MY INTERVIEW WITH A.M. GEEVER
*This interview contains spoilers from LOVE IN AN UNDEAD AGE
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
Hi! I’m A.M. Geever and I write post-apocalyptic fiction with a twist of romance.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
Well, this is kind of funny. I have always been a reader, ever since I was a little kid. I got a lot of books from my older brothers, so I was heavily influenced into science fiction, fantasy, some horror, and dystopian/post-apocalyptic fiction. And I have always loved zombies. They’re just the best monsters around. So anyway, I was working at Santa Clara University in a job that was fine but not what I really wanted to do. In a complete failure of imagination, I decided that I would apply to law school. I wouldn’t need to pay tuition, could do it part-time, and then I’d have a shiny new career. The thing is, I would be a terrible lawyer. I don’t want to work eighty hours a week at anything, even writing, and I don’t like and am not good at the whole corporate America game. So I study for the LSAT, apply, and – thank God – was not accepted. But when I decided to apply to law school I made a deal with myself that if I didn’t get in, I would finally get serious about writing.
So now I had to get serious about writing. One of the reasons I hadn’t up to that point even though I had always wanted to be a writer was I put all this pressure on myself to write The Great American Novel. So I decided screw that, I’m just going to write something fun—and tell no one! I decided I’d write a chicklit book. I had read a few here and there, they’re fluffy, I could definitely do it. The thing is, apart from the occasional book that I picked up in the airport, I don’t read chicklit. It’s not what interests me, fundamentally, so I was coming up with lame idea after lame idea. My husband and I were driving home from work one day and I had just told him my latest lame idea and I said, “Too bad it can’t have zombies.” And we just looked at each other, and he said “That’s what you should write!” It was a Friday and we hammered out the overall plot over the weekend. I still wanted there to be a love story, because Drew, that’s my husband, he always says that all the best stories are love stories, which I agree with. And that includes stories and films that maybe don’t fit into the romance genre per se, but at the root of the story, there’s a love story.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
I like post-apocalyptic fiction because I like that happens after. What happens next after this terrible event that changes the world? How do people adapt, or not? Why do they make the choices they do, and how do they play out? I find that fascinating.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
I did a lot research on places and things. Guns for a start, are what would be good ones for my characters to use, how to take care of them, plus other non-gun weapons, vehicles, how to build things. Where does the water come from in the Santa Clara Valley? Where are there nuclear reactors in California? How can you get to San Jose on foot from Pismo Beach? How do you keep the lights on after there’s no natural gas? Lots of really random stuff. I am always a little afraid that Homeland Security or the FBI are going to show up on my doorstep some day because my internet searches are so weird and so many are about dangerous, creepy things.
Can you tell me about your Series?
Well, Love in an Undead Age is set ten years after the Zombie Apocalypse in California’s Silicon Valley. San Jose is the main city there and it’s pretty much the only place in the world where the standard of living has stayed more or less modern. No back-sliding to frontier days, in part because when the dust settled, enough really smart people (computer and engineering geeks, essentially) had survived to innovate ways to keep the things they deemed essential – phones, internet, electricity, that kind of thing – operating. There’s a vaccine against the zombie virus but the society has become really corrupt and uneven. A small group controls the vaccine and they use it to control everyone and enrich themselves. But there’s a group of people who want to change that, including a woman with a very bad love life, and that’s where the story begins.
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
Well, there’s just the first book right now, so I guess that’s my favorite!
Where did you get the inspiration/idea for your series?
Pretty much from the ideas of justice and fairness. I go back and forth about whether people are inherently good or inherently sucky. I know it’s that we’re both, but I still see-saw and wonder about it and am always changing my mind. People can do such great things but there seem to be some people who just want to get ahead and they don’t care at whose expense it is: their neighbors, people who are sick, kids, the planet. And they set things up to keep themselves on top, which warps how everyone lives. A book has to have a conflict, a problem. Figuring out how to resolve that conflict is where the story comes from. So I was thinking that if there was an elite that was exploiting everyone in this post-zombie world of mine, who would oppose them? I was working at Santa Clara, which is a Catholic Jesuit school, and I have three aunts who are nuns, and I actually went to grad school to become a Unitarian Universalist minister but decided not to pursue it not all that long before graduating, even though it was a great education and experience. Most mainline religious traditions, and especially the progressive ones, have a mandate if you will, to help those who are oppressed and forgotten and change the conditions that led to them being that way, which always is about social justice. I thought, “Here in San Jose, the Jesuits would oppose them for sure,” so then I had my opposition group.
Was it always meant to become a series?
No. I thought I was writing a stand-alone book when I started.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
Right now it’s a mess! My book released August 1st, so all I’ve been doing is the book release promo and am just getting back to writing again. All of July was a just a writing train wreck. A typical day is trying to get all my morning stuff done by 10 at the latest, then sitting down to write for at least four hours. That first hour is often just getting settled down and into the zone. I do have a word count goal, which changes depending on deadlines, but on writing days I like to do at least 2000 words. I’m incredibly lucky in that writing is what I’m doing at the moment. I’m not working a job. I was working when I wrote Love in an Undead Age and that is much, much more difficult.
