Hello guys! I am starting the Q-ing Hour, a new feature on my blog. It's a Q&A session which will be done once a month. And my very first author to be interviewed is Jamie Thornton of Feast of Weeds series. Please welcome her!
Thank you so much, Jamie for taking the time to answer the Qs for my blog. I look forward to your future releases! And guys, here are the links for keeping in touch with her/her work.
Follow her at JamieThornton.com
- Hello, Jamie! It's nice to have you here today. Tell us a bit about yourself! Your favourite colour? Food? Place?
Thanks Floryie for having me on your blog today! I’ve always been a bookworm first and foremost. It’s been so much fun over this last year or so to get to connect more and more with other readers—over my own books! I’m a Northern California native and have lived all over California. I graduated from UCLA in Anthropology. My husband and I have two dogs, lots of chickens, and a garden that’s definitely a work in progress. When I was a kid my favorite color was bright yellow, then it became burnt orange. Currently it’s everything turquoise. Bright colors are sort of my thing
Hmmm, favorite food—that’s a tough one. I try to eat really healthy but salty french fries are my Achilles heel. My favorite place right now is Taos, NM. I attended the Taos Summer Writer’s Conference several times and completely fell in love with the weather, the landscape, the history, the quality of light—it’s true, it really is different there—and all the turquoise!
- When did you first start reading?
I can’t remember when I wasn’t reading. My mom says I figured out how to read based on some Hooked on Phonics flashcards she’d picked up before I started preschool. I was one of those kids who grew up spending her summers reading stacks and stacks of books from the public library instead of playing outside with friends.
- Which authors and books influenced you in your younger years?
I remember devouring the Anne of Green Gables series, all of the Jim Kjelgaard Big Red series, I read White Fang a million times. Island of the Blue Dolphins was a favorite for me too. It was one of the first books I read that was all about a girl surviving on her own in spite of incredible danger and hardship. I was like, “Wow, girls in books can do that?” Any one who’s read my books can tell I have a thing for throwing my main heroine into tons of danger and adventure, partly inspired by books like Island of the Blue Dolphins.
- Who is your favourite author? favourite book?
Ooh, this is like my favorite color question. My favorite author for the last few years has been Octavia Butler. The first book of hers that I read—Kindreds—my jaw just dropped. Science Fiction fused with cultural anthropology, history, strong female lead, time travel, slavery, ethical dilemmas. I’m pretty sure I bought that book as presents for all my friends. It’s one of those books that is just perfect in my mind in terms of craft, character, and plot.
- What genres do you like as a reader?
I read pretty widely: all kinds of science fiction, fantasy, historical, Young Adult, romance, literary. I like books that tend to cross-genres. I want interesting, complex characters and an intense plot—but don’t we all?
- What prompted your first writing? Tell us about it.
I remember the very first piece of fiction I wrote was I think when I was seven years old or somewhere around there. It was about a snake and rabbit. The snake was going to eat the rabbit but [spoiler] by the end of the story they became friends. I even drew the cover art myself. The second story I ever wrote was a few years later about a girl running away from home—not because home was a bad place—because she wanted to go on an adventure. I guess I’m still not done with those stories!
- How did you feel when you published your first book and what was the book?
My first published book is Rhinoceros Summer—a coming-of-age dark adventure. I was so overjoyed to see it out there and the reviews from readers have just been fantastic. It was a book I’d researched and worked on for over four years. Not only was I thrilled to see it finally in print, but I had so many people make a point of emailing or telling me how much they loved it. After four years, I was also seriously done with that story. I had all these other ideas (like Feast of Weeds) wanting attention. It was both a relief and a dream come true to publish it.
- What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Keep trying and getting your work out in front of people. One of the best things I did to improve my story-telling abilities was join a critque group with other writers I trusted. I think that last part is really important. Lots of people will tell you how they think your story should be written and they might be wrong. If you can find a few people who will give you their honest feedback and they all say the same thing like, “Here’s where I got bored, etc.,” that can make a huge difference in growing as a writer.
- Now coming to your Feast of Weeds series, how did the idea for the Feast of Weeds series start?
I’ve always loved apocalypse fiction--the whole idea of seeing what a person, a whole society, will do when the world falls apart. To me, great apocalypse fiction usually has elements of a dystopian too. Some of my favorites are Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower, Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle, Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale and Oryx & Crake, Stephen King’s The Stand, more recently Hugh Howey’s Wool, Justin Cronin’s The Passage and Mike Carey’s The Girl with All the Gifts—and that’s just what I can come up with in sixty seconds.
A lot of great apocalypse fiction was (and still is) zombie apocalypse stuff, but one of the things that kept bothering me was this sort of blasé approach to mass murder—they’re zombies so of course it’s okay to kill them all. The good guys were good and the bad guys were bad and that was it. Sort of the book version of splatter films—gore for no particular reason. Don’t get me wrong, it can be done well. The Walking Dead for example.
I wanted to read something different, but I wasn’t finding it, so I thought, okay I’ll write it. I was doing a lot of non-fiction reading on memory, pandemics like the Black Plague and Ebola (before the most recent scare), PTSD, runaways, and it all came together to form Feast of Weeds. I will add though, my very first glimmer of an idea for Feast of Weeds was as a romance. I called it My Zombie Romance, but the idea became much bigger and darker over time so that title didn’t work anymore.
- When can we expect the next book, Infestation to be released?
Infestation (Book 3) will be out August 28th, 2015!
My publisher set a special pre-order price for the ebook right now at $2.99. It’s definitely a better deal to pre-order Book 3 if you like the series. So there’s my plug—save 50% if you pre-order Book 3 now!
- Where do you see the series going?
The entire Feast of Weeds series is already written and is four books long. While the first book is novella-length, the other three are full-length novels. Book 3 is from Gabbi’s POV and Book 4 is from Maibe’s POV. We’re going to learn a lot more about the ‘camps’ hinted at in Book 2 and Book 4 will reveal what’s really going on with the Faints and whether there might be a permanent cure to the virus after all. But things are definitely going to get worse for our runaways before they get better.
- Are you working on any other books alongside this one?
I am! There’s this Young Adult fantasy series I’ve written a few chapters of that I’m really excited to work on once Feast of Weeds is done. It’s called Doormaker and it’s about this 13 year old girl with a very special disability. Every time she opens a door—cupboard, drawer, front door—it opens up a portal and something very bad happens. She’s been trained her whole entire life to never, ever open a door. But then one day, her and her best friend are in a bad situation and she HAS to open a door and they have to go through the portal...And that’s chapter 1.
- Any future books you want to talk about?
There’s one other book idea teasing my mind right now. I’m in love with the title I’ve thought up for it, so I’ll just share that: The Valley of Wonder and Blood.
- Anything else you want to share with your readers?
If readers like Feast of Weeds I would recommend signing up for my VIP email list at either JamieThornton.com or ZombiesAreHuman.com. I send a lot of freebies and sneak peeks to that list.
You can currently get the first two ebooks in Feast of Weeds just by signing up. In the future, I plan to also send the first book in the Doormaker series for free along with other awesome stuff!
Follow her at JamieThornton.com