I have a treat for you all!
Theresa Shaver, author of the “Stranded” series, was so sweet and generous to take the time to answer a Q&A on her writing, books, and love of post-apocalyptia (okay, I invented that word, but it’s great isn’t it?) If you haven’t read her books, definitely make sure to. They are super good!
E (me): What made you want to become a writer/when did you decide to become a writer? Did you write anything before your “Stranded” series?
T (Theresa): In high school I wrote plenty of very bad poetry and quite a few short stories. It was always a dream of mine to be a writer but the real world has a way of pushing your dreams aside so I worked in sales for years and then stayed home to be a Mom. Once my kids started school I was searching for a way to express myself as more than just a Mother and wife and I kept coming back to writing. When I stumbled on to Amazon’s self-publishing platform it really intrigued and excited me. Here was a way to share my stories with the world without having to go through the years of submitting and being rejected by big publishing. I wrote Book one, Land in just over 2 months. I let my husband and one friend read it and then uploaded it!
E: I love this series! How did you come up with the idea for it?
I am a huge reader! I have a very large library and countless e-books. I love, love, love survival stories. If it is about the apocalypse I have probably read it! I kept reading these stories and my own story developed in my mind on how I would tell it.
E: Was there any dystopian/apocalyptic novels that inspired your writing?
I love the Life After War books by Angela White. They are definitely NOT teen books but a great self-published series. The other one that inspired me was Hugh Howey’s WOOL books, I gobbled those up…soooo good!
E:There’s a bit of a love triangle in “Land.” Did you always intend to include a love triangle in your novel, or was it something that just sort of happened through the writing process? If you were Alex (the main character in Book #1), who would you pick?
T: That was so not planned! I thought Alex would end up with Cooper the “bad boy” but the story just flowed into her and Quinn being perfect for each other. As for who I would pick? HA HA, I picked the good guy in real life so…..
E: You’re Canadian, and even though we travel through the States in “Land,” your characters are from Canada and there are some great Canadian references (Tim Horton’s, for instance). Did you originally plan to include Canada in your novel? Also the landscape of the United States feels very vivid. Have you traveled there before, or did you do some research?
T: Home is where the heart is! I knew Home, Book 3 would be in Canada and it is roughly set around where I spend most of my summers. But I love traveling in the U.S. The funny thing is, I’ve never been to California. Hello Google Earth! I spent days and days on Google Earth traveling their route at street view. I’m not going to lie, that sucked! But not having a budget to go and drive it myself, it was as close as I could get so that the details of the trip would be real.
What’s your favourite and least favourite parts of writing?
My favorite part is when I hit the sweet spot. That’s when the story is flowing so well that I feel every emotion that the character does. Many times my husband would laugh at me as I pounded the keys when Alex was on a rant or I was typing and crying at the same time because she finally saw her Dad. When it feels that real to me I know it will for my readers!
Least favorite part is editing…I’m trying to tell a story here, I don’t care where that comma is “suppose” to go! LOL Thankfully I can now hire someone to clean up my work.
E: What’s your favourite dystopian or apocalyptic novel?
T: That changes constantly because I read so much of it. Right now I’m gaga over a series called Zombies by Macaulay C. Hunter. This series is NOT about your classic dead come to life zombies at all! It’s one of the best dystopian teen series I have ever read and he needs to write faster so I can have the next book!
E: If an apocalypse really did happen, and you had to get home, would you go by land or by sea (or wait for the Canadian embassy to sort you out)?
T: Hmmmm, depends where I am when it happens! After reading and writing so much on this topic, I can’t help but think of the best escape routes when I travel to new places. We recently took the kids on a Caribbean cruise and while I was researching shore excursions I was plotting out which island would be the best place to survive on…I know I’m crazy but it make me a better storyteller lol!
And, in the case of the said apocalypse, what top three items would you want to have with you?
T: Super easy, Husband and 2 kids! Ok and a very big gun and a bunker and a long lasting food supply and…..sorry can’t stop myself!
What are you working on now?
T: Promotion! I am very late to the game when it comes to connecting with my readers. I have finally set up a web site http://www.theresashaver.com and FaceBook Theresa Shaver Author. I am also putting together a Kickstarter campaign to help fund getting my books into book stores so please watch for that launching on May 15!!!!
The real fun I’m working on is Endless Winter, a new book about a girl in a crazy cave with her little brother after the world is wrecked by nuclear bombs!
Yup that’s me, wrecking worlds one book at a time!
Big thanks to Theresa for taking the time to answer my questions with so much insight and such a terrific sense of humour!
For more info on Theresa and her books, here’s some links: