to test it.

Ben Monopoli author interviewThe details of Mateo’s graffiti painting in Porcupine City were so vivid and detailed. What did your research for that aspect of the story and his character entail? You did such a great job of making the reader feel his compulsion, his need, how itchy and unsettled he was when we wasn’t painting, when he tried to stifle his need and attempt to prioritize his “hobby” versus his real life, his day job, his relationship with Fletcher. Another example here how you take something most people would disdain—graffiti and defacing public property—and make it sympathetic. Make readers root for Mateo (and Fletcher) to get away with an illegal activity, cheer for him, while still maintaining the balance of “he really is breaking the law,” not going too far in either direction. That’s an amazingly difficult balance to achieve. Did you set out to show that or did it just grow from the story?

Mateo and Fletcher basically have the same compulsion, which is to put words on things. For Fletcher it’s paper, and for Mateo it’s… anything. I did some research into graffiti but it was for the technical stuff. I felt pretty confident that I understood what would make someone do it. Who hasn’t wanted to do it?

As for making Mateo’s graffiti sympathetic, I think street art lends itself to that because it’s romantic. It’s one of those things that, OK, it’s technically a crime, but it’s morally ambiguous. Like, it’s more OK in certain places than in others. It’s more OK if it’s pretty and not just scribbles. It’s like jewel theft or some other glamorous crime. I tried to make a distinction between types of graffiti—sometimes angry people just want to make a mess, but other people are artists. One person’s “defacing public property” is another person’s “enhancing public property.” I don’t know. I can argue both ways, which I think comes across in the book. I’m not saying I’d want it on my car or my house, but I also can’t say I’d rather look at a blank concrete wall in a subway station.

I think we all know by now Jen is a huge Holden Caulfield fan, so we have to ask. Vince in Cranberry seems very Holden-esque. On purpose?

No, not on purpose. But I think Holden is like a god, the god of angst. He’s everywhere you look.

Ben Monopoli author interviewA reviewer of Homo Action mentioned what she referred to as the “non-monogamous” aspect, or more the issue of being faithful, that Boots didn’t wait very long to have sex with someone else after Ryan left. Do you think the different views on casual versus committed sex (for lack of a better term) is a difference between the sexes? Same sex versus opposite sex relationships? No relation at all, just personal reactions?

Boots definitely doesn’t wait very long to hook up with other guys after Ryan’s exile. Part of that was just practical from a storytelling standpoint. I wanted to write a sexy bodice-ripper, so the characters needed to be having sex. Monogamy would’ve been a narrative straitjacket, so for a book called Homo Action Love Story, I had no trouble throwing it overboard. This is not a serious book.

I’ve seen reviews like the one you mentioned. For some people non-monogamy will always be cheating. That’s fair, but I think life is more complicated than that. Boots sleeps with guys he thinks Ryan would approve of. So it’s safe to infer that they’re more monogamish than monogamous. On the other hand, he makes an effort to avoid guys Ryan wouldn’t approve of. There is a moral code he operates by. For some people it might be too loose, but I don’t feel there’s any cheating here.

I don’t think it’s a good idea to generalize about people’s sex lives, either, like by saying opposite-sex couples do this or same-sex couples do that. Sex is the most complicated subject in the world, and also the most secret. I don’t think most people, me included, have any idea what other people’s sex lives are really like. Some couples are monogamous, some are in open relationships, and there’s probably a lot of gray area in between. I think the gray area is where the best stories are.

Any unique, fun, exciting, or frustrating challenges as a gay fiction, self-pubbed, etc. writer you’d like to share?

Being a self-pubbed writer is awesome. People are reading my stuff, they send me nice letters, I get to do interviews like this. Being a self-pubbed bookseller, which is the flip-side of the coin—well, I don’t like that part. Back when I released The Cranberry Hush there wasn’t a whole lot of ebook competition. Word of mouth was enough to take it to #1. These days the ebook presses are rolling 24/7, which makes marketing way more important if you want to get attention. It’s not where my interests or strengths lie, though. I’d rather be writing than selling—which probably means I’m selling myself short. But hopefully if my books are good enough they’ll find an audience.

Ben Monopoli author interviewFUTURE BOOKS! Give us some scoop on what you might be thinking about next.

I’m working on a sequel to The Painting of Porcupine City, but it’s going to take a few years so it may not be the next thing I publish. Totally random—the other day I learned that the soldiers in the Spanish Legion have the sexiest uniforms in the world. Google them. I could imagine a sequel to Homo Action Love Story revolving around those uniforms. But who knows.

Feel free to add anything you’d like to mention, talk about, discuss, etc., and thanks so much for sharing with us!

Thank you! It’s been fun.

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Book Review and Author Interview: The End of All Things by Lissa Bryan

Guest Review and Interview by Jennifer Hensley

Book Review Lissa BryanThe End of All Things is a book that stays with you long after you finish reading it. When I picked up this book, I didn’t expect the beautiful love story that emerged. After finishing, I had to know more about the author and how this story came to be. She was gracious enough to answer my questions. I am excited to read the sequel to find out what is next for these beautiful characters.

What was your inspiration for writing this book?

I’ve always loved EOTWAWKI (End of the World as We Know It) books and movies, and just like I do with most subjects that interest me, I had to “write” my own post-apocalyptic story. The quotation marks are because, at the time, it was “written” in my mind. I never actually intended to write down any of my stories or try to publish them; it was only for my own amusement.

The inspiration often came from aspects that irked me in those stories, like people driving cars years after the disaster (no, the gas would go bad), or not thinking of simple things like water purification. It made me start thinking about how people would have to adapt to those situations. My imagination took flight from there.

I wanted my book to be about an ordinary girl in a horribly un-ordinary situation. The current trend has been for kick-ass heroines who can take on the whole world by themselves, thank you very much, and might shoot you just for the hell of it. And while I enjoy those stories, I’m more fascinated with the tales of people who aren’t prepared for anything, who have to find a core of strength inside themselves they never knew they had.

When Justin first finds Carly, she’s deeply in shock, not thinking clearly about her situation or what she needs to do to survive. He can tell she has fire and steel inside her, underneath that soft, naïve exterior, but she spends a good portion of the first novel discovering it. You’re going to see her come into her own in the sequel and learn to trust her own strength.

Did you personally identify with any of the characters?

I think I identify more with Justin because I have a similarly practical nature, and I over-prepare for everything.

I’d like to have some of Carly’s traits, such as her unyielding optimism. I share her love for animals and reading, but that’s about it

What kind of disease do you think was the cause of the apocalypse?

I envision it as a kind of weaponized super-flu.

Did you have any other agenda in mind when writing this book, such as advocating for vaccinations or dealing with governmental cover ups?

My sole agenda when I write a novel is to entertain. I’m always amazed at the messages readers tell me they took away from my stories. It makes me think of that old saying, An author only begins a book; the reader finishes it. We all see through different lenses and our areas of focus vary as well.

The only conspiracy theory I espouse is the one that says Truman Capote was the real author of To Kill a Mockingbird. I really like that one, and I refuse to let facts get in the way of it.

Did you do any traveling to Alaska to research the area for the book?

No, but I wish I could have! Visiting Alaska is on my bucket list. I relied on a friend who used to live there and Google Maps. The Street View function allowed me to “walk” alongside Carly and Justin for portions of their journey. I was even able to find topographical maps that told me whether they were going uphill or downhill. On a couple of occasions, I used tourists’ vacation photos to describe the interior of buildings. I went over that route so many times in the 3D simulation mode, I think I could probably walk from Skagway to Toad River blindfolded.

I tend to get a little pedantic about details like that. I had two sentences in the early portion of the novel where I mentioned Carly’s job and the fact she was calculating sales taxes on her purchases. I actually looked up the salary offerings on Juneau job postings and the cost of the average apartment rent to make sure she could afford it, and then checked to make sure there was sales tax in Juneau.

Will we get to read anymore about Carly and Justin or their daughter and how things changed for them once they made it to the South?

Yes. The End of All Things is actually the first half of a longer novel. I never know how long these things are going to be while they’re still inside my head, so I had confidently asserted to the acquisitions editor I could tell the whole story in under 120,000 words. Turns out I was wrong about that, so I ended it where it seems logical: as they completed one journey and were about to begin another.

I’m going to start writing the sequel this summer, as soon as I finish up the edits on my historical novel. I’m going to try to get it out as quickly as possible so readers don’t have to wait long. There will also be a collection of short stories coming out which has backstories on some of the characters, a couple of whom you’ll meet in the sequel.

My True Love is urging me to consider making it a series. He says, and I quote, “You know with parents like that, Dagny would grow up to be a real badass.

Who influenced you to become a writer?

Sylvain Reynard, actually. I read Gabriel’s Inferno in the fall of 2011 and when I went to Amazon to leave a review, I saw one reviewer state —rather scathingly— it had once been Twilight fan fiction. I had to go find out what that was.

It was like one of those moments of epiphany you see in movies where the sky opens up and golden sunlight pours down, and a host of heavenly angels sings the Hallelujah Chorus. I had discovered that other people re-wrote books and movies, too, and there were massive online communities devoted to it.

I’d never written anything before, unless you count the novels I’d “written” in my head over the years. It took me a while to talk myself into it, because I was afraid reviewers would be cruel. But the fan fiction community was incredibly supportive and kind. I started my first story in September and in February, I was contacted by a publisher. 2012 was a crazy year.

I sent Sylvain Reynard a thank you note a little while ago, and he was very kind and gracious in his response.

If you had 24 hours with nothing to do but read, what books would you read?

How many do I have to narrow it down to? My appetite for books is legendary, and I read everything from graphic novels to ancient Japanese literature. I have a library of non-fiction books on bizarrely esoteric subjects like ketchup, and the history of lawn care, and two sagging book cases filled with nothing but vampire romance novels.  I never know what I’m going to be in the mood to read.

Book Review The End of All Things by Lissa Bryan

About the Book

After a terrible virus ravages the planet, Carly Daniels, one of the few survivors, hides in her apartment in Juneau trying to survive the best she can with only occasional forays to gather food. With her is Sam, a wolf puppy she found starving on the streets. He becomes her companion and a reason to continue when giving up sometimes seems like the more attractive option. Still dazed with shock and grief, she hopes for the world to go back to normal soon.

She is discovered by Justin, an ex-soldier who is intent on making his way to Florida before the winter sets in. Justin coaxes her out of her hiding place and convinces her to join him on his journey, because a warmer climate will be their best chance against the extremes of Mother Nature.

Together, they begin a perilous journey through a nation laid to waste by the disaster. Challenges abound along the way. The weather, injury, and shortage of supplies all help to slow them down. In time, they discover that they aren’t the only survivors. Some are friendly but some have had their minds destroyed by the high fever. Then there are those who simply take what they want, leaving Carly and Justin with no choice but to defend what is theirs.

But their journey is not without joy and love. Together, they face every struggle, including an unplanned pregnancy. Despite the perils of bringing a child into a world of chaos, their baby is a new beginning for themselves and a symbol of hope for the other survivors they find along the way.

This is the story of their journey to find a place to begin a new life, and a home in each other.

About the Author

Lissa Bryan is an astronaut, renowned Kabuki actress, Olympic pole vault gold medalist, Iron Chef champion, and scientist who recently discovered the cure for athlete’s foot … though only in her head. Real life isn’t so interesting, which is why she spends most of her time writing.

Find Lissa on her blog, her Facebook pageGoodreads profile, and follow her on Twitter. To buy the books, check Amazon.