Author Interview: P.R. Principe

Hey All! Now that you’ve just read my book review of Omega Plague: Collapse (if you haven’t read it here:, check out my interview with its talented author, P.R. Principe!

Here, Principe talks about how Omega Plague came to be, his favourite liquid writing snack, and getting his amateur radio license. Enjoy!

Emily’s Interview with P.R. Principe:

. How exactly did you get the idea for your book? Did you want to be a writer before you wrote it?

I remember some late night banter with a friend of mine (a few years ago now) that planted the seed of an idea. It was clear to me that the area around Naples, Italy and the island of Capri would be the best place for the story to unfold. It fact, given the central idea for the story, it may be one of the few places in which this story could occur. But I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t read it yet!

I thought it would be an accomplishment just to write a novel, like running a marathon, but I never dreamed I would actually ever finish it, writing it at night, here and there. I’ve researched and written on various subjects as part of my “day” jobs over the years, but I hadn’t done any creative writing since I was much younger. So, it’s a personal milestone for me, and I’m pleased just to have it finally done.

  1. Do any particular books or authors influence your writing?

I’ve read quite a bit of post-apocalyptic fiction over the years, but a colleague of mine who read Omega Plague: Collapse told me it was like The Road meets Earth Abides. They are two great books, and if those are my influences, then that’s awesome.

  1. Are you a more of a plotter or a “pantser”?

Total “pantser,” no flashcards, no outline, other than a general idea of where the story is going. Sometimes I have a very clear idea for a scene or chapter. But many times, I’ll just write and see where it leads, which is probably why I feel like writing takes me so long! That said, if something occurs to me, such as ideas for a character or scene, I make notes at the end of the manuscript, adding as I go along.

  1. Do you listen to any music while you write? If so, what types?

Yes, sometimes classical music on the local radio station. Other times, ambient music like, which is a musical composition designed to last 1000 years. I might listen to dark ambient music like Squaremeter’s Tolkien-inspired album “War of Sound.” Also, I started listening to Ager Sonus in 2014. Some of their recent music incorporates shortwave transmissions from numbers stations. Eerie and dark, their music is perfect for getting into a post-apocalyptic groove.

  1. Favourite writing snack?

Wine. It’s the only snack I’ve found that makes writing easier.

  1. What are some of your favourite dystopian or post-apocalyptic novels?

There are so many good ones, but two that come to mind first are A Canticle for Leibowitz and Alas, Babylon. Nothing like some nuclear hellfire to jump start a story!

  1. I noticed in your bio that you have an amateur radio license. I’m a little bit jealous, that sounds so cool! How did you get that, and what inspired you to get it?

About seven years ago, I started teaching a graduate course in emergency planning. But my main work is not that field, so I thought should do something more “hands-on” to gain experience in emergency communications. I studied on line and passed all three amateur radio exams. I’m an Amateur Extra class now. The FCC eliminated the Morse code requirement, but I can do some very, very, slow Morse code with an old style telegraph key. There’s something quite haunting about the sound of radio late in the evening, particularly the on ham radio bands and shortwave. Those bands are static-filled and scratchy, with lone voices in the night, quite the opposite of the smooth stereo of FM.

  1. Do you have anything new in the works? Just started the sequel to Omega Plague: Collapse.


Thanks so much for the interview!!!!!

To learn more about P.R. Principe, visit his website:

Book Review: Omega Plague: Collapse by P.R. Principe

****I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. The generosity of the author has, in no way, affected my opinion of this book. *****

An airborne strain of the AIDS virus decimates humanity. Bruno Ricasso, an Italian cop, a Carabiniere, struggles to survive on the island of Capri while Europe erupts in flames and society crumbles. But when his solitary existence is broken, Bruno returns to the empty city of Naples in search of answers.

Can Bruno find a way to stay alive in the ruins of civilization? Or will Bruno’s past sins prove even more deadly than the Omega Plague?

