August 24 Interview and review
The Aussie Zombie
August 25 Guest blog
August 26 Guest blog and review
How I see it
August 27 Promo
Mila Ramos, Paranormal & Contemporary Romance
August 27 Promo
August 28 Promo Spotlight
Books & Beauty
August 28 Promo
Read 2 Review
August 29 Interview
August 30 Interview
August 31 Guest blog and review
Mama Knows Books
September 1 Guest blog
The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom
September 2 Interview and review
Books and Needlepoint –
September 3 Guest blog
September 4 Review
Book on the Bright Side
September 5 Guest and review
September 6 review
The Bunny's Review
September 7 review
Reading It All
Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre?
Well, I love YA! I gobble up nearly every book put out in this genre. I haunt the YA shelves at Barnes & Noble. I’ve always loved to read and have been writing for as long as I can remember, and for the last 10 years or more, my favorite genre has been YA. Specifically, YA paranormal, YA dystopian. And I am drawn to stories where the lead character is a strong kick ass female.
About myself? I live on the Central California coast with my husband and son. I write full time. Age wise I am pretty old, but I feel my maturity level is around 15 J I read hundreds of books every year. I have a border collie who is far too intelligent for her own good.
What is it about the paranormal, in particular vampires, that fascinates you so much?
Paranormal is quite literally the most exciting genre of all. Vampires are awesome: my next book after the third Mad World book will be about vampires, but not your average vampires. Mine will be different. Odd. Unexpected.
I love paranormal because I can take something that was a myth and build up an awesome, exciting story around it and excited readers! I write the kind of stories I’d want to read.
What inspired you to write this book?
I had just finished reading a great book about zombies. I loved it. I loved the strong female character. But I was dissatisfied a little because it didn’t tell how the world got smack dab into the middle of a zombie infested world, the story just started there. There was no scientific explanation, no plausible logic. And the characters did some things that I thought real people in the real world, thrust into the zombie apocalypse, would not do.
So I thought to myself, “I think I can do better.”
Please tell us about your latest release.
Well, The release of the sequel to Mad World: EPIDEMIC is imminent. In fact, it may have just come out when this interview goes live. It is called Mad World: SANCTUARY
Do you have a special formula for creating characters' names? Do you try to match a name with a certain meaning to attributes of the character or do you search for names popular in certain time periods or regions?
Sometimes names just come to me. Other times I am writing and I come to a part where I need to know a character’s last name, and it stops me cold for an hour. I go on internet searches, call my parents, ask my husband. I’m weird. LOL!!
I do try to name characters plausible names. I will bring up a list of the popular baby names for the year that character was born. Or ask my dad (whose mother was raised in the Midwest) what a common surname for a Midwestern family was back thirty years ago.
Sometimes inspiration will strike me. I was renting a car this past March and the manager of the rental agency was named Alyssa Portillo. She was your typical Californian of Mexican heritage who had done well by herself. And I thought to myself, Alyssa is of Mexican heritage. That’s the spot where I decided that. It’s almost like the character, because by this time I was several chapters into the story, had spoken to me. I went back and put that into the first chapter.
Was one of your characters more challenging to write than another?
They all came pretty easily to me. There’s a bit of me in every character. Some more than others.
Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?
Alyssa. She is me. I’d like to think I’d react the way she does in the book, if I were to live through what she did. She acts decisively, but she has heart. My husband was reading EPIDEMIC, and he says, “Alyssa is Ripley.” Meaning Ellen Ripley from Alien. And he’s right. Alyssa is just like Ripley.
Do you have a formula for developing characters? Like do you create a character sketch or list of attributes before you start writing or do you just let the character develop as you write?
The characters just formulated in my mind. Slowly, as I began to write them, they came to life on the page. If I needed a certain type of character, I’d lean the likeliest character toward that type. It all worked out well.
What is your favorite scene from the book? Could you share a little bit of it, without spoilers of course?
