Joining me today is fellow Noble author Saewod Tice, who is not only a fantastic author and a hand-selected member of the Hot New Talent program, but judging from the content of this interview, she’s scary-smart. Like, for real. When you see the amount of world-building and research she’s put into AMONGST THE RUINS, I think you’ll agree! AND someone is going to have proof-positive, because everyone who comments with their e-mail address is going to have a chance to WIN an e-copy of this stunning debut novel. **Contest closed. Congrats to winner R. Renee Vickers!** Let’s meet her, shall we?
Welcome, Saewod, and congratulations on your new release and on your induction to Noble Romance’s Hot New Talent program! Even in summary, AMONGST THE RUINS (The Chronicles of 2020, Book 1) contains an astounding amount of world building. How much of this society did you outline up front, and how much evolved as you wrote?
Not gonna lie, my outlines were extensive. First I outlined the clans and gave them their identifiable characteristic. While a couple of clans are similar, there is at least one thing that sets them apart from the others. Example would be Magnus and Alchemy. Both clans are very soldier/ruler oriented; however, Alchemy has a more royal air about them. They developed this characteristic because of their size and basic dominance over the rest of the clans. Where Magnus is very tactical- being the clan to go to for soldier training.
Once the rough social structure was in place, it was time to create the specifics of the world around them. Anyone who has read or chatted with me about the inspiration for Amongst the Ruins knows my world was inspired by ‘Life After People’ on the History Channel. So, I was lucky to have a visual to study and pull ideas from; however, my world was more than overgrowth and an absence of humans.
I don’t think I would have ever thought of the History Channel (see guys? brilliant!) but what a fascinating resource for you! And, as you say, much to build from there. Most authors have the luxury of research, be it via hands-on experience or through the power of Google. I’m guessing you didn’t have such an easy window into the land of 2020—post nuclear disaster, no less. What facets of this story did you pull from real-life, and which were the most extensively created? How were you able to relate to your characters from a world so far removed from your own?
Given the future apocalyptic world I wanted to build I actually had to research history. Starting with nuclear bombs, I had to do a great deal of research into radiation- the lingering effects and the extent of damage from a nuclear bomb. This led me to Hiroshima, of course, as well as some photographs I don’t think I’ll ever be able to erase from my mind. *shudders*
I watched a lot of ‘Life After People’ and researched ‘Ghost Island’ to get a better feel for the world my characters were living in. There are a lot of interviews with people who experienced Hiroshima in some fashion, as well as a whole documentary on ‘Ghost Island’ in Japan. They were a really good resource to start with and build from.
The point to which you researched this world is astounding—not just grabbing details, but truly to immerse yourself in the building blocks. I am so impressed! What prompted you to write this as a YA novel? Was it part of the plan all along, or did the story claim the genre on its own?
My typical writing style is graphic, so YA was not my original intent. But as I wrote, it felt necessary to start with Shilo as a young girl and build her through experiences that a young adult and even adult could relate to. Everyone has felt like an outcast at some point in life, especially as a teen, so it sort of morphed into a YA book.
I’m sure you’ll reach a great many readers with the “outcast” aspect, and I think it’s a great angle considering the world you’ve created — it’s perfect common ground to which so many of us can relate.
If a reader is unfamiliar with your work, which of your books would you suggest he or she read first? Why?
Amongst the Ruins is my only current published work, but I’ve posted a good deal of work online at Textnovel, though most of that work is not YA friendly. :o)
*Is intrigued* LOL! Which genre are you drawn to as a reader? Do you prefer to read in the same genre as your WIP or do you mix it up?
My reading is as eclectic as my writing. I am a multi-genre fan. As a writer this allows me a freedom to put down whatever comes to mind, and as a reader it allows me to experience different styles of writing. I also am a part of an online review blog, so being interested in a mix of styles and genres pays off.
That’s a great point about exposing yourself to different writing styles! Looking back over all of the intimate moments you’ve created between characters, which scene would you most like to experience for yourself? What makes it so alluring?
In a fantasy setting, I love a dominant alpha male. (In real life I’d probably slap the crap out of him.) In Amongst the Ruins, I have a favorite scene between Shilo and a male character. It would spoil a portion of the story if I give too much detail, but let’s just say that there is a fine line between swordplay and sensual seduction. YUM. The idea of using a sword fight to seduce and dominate was fun to write and to play out in my mind.
LMAO @ slapping the crap out of him! And my, oh my, that scene sounds delicious! Now that we know about your feisty side, let’s see how much of it your characters. *grin* Have you ever battled with any of them over their personality traits? If so, who won – you or the character?