Blindingly and heartbreakingly fast-paced. That’s how I would describe P.R. Principe’s stunning debut novel, Omega Plague: Collapse, in five words or less. The novel gets off right away, with nearly no setup. While I am a devoted setup lover, and normally find books with little or no setup jarring, jarring the reader is the point in Omega Plague, and Principe carries it off beautifully. With no time to breathe as the world as we know it collapses around Bruno, the reader is left with no choice but to compulsively follow. As we follow Bruno, we feel his emotions and acutely sense the horror that surrounds him, making for an affecting read.

Principe has personally spent time in Italy, the setting of the book, and it shows in his descriptions. The vivid picture he paints of the beautiful and historical city of Naples makes if all the more horrific to read about it collapsing. Beyond the physical descriptions is the dialogue and characters. Both sparkle with authenticity, and I felt as if I was really reading the thoughts and listening in to the conversations of the people of Italy. The dialogue between military members is similarly authentic, a difficult endeavor that I have often seen come off as cheesy in other novels. Not so in Principe’s. Although Bruno is tough, he has a rounded, compassionate character, and it shows in subtle ways; the way he worries for his sister, Carla, and his internal dialogue when he sees his fellow military colleagues collapse from illness. His toughness comes from his circumstances, not just his character, and that is a tough feat to achieve in a novel without referring to stereotypes.

Overall, Omega Plague: Collapse is a riveting, twisting read, filled with action and mystery, that will hook you, hold on, and never let you go until the last page.

One (of many) of the Reasons I Love Writing

Hi Everyone!

Happy Fall!!! Gosh it looks like fall out, although, mercifully, it’s still warm (yay for warm falls!).

I’ve been having a bit of a bad day, so I thought I’d take a few minutes away from the article review for school I’m trying to revise to talk about one of my favourite things (besides reading); writing! Maybe not article reviews always, but I love everything about writing. Don’t get me wrong, I have days I’m a bit written out. But for the most part, writing makes me feel better when I’m having a rough day.

There are many reasons why I love writing, too many to describe in the few minutes I have right now. But I thought I’d share one of the reasons. Many professional writers believe that writing is a job, passion, or vocation; not an emotional outlet. That it can be fulfilling, but not cathartic or enjoyable. That’s fair enough. After all, writing can be all of those things. However, in defense of those who identify with writing as a cathartic or enjoyable process, I can proudly say I’m a card-carrying “emotional writer.” Just like how an emotional eater (I’ve been there too) takes pleasure from mac and cheese sliding down their throat, or from the soothingly repetitive process of popping sour candies in their mouth, I love the feeling of my fingertips racing across the keys, pounding down the words that are a part of my characters-their thoughts, their feelings, and the binary between the two. Even if I don’t necessarily feel the same way as my characters do, it’s a real “take that” moment for me when I can help them get to where they need to be.

Beside my fictional writing, I also get a total sugar buzz from article and essay writing, and, especially, blogging. I’m so excited to share more stuff soon!

Anyway, my sweet reader friends, thanks for being part of my very emotional writing process !

x, Em

Why I Switched from First Person Present to First Present Past

Hi All!!

If you’ve read some of my past posts, you may have seen me talking about my latest novel, working tile: “Moorhouse.” When I first started it as a project for one of my creative writing workshops at school (that I planned to expand later on), I wrote it in the first person, present tense. Although I tried a few sample scenes in first person, past tense, what I loved about it the first person, present  tense was the immediacy of it. I loved that I could experience events at the same time as my main character experienced them, as if watching them through her eyes. This was especially interesting to write, in that my character experiences a terrible loss and has to make difficult choices to heal from that loss throughout the novel. I felt that first person, present tense kept the reader in suspense of what choices she would make, more so than if she was looking backward to the past (even if the past is a few moments before). Aesthetically, I also loved how the first person, present tense conveyed a sense of loneliness. To be in your own headspace, experiencing new and frightening events, can be lonely and I wanted my readers to understand my character and the choices she makes through her loneliness.

