Todays author spotlight is the wonderful E.R.Arroyo, author of several YA
dystopian books and co-founder of a wicked cool Facebook page - Band of
Dystopian Authors & Fans.
It's actually one of my very favourite groups on Facebook, for both my author side and
my reader side, as it offers giveaways, help, recommendations and is generally just an
awesome group of people.
Go look it up, join, and have fun.
Okay, now on with the show...
E.R. Arroyo is the author of YA dystopian series, Antius Ascending, and co-founder/owner of Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans, a Facebook community, blog, and company that champions dystopian, apocalyptic, and post-apocalyptic fiction. E.R. is passionate about books, music, and her family, and she loves to talk shop with other authors and with her readers.
Social Media Links
What do you do when you’re not writing about the end of days or things that go bump in the night?
Mostly, I just try to survive my son’s toddlerhood day to day. I do some freelance proofreading a few nights a week (late at night). I have to pay quite a lot of attention to Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans (our wicked cool Facebook group) as well... you know just keeping an eye on things and such, as well as discussing plans and goals, and divvying up the to-do list with our team. (Hi, girls!) I do some stuff with music as well but I’m pretty vague about all that in public, by design of course. I’ve been told I have a gift of vaguery, both online and in real life.
Tell me about your latest book, something unusual if possible.
Thanks for asking! I actually recently released the audiobook version of my debut novel, Sovereign. It’s a post-apoc dystopian with a young adult female lead. The series is very near completion. It consists of two novels, Sovereign and The Offering, which are both already out, and then it’s complimented with three short stories (prequels). The first, Transgression, has been out for a while, and I’m hoping to release the second within the next month or so. We made a really cool trailer for the audiobook, check it out: Sovereign Trailer.
Fun fact! I actually originally wrote the lead character with super curly brown hair but I changed it to match the model that we used on the cover, a friend of mine from back in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We shot the novel covers with local photographers in downtown Tulsa. Another fun fact, my narrator, who happens to be local to where I live now, has curly brown hair AND has the same name as my lead character, Corinne. (You can probably tell, I really enjoy working with local artists...)
Sovereign Blurb & Cover
I move into the hallway that takes me from the small corner where there are actual offices and over to the part of the floor that’s dedicated to laboratories. The cool thing about this building, or these sub-levels at least, is they were built for science. Each lab space is secure and separated from other rooms, but each lab has at least one entire wall that’s just glass. And, even better, every lab shares a wall with an observation room that’s completely walled-in except for two-way mirrors, allowing subjects to be observed without knowing it. And that’s exactly what we’re doing here.
I push through the doors to where the kids are waiting. They’re huddled together in the corner. And they’re talking—it’s my greatest joy to witness. When I started working with them, they communicated in grunts and moans. Now they actually speak English words. Some of them speak really well, but most of them struggle.
Bright blue eyes lock on me from across the room. A subdued grin follows. He likes to pretend nothing phases him but I know that kid is just as fond of me as I am of him. He makes his way over to me before anyone else in the group really notices me. His dark hair is tucked behind his ears, his skin pallid from a short lifetime spent mostly in darkness. Many of them are just as pale. The only ones with any color were born with it, and there is certainly quite a variety of skin tones among them. This boy looks to be about thirteen. I call him Tyce.
What are you working on next and when can we expect it?
The next thing you’ll see from me is actually a short story in the upcoming anthology The Doomsday Chronicles, a part of The Future Chronicles series by Samuel Peralta. They’ve become wildly popular, and I’m so excited to be included in this volume! It releases February 19th.
Sometime shortly before or after Doomsday, my next short story in my dystopian series will be released. It’s called Aggression, and it features a beloved character that my fans are going to love having another glimpse at.
What makes you want to write about dystopia/the apocalypse?
This one’s tough. It gets asked a lot, and I’m honestly not sure I’ve ever answered it properly. I think it appeals to me because it is often very rooted in reality, yet it’s so extreme in its consequence and exploration of human nature. Real life doesn’t do to people what we like to imagine extreme situations like an apocalypse or an unjust, oppressive government would do to us. Dystopia, specifically, is neat for me, because you get to make up your own rules and create this whole other world that feels and looks like ours, but is really this whole other thing. It has to feel grounded in reality for me, minus the science—that I’m willing to stretch for (like technology advanced beyond our reality, for example), but the world feels real to me when I’m reading and writing dystopian and apocalyptic stuff.
Are you a prepper with an apocalypse plan in place, or are you just going to wing it?
Before I got married, my brother and I spent a summer binging on zombie movies and talking about our apoc plans. I got married that October, which was the year The Walking Dead debuted, and our zombie talks remained on-going. I had moved away with my husband, so my brother and I came up with a plan of where exactly we would meet halfway and which of our siblings we would invite (who wouldn’t get us killed). And then a few years later, I had a baby and realized I would be a terrible apocalypse partner (crying kid=zombie magnet), so I gave up the plotting. I did however keep a bin in the garage packed with supplies like blankets, flashlights, boots, multi-tools, knives, and cool trinkets that have no use in regular life (like those tiny silver pouches that fold out into a thermal blanket, things like that). Now, I have a toddler and all the plans have gone to pot. So, long story short, we’re gonna wing it.
What’s your apocalypse/horror song?
Maybe a little cliché but I sure do love Radioactive by Imagine Dragons :)
When writing do you outline or fly by the seat of your pants!?
When writing novels, I’m a pretty intense plotter/outliner. I learned to write stories through screenwriting before I ever attempted prose fiction, and that’s a very, very structured art (science really), so it was just a natural thing for me to bring that structure over into prose with me. I usually do a sample chapter by the seat of my pants, just to get a feel for the character and the idea. If I like it, I’ll go plot the mess out of it and then get busy working. When I’m writing short stories, though, I don’t usually write anything out in advance, I just keep an idea in my head of where I’m going, and fix/adjust as I go.
What was the last book you read, and what is the next one lined up?
I’m currently reading a YA dystopian by Sarah Negovetich called Rite of Rejection. Next, gosh... I don’t know yet! I’ll know when I get there and know what I feel like at the time. LOL
If you could collaborate with any other indie author, who would it be?
Oh, goodness. Last year I collaborated with 19 authors actually, on Band of Dystopian’s anthology Prep For Doom. It was simultaneously a complete nightmare and a complete blast – HAHA. If we do another, maybe I can collaborate with more BODers (like you)! :)
Happy reading my little book whores!
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