Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

It seems that President Obama isn’t the only one going for the popular vote and he’s got some tough competition. Abraham Lincoln is making a comeback and he’s taking down vampires while he’s at it.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is based off the book of the same title by Seth Grahame-Smith. After witnessing the death of his mother (Robin McLeavy), Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) swears he’ll avenge her by slaying the murderer, a local businessman named Jack Barts (Marton Csokas). Unbeknownst to him, his mother’s murderer is not exactly human, and he’s gotten himself in way over his head.

After a failed attempt at assassinating Barts, Lincoln is taken in by a mysterious man named Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper) who informs the young Lincoln that there are vampires everywhere (including *spoiler* Barts), and that he won’t be able to kill them or his mother’s killer without some training. Sturgess enlists Lincoln as a hunter and promises him he’ll have his revenge as long as a set of rules are followed. One big one is to not have any friends or relationships.

After moving to Springfield to study law and continue as a vampire hunter, Lincoln finds shelter and work in a local store run by a man named Joshua Speed (Jimmi Simpson). While in Springfield, Lincoln gets involved in some pretty epic fights with some scary looking vampires (anyone else relieved they aren’t sparkling?). The fight scenes have a bit of a Matrix feel to them, due to the pausing during the climax of the fight scenes and some of the effects. It was cool, but you’d think they could be a little more original with the fights. The vampires reminded me of the ones from 30 Days of Nights. Definitely not a vampire you’d want to run into alone.

Abe is doing his best to follow all the rules and mind his business, but he is captivated by a young woman named Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and is unable to resist her charms. The story turns from action/horror to romance/drama pretty quickly, but the transition is very clever and works for the story. Two very big things happen to change the direction of the story.

An old friend, Will Johnson (Anthony Mackie) finds Lincoln and asks for his help. He’s gotten himself into some trouble while assisting on the underground railroad and needs Abe’s knowledge of the law to help him get out of trouble. Another major turning point is when Lincoln discovers a secret about his mentor Strurgess; Lincoln abandons his mentor along with hunting in order to pursue a political career.

It’s very interesting to watch Lincoln progress as not only a young man maturing, but also as a young lawyer into the 16th President of the United States. The movie has a little bit of everything; romance, comedy, horror, action and drama. As a big horror buff, I really enjoyed the vampires themselves and how they weren’t your typical “we only come out at night and turn into bats” vampires. This movie is definitely worth a watch and is out in theaters now.

 

 

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Written by:

Katie Sperduti

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So You Think You’re A Zombie?

For those who have not heeded my warnings of the impending zombie apocalypse, you may find yourself in an awkward situation; you’re dead. You’re the living dead. And now, you’re faced with a whole new set of problems. But what’s a newly turned zed to do when all alone in the world of the living?

Remember the guide for the newly dead in Beetlejuice? While that may not be real, “So Now You’re a Zombie: A Handbook For The Newly Undead” is completely real. John Austin has prepared a “how to” guide for the newest members of the walking dead to navigate through the difficult post-apocalyptic world and achieve the ultimate goal of obtaining uninfected brains to feed on and spread the virus.

Austin’s handbook includes vital information for zombies. How the body has changed and how it works now, the origins of zombies, and other essential knowledge imperative for successful zombie “living.” Along with the steps to identifying if you’re really undead or not, the handbook also helps a newly formed geek find food, and hunt for food. In chapter 3, entitled “Know Your Enemy,” the handbook asks the question “Who is your enemy?” The answer? “Simply put, your enemy is a warm body containing an uninfected human brain,” Austin writes.

One of my favorite chapters has to be “Attacking.” When one thinks about zombies, he or she thinks the only line of defense is to simply stumble over and bite anyone slow enough (or dumb enough) to get caught. Unfortunately for us, if a zombie happens to stumble across this book, they will have different methods to catch us. One suggested method of attack is “using your body as a weapon.” Besides the usual biting, the book shows a diagram of the many different ways a zombie can use their body to attack. Need another way to use your mouth to attack? How about projectile vomiting? “You can increase the likelihood of viral transference by biting, scratching, spitting, bleeding and/or vomiting on your target.”

