As a part of the Pitch Dark Days blog tour, I'm excited to invite Dan Wells to the blog to share some insights into the writing process and some fun facts about Fragments, the sequel to Partials!
Okay, since you blew up everything in Partials, where do Kira and Samm go from here? What can we look forward to in Fragments?
But even as we explore some more of the world, don't think we're going to forget about things in East Meadow. Book one found some very big solutions to humanity's problems, but those solutions still need to be implemented, and that's easier said than done--especially now that the fragile peace between human and Partials has been shattered. Both species are facing extinction, and both have reason to believe that the other side might hold the key to their survival. That's a recipe for big, big trouble.
How has your experience writing Kira differed with writing John Cleaver in your previous series?
Both characters have to make some very difficult decisions, holding other people's lives in their hands in situations where both choices are terrible, and I think that gives them some strong similarities. The way they go about it, though, is very different: John is a primarily tragic character, so his decisions tend to be laced with pathos and more than a little nihilism. He's resigned to the fact that the world is terrible, so he's far more willing to do terrible things. Kira, on the other hand, is an idealist, and never gives up hope for that one amazing solution that will save everybody--though she doesn't always find it. I suppose you could say that Kira's losses hurt her more, but John's victories still feel like losses.
Two of my favorites are John Keats and Emily Bronte, both firmly entrenched in the Romantic era of British literature, but both wildly different. Keats is great because his imagery is so perfect, and often very subtle. Read "To Autumn," arguably his most famous poem, and you get an amazing feel for Autumn that captures all five senses, but you also get a deeper layer of meaning buried in the cadence and the progress of the stanzas; Autumn is a joyful time of ripe apples and harvest festivals, but it's also a time of death and loss, as summer gives way to winter and everything turns cold and barren. His entire body of work captures this blend of light and darkness, and some of his poems are straight-up horror stories.
If Keats' main strength is his subtlety and precision, Emily Bronte is all about unbridled power. She's not as well-trained and her language and form are not nearly as manicured, but you get the sense of enormous emotion roiling under the surface, struggling madly for some way to escape the staid, somber life of a proper British girl in a desolate moor. "High Waving Heather," a thunderous piece about a storm on the moor, is simultaneously terrified of nature's fury and in love with at the same time; wind and rain and lightning crash all around you, thrilling and wonderful and dangerous all at once. Bronte tells stories of death and pain and imprisonment and destruction, and the more you read the more you realize that every one of those things signifies some kind of freedom.
If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would it be? And what would it be about? (I'm going to disqualify Robison from this question.)
Brandon Sanderson and I have talked about a lot of co-author projects, most of them so weird that no one but the two of us would ever want to read them. My favorite is an epic fantasy, complete with annotations, purportedly written by Abraham Lincoln as a fanfic of Herman Melville. This is why it's probably best that we never actually collaborate on anything.
Let's say the zombie/robot takeover apocalypse has begun. Where is the worst place you could be? Where is the best place you could be? And where are you most likely to be?
You do not want to be in any kind of urban center when the world ends: plagues can travel faster, combatants have more reason to attack you (and cause a lot more collateral damage), and resources are far more scarce. Urban centers also have much tighter weapon restrictions, meaning that a zombie or robot uprising (and the looters that arise in the aftermath) would be almost impossible to fight off. Small towns and countryside communities have more food per capita, more guns and ammunition, better visibility for defense, and easier means of travel. Once the world ends, though, and assuming I survive (and assuming there are no zombies to contend with) I'd head straight into the nearest city and live in a library. Pure bliss.