So why did I change tenses, you may ask? When I came back to my novel this summer after a few months away, to be honest, I had a bit of a hard time with the present tense. One thing that anyone who has ever gone through the writing process will know, is that you change your mind from draft to draft. A lot. It doesn’t matter how much you plot. Unless you’re writing your entire book over a week, you’ve gained new experiences, read new books, traveled to different places, taken different courses, seen different movies and t.v. shows, and just gone through everyday life things. These things all change who we are from year-to-year. I changed from last year, and I felt that my main character did as well. In order to reconcile who my character now is and where I now see my story going, I had to make changes. I think it’s a better book for it, and has made the revision process a lot easier. One of the most significant changes that I’ve made, that I’ll share with you here, is that a series of diary entries that were a bit of a last minute add on in my first draft, are now major key players. Those journal entries became very important to my story when I was working on my second draft, both to my story and my character, and I felt that with my story’s significance leaning towards these entries , it was appropriate to reflect on the structure of a diary as a reflective text. First person, past tense is a very reflective tense, and it allows me to use reflection as a tool that allows my character to grow. I hope it’ll work out, and I hope you like it once I’ve published it!

Take home message: I encourage anyone writing to see the tense you use not just aesthetically or as a tribute to your genre, but as a way that enables you to drive your story’s message home. Also, I’d encourage anyone who feels that they need to make changes during a second (or third, or fourth) draft to take the plunge. Consider how these changes will affect the overall outcome of your novel, but make the changes you need, as they will allow your work to be much stronger.

Anyway, hope this explains why I haven’t been around over the past couple of weeks. I’ve been manually changing my tenses ;)

xx, Em

The Painted Veil: Where’s the Goods?!!!

Hey Blog-readers! (Note, this a post I originally wrote a few weeks ago. I couldn’t post it due to my parents’ computer browser no longer being able to support WordPress. However, it is still relevant. Thanks for reading!!!)

You may notice that I haven’t updated my “Painted Veil” story in the last couple of weeks. It is coming! I’ve been a little busy job shopping lately (anyone want to hire me?) and I am also getting back into my novel “Moorhouse” (working title, subject to change). At the beginning of summer, I thought that I had a pretty darn solid working draft that just needed a few minor changes and filled in scenes. Boy was I wrong! Although what I have is mostly quite workable, my novel is going in some interesting places! I’m very excited to share!
Along with that I’ve been working on another blog based in holistic living. I’m very excited about that as well, so stay tuned!
I have a longer post coming, all about life choices and that type of stuff. Meanwhile, I just thought I’d update for those reading my “Painted Veil” series. Thanks for being patient, and thanks for reading!!!
Xx, Emily

Author Interview: Anita Daher

Happy Labour Day, Everyone!!!! We are having some beautiful weather where we are! Hope it’s beautiful where everyone else is as well:) (if not, I recommend the movie, Labour Day, with Kate Winslet. It’s on Canadian Netflix, and it’s a nice, thoughtful flick for the end of summer).

As a special Labour Day treat, I have an interview with the very talented Winnipeg author, Anita Daher! I had a wonderful time taking a creative writing workshop with Anita about a year and a half ago, and her terrific instruction and guidance helped me to develop my latest novel-in-progress, “Moorhouse.” Besides being an excellent writing instructor, writer, and editor (and now an actress!), Anita is such a lovely, uplifting, and fun presence. If you ever get the chance to take one of her workshops, I seriously recommend it! Meanwhile, if you feel like checking out some of her work, her latest book for young people, Wonder Horse, is out now.

In our interview, Anita talks about favourite books, how she came to be a children’s author, and how her newest career has helped her as a writer. Enjoy! :)

Emily’s interview with Anita:

1. You’re mainly a writer of children’s and teen’s books. How did you first become interested in that age demographic?

            I’ve always believed that each of us has an emotional age that we most naturally go to when we enter that creative space necessary to write. For me, as I explore a story it is most often through the eyes of someone aged 12 to 17.  It just feels right.