It is said that the best offense is a good defense and the book covers this! Along with teaching attack methods, this guide also provides some helpful hints to protect these zombies from pesky humans who want to fight back. Can’t find any type of shield to protect your body from bullets? The book recommends grabbing a fellow zombie and using him as a shield! By using the other guy as a shield, a zombie is able to close in the distance between him and his lunch. “Once you’re within striking distance, throw the body at your prey while you lunge mouth-first at him or her.”

Okay, I know what you’re thinking, “I’m not undead, so how is this going to benefit me?” By gaining inside information about the undead, us humans (or at least the ones who stayed away from the bath salts and properly prepared for the apocalypse) can even up the odds, and perhaps win the fight against the living dead.

 

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Written by:

Katie Sperduti

X Marks the Spot: Must Read X-Men Stories (Part II)

Feel like you’ve walked into the middle of a conversation? Check out the first part of X Marks the Spot!

Many people think that they know the X-Men from the movies and cartoons, but they really don’t. Any comic book fan I know gets supremely annoyed by people who have seen the X-Men movies (or any comic book movies really), and try to have a conversation with you as if they know as much from a few hours of poorly translated cinema as a lifetime fan would. But, getting that knowledge isn’t as daunting a task as one may think, nor does it take as much time as one might assume. The X-Men have one of the more intricate and complicated comic book histories, but their continuity can be accessed and understood fairly quickly at a novice level by reading a few landmark titles. Yesterday, in part one, we ran you from the late 70s up through the 1990s In part two of our X-Men hit list, we approach the must-read storylines of the early 21st Century.

New X-Men:

 

In Grant Morrison’s epic run on X-Men, many of the mainstay ideas surrounding the X-Men were dramatically altered or changed, and have mostly stuck since. This storyline hails the evolutionary leap mutants take toward becoming the dominant race on Earth, and introduces the concept of secondary mutations, such as Emma Frost’s diamond form and Beast’s cat-like appearance. It also saw the return of the Phoenix Force, the romantic relationship between Cyclops and White Queen, the first step toward Wolverine regaining his full memory, and, well…other things, but I’m trying to keep this relatively spoiler free. It also introduced fan favorite character Fantomex, and led to the revelation that the Weapon X program which gave Wolverine his unbreakable adamantium skeleton is actually pronounced “Weapon Ten.” Also in this story arc? Quentin Quire evolves into an idea, the “Magneto was Right” T-Shirt, Charles Xavier revealing to the world that he is a mutant, and Cassandra Nova (which doesn’t mean much to you now but will later). Honestly, there is a lot in this run that I haven’t mentioned, but that’s because I’m recommending Morrison’s entire run and not a particular storyarc because, as Morison fans know well, when he takes on a title he actually plans the whole thing from start to finish to be one massive storyline where the apple that fell from the tree in issue 1 has profound impact on the end of the story in issue 87. Also of note is the off-putting art of Frank Quietly and the truly awesome mod logo design that is the same right side up and upside down.

House of M (spoilers) and Decimation:

 

In another reality-bending storyline that emanated from the consequences of Avengers, Disassembled the Scarlet Witch changed the entire world in order to keep her children with the android Vision real. As it turned out, they weren’t. The Scarlet Witch, daughter of Magneto, simply granted everyone’s deepest desires on Earth. While this story was mainly an X-Men story, it touched the whole Marvel Universe, and we got to see great character aspects from across Marvel. Finding out that Spider-Man’s greatest wish was the Uncle Ben lived and he married Gwen Stacy while Harry married Mary Jane was a big one. Finding an over 100-year old Captain America painting in a Brooklyn Brownstone was another. Also, we get a Wolverine who has his full memory including being an Agent of Shield, and a Magneto who rules the Earth with his royal family in—you guessed it—The House of M. What’s so bad about that? Well, changing the course of history also keep people from being born, it stops the natural course of destiny, and most of all, heroes gotta stop Utopia. The most important impact of this story is that it reverses the effect from Morrison’s story with the Scarlet Witch uttering three words that have altered the course of X-Men comics for the better part of a decade: No. More. Mutants. Apparently, her reality-altering, magic, mutant powers can not only turn people in the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle as they disappear from existence, but they can also completely stop a race from being born. This left only 198 mutants left on Earth. Wanna know what happened next? Read it.

Messiah CompleX:

 

In this story arc, the first mutant baby since the decimation is born and the whole world is clamoring to get control over her. The X-Men, Mister Sinister, and umm…well…that’s actually a lot of people. Everyone wants to control this baby, especially since she comes with the prophecy that she will reignite the mutant race from the ashes, and also do a terrible, terrible thing. Through subterfuge, murder, espionage, conspiracy, and deception the child is set at the center of one of the most intense storylines in the X-Men mythos where character arcs are fulfilled in unexpected ways, and page after page pays off. It was accompanied with a backup feature that saw Beast traveling from scientist to scientist, friend and foe alike, in search for a way to jump-start the mutant genome in the face of certain extinction. How do they overcome it? What happens? Well, most of those questions are still being answered several years later. This is the one that’s going to bring you relatively up to speed on the mighty misadventures of Marvel’s Merry Mutants.

 

And there you have it. I know this list started off yesterday as an example of how easy it is to get integrated into a complicated continuity, but this is a simple list. You have to remember that you can probably blow these story arcs, once collected, in a sitting or two for about the same price as a reasonably priced hardcover novel (between $12.95-$24.99). Stories like Days of Future Past can actually be read in about 20 minutes—just because it isn’t long doesn’t mean it didn’t have impact. Now, I’m sure some of you hardcore fans out there are steaming, stomping on your hats and screaming for X-tinction Agenda, Fall of the Mutants, Mutant Massacre, God Loves Man Kills, The Twelve, X-ecutioner’s Song,  Phalanx Covenant, the Onslaught Saga, Utopia, Deadly Genesis, Deadly Reunion, War of Kings, Phoenix Endsong, or Joss Wheadon’s run on Astonishing X-Men, among many others. But, remember I’m talking about stories that will catch a neophyte reader up to the present. This isn’t a hit list of the greatest X-Men stories ever, hell there’s not a single story here of the Mojoverse. This list functions as a crash course in X-Men to get the reader conversational in the mythos. There’s always going to be more work to do. After over 20 years of reading comics, I could still learn more, but this lists, spanning the late 70s until just about now (relatively speaking), are just an appetizer. It isn’t hard to get into it, and you could blow through all these titles in the course of a week, or two, while riding the train to work. And believe you me; it’ll be well worth it.

X Marks the Spot: Must-Read X-Men Stories (Part I)

There’s a lot of talk in the media about comic books, and a lot of snark going around about continuity. Many of you non-comic book types might be wondering what the hell continuity is. It’s a pretty simple concept, it simply means that the stories in a comic book universe count towards a single coherent (as it were) history. It is the element that makes comic book universes work and allows for long lasting, and meaningful, character developments and story arcs. Long time fans, especially hardcore ones, are typically sticklers for continuity. Often times, they can quote writers, artists, years, and issue numbers for particular points of contention when making arguments. Continuity is serious business for fans. Unfortunately, a strict adherence to it can be a turn off to newer fans who often feel that comics are a vast an impenetrable mythology that can be very expensive to break into. This is largely untrue, occasionally there are points to hop on that require little background information and ease the reader into the larger history. Although, more often than not, many of the vast histories found within comics can be eschewed in lieu of finding a few key storylines that give enough information to allow the reader to move on unimpeded.

