The Camellia Resistance
Twitter – @entrope
Instragram – thecamelliaresistance
Blog – www.entropeink.com
Blurb:2044. Willow Carlyle is the youngest cultural epidemiology research director in the history of the Ministry of Health and is on the fast-track for further promotion until a night of passion shatters her carefully constructed life. Marked and unemployed, Willow falls in with a band of dissidents. Everyone wants something. In the process of discerning friend from foe, Willow begins to unravel secrets that will shake the New Republic of America to its foundation
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
The Camellia Resistance begins with Willow Carlyle, a bureaucrat who makes an impulsive choice in lovers and is suddenly thrown out of her comfortable, isolated life. Willow lives in a drastically different America with a government that is obsessed with health. It’s the only thing Willow has ever known, but the generation before her lived through a massive epidemic that wiped out most of the population. The government’s answer to keeping the remaining people alive is a program of massive health control: gloves in public, habitual disinfectant, kissing has been classified as more intimate than sex, and sex happens with full-body condoms. So when Willow meets Ven and thinks it is love at first sight, she’s completely unprepared for what happens when she contracts a STD. As a Ministry of Health employee, she’s no longer fit for employment, but she has nowhere else to go. At least not until she meets up with an underground resistance group and begins to unravel her personal history, which turns out to be tied to the history of the New Republic of America.
The book started as a National Novel Writing Month project. I was talking to a friend about story ideas. The threw out a story prompt about superheroes having sex, which turned into a discussion about the origin stories of superheroes, which turned into the idea for a story about superheroes who get their power from STDs. One reviewer called the book a mix of X-Men, Hunger Games, and 50 Shades of Grey. That kind of a mashup wasn’t in my mind when I started writing, but those are all incredibly successful stories, so I can’t complain.
How do you create your characters?
I have no idea. Honestly, the best characters sort of spring up all by themselves fully formed and you meet them gradually, just like real people. I’m lucky if I get one or two of those in a story. Morrigan, who shows up later in the first book, is one of those characters. She’s too much herself for me to take credit for her. She just is: a crotchety force of nature. Everyone else ends up being a mashup of things I see commuting, characters I admire from other writers, and a trait or two from people I know in real life. The only person who comes wholly from real life, in build and in force of will, is Marshall. But my real life Marshall knows who he is, yells at me because I am taking too long to finish book two, and got the tattoo that is featured on the front cover of the book.
What inspires and what got you started in writing?
Inspiration comes from everywhere, if you let it. The bigger driver for me is having found a sense of purpose in writing. Books are magic. How else does Jane Austin keep me company centuries later? They are a conversation that happens without respect to time or distance. I’ve got days behind me that I only got through because there was a book to sit with me, and if I can be that for someone else, I think I can call myself a success.
But the sense of purpose came later. It started in elementary school with a short story assignment. I got a lot of attention for my story about outgrowing my cat pajamas overnight and what it was like to finally be tall, and it turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy: I was the writer of the family.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
I have to be able to write everywhere, otherwise I would never get any writing done. As long as I have an internet connection and a computing device, I can write. Well, that and a set of headphones. Music is critical to the process. I have a hard time focusing if I’m not listening to something.
How do you get your ideas for writing?
TED Talks are a great place for ideas. So are conversations with friends, people watching, the news, dreams… It all becomes fodder for the writing.
What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?
Write because you have something to give, not because there’s something you want out of it.
Write for yourself, edit for your audience.
Tell the story that only you can tell.
Leave out the parts that you’d skip in someone else’s book. If you ever hear yourself saying “it gets really good on page 30” that’s your sign you need to cut everything out before page 30. Start with the really good parts and leave everything else out.