My characters are always giving me a hard time. There are frequent battles over what they would do and what I want them to do. Unfortunately, the character usually wins, since it is- after all- their story. You will meet Elrik in Amongst the Ruins and his personality is one heck of a roller coaster ride.
Oh, my, an encounter with Elrick does sound promising! And it takes a great author to create strong characters (similar to how we as parents just “adore” our children and their independent streaks, LOL.) Have you ever made big changes in your story because someone – your crit partner, a friend, or beta reader – really didn’t like it? Are you glad you did (or didn’t)?
There was actually a suggestion from an editor to cut the first 3 chapters from ATR. At first I did it, but it just felt like a piece of me was missing so the chapters were edited down and polished a bit more and left in. I’m much happier with the book having the original chapters in place.
On a different note, I have another book in the edit before publish process in which great chunks were cut out. It’s been hard to see your written scenes on the ‘cutting room floor’, and I am still teetering on whether or not it’s going to work out for the best. Hopefully the end product will convince me it was worth it.
Oh, what painstaking decisions! And when the dust clears and it’s not love at first sight, it must be really hard. I’m glad you and your editor found a good compromise (and good luck on that second title!) How do you keep track of plot elements or twists?
In the past I’ve been a post-it-note kind of girl. ß I know, crazy right?! I completely agree. So, while I still have a post-it & notebook addiction, I now use a computer program to help keep the timeline/events in order. Writing a series has taught me the necessity of this type of set up.
Post its. BUAUAAHAHAHAAHA! (Clearly I am not a person who can handle scraps of paper very well. All hail electronic note taking! LOL.) Which of your novels most reflects who you are as a writer? Why?
I’m a new, young author, so I’m technically still exploring who I am as a writer. Having said that, Amongst the Ruins is a good look at me as a YA writer. I like to explore the what-ifs as well as some darker, edgier sides of YA books.
In the adult area, I have a couple of romance novels in my line up. One particular WIP, called Modern Arrangement, really showcases my humor and quirky side of writing.
Oh, how I love humor and quirk! What are you currently working on?
I’ve got a pretty big line up of completed novels. Most still need a good spit and shine before I can begin shopping around for a publisher or agent. Most of the lineup is romances with some erotic tendencies. I’m a big story with my erotica type of writer.
Live in Position is currently in the hands of a publisher being edited for upcoming release, though we haven’t set the release date- yet. The publisher does not work in the erotic category, so there was a lot of rewrites and editing to be done.
Sounds like you have a LOT going on. I bet with so much almost ready to go, we are about to witness a career explosion from you—and I mean that in the best way possible! (I’m totally gonna say I knew her ‘when,’ guys!)
I want to thank you for having me on your blog today. You have asked some different questions and I really appreciate that! ~ Saewod
My absolute pleasure, Saewod! We’re going to kick out of here on a a seriously fabulous note—that is with a closer look at AMONGST THE RUINS and a list of ways for readers to stalk you online. Good, no? And lovely readers, don’t forget to comment with your email address for a chance to win an e-copy of AMONGST THE RUINS! Thanks for being here, everyone! As promised, here’s the blurb:
AMONGST THE RUINS (The Chronicles of 2020, Book #1)
In the year 2220, only about 15% of Earth’s population have survived and thrived after the Nuclear Disaster of 2020.
With the collapse of modern society, the population has regressed into eight clans.
Amongst these clans, an unusual girl grows from child to adult.
Raised on the run and in hiding, Shilo wants to be free of the expectations of women. But in a ruined world where anyone could be an enemy, only the radiation-twisted mutants are clearly identifiable. A fertile female is a precious treasure, and any lapse in caution can mean a loss of the freedom she longs for.
Training as hard as a soldier would, in order to free herself from social constraints, she finds herself faced with an offer from a new clan–an offer that provides her with what she desires. But her recently found independence brings discovery, and discovery brings two very different men from her past—and each of them is determined to claim her.
One is obsessed with owning her, the other desires her as the only person who can make him love again.
About the Author: Saewod Tice
Saewod Tice lives in Central Pennsylvania with her husband and two children. A self-proclaimed foul mouthed, book nerd who loves reading genres ranging from Young Adult to Horror to Erotica.
To escape the structured, methodical confines of her day job, she delves into her overzealous imagination producing dystopian worlds and romances. When not writing or spending time with her family, she embraces her Computer Geekdom through the internet. Including being a member of Writing.com, TextNovel writing forums, and RWC group.