Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Interview - A.M. Tuomala, author of "Erekos"

Today here at Bibliognome I have my very first interview with an author.  You don't even want to know how long I spent thinking up questions.  :)  A.M. Tuomala was kind enough to answer all my questions about her and her book Erekos.

Bibliognome: How did you come up with the mythology that you used in Erekos?

A.M. Tuomala: I was very interested in what "working gods" would look like--gods who need to manifest in person because they have concrete tasks to perform in the real world, and gods who get dirty or sweaty or thirsty when they've been doing work.  My second main consideration was what a syncretic or mixed-belief religion would look like after three or four hundred years; what gods would the colonizers have brought over? How would the gods have changed over time?  How would the myths travel?  What stories would different people have heard in different regions?  Thinking about mythology as a human, cultural object--subject to cultural change--is just as important as thinking about what the gods stand for.

Bibliognome: Your version of zombis versus regular zombies of the shambling variety, which do you find scarier?

A.M. Tuomala: Shambling!  I am absolutely terrified of shambling zombies, Shaun of the Dead variety excluded.  I wrote Shabane in part because I needed to think about a different kind of zombie, closer to the "roots" of zombi folklore.  If she'd been of the 'braaaains' variety, the novel would definitely have been harder to finish.

Bibliognome: Which character did you think was the easiest to write for and why?
A.M. Tuomala: Gamela and Erlen were easiest to write, Gamela because she has a very practical way of looking at the world and a very task-oriented mindset; Erlen because he is really just an enormous geek.  Gamela tends to approach impossible jobs the way I do, tackling them one item at a time until she can manage the lot, whereas Erlen gets excited over mushroom rings and steamboat names and etymology.  In many ways, Erlen is a very serious character--he's undergone numerous trials to become the man he is by the end of the book--but his zest for learning and his sense of humor are what make him fun for me to write.

Bibliognome: Can you share anything about what will happen next in the world of Erekos?
A.M. Tuomala: Next, we'll be crossing the mountains to see how the events of Erekos have influenced the politics of Weigenland--if you like Erlen and Jeiger, you'll definitely be seeing more of them, as well as a few more minor characters.  The plot will be far less "kings and witches and zombis" standard fantasy fare, with far more intrigues and academic infighting, espionage and idea theft.

Bibliognome: What's your favorite part of the writing process?
A.M. Tuomala: Oh, definitely the world-building.  It's the part where the whole story is still waiting to unfold before me, full of possibilities; it's the part where I'm still getting to know my characters and their neighbors and their homes, what morning sounds like and how the air tastes.  It all feels so fresh and new and, in the best possible way, just a little bit terrifying.

Bibliognome: Which character in Erekos is your favorite?
A.M. Tuomala: I don't think I could choose a favorite! But I do love to write Adriolaus.  He's witty, political, and far shrewder than he wants to seem, and I wish I'd spent more time with him.

Bibliognome: What author is your favorite to read?
A.M. Tuomala: I think I could read Terry Pratchett's work forever.

Bibliognome: What's next for you after you're done writing about Erekos?
A.M. Tuomala: Once I'm done with this set of stories, I'd like to do some work with historical fantasy and science fiction; I'd also love to write some comedy, although I suspect it will be F/SF comedy or historical farce.

Bibliognome: Anything else that you would like to let people know?
A.M. Tuomala: I'd like to thank you for conducting this interview!  You asked some lovely questions.

Now some quick questions:

         1.) zombie or vampire?  Zombies. Vampires are harder to kill.
         2.) pop or soda? Soda.
         3.) silver or gold? Silver.
         4.) Starbursts or Skittles? Starbursts.
         5.) pen or pencil? Pen.

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