Dead Tropics | Black Stump Publishing | March 7 2011 | Sci fi/suspense
Lori Nelson has always seen herself as an ordinary woman, doing the best she can to juggle family and work.
But, as the world is about to discover, the most fierce creature in nature is the mother whose offspring is threatened.
When miners release an ancient and deadly virus, Lori, a nurse, finds herself at ground zero of a deadly battle for survival. With the help of a laconic ex-soldier, can Lori find the strength to fight an ever-increasing enemy and save her family?
What main genre do you write in?
Science Fiction / Fantasy
Please describe your writing environment.
I sit on my favourite chair with my laptop on my lap, my dogs and cat on all sides and some soothing music like Norah Roberts playing. It is a good spot to write from because I can see the beautiful blue sky and tropical hills of Cairns, which is very soothing.
Please tell us your latest news!
I am currently writing an urban fantasy featuring a mother-daughter werewolf team. It will hopefully be ready for release in September.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I love the writing of urban fantasy writers like Patricia Briggs and Kelley Armstrong. I enjoy stories where the characters are flawed and real, the dialogue is witty and where you can really imagine yourself in the midst of the action. And that is what they do well. There is never a moment when I jump back out of the story and say 'hang on, that would never happen or no one would say that'.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I was a voracious reader as a child. It was nothing for me to read twelve books a week. The result was an overactive imagination that had to go somewhere and, as a result, spilled over into writing. I won a couple of short story competitions, which was a thrill. I became a professional writer, writing for other people. It has only been in the last couple of years that I have decided to write for myself!
Do you have any advice for other writers?
My number one piece of advice is to stop worrying about what other people will think - and just write. People have been telling me to write a novel my whole life but I wouldn't, for fear that I would suck. Yeap, that's the truth of it. I used excuses like I was too busy raising kids, but it was really just the classic fear of failure.
The nice thing about turning 40, though, is that you start to realise that you don't really care what other people think. So I sat down and wrote two books in one year - a non-fiction parenting book, 5 Keys Parenting and a fiction book, Dead Tropics. And now there is no stopping me from writing!
Do you have a favorite object that is pertinent to your writing?
I couldn't live without my laptop! I use it to write, to research, to chat with friends and fellow authors, and to purchase books that I will probably never have time to read. I already have over 100 books on my kindle, thanks to the convenience of my laptop.
What's been the most challenging part of writing for you?
If I could, I would write all day but I also have other responsibilities; you know like feeding my kids and keeping the house to a minimum level of acceptable cleanliness. So I would say, the most challenging part of writing is actually finding the time to write! I set myself a goal of 7000 words a week. Some days I might only find the time to write 200 but, by hook or by crook, I make my weekly target.
Who has been your best supporter? How have they been there for you?
My family is great. They have always encouraged me to write, read my drafts and taken the kids out for the day to give me time to write. They've always insisted that I could write well, ever since my school days of short story writing. I guess it just took me a while to have the same belief in myself that they have always had.
Do you have any other author names? If so, what are they and what's different about what you write under each name.
I wrote a parenting book called 5 Keys Parenting under the name Sue Edgerley. It received a lot of media attention in Australia last year and is doing well in Australian bookstores. I wrote it because so much of the parenting advice handed out by modern experts these days just don't work, as I found out myself the hard way. Incorporating many of my parents' commonsense parenting techniques made a big difference to me so I thought other parents might benefit from them, too.
Do you like to mix genres?
As a matter of fact, my first fiction novel, Dead Tropics, could be classified as a mix of sci fi/horror and adventure. While the story is set against the backdrop of a terrifying plague, it is a fast-paced, and often humorous, ride as the protagonist, a nurse, discovers that she is not as meek and mild as she has always thought - at least not when the welfare of her family is at stake.
And, of course, I am a romantic through and through, so there is always time for love, even in the midst of chaos. Mike, the laconic security guard, is a wonderful foil to Lori's frazzled widowed mum's character.
What book are you reading now? What are your thoughts on it?
I have about thirty books on my reading stand, mostly sci-fi and historical fiction. I am currently reading a vampire romance called Lover Unbound by JR Ward. I love the ultimate he-man qualities of the heroes and the sizzling tension in the relationships. It's like chocolate for the soul. For something different, next up is a zombie book called The Passage.
What inspires your writing?
I am so passionate about my children and my role as a mother, and it seems to me, the passion that drives mothers in real life can be a hell of a motivator in novels, too. Dead Tropics, in fact, came about because I was so frustrated by all the zombie novels that feature men who are always armed to the teeth and unencumbered by family. To my mind, a woman with a family to protect would put those men to shame. Nothing, but nothing, would get in her way! So I wrote my own version of a zombie novel which, I am pleasantly surprised, seems to be hitting the right note with male and female readers.
The werewolf novel I am currently writing is more along the urban fantasy line but still focuses on the mother's instinct to protect her own.
Do you have any animals? Do they influence your writing?
I have two dogs and a cat. I guess they do influence my writing in that I have to take the dogs for a walk every day and that is when I do a lot of my creative thinking. Nothing like fresh air and exercise to get the brain working! My cat is just a big soppy himalayan who wants cuddles all the time. He is quite possibly the ugliest himalayan I've ever seen but, hey, we love him.
If you had to choose one person to have dinner with, who would it be? And why?
Oh Lord, should I be honest or politically correct? No doubt I should nominate some worthy soul like Obama or the pope but actually, if I were honest, it would be with a gorgeous hottie like Alexander Skarsgard or Gerard Butler! What can I say, I'm a 27 year old girl stuck in the body of a 47 year old woman.
author of Dead Tropics