Today we are pleased to welcome Emmy Laybourne, author of Monument 14. You can check out Anna Rose's review here. Anna Rose had a few questions for Emmy about her book, writing, and her many ambitions. Thanks for stopping by Emmy!
Some of the characters in Monument 14 were based on real people - that outrageous rascal Chloe, for example, is based on a friend's little boy. The way Jake talks is based on my husband's best friend, Todd Calvert. Todd's a Texan and is one of the most charming people I've ever met. He's not, however, addicted to drugs or sex. (I feel I should make that clear!)
Other characters, like Max, seemed to pop into my head fully formed. It almost seemed like Max was just loitering in some Imagination Waiting room in my brain, waiting for me to get around to telling his story.
Which, if any, of the character's personalities are most similar to you?
That would be Josie. If I lived through a crisis like the one in the book, I'd go into massive shock for about a week - and then, once I snapped out of it, I'd take charge of all the kids and try to make sure everyone was eating well and sleeping... Some women just get that mothering gene. Josie and I both got it bad.
Your readers may not know (unless they've read your bio) that you are also a playwright, lyricist and actress!! Which of the many hats you wear is your favorite?
Good question! (It's good because it's hard.) I love writing books. It's a great job for me because I have a ton of ideas, I enjoy working alone and I am good about setting a routine for myself. If you're going to write - those are three qualities you need, in my opinion.
So writing novels is great fun for me - but that said, collaboration is also terrifically exciting to me. There is nothing in the world like writing a play and watching actors bring it to life. In that scenario, I get to do all the things a writer does - and then I get to join forces with a director and actors.
Experiencing your words performed on stage can only be topped by one thing... hearing them set to music! Oh my goodness, writing song lyrics and hearing them musicalized is the biggest thrill ever. Sometimes when I'm sitting in a practice room, listening to an actor sing a song from a musical I am working on, I will actually start to tear up! Then I have to pretend I have allergies or something has flown into my eye or something silly like that.
As for acting, well, I stopped performing and auditioning in 2006, when I had my second child. I miss it. I still have a longing to perform and make people laugh, but it doesn't feel like a burning fire the way it did when I was in my twenties. I teach improv, which brings me a lot of joy, and I make my children laugh almost as much as they make me laugh! That's good enough for me.
What can we expect from Monument 14's sequel, Monument 14: Sky On Fire? (potential spoiler) Will it follow the two different groups?
I don't think I'm giving too much away when I say yes! Sky On Fire has two narrators, Dean and Alex. I just finished the first draft and I'll be editing it over the summer. It will come out June 2013, if all goes well. It's dark, my friends, very dark!
Post-apocalyptic worlds are my favorite. How did you come up with the world and life-changing events in Monument 14?
I am so glad that you like post-apocalyptic worlds. They're my favorite too! I think that Monument 14 partially came out of my obsession for survival strategy. I've spent so much time, over the years, thinking about what I'd do in a crisis. I'm always planning what to do in the worst-case scenario - I think this comes from being somewhat of a worrier.
The sequence of catastrophes that take place in Monument 14 took a while to develop. There was a certain amount of research and logistical thoerizing I had to do. And then I needed inspiration to round it out. My husband helped me refine the stuff with the blood (I think that's vague enough not to be a spoiler). So much of what happens in the book (and the sequel) depends on the blood-stuff plot developments - it's hard to imagine that the story ever existed with out that element. But it did..
It's good to be patient with yourself when creating a world. I like to lay in some groundwork and then just do a lot of walking and thinking. There's nothing like walking when you want to create a world! Somehow the rhythm of the motion lulls the superficial part of my brain to sleep so that the deeply creative part can play in the forefront. That's not exactly an answer to your question, but it's a little free tip to your readers about creativity!
It's been great fun to visit here with you, Emily! I'd love to answer any questions your readers have, either here or on my website emmylaybourne.com. On my site your readers can see clips of me performing in Superstar, The In-Laws, a sit-com called DAG, and my personal favorite - the song I sang with my brother Sam about incest: "We're Related."
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