2. What are some of your favourite young people’s books (children’s and/or teens’?)

            I have my favourites from when I was a young reader—The Chrysalids, The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Xanth novels (all of them!) by Piers Anthony.  More recently…oh gosh, there are so many…the Truth Commission by Susan Juby, Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay, Rabbit Ears by Maggie de Vries, Shadow Town by Duncan Thornton and Forever Julia by Jodi Carmichael.


3. Is there any one book or books that have inspired your writing in any way?

            I have been inspired by particular authors for varying reasons, more than particular books: Tim Wynne Jones, Stephen King and James Joyce spring immediately to mind.


4. What is your favourite writing snack?

            Jellybeans…or spinach with melted cheese (for those thinking moments when I can sit back and use a utensil)


5. You’re an actress now! Do you feel that being a writer helps you in your latest profession (or vice versa)?

            Indeed! Acting deepens my exploration of emotional truth, which encourages me to “go deeper” in my writing, and writing helps with understanding subtext as I read a script.  Though acting and writing I am able to live my life more fully as a creative person. 


6. You’ve also spent time as an editor. Has editing changed the way you write?

            I think it has. When I am writing a first draft, I try not to edit myself, but I think my subconscious is more present in terms of pacing, avoiding cliché and potential plot holes. During rewrites the ‘tuning up” may happen a little more quickly and easily.


7. Finally (because I’m on a bit of a classics kick), what’s your favourite classic novel (or favourites…)?

            Oh, gosh…how to choose? One of the most influential novels during my adolescent years was The Chrysalids by John Wyndham. I think I was eleven or twelve when I read it, and it was, I believe, my first post apocalyptic story. It showed me that it was not only okay to be different, but desirable.  

I also loved the Narnia series, Little Women, The Black Stallion, A Clockwork Orange, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.


Thanks so much for the interview, Anita!

Visit Anita at


A Change of Seasons

Hi Everyone!

Right now, the sun is setting and it’s getting a little cooler. There’s a lot of wasps buzzing around and the berries on the tree that hangs over my backyard swing keep falling off and whacking me on the head (you can see the said tree in my profile picture in the “About” section). Apparently, this is all a sign of an early fall. I hope not! I love fall, but to be honest, except from an April heat wave, we didn’t have the nicest spring. I know, just a lovely image of Manitoba living, isn’t it? :)

Just like how the seasons are slowly (sometimes quickly) changing here, this blog is going through a change of seasons. Anyone who read my previous post knows that I have a brand new computer. New computer, new rules! Although I still plan to have some long posts (like my serial novella based on “The Painted Veil”), I’m going to try to post more often, but with shorter posts. I have a few leftover reviews to get to from this past spring, as well as new ones coming. Plus you can all look forward to a new interview from awesome teen and children’s writer, Anita Daher, coming soon! Please feel free to comment. I don’t get a lot of comments, and I love hearing about what people like, or are interested in, or want to read more about. Even if you just want to say hi, please do!

On a personal level, I’ve decided to expand my horizons a bit. I’ll write a bit about what caused this actual change in a later post, but for now, I’ll just share that I’m planning to go back to school! It’s another long story for another time, but I had an option to graduate with my standard four-year BA in English this fall, or to take an extra semester to make sure I got my specialization in Children’s and Young People’s Texts and Cultures. Guess which one I picked? Glutton for punishment, I chose to keep on the specialization path because I love children’s lit, and because at the time I hadn’t planned on ever going back to school, at least not for English. Over the summer (again, long story, I’ll tell you later) certain events made me realize how I love what I do and that I’d be sad to stop when there are so many other avenues that I haven’t explored yet! It’s all very exciting. I still hope to work fulltime in communications throughout the rest of the year, throughout qualification #2, as well as afterwards because that’s what I love to do on a day-to-day basis. However, I’ve decided to either go back to school short term (4-10 weeks) for my TESOL certificate, or long term (about a year, or two part-time) for my master’s in English or Communications (different degrees are similar, but have different names and specializations). We’ll see where I am in a year, but I’m happy that I’ve decided to keep my options open.

Anyway, I hope everyone else is treasuring these last, gorgeous days of summer, and that you are all looking forward to the change that autumn brings!

x, Em