I do a lot of writing at home. I have a really nice desk set up and my husband is a techie so I have whatever mouse or monitor or whatever I might need. I also go out to coffee shops, too. Sometimes getting out of the house is really helpful because it can be distracting when I see that the floor needs sweeping or the laundry is piled up.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
Yes! I am halfway through the first draft of the second book of the Love in an Undead Age series. I expect to be finished with the first draft in early September. I still don’t have a title… titles are really hard! I think I need to finish the book before I can figure out the title.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
Names are super important! You want something interesting enough that people will remember your character but not so weird that they’re like, “Huh?”
I actually really suck at names. I am always picking really everyday, ordinary names. My brother Joe is really good at names, so I’ll give him a first name and he’ll come up with a great last name, or vice versa, practically instantaneously. He says it’s from reading so many comic books.
Where do your ideas come from?
Honestly, most of “my” best ideas come from the suggestions that my writing groups makes. I’m so deep into my idea of what the story is that it kind of blocks off other ideas. But other people aren’t entrenched in my vision so they think of things that are coming at it from a totally different vantage point. Also, my husband makes really good suggestions. And the more I write, the more I am thinking about the book in the back of my mind as I am doing other things, so I have more ideas overall. Sometimes it’s just coming up with possible outcomes of a scenario and picking the most interesting one.
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
Yes… I would like to write a more traditional science fiction book. I actually have a really great idea that involves time travel that I am planning to work on when I’m done with this series. It’s daunting, because there’s all this historical stuff that I will have to make sure is accurate but I think it could be an amazing story if done right.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Writing is the hardest part of writing. Just sitting down and getting the words on the page… the first draft is brutal, and it usually sucks (with the occasional gem). Getting the idea out of my brain and onto the paper, well computer, is time-consuming and difficult. It can be a lot of fun, but it’s a real grind.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
I don’t know anything about them. I guess if they work for someone, or if they are more excited about a trailer than writing a blurb, they should absolutely do it. They’re all just really personal choices about how to go about it.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
As a writer, finally getting my book out there! As a person is a lot harder… I think having a good relationship with my family. That’s really important to me. I’m really lucky in that my family is very close. My brothers and sisters are literally my favorite people on earth. My mom and dad were just amazing parents. Not perfect, but really into it and always supportive of what us kids wanted to do. My mom passed away about 18 months ago and it’s really a bummer. I miss her so much, and I cannot even tell you how sad it is that she isn’t here to see my book released. She was a writer, too, and I wish she could have seen it. My dad is still alive and he’s really great and super supportive (and kind of like a leprechaun in the best way possible).
What’s the best thing about being an author?
I get to play make-believe for a living.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Still writing, and hopefully my husband and I will be living in Europe. That’s one of our longer-term plans.
Have you always liked to write?
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Get your butt in the chair and write. And don’t be afraid of it. You don’t have to write the best book ever… write about what interests you. Find a good critique group. I have become a much better writer than when I started because of my writing group. The group for you might not be the first group, or even the tenth, but a good writing group is invaluable.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
I’d probably be doing what I was before: still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
I have looked at some, and they’ve been very positive overall which is very humbling… I did not expect that. But I quit looking at them before the end of release day and my plan is not to read them. My husband or family can check them for me and tell me if there’s anything I need to know. It was just too nerve wracking looking at the reviews. I did read this one really horrible review. Two stars that said the author missed the mark in every way. It sucked, and that shit smarts. Ow! You’ve poured so much of yourself into that book, it’s your baby, and then you put it out there and that bad review feels like your baby is getting stomped on. It took a fews days but I eventually decided that clearly, my book was not for that person. I could focus on that one shitty review, or I could get on with it get on with it and concentrate on writing the next book for the people who have enjoyed my book. So, I don’t read reviews anymore.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
Learning the business side. It’s a time suck, and you have to do it as an indie author, and when you’re new it’s very overwhelming.
Where did your love of books come from?
I’ve always loved to read. It’s just my thing.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
Yes, but there are so many! I love Richard K. Morgan, especially his book “Thirteen”. Easily one of the best sci-fi books I have read, ever. S.A. Corey’s Expanse books are amazing! I wish I was as good as M. R. Carey, who wrote “The Girl with all the Gifts.” Talk about feeling like a hack in comparison… I wish that had been my idea! And my favorite author of all time is a two-way tie between Margaret Atwood and Jane Austen.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
Doug is my favorite. He’s so fun write.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Of course I want to be original but mostly I want to write a good story. It’s a bonus if it’s original but if the story stinks, it doesn’t matter how original it is.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
I have no idea…
Where can your fans find you and follow??
My website is amgeever.com
Facebook page that is A.M. Geever, Author – https://www.facebook.com/amgeever/
Facebook group is A.M. Geever’s Zombie Apocalypse Bunker – https://www.facebook.com/groups/amgeeverzombiebunker/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/amgeever/
Buy links : books2read.com/u/3Ra97v
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤️