Wednesday, December 19, 2012
I'm totally excited about today's interview. I recently read Ilsa's book Ashes, which is one of the best Apocalyptic tales out there. She's like a genius. It was a masterful tale. :D Anyway, I'm really excited to be welcoming her on the blog today! Thanks for joining me Ilsa!
Among other things, I was an English major in college and so I know that I'm supposed to write things like, "Ilsa J. Bick is<fill in the blank>." Except I hae writing about myself like I'm not in the room. Helooooo, I'm right here....So let's just say that I'm a child psychiatrist (yeah, you read that right) and an award-winning, best-selling author of short stories, ebooks and novels. Believe me, no one is more shocked about this than I.....unless you talk to my mother.-ABOUT ILSA-
It could happen tomorrow . . .An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions.
Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP. For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.
SHADOWSPublished: 9.25.12Pages: 528The Apocalypse does not end. The Changed will grow in numbers. The Spared may not survive.
Even before the EMPs brought down the world, Alex was on the run from the demons of her past and the monster living in her head. After the world was gone, she believed Rule could be a sanctuary for her and those she’d come to love.
But she was wrong.
Now Alex is in the fight of her life against the adults, who would use her, the survivors, who don’t trust her, and the Changed, who would eat her alive.
Was there anything that inspired you to write about electromagnetic pulses?
Oh yeah. I was totally about believability and verisimilitude. I know science, and most of the science in ASHES is real. Basically, I wanted to create something that would bring down civilization in a big hurry, wasn’t a virus or some deadly plague, would let me actually create a setting where you could see/watch the disaster unfolding afterward, and was just credible enough to allow me to play around a bit with just how nasty people, in the aftermath of a disaster, can really be.
What is your favorite memory from watching Ashes being read and seeing readers wait for Shadows to arrive?
Well, thankfully, those memories are still being created because many folks are only now coming to read ASHES(like me!). I guess I’m thrilled when people get in touch and tell me how much they like and are hooked by the story. Conversely, I actually got a piece of hate mail from a fan who was PISSED that I’d changed things up in SHADOWS—I won’t say how, because I’m sure you’ve got readers who haven’t read the second book—and wanted me to go back to the old formula. Then
the fan wished me luck with my career. Now I’ve gotten hate mail before, but that one threw me for a loop until my husband pointed out that because this fan was so obviously in love with ASHES and had
invested so much in Alex, she got peeved when I didn’t do wash-rinse-repeat and focus only on Alex. So he felt that the email was really a testament to how thoroughly this kid got hooked. I like the way he thinks and precisely why I keep him around.
What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever gotten?
It’s two-fold: write fast, and dare to be bad. (That is, always try something new even if you’re really worried it won’t work.)
Describe your books in 5 words:
Complex. Psychological. Dark. Ambiguous (because I’m not into black
and white). Demanding (because I think my readers have a brain).
You've written in a few different genres, so you've got a pretty good grasp at them. What's your favorite genre to write in?
Whichever genre fits the story I’m trying to tell.
Do your write by free-hand or by typing on the computer?
Both: I make notes and flow diagrams by hand on little notes that I leave scattered around the house or stuck to the bathroom mirror, but I compose on the computer. Unless it’s the middle of the night, and
then I’m bolting out of bed and scrawling on a notepad I keep by the sink in bathroom because if I go downstairs in the middle of the night, I can kiss sleep good-bye. So can my husband because he’ll get up and threaten to eat a cat unless I come back to bed.
What is your favorite quote from your book?
Gosh, I think the whole book is my favorite quote . . . wait a second . . .okay:
"With no sense of smell, your memories dropped like pennies out of a ripped pocket, until the past was ashes and your parents were blanks: nothing more than the holes in Swiss cheese."
You're stranded on a desert island with one book. What is it?
Only one? Fine . . . DESPERATION by Stephen King. But then if I’m on an island, I’ve got sand and sticks and palm bark, so I’ll start writing my own book.
What is your favorite kind of scene to write?
I don’t really have an answer for that because every kind of scene calls for a different mental/creative muscle, and I like flexing them all.
What is one of the first things you do to get your know your character(s) a little more?
The name is über-important because it frequently suggests to me what the character looks like. Once I’ve got those items down, then I make up backstory: age, parents, family, interests, things like that.
Any special writing traditions/places you write?
Not really. Got to have a cup of coffee before I can start, but then I just screw my butt in my office chair and write until my goal’s met for the day. I’m such a drudge.
What's your ideal place to read a book?
Well, it depends. I rarely read in a chair because I sit so much when I work. In bed, I guess, but I also sprawl on the floor or stand at the kitchen counter. In fact, that’s where I am now, and working off
my laptop. After I’ve sent in a book to an editor, I do almost all the subsequent edits while standing, and on my laptop. Just for a change of pace.
If you could design a fortune cookie, what would it say?
Be happy. Things can always get worse.
Having been an aspiring author yourself, what's something you could say you learned from the process of getting your first contract?
Learn what rules you can break. I got my first contract because I broke all the rules.
Tennis Shoes or Flip-Flops?
M&Ms or Skittles?
Pumpkin or Apple Pie?
Hmmm . . . a very nicely spiced, creamy, and thoroughly mouth-watering pumpkin pie. But, honestly, both pale next to a chocolate bourbon pecan pie.
Harry Potter or Edward Cullen?
I feel about those two the way I do about Spock; they just don’t float my boat.
Cocoa or Cider?
Zombies or Vampires?
You have to ask?
Day Bird or Night Owl?
Day bird, mostly, but when the writing’s fast and furious, I never sleep and my husband despairs of a cold bed.
She's totally one awesome author. :D For those of you who haven't read her sci-fi zombie apocalyptic book yet, you need to get on it! And guess what? Ashes & Shadows are now on the list of books up for grabs in the GIVEAWAY OF EPIC PROPORTIONS! Have a great day everyone! XX,Thanks so much to Ilsa for joining me!
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