For Day 2 of Dystopian Week, I’ve got the lovely Ann Aguirre on the blog. Ann is the author of the Jax and Corine Soloman series, as well as the Razorland series for young adults (and much more.) Ann has also generously offered a copy of Enclave to one lucky winner (see giveaway details at the bottom of this post.)
In Enclave, you created a chilling post-apocolyptic landscape that Deuce, Fade, and their friends had to navigate. Were there any particular films or books that helped you in your visualization of that world?
I’ve always been a fan of apocalypse movies. The first one I saw on my own was NIGHT OF THE COMET. (Don’t laugh!) As a young teen, I was alone at the mall with a friend for the first time, and we decided a zombie movie would rock. The flick was awesome, campy, and it imprinted me for life. Later, I took a film class as part of my English degree, and I wrote a paper analyzing the themes in George Romero’s seminal work NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.
Since then, I can’t get enough of the genre. I haven’t read many dystopian novels, mostly because I’m superstitious. If I think I’m ever going to write something in that genre, I don’t read it, because I want any similarities in idea, treatment or theme to come from a collective zeitgeist, not from my unconscious fangirling. This way, I can honestly say that any likeness between my work and someone else’s is GMTA.
Most of the apocalypse movies I’ve loved over the years haven’t been as silly as NIGHT OF THE COMET. Some of my favorites include: Terminator (the future is bleak indeed), any Resident Evil film, 28 Days Later, Undead (a wicked awesome indie Aussie film), Daybreakers (by the same directors who did Undead), Zombieland, 12 Monkeys, Children of Men, Road Warrior, Shaun of the Dead, Logan’s Run, Blade Runner (some might argue its inclusion), Equilibrium, Tank Girl, The Postman, Escape from New York, The Blood of Heroes, Reign of Fire… hm. I should stop now.
The cover of Enclave is very evocative of the coldness of the Enclave itself, and creates a sense of foreboding before you even open the book! Do you have any input on your book covers, or collaborate on the design?
I love the cover, but I do wonder how many people know it’s a sewer lid behind the crossed knives. That’s pretty compelling, I think. I’m totally in awe of Rich Deas, the artistic director at Feiwel, who did the cover redesign. I was so stoked to have a cover by Cliff Nielsen, and I loved his design. The detail was just amazing. But the marketing folks thought that having a couple on the cover might limit my readership, and they wanted to do everything possible to set me up for a big launch, so they decided to retitle and repackage the book. I’m thrilled with the cold, evocative look, and I understand there will be special effects used on the actual book jacket, like embossing and metallic ink. My editor, Liz Szabla, said my first finished copy of the book should arrive by the end of the week, and I am beyond excited to see how it all looks.
I don’t have too much input in terms of what the cover looks like, but they did talk to me about the kind of mood that should be conveyed. Since I’m not in art or marketing, I’m content to let my publisher handle these matters, generally. My business is writing the best story I possibly can. Theirs is figuring out the best way to make people hungry for it.
I’ve read that some authors visualize actors as they create their characters. Are there any actors that fit your visualizations of Deuce and Fade?
Deuce – Saoirse Ronan. She proved she has the chops in THE LOVELY BONES, and she’s a little older and Deuce is 15 in book one, but the actress looks young, and it’s pretty common for people to play younger than they are. In appearance, she’s perfect.
Fade – Paul Dano. He stole the show in LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE without ever speaking a word. He has exceptional presence and the right look. He -is- Fade. He radiates that brooding energy even in his photos.
Thimble – Ellen Page. She has the right look, and it would be interesting to see what she did with the role.Stone – Chris Evans. He’s a little old, but yum. Enough said.
Stalker – Taylor Kitsch. He can definitely pull off the wild blend of honor and brutality that Stalker embodies. He’d just need to blond up a bit. Yum, Gambit! I know I don’t need to say more.
Tegan – Evanna Lynch. She has such an otherworldly charm that she would be wonderful in this role.Longshot – Jeff Bridges. If you saw TRUE GRIT, you don’t need to ask why.
Momma Oaks – Kathy Bates. Just because I loooove her.
There are more characters like Silk, Copper, Twist, Whitewall, and the Wordkeeper, but I’m not going to cast them. Once you read the book, you can do that on your own, and then you’ll have some thoughts on how well I did.
Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, are there any particular songs that helped you while writing Enclave?
I do sometimes listen to music while I’m writing. It’s wonderful and crucial and can definitely help to set a mood. But I wrote Enclave in Fall of 2009, and I didn’t make a playlist. It didn’t occur to me back then that anyone would wonder what I was listening to. I’ve learned otherwise since then, so I do have a playlist for OUTPOST, which is book two in the Razorland trilogy. I’ll offer that instead. You can check it out HERE. Here are the actual songs on it in case anyone has trouble with the link:
Nico Stai – One October Song
Leonard Cohen – The Future
Sisters of Mercy – Black Planet
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – The Weeping Song
Leonard Cohen – Waiting for a Miracle
Kate Bush – Breathing
Drowning Pool - Bodies
Coldplay – Death & All His Friends
Radiohead – Exit Music
Deathcab for Cutie – I Will Follow You Into the Dark
Dawn of the Dead’s - Hangman Song
Finally, do you have a favorite writing spot, or are you good to go as long as you have your laptop on hand?
I write in different places, but I work best at home. I have worked while I’m on the road, but it’s tough. Even in a quiet hotel room, I find it hard to focus. On airplanes or in airports, it’s even worse. At home, I write one of three places–the loveseat, my bed, or the patio swing. I know, right? I’m mad coordinated that I can hold a Macbook on a moving swing and get my work done. But it’s lovely to be able to get some sun while I write.
Visit Ann at her website.
Stalk Ann on Twitter!
Read my review of Enclave!
*Giveaway is for a *Signed* copy of Enclave to one lucky winner!
*To enter, please leave a comment on the post with a way to contact you.
*Must be at least 13 yrs old to enter
*Giveaway Ends July 10th, 2011
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