Before I went to Norwescon this year I picked out a few authors whose readings I wanted to attend. Nina Post amused me with her title. Then she amused me with her reading. I saved her book for my vacation. I’m glad I did.
It’s easy to find a book amusing while on vacation, everything is so much more laid back. But I have to say Last Condo Board was fab, even by non vacation standards. It’s hard to explain exactly what I want this to mean, but I’ll try anyway. The Last Condo Board of the Apocalypse is complicated in a way that makes you not realize how complicated it is until you look back at it. While I was reading it was smooth and amusing and smartly written. And then when it was done, I was like damn, I have to think about all that, it was so incredibly well written.
I liked the characters. Liked the world. Liked the plot subplot complications.
Hated that she left me hanging. Yes, yes, I get that it’s a trilogy and Nina had to leave something unfinished or there wouldn’t have been a second and third book but I was in the middle of the Pacific without an Internet connection and therefore could not immediately get book 2, The Last Donut Shop of the Apocalypse. I know, my bad. LOL
Luckily, Nina isn’t holding my lack of forethought against me and agreed to answers a few questions for you readers in blogging land.
Nina Post is the author of seven novels, including Danger Returns in Pairs, Danger in Cat World, Extra Credit Epidemic, The Last Condo Board of the Apocalypse, The Last Donut Shop of the Apocalypse, One Ghost Per Serving, and The Zaanics Deceit. She lives in Seattle.
I understand you used a publisher for the Apocalypse series, and you’ve done some self-publishing as well, what is the best part about being an indie and traditional author for you?
The best part of the indie side is that I can release books in between longer traditional publishing cycles (even if I’m not very good at marketing them). On the publisher side, especially with some experience self-publishing, I value having a team who can do some of the heavy lifting.
So if you don’t have a team to do the heavy lifting, how do you juggle it all. What’s a good writing secret or time management secret?
These aren’t secrets. But here are five:
1) Always finish your projects, even if it’s just a crappy first draft.
2) Some writers don’t consciously think about theme, but I like to thread it into the characters and settings from day one. I think it makes for a harmonious, coherent, and layered story. I don’t always succeed at this.
3) If you need to improve at a specific aspect of writing — suspense, cliffhangers, pacing; whatever — then make a short self-directed course for yourself with a reading/watching list, and make notes on what you’re learning.
4) As for time management, my husband (who is a Time Lord) suggests always having a list of everything you need or want to work on next. Include the tasks that take very little time, too. Then you have a good set of tasks to pull from when deciding what to work on.
Um, I have to say you did a marvelous job of layering things in The Last Condo Board. I loved Kelly, she was an amazing multi dimensional character who kicked ass and cared. If you could be any one of your favourite characters (your own or others you’ve read) for one day, who and why?
Claudia Kincaid, From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, because I love museums, and we both like comfortable, beautiful places.
Hang on while I google that. Oooh, now I have a new book to read. Claudia sounds super resourceful from what I read online. She’s definitely a hero. But in general, do you like villains or heroes better? Which are more fun to write?
If you’re writing a complicated hero, one with pain and flaws, and who has enough that’s good about them to make loving them worth it, then the hero is fun to write. If they’re funny and struggle and sometimes fail, and if it’s interesting to see the choices they make, then the hero should be fun to write. You run into problems when the hero is too good, too bland, not active enough, and makes predictable choices.
If your villain is weird, and thinks he’s absolutely doing the right thing and that everyone else is woefully misguided, then he should be fun to write. If he’s got the edge over the hero — is more determined, more clever, and/or has more resources or power, but has serious flaws of his own — then he’s fun to write. If his methods are contemptible and his motivations strong, then he’s fun to write.
With some of my projects, I’ve had more or just as much fun writing the hero, but I’ll give the edge to the villain in general. Even so, they’re closely intertwined.
Thanks Nina for spending the time with my readers.
The third book in the series, The Last Death Worm of the Apocalypse comes out May 1st next year but the first two in the series will be reprinted early next year with new covers. 2017 should be quite a year for Apocalypses.