Did you learn anything new with this book?
I learn something new, writing-wise, with each book. I still overuse adverbs to an almost criminal extent and my grammar is uneven at best, but I’m getting better. It’s slowed my writing pace quite a bit because I now stop to consider each line as I write it. They always advise you not to edit as you write, but I can’t help it. It’s almost an automatic reflex after having to go back and rewrite paragraphs so many times.
Research-wise, I learned a lot, as I do with each book in this series. Some of it has probably landed me on a Homeland Security watch list, and a lot of it I’ll probably never use, such as how to skin a ‘gator, but hey, it’s always good to learn new things, right?
If you had it all to do over again, would you change anything about the series?
The End of All Things was never intended to be a series. I meant for it to be one book and I told my editor I thought I could do it in less than 80,000 words. I had “written” it in my head, so I was estimating based on how long it felt in my mind. I was off by a mile. When I crossed the 65k mark, I realized I wasn’t even near the half-way point in the story. So, I ended the first book at what seemed like a good spot and figured I’d do a sequel. But I had other things I wanted to write in the meantime. That was a mistake, too. I should have dived right into writing the sequel.
After I finished writing the second half, I realized I wasn’t really done with these characters. Carly and Justin were clamoring in my mind, insisting there was more to their story. And so I wrote the third volume to complete their arc, though I still hear Justin time to time, telling me what he’s up to.
If I were writing it today, planning it out as a series from the beginning, there might be a smoother transition, and a more even tone, but in the end, I learned a lot from the experience, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What were the challenges in bringing TEOAL to life?
There were a lot of challenges. First was in the amount of research it required. I had to think about how every aspect of life would be affected by the end of modern technology, and how my characters could overcome the challenges it would present. That wasn’t easy. I’d be typing along and suddenly it would occur to me, “Hey, would that still work?” and off I’d have to go to see how these modern conveniences function and whether some of them would be able to operate without human intervention.
Psychologically, it takes you to a dark place to imagine the end of the world. It’s a world in which something like 99% of the population has died, meaning I’m writing a world in which I’m likely dead, along with everyone I love. It’s a world in which my loved ones who need modern medical technology wouldn’t survive. It’s a lawless world where the strong exploit and prey upon the weak.
That’s one of the reasons I admire Carly so much. She’s able to see the best in human kind, and she’s determined that the world they rebuild is going to be even better than the one before. She refuses to let the darkness win.
Stay tuned for more about The End of All Things!