I think the Emily scene, as I like to call it, is one of my favorites. It shows the characters so well. It shows their bonds of friendship and it shows them in an impossible situation, and how they dealt with that. There are a lot of impossible situations in EPIDEMIC, but that one is one of my all times favorites. When I finished writing that scene, I felt immense pride. It had just come out of my head exactly how I’d envisioned it. This is what every writer hopes for.
Did you find anything really interesting while researching this or another book?
Yes. In fact, I was beginning to write this book when I came upon an extremely interesting article online. The article was about how present day scientists had indeed unearthed graves in Europe from the mid fourteenth century, mass graves from the Black Plague. They were trying to extract the DNA from the bone marrow and to try to activate the Yersinia Pestis bacterial endotoxins, to study them. They were actually doing this. I read that article and then did some more research on their work and I thought, “That is a really stupid thing to do.” And then I thought, what could happen?
What is the most interesting thing you have physically done for book related research purposes?
Not sure. I’m a somewhat boring writer. Most if not all of the magic happens inside my head. I don’t get out much. LOL!!
Can you tell readers a little bit about the world building in the book/series? How does this world differ from our normal world?
It is our normal world, but with a plague unleashed into it. This plague does terrible things. People have to survive in it. Normal people. People just like you and me. It’s our world but with a situation that demands some terrible choices. What would a normal person so in such a world just to stay alive? What would you do?
With the book being part of a series, are there any character or story arcs, that readers jumping in somewhere other than the first book, need to be aware of? Can these books be read as stand alones?
They can, but I don’t recommend it. The second and third books will have enough background entwined in them to be able to stand alone. But I recommend reading the whole series, to enjoy it and to know the characters the best. They are wonderful people!
Do any of your characters have similar characteristics of yourself in them and what are they?
My main character is similar to me. Very courageous, decisive, brave. Able to go into action mode when it’s required for survival. But she also has a gentle side, a compassionate side.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you deal with it?
I don’t believe in writer’s block, I’ve never experienced it. In my experience, if you sit down and start writing, you get into a rhythm and the words start flowing.
What is harder, I think, is to get past the fear of writing badly and to get to the point where you are sitting at that computer and typing in words. That fear can be paralyzing. But you have to get over it, or it will never happen.
Do you have any weird writing quirks or rituals?
I like my new keyboard, I write best on it. It’s a Unicomp and it’s very “clicky”.
It helps me to write. I can hear and feel every keystroke. It’s very definitive.
Do you write in different genres?
Yes. Right now I’m writing a lot of YA paranormal and YA dystopian, but I have also written adult fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and children’s.
Do you find it difficult to write in multiple genres?
Not really. I write in the genres I like reading in. It comes naturally to me. My favorite is YA paranormal and that’s probably because that’s the genre I most like reading in.
When did you consider yourself a writer?
When I was writing regularly. I felt it a proud title. Actually, I was writing for years before I called myself a writer. And when I did, several people scoffed. That dampened my confidence. Oh how fragile I was then! But then I dumped that boyfriend and spent some time alone and that was very healthy for me. When you’re not in a relationship and you try to do something creative, you do it to please yourself. I was writing for a few years like this. Then I met my husband and we were dating and he was very supportive, especially after I showed him a short story I’d written, I think then he saw I was serious about this. His support has been a balm, it’s been wonderful. I’d advise any budding writer to surround themselves with ultra-supportive people. It helps, it really does.
What are your guilty pleasures in life?
Long hot baths. Expensive chocolate. Dinner out with my honey.
Other than writing, what are some of your interests, hobbies or passions in life?
I love to read, I read constantly. I feel it’s not only important to keep up my skills by reading, but also I just enjoy it. I fall asleep every night with a book.
I also love to garden. I have a pot garden on my back patio, and some plants in ground as well. I love plants, and trees in particular. I love visiting forests. There’s just something so soothing and right about a big forest.
