Fated to lead New America, seven extraordinarily gifted people survive a nuclear apocalypse, only to find themselves on a cross-country quest that will shake the very core of who they thought they were. These long-denied descendants are destined to rebuild their country, their world…if they can stay alive long enough to find each other.
Today Angela White has joined me today to discuss the fates of the gifted survivors in the dark sci-fi/ fantasy novel ‘Life After War’. Angela thanks for setting aside for us to explore this adventure in detail. The first detail of this novel that I would like to unravel for our readers is how did the original threads of this story formed. How did these threads form?
The end of the world has always haunted me. Even as a child, I was drawn to those stories and programs. I lived through Fernald and a Tornado outbreak, so I assume those were big influences, but the idea of surviving an apocalypse has really always been there.
Were the experiences of living through tornados the main challenging events in your life that you used to draw on when writing?
After xx years on this planet, I’ve been through some crapstorms. I’ve helped others with their storms and observed countless more. Writing 101: Collect people. That means gather those stories in your mind for a complete picture of what makes up a person. Doing this allows for some amazingly deep characters that live and breathe through my hands. I wouldn’t have been able to do that without life experiences. How characters react in my books are a direct reflection of true human nature in its best and worst forms.
So most of your characters are taken from real life?
Yes, most are based on real people. Shhh… No, really. Authors immortalize the people they meet and read about. Almost every one of my characters came from a real life example. I just took their strongest personality trait (good and bad) and magnified it.
Where did you find some of these strong personalities? Through your full-time work?
I’ve been blessed enough to be able to leave the rat race and write for a living. I officially retired from my job as a taxi dispatcher three years ago. I’ve never looked back. Many of the people I met while doing that job have made it into my work as characters, as have some of the stories of trips I’ve taken and given-including the driver who had a heart attack during the bar rush and the bank robber who tried to use us as a get-a-way cab.
*Laughs* That’s not the brightest idea in the world. As you’ve already seen the underlying personalities of these characters in real people do you still have the ability to see these characters being played by actors if by chance the story was made into a movie. And if so, whom do you think would play these characters?
Mark Harmon might make an excellent Adrian Mitchel. Billy Reed (her character name) from Days of our Lives would be awesome as Kendle Roberts. I also like Tea Leoni for Samantha Moore, but she’d have to grow her hair out. I’d also like to offer Vin a role that makes use of his talents, because his last Riddick movie did not. He’d be a great Kenn Harrison.
Not a bad cast selection at all. And it would be great to just sit down and have a chat with the characters obviously in this case via their alter egos.
Huge grin. I have conversations with these ‘people’ now. They whisper crazy things to me at night, like, “Why are you sleeping when my truck was just buried in an explosion and we’re running out of air?”
From their point of view I think I might have to agree, I’m sure if I was in the position of your characters I’d want to know where my air was coming from too! Do you find research has helped get your characters into or out of sticky situations like this?
OMG, yes! I have full folders and notebooks stuffed into a file cabinet that won’t hold much more. I also still have some of the printed pages from the library 25 years ago. (Guess that makes me old, huh? Grin. I call it experienced.) To this day, research takes up roughly half the writing time for every novel that I release.
When you are at the research or planning your writing stages do you know where the story will end? Or does the story take a life of it’s own during the writing stage?
I create an outline for each chapter, so yes, I know how I WANT it to end. Rarely, if ever, does it turn out that way. Planning it is easy, fun. Writing it is an adventure into a strange land where I don’t always speak the language. Having the outline helps, but it’s really just a basic map that may not include all of the forks in the road.
So once you have your basic map how does your writing unfold?
I’m a bouncer. I have an office in two rooms and a huge table in the kitchen. I go with what I feel when I wake up, but I do work everyday in one of those areas. I put in 6-7 days a week on this career, 9-12 hours a day in total, between house work, personal issues, and regular life. It’s important to me-more so than that off day. On the down side, burnout comes pretty quick under those conditions. Some people can handle that and some can’t. I’ve been doing it since I became published in 2010. Seems to be okay so far, but if I ever have a psychotic episode, I’ll reverse that opinion.
With a schedule like that you must not have much time to get stuck while writing. Have you ever had problems with writers’ block?
I’ve never had it. Life gets in the way sometimes, but when I sit down to write, it fades into these doors that show me other worlds and the people who live there. How could I not be distracted from problems by that? In fact, it gets hard to come back. I’d stay in my mind if I could. It’s amazing in there…and a little scary, but that’s the nature of the game.
Very true. When you are writing do you also find less than desirable aspects of your own nature pop up during writing? For example do you find that you naturally use certain words throughout your stories that inevitably have to be removed?
Nope. I have a repeat word list because my brain likes them too much. Readers get tired of seeing ‘back’ or ‘eye’ four times in the same paragraph. It’s one of the weaknesses that I’m always working on.
What happens during your editing routine to make sure this like these black eyes don’t get out of control in your prose?
Each completed file gets two reads, by chapter. Then I do my ‘every book’ checklist. Then it gets put together and read 2 more times. Then it gets a final checklist and a final read. Then it goes to the Betas (Love you! Gather good Beta readers. They’re totally amazing!) for a few weeks of proofing by a dozen people. After that, I make the suggested changes and give it one more read through. All in all, every file is gone over about 10 times. Once I can afford it, I’ll hire a professional editor, but for now, there’s no way my work would see the light of day because of the pricing. While very worth the cost, 2cents per word when your files are all 190K words, is unreasonable. The Betas and I do the best we can. When this series goes into film, it will definitely get the works.
In the meantime, what did you find most rewarding on the journey of creating this book?
The response of the readers. Going indie with this was scary. The fans have made it a wonderful career. Wouldn’t mean anything without my family and my fans. Love you all!
I’m sure the feeling is mutual :). Can you sum up as simply as possible what you really wanted to say in this book?
Life happens so fast. You have to be as prepared as you can for those wildcards, so don’t waste your time on drama and second-guessing. Follow your dreams. Let everyone else do the same.
And where is your writing dream taking you next?
I have several series running and I work on them at the same time. It all depends on which door is open at the moment. This month, it has been the 9th book in this series. Last month, it was the final novel in my Bachelor Battles trilogy. I hope to release both of those together in February 2017.
February 2017 will be here before you know it. Good luck for the upcoming release! Before I let you go today I’d just like to take a few seconds to ask you a few more questions this time about a bunch of random things for the quick fire quick round if you’re amenable. Let’s commence with: What is your zodiac sign?
Are you a valuable asset on a quiz team?
Probably not. I’m too moody.
What is your favourite ocean?
Never thought about it. Aren’t they all the same? Water, fish, reefs and rocks, and maybe a UFO under the sand, just waiting to be discovered by deep sea exploration.
If you invented a monster what would it look like and what would you call it?
Humanacilicus A humanoid mammal that kills it’s offspring in astounding numbers for no valid reason and destroys the planet, just because it can.
Are you introvert or extrovert?
I’m a humanacilisaurous. A dying breed that understand all people are both into and extro, depending on the situation they are facing. Also known as ‘the older generation’. We didn’t have those terms back then and I don’t think we need them now. Labels separate us. The world has enough of that already.
Why do you write?
To silence the ghosts, of course. How do you muffle yours?
I tend to dance with mine rather than muffle them :). Speaking of dancing have you ever danced in the rain?
You haven’t? Do it, but here’s a tip: Don’t trip. Mud is hard to remove from your ears and bellybutton.
Do you have any philosophies that you live by?
Honesty, respect, and freedom for everyone and I expect the same from those I have contact with. If you’re a liar, I’ll cut you out of my life so you can’t influence me with your bad karma. If you’re disrespectful, I’ll tell you so. If you aren’t a patriot, you probably won’t like my books. I love my country. If you don’t, that’s your problem, not mine.
If you ruled your own country, who would you get to write the national anthem?
The person who wrote the patriotic lines in Braveheart. And I’d want Mel to read it while instrumental music played in the background. The lyrics of an anthem should be the feature.
Are you left or right handed?
What is your favourite quote?
“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” -C.S. Lewis
C.S. Lewis does have some admirable wisdom. What is your favourite song or music to work by?
I have playlists and stacks of dvds that I use for static noise, depending on which story it is and my mood. A few of my favorites are Garth Brooks, The Doors, Nickleback, and Toby Keith.
How are the colours in rainbows made?
Light from swamp gas reflects off Venus, causing the illusion of color, when in truth, the entire world is transparent.
Awesome, I always knew it was that Venus swamp gas! If you could breed two animals together to defy the laws of nature what new animal would you create?
A whale and a robin. Can you imagine the poo bombs?
What color socks are you wearing?
White, with powder blue tips. I’m feeling quite special today.
They sound fancy. I hope that they are nice and comfy too. What is your favourite flavor of ice-cream?
Vanilla and Chocolate mixed, but not stirred.
What’s the most unusual name you’ve ever come across?
Barack Hussein Obama II No matter who you voted for, you have to recognize the irony of electing a president with that name after everything that happened in Iraq.
What is your favourite line, quote or statement from your book?
“Without change, there can be no peace. Only survivors.”
Solid and strong. I like it. Finally, is there a question that you haven’t been asked that you’d like to be, or anything that didn’t come up?
Anything I don’t like about being an Author? I don’t like it that some indie writers make the rest of us look bad. They offer 80 page files as a full book for 4.99, or they just copy/paste information from the internet for non-fiction titles, or they think it’s legal to publish a Fanfiction title at any price other than free. But worst of all, they gather ‘clicks’ of other authors to go around and up/down vote their own books and reviews or they’ll gang up on a rival author to tank their rankings and sales. Basically, they’re bullies. That should be illegal in any career.
Unfortunately I don’t think that any career is exempted from these behaviours, but maybe one day they won’t happen anymore. Angela, thanks again for joining me today and I wish you the best of luck with ‘Life After War’ and your new releases in February 2017.
Want to find out more about Angela? Connect here!