Author Of The Week: Chat with Jonathan Maberry (Broken Lands), Plus Giveaway!
Welcome to our weekly special feature post, Author Of The Week!!
Each week we will be interviewing a different YA author and highlighting their upcoming release!
We will also be hosting a giveaway of the book we are highlighting!!
Introducing Jonathan Maberry, YABC's Author of the Week!!
JONATHAN MABERRYis a New York Times bestselling author, 5-time Bram Stoker Award-winner, and comic book writer. His vampire apocalypse book series, V-WARS, is in production as a Netflix original series, starring Ian Somerhalder (LOST, VAMPIRE DIARIES) and will debut in early 2019.He writes in multiple genres including suspense, thriller, horror, science fiction, fantasy, and action; and he writes for adults, teens and middle grade. His works include theJoe Ledger thrillers, Glimpse, the Rot & Ruin series, the Dead of Night series, Glimpse, The Wolfman, X-Files Origins: Devil’s Advocate,Mars One, and many others. Several of his works are in development for film and TV. He is the editor of high-profile anthologies including The X-Files, Aliens: Bug Hunt, Out of Tune, New Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Baker Street Irregulars, Nights of the Living Dead,and others. His comics include Black Panther: DoomWar, The Punisher: Naked Kills and Bad Blood. He is a board member of the Horror Writers Association and the president of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers. He lives in Del Mar, California. Find him online at www.jonathanmaberry.com [jonathanmaberry.com]
Meet Broken Lands!
New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry returns to the world of Rot & Ruin with this first novel in a brand-new series that’s more thrilling and filled with exceptionally terrifying adventures.
Ever since her mother’s death, Gabriella “Gutsy” Gomez has spent her days flying under the radar. But when her mother’s undead body is returned to her doorstep from the grave and Gutsy witnesses a pack of ravagers digging up Los Muertos—her mother’s name for the undead—she realizes that life finds you no matter how hard you try to hide from it.
Meanwhile, Benny Imura and his gang set out on a journey to finish what Captain Joe Ledger started: they’re going to find a cure. After what they went through in the Rot and Ruin, they think they’ve seen it all, but as they venture into new and unexplored territory, they soon learn that the zombies they fought before were nothing compared to what they’ll face in the wild beyond the peace and safety of their fortified town.
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
JONATHAN MABERRY: That’s a tricky question because in some ways this book has been cooking in my head since I was ten years old. Back then, I kind of snuck into a movie theater to see the world premiere of the very first zombie movie, Night of the Living Dead.There hadn’t been anything like that flick, and it traumatized me. Well, me and everyone who saw it. On the way home from the theater, on a cold and dark October evening, I kept trying to figure out how I’d survive in a world where the dead came back to life and tried to eat everyone. It’s fair to say that I’ve spent waaaaaay too much of my life since then working out how I’d survive. I’ve come up with a lot of ideas, too, and in 2008 I wrote a nonfiction book called Zombie CSU: The Forensics of the Living Dead, which includes interviews with hundreds of experts in all fields from crime scene techs to scientists to the military on how the real world would respond to those events.
That same year an editor for an adult anthology of zombie stories invited me to submit a story. I grabbed some of the ideas from those years of devising my zombie apocalypse survival plan and wrote “The Family Business”. It’s about a teenager who is learning the zombie hunting trade from his older brother. Although written for adults, my literary agent convinced me that it read more like the opening of a young adult novel. She asked to shop it as that and it sold to Simon & Schuster as ROT & RUIN.As I wrote that novel I kept expanding the world, and soon one book became a four volume series. Then I wrote a graphic novel, WARRIOR SMART, set between books two and three; and then compiled a whole bunch of short stories I’d written along the way into one volume, BITS & PIECES.
I thought I was done, but almost immediately I started wondering about the rest of the world. You see, all of those original books and stories were set in Central California and Nevada. Surely other people had survived. If so, what were their lives like? What were their stories?
While on book tour in South Texas the next storyline began assembling itself into a new series of adventures, with mostly new characters. Those musings became BROKEN LANDS.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
JONATHAN MABERRY: The main character, Gabriella ‘Gutsy’ Gomez is absolutely my favorite. She’s inspired by a girl I knew in seventh grade, also named Gabriella. Like her namesake, my Gutsy is a very practical person. A problem solver. Driven more by her need to figure things out and make sense of the world than by raw emotions. However in this story some awful things happen to her family, her friends, and her town, and sends a tsunami of emotions her way, but she still has to fight to understand what’s happening and solve the problem. She’s smart, brave, complex, and very real to me.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
JONATHAN MABERRY: For me it’s always the story that comes first and then the title. For a while this was just known as ‘Rot & Ruin spinoff novel #1’ until I sat down to plot it out. Then the title BROKEN LANDS came into my head. It makes sense to the characters in the story in a lot of ways, just as ‘Rot & Ruin’ makes sense to the characters in the first series. As I was writing that outline, and while laying the groundwork for the sequel, the title of the second book immediately made sense, LOST ROADS. And I’m considering a third book to wrap this storyline up, and have a working title of DEAD WORLD.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
JONATHAN MABERRY: Some of my favorite scenes are hard to discuss without dropping spoilers. However there is a scene with Gutsy and her two best friends, Spider and Alethea, being forced to do something necessary but awful. It was tough to write but also –I think—really captures what true friendship is like, and what it means to each of us in a time of crisis.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
JONATHAN MABERRY: My writing career has taken a lot of twists and turns over the years. I started out writing nonfiction stuff –magazine feature articles, reviews, how-to manuals, college textbooks, and mass market books on martial arts, self-defense, and supernatural myths and legends. I’ve also written greeting cards, song lyrics (really bad ones), poems (ditto), and a couple of plays. I didn’t actually even try fiction until the mid-2000s, which is twenty-five years after I began publishing. So, the thing I’ve learned is to try everything. I got advice from two giants of the writing world when I was a kid –Ray Bradbury and Richard Matheson—and they told me two really key things: Never let yourself be locked into only one vision of what you want to write; and…Try new things because they might be fun.
When I started writing fiction it was for adult readers –horror novels, thrillers and movie novelizations. I hadn’t read YA fiction since I was a kid and didn’t think I’d be interested. But, I tried…and fell in love with it. Absolutely fell in love with it.
So…it’s key to do more than listen to good advice –you should also figure out how to apply it. That’s served me really well, and made me very happy over the years.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
JONATHAN MABERRY: The cover of BROKEN LANDS is dynamic. It has a comic book feel to it, which works for me because I also write comics. And it’s dynamic. You have Gutsy Gomez, armed with a hockey stick, squaring off against a bunch of zombies. That says it all right there.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
JONATHAN MABERRY: I have a LOT of projects in motion. I just finished LOST ROADS and am already working on RAGE –a weird-science thriller for my adult audience. I’m also about to start working on a new V-Wars comic, which is part of my V-WARS universe of novels and comics. Those books are the basis for the upcoming NETFLIX series starring Ian Somerhalder (LOST, THE VAMPIRE DIARIES). And I have a slew of short stories due, and several more novels lined up, including WATCH OVER ME, the first in a new mystery-thriller series about a teenager who wants to become a bodyguard. I used to be a bodyguard, so this taps into my own life experiences. It’s a YA series, also for Simon & Schuster.
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
JONATHAN MABERRY: I don’t shy away from tough emotional material, as my readers already know. I’m not afraid to break hearts, including my own. In BROKEN LANDS, there was a scene involving a grave and a night breeze. The final version of that scene is short and heartbreaking, but it took a lot to construct it so that I didn’t overwhelm the reader with exposition, but instead invited the reader to share a moment of beautiful heartbreak with Gutsy.
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
JONATHAN MABERRY: There’s a character named Sam who originally appeared in my Joe Ledger thriller series for adults, but I wanted to bring him into this book in a way that would satisfy readers who already know him, but also introduces him in an interesting way to readers who hadn’t met him before. That takes some work, and is usually finessed during the revision process.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
JONATHAN MABERRY: I’m a first draft junkie because it’s all about the raw storytelling. I plot my novels out, but there is always an organic process as you write. Characters become more real, and storylines sometimes need to shift and change. So I love getting my hands dirty and digging in that soil.
That said, the revision process has its own fun, because you need to be more of a craftsman and use each tool with precision to fine tune the story. I often work on one craft element at a time in revision –pace, timing, point of view, figurative and descriptive language, metaphor, motif and so on.
By: Jonathan Maberry
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BYR
Release Date: December 11th, 2018
Two winners will receive a signed copy of Broken Lands (Jonathan Maberry) ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*
This cover will attract your YA readers of this genre in droves. The storyline sounds awesome and I can't wait to read this one. Good luck with your novel.