What was the last amazing book you read?
Fear by Michael Grant. It was awesome! Made me hungry for the next one in the series.
Where is your favorite place to read? Do you have a cozy corner or special reading spot?
I love to read in bed best of all. It’s so cozy. We have a big king size bed with lots of pillows and comforters and it’s my happy spot. I’m all about comfort. Second favorite spot is in the tub.
What can readers expect next from you?
The sequel to Mad World: EPIDEMIC, called Mad World: SANCTUARY should be out by the time this interview goes live. Then next is the third and probably final installment of the Mad World series.
Where can readers find you on the web?
Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?
Certainly! Here you go~
From Chapter Two -
We pulled up to the curb and Coach Turner turned engine off and got out of the van. Stepping onto the grass outside the yellow house, he stopped and listened. The neighborhood seemed to hold its breath. We all watched from the windows of the van. Turner quietly walked up to the door and knocked. Then he rang the doorbell and waited. From the van, we thought we could hear faint sounds coming from inside the house. It was hard to tell if it was just an animal or a person, but it seemed to be in some kind of distress. Turner grabbed the doorknob and turned…
Screams filled the morning air, coming from inside the house. Coach swung open the door, ready for anything. Meanwhile, in the van, we had heard the screaming and we all began pouring out of the vehicle, scrambling to catch up with him. I wanted Risa and the dog to stay behind. I wanted them safely in the back of the van.
“Stay right here, Risa! Do not open the door of this van.” I told her. Risa just looked at me with scared eyes. I tried again. “Do you understand me? Keep the door closed! Stay inside! Okay?” This time she nodded. Her dog lay under the seat, and she sat on the floor and put her arm around him. I jumped out of the van and shut the door firmly. Conner was in the lead as we ran up to the front door and came to a stop in our mad rush. We peered inside. Coach Turner was right in front of us.
Turner slowly stepped into the house. The screaming had stopped for a few seconds. Suddenly, it started up again, sounding panicked.
“That is my mom!” screamed Conner, and he rushed inside and came to a halt next to Turner.
They both rushed forward and around the right hand corner of the hall. They were in the kitchen, but the screams now came from directly ahead and to the left, in the family room. They both saw the scene at the same time, and Conner gasped in horror. His mother appeared to have fallen across the coffee table and onto the couch. Crouched over her was Conner’s big brother Russell. He wasn’t supposed to be there. He was supposed to be away at school.
Mad World: EPIDEMIC
By Samaire Provost
Mad World Book One
Genre: YA Paranormal Dystopian
Number of pages: 160
Word Count: 44,700
The Black Plague is ancient history. It killed 100 million people nearly seven centuries ago, halfway around the world from the technologically advanced research center at Stanford University. Scientists there have recently begun examining samples of bone marrow from plague-infected corpses unearthed in Europe. All the necessary safeguards are in place. What could go wrong?
Alyssa and Jake are away with their class on a highly anticipated year-end trip to Broadway with their senior acting class when all hell breaks loose at home. Traveling back, and trying to find their families, they encounter deadly results. Riots are breaking out. People are being evacuated. And they have no idea what's happening to their families.
Horrific ordeals, heart-pounding tragedy, and chance encounters harden them for what lies ahead. Faced with tormenting decisions, they're forced to follow their instinct for survival at any cost - even when the cost is a heart-wrenching decision of life or death.
A harrowing adventure of frightening discoveries, horrifying confrontations and narrow escapes in Epidemic, the first installment of the Mad World series.
Find out what's got everyone so terrified.
About the Author:
Samaire Provost lives in California with her husband and son.
Her love of paranormal stories, odd plots, and unique tales as well as the works of Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Susan Cooper, Madeleine L'Engle and Stephen King has deeply influenced her writing.
Mad World : EPIDEMIC her first novel. The second in the series is entitled "Mad World: SANCTUARY"
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