- Promo: Sun Bleached Winter
- Series: —
- Author: D. Robert Grixti
- Release Date: Published December 1st 2012 by Damnation Books
What do you do when the world ends?
Lionel Morton and his sister, Claire are alone and in danger in a world frozen in never-ending winter. Survivors of a cataclysmic event that brought human civilization to its end, they’re forced to face hunger, rabid animals and the savage remnants of humanity just to stay alive. When a fading radio broadcast calls to them and hints of sanctuary, they’re forced to make a difficult decision: keep fighting through the wasteland in search of something that may not be real, or give up hope and wait to die in the terrible cold.
Thank you so much for doing this interview for My Seryniti.
You’re welcome! It’s a pleasure.
Nova – How did Sun Bleached Winter book start for you? Image, Idea, Dream?
Well, as an idea, doing something post-apocalyptic has been in my head for as long as I can remember. A lot of the stories I wrote when I was younger were dystopian, and many of my favourite books, movies and games play with the theme. In that sense, I always intended to write a post-apocalyptic novel at some point in my career – what I didn’t count on though, was that it would be my first novel. What initially led to me writing Sun Bleached Winter was a discussion with a friend about the movie version of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. We’d both been amazed by how emotional it was (most of the post-apocalyptic stuff we were familiar with being mainly fast paced action/adventure stuff, like Mad Max for example), and made me think of another spin on post-apocalyptic fiction that I’d never seen done before – horror.
Nova – Did you have any growing pains with this novel?
Quite a few. While Sun Bleached Winter was the first novel I had published, it was also the first novel I ever wrote, period. Up until writing Sun Bleached Winter, I’d mainly been a short story writer, and so expanding an idea out to novel length was very hard for me. The temptation was always there to just make the novel into a quite long short story, though I had to keep pushing myself to continue working on a novel because I doubt I’d have fit all of the ideas in Sun Bleached Winter into anything shorter. I didn’t just want to write a scary, post-apocalyptic tale, I also wanted to explore the psychological condition of the characters and touch on what humanity means in a world where there are no laws, and that wouldn’t have been able to fit in a short story. That said, I think I’m still conditioned to be a short story writer, because Sun Bleached Winter is pretty short as far as novels go.
Nova – Do you have a message you try to convey when writing a story?
A message? No, not really. What I do try to convey to my readers is emotion. My favourite books have always been those that have been able to elicit an emotional response or encourage me to think about my life or myself as a person. That’s what I tried to do in Sun Bleached Winter – it’s supposed to be a fun and tense apocalyptic story if that’s what you’re after, but if you want to look a bit deeper, there are plenty of scenes that make good jumping off points for thinking about certain things. Above all else, I wanted to convey what it would really feel like to live in a post-apocalyptic wasteland: scary, bleak and utterly hopeless.
Nova – What are you reading right now?
Right now, I’m re-reading 11/22/63 by Stephen King while I wait for my copy of Doctor Sleep to arrive. I love time travel/alternate history stories, and basically anything that hints at changing time always hooks me. I really loved 11/22/63 the first time around because King really excels at creating believable and memorable characters who you grow emotionally attached to, and in this book, the protagonist has some pretty horrible things happen to him, which makes you genuinely feel sorry for him.
Nova – Are there any authors (living or dead) that you would name as influences?
I would not be a writer if it weren’t for Stephen King, H.P Lovecraft, Richard Matheson and John Wyndham. I also have secondary influences for particular works – Sun Bleached Winter lends its existence to the likes of Cormac McCarthy, T.S Elliot and George Orwell.
Nova – What do you do when you’re not writing?
When I’m not writing, I’m thinking of the next thing I want to write. To expand upon that, I’m also an indie game developer, so I spend a lot of time outlining scenarios for my games, and I use my games as a testing ground for ideas that I might want to use in my writing.
Nova – Have you always wanted to be an author?
For as long as I can remember, I have. I mean, haven’t all published authors wanted to be authors for as long as they can remember? I actually learned to read and write when I was three years old, and I was writing mini stories all through my school years. I remember my fifth grade teacher who always said I’d be published some day – I keep meaning to track him down one of these days and send him a copy of Sun Bleached Winter.
Nova – How did you break into the industry?
Well, I hardly think I’ve broken into anything yet (what with Sun Bleached Winter’s sales at the moment). Though I learned all about publishing and editing, and how to submit and write query letters at university. I’m in my final year of a BA in Creative Writing at the moment, and most of what I know about how to get published comes from there. My professor is always encouraging her students to get published, so I tried my hardest to do what she says, and it worked.
Nova – What is your writing style? Do you create outlines for your writing or do you just sit and type away?
I prefer to just wing it. I usually have a vague outline in my head (ie. What will happen in the ending, which characters will live or die, half baked concepts for things that will happen along the way), but I prefer to just sit down and write and let the story evolve on its own. For me, this feels far more natural than planning, and I think I progress a bit faster, too. I have a friend who wrote a 20,000 word outline for his fantasy novel. I don’t think I could ever do that.
Nova – What is your next project? What have you been working on recently?
My next project is Crusaders of Ice, a (kinda) sequel to Sun Bleached Winter. It’s set in the same world following the events of Sun Bleached Winter, but focuses on a new character and reveals a little more about the wasteland (such as what actually caused civilization to collapse and whether or not New City is the only enclave of humanity left). After this, I have plans for a prequel to round out the trilogy, though my main objective is to make each of the three books stand-alone, so you can enjoy them without ever having to read the rest if you don’t want to.
Now for the silly questions! Hang on to your hat! 🙂
Nova – Do you write using a computer or the old fashioned pen to paper?
I write using a computer. Is that boring? I think I’m a little lazy.
Nova – Do you listen to music while writing? If so, what’s on your playlist!?
Yes, I do. What’s on my playlist depends on what I’m working on, though. I listen to music that reflects the mood or tone I want to insert into a given piece of writing. For Sun Bleached Winter, that mainly consisted of the soundtracks from The Road and 28 Days Later, though there are strange outliers as well, such as a number of New Wave songs from the 80s and the main theme from Pokemon, for some reason.
Nova – Do you have a guilty pleasure?
I’m a bit of a geek for role playing games. Not sure if I feel guilty about it, though. My friends and I like to sit around and play Dungeons and Dragons and I can’t go past a bit of Fallout or Elder Scrolls on the PC.
Nova – What is your favorite word?
Has to be a tie between charisma and cat – two things that I think any successful person would do well to have.
Nova – What is your least favorite word?
Not sure if I have one, though I hate it when people I know mispronounce certain words, such as saying specific as Pacific and definitely as defiantly.
Nova – Do you talk to your characters?
No, though they talk to me – usually begging me to not kill them off or to stop torturing them. *laughs maniacally*
Nova – What sound do you love?
Do you remember that really soothing melody that Windows 98 would play when it started up? It definitely blows Windows 7’s startup sound out of the water. I always loved that sound, for some reason.
Nova – What sound do you hate?
I really hate the sound of steel cutlery scraping against each other. Actually, the sound of scraping metal in generally makes me physically ill. My girlfriend’s theory for this is that I am a werewolf and that the sound reminds me of silver.
Nova – What’s your favorite time of year?
Halloween. It’s the one day of the year when my dark stories are considered acceptable by the mainstream population. If you’re a horror writer, Halloween is your day to be a rock star.
Nova – Best vacation spot ever…
Anywhere with zombies. Have the zombies broken out yet? I’m really eager to see if my knowledge of every zombie film known to man will ever serve a practical use.
Thank you so much for taking the time to indulge my curiosity!
Oh my god!! I love his answers but zombies!!!? That is by far my favorite answer. Although the favorite word is a close second or the fact that he has what I imagine to be little people screaming in his head begging for their lives!! That’s awesome!
Thank you again for joining! Can NOT wait to read this!
D. Robert Grixti is a speculative and horror fiction author and indie video game developer. His influences, like all aspiring writers of dark fiction, include the likes of Stephen King, H.P Lovecraft and Richard Matheson. He writes because he likes telling stories. In his writing, he tries to blend elements of literary and genre fiction together, because he believes a good story should both entertain and provoke thought. He currently lives in Melbourne, Australia in an apocalypse-proofed house with his very ancient cat.