Well, this is more what’s new for teacher Paul D. Dail, but I just started reading The Giver by Lois Lowry with my students. The first time I first read it, I referred to it as 1984 Lite. It is a YA book, but there are things that adults can appreciate as well. Lowry was clearly influenced by Ayn Rand, but if you have younger kids, as a bildungsroman story, this is a little more accessible than Anthem and is a good introduction to dystopian literature.
What does the future hold?
So today is the interview of Aniko Carmean. Next Friday, I will be reviewing her novel, Stolen Climates.
But without further ado…
I met Aniko last year through a blog hop and consider myself lucky to have done so. Her blog was obviously the first thing I came upon, and I was immediately struck by her way with words and her ability to make connections that you wouldn’t see coming. She has an entertaining voice and very often uses it to get across messages that are good to hear, not only as a writer, but as a person in general.
So it’s with great pleasure that I bring…
Seven Questions with Horror Writer Aniko Carmean
1- As far as writing is concerned: a- your favorite pastime, b- your fiery passion, c- your full-time profession, or d- a combination of the above. Feel free to expand.
I’m going to have to go with E, none of the above. I do not make my living writing, but it is also not something I consider a pastime. Passion, maybe, but it’s a strange passion because when I am overcome by it, I am no longer there. In a sense, writing is something that happens to me – not something I “do.” When I am in the flow, I feel that I am emptied of self, that I am a conduit for something beyond me and there is no longer a self that has pastimes, goes to work, or writes the answer to this question.
[PDD: So is that a hint? :) Just kidding, but I can see why you need to take a break from the internet while you finish your current project. Of course I understand. And interesting answer. I’ve mentioned it before, but I like Stephen King’s take on this. While he admits to having a hand in the finished product, he has compared writing to archaeology. He feels that, more than creating a story, he is uncovering something that was there before him.]
2- What was the last book you finished reading? What are you currently reading? If it doesn’t seem obvious by title, what are the genres? Do either of these fall under your favorite genre (you know, the book you pick out when you’re going on vacation)?
The last book I finished was SAD JINGO, by Ron Dionne. It is a literary thriller, and is a beautiful improvisation on the theme of misplaced ambition. I am currently reading an urban fantasy by Eric Garrison named BLUE SPIRIT. Both of these books are far outside my go-to genres of horror and sci-fi. When I’m on vacation, I indulge in tabloids – but only in the anonymity of the airport!
[PDD: Tabloids, eh? Like the Weekly World News? Or the rumor mill type? I admit that while I don’t read the latter, I am guilty of picking up the occasional People when I’m in a doctor’s office. By the way, why do they call it People? They should call it Celebrities.]
3- What is the TV guide synopsis of your most recently completed project… or whatever project you’d like to talk about today? (I’ve heard several people say you should be able to hook someone in 25 words or less, but I’m not offering to represent your work professionally, so 30 words will be accepted)
A cult wants to sacrifice Genny to maintain the global climate. Can a renegade goddess and a neurotic stranger stop them? Should they?
4- Okay, now your book jacket version (200 words or less).
Genny is being hunted by a cult who wants to use her in a deadly ritual. As Summer Solstice nears, carnivorous vines grow out of control and it isn’t safe after dark. Can an acquaintance with his own set of debilitating issues and a renegade goddess save Genny?
STOLEN CLIMATES: Mother Nature isn’t just a metaphor.
[PDD: Having read this--and planning on reviewing it next week--I won’t say anything about it here except that you have succeeded in encapsulating the gist of it in only a handful of words.]
5- What is one of the biggest obstacles you have to (or have had to) overcome in regards to writing? Could be about content, your process, or any other way you interpret the question.
My arrogance. When I started writing, I was certain I was “meant” to write literary fiction, and anything else would be beneath me. Letting go of my own preconceptions about what I should be writing, and what is worthy, opened up my Muse’s world to me.
[PDD: Funny. I always knew it was horror for me and was always irritated in college by the notion that anything less than literary fiction was sub-par content-wise. It helped that my first writing professor was also a genre writer. I have a great respect for literary writers; it’s just not how my brain works when I’m telling a story.]
6- What is something that your readers might be surprised to find out about you?
I spent five years working on my craft without ever considering publication. I took workshops, joined critique groups, and wrote in the mornings before work because I wanted to be a good writer, not a published author. When I finished STOLEN CLIMATES, I realized I had something to share with the world and that keeping it hidden in my desk would be selfish.
[PDD: I think all writing should start with self. If someone starts out writing because they want to be published, there’s a good possibility that they will have a long and disappointing road to travel. I’ve always written because it’s what I love to do. At some point, I just decided that I might as well try to make some money off my passion.]
7- Your blog’s tag line is “The Happy Horror Writer,” and though we haven’t met, I feel like I’ve come to know you pretty well. Free-spirited. Earth-conscious. Dare I say, airy? Funny. Kind. Considerate. And passionate. In some ways, I feel like I’ve probably known many people similar to you throughout my life. With one exception.
So first, am I off on any of those assessments of your character? And second, more importantly, why such horror for such a nice girl as yourself?
Thank you for all of the kind words, Paul! I think you are pretty close to how I would describe myself, although I would say that I am consciousness-conscious, more so than Earth-conscious. I am happy and silly and love to giggle, and I think that this is what trips people out when they discover I write horror! As for why I write horror, even I’m not sure. However, I was a vegetarian for many years, and even went full-on vegan for awhile, but I realized that no matter what, something had to die for me to live. Hello, horror!
[PDD: Okay, I’ll take that one, although I still have a few questions, like perhaps about the shift you mentioned in Question #5. And whether or not you read or watched horror growing up. But here we are at the end of the Seven, so I will remain to wonder (or perhaps go into the back catalogue of your blog for hints :) ) But great response about something having to die for you to live. To quote Tool, “Life feeds on life.”]
Thank you for the opportunity to answer your Famous Seven Questions!
[PDD: My pleasure. Hope your time away is productive.]
What do I want from you?
Comments? Just want to say “hi” to Aniko?
Aniko was kind enough to answer my questions, but beyond this, she is taking a break from the internet until the end of the year (something which I can certainly understand after taking my own break). However, it is worth your time to peruse the back catalogue at her blog, The Happy Horror Writer.
Finally, don’t forget to check back next Friday for my review of Aniko’s Stolen Climates. But if you can’t wait for that (or want to get a sneak peek), you can find it at Amazon. Click here.
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