No continuous comic book storylines are denser, more involved, or more convoluted and confusing than that of the X-Men. Essentially, X-Men has been running without a major reboot since the 1960s. As such, there are over 40 years of story to condense into a time frame somewhere in the area of 15 years “comic book time.” When Stan Lee and Jack Kirby initially started the X-Men series, the original team of Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Angel, Beast, and Iceman were approximately 15 to 16 years old. Cyclops, now essentially a leader of the mutant people, could reasonably be considered to be anywhere in his early to mid-thirties. As such, please take this short list of (mostly spoiler free) landmark X-Men storylines (all conveniently collected into trade books) as your guide to navigating the world of those who fight to protect the world that hates and fears them:

The Dark Phoenix Saga:

 

This is probably the first truly landmark story in the history of Marvel’s Merry Mutants. This story will familiarize you with a number of aspects and characters of the X-Men mythos that are invaluable in understanding any number of X-themed stories. Firstly, you’ll become familiar with the Sh’iar Empire and it’s host of characters, such as Majestrix Llandra, her brother the mad Emperor D’Ken, Guardian the leader of the Imperial Guard, and the M’Kraan Crystal. Additionally, you’ll find yourself getting a crash course in the Phoenix, the Phoenix force, Uatu the Watcher, the Blue Area of the Moon, The Hellfire Club (most notably the White Queen, Emma Frost) and a classic line up of X-Men. You’ll meet Cyclops, Wolverine, Colossus, Beast, Storm, Dazzler, Shadowcat (then called Kitty Pryde and later Sprite). This story comes from a time when the team of Chris Claremont and John Byrne was king, and their stories could do no wrong. It’s not just a landmark X-Men story, but it’s a bona fide comic book landmark.

Days Of Future Past:

 

In this tale of time travel, psychic energy, genocide, and politics, you will find yourself introduced to a number of important ideas and concepts in the X-Men mythos. Firstly, lay your eyes on the horrible, horrible future in which the mutant hunting, giant, killer robots known as The Sentinels run the United States, and keep mutants in concentration and labor camps. The future is bleak and most of the Marvel Universe’s heroes—mutant and non-mutant alike—have been killed in battle and buried in a trophy cemetery that all mutants must cross to get to their labor assignments. Left to fight the good fight? Colossus, Shadowcat, Storm, Wolverine, and a few X-Men yet-to-be-born. You’ll be introduced to time travel, Senator Kelly, and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (as Freedom Force). You’ll also become familiar with the concept of a dangerous future where the X-Men have lost. This story has essentially informed the importance of Xavier’s Dream in every subsequent X-Men story. Ever.

Inferno:

 

Another classic from the team that could do no wrong, Inferno is a great follow up to the Dark Phoenix Saga as it deals with Cyclops coping with the (apparent) death of Jean Grey, and falling in love with a woman named Madelyn Pryor who bears an…ahem…uncanny…resemblance to his dearly departed, loved, and omnipotent girlfriend. In this story, you’ll become familiar with the X-Men’s relationship with the metaphysical, the realm known as Limbo, and its master Belasco, the mutant shaman/technology specialist, Forge, the Goblin Queen, as well as X-Men mainstay Rogue. Not the least of which you’ll come to know with the arch villain Mister Sinister, and his modus operandi to manipulate the Grey and Summers bloodlines to create a child who might one day become…well…you’ll have to read more to find out won’t you?

Mutant Genesis:

 

In this story, the reader is reintroduced to the character of Magneto in what would be the start of Jim Lee’s designs for the X-Men that defined the 90s (and the Fox cartoon). Also seen here is the bow out of Chris Claremont after a writing run that encompassed the 80s and touched both the 90s and 70s as well. You’ll meet Nick Fury, the Acolytes, and Asteroid M. You’ll find the feel of the 90s in the art of Lee and the sudden moral ambiguity to all actions. The world of the X-Men starts to feel a little less black and white in this story—it becomes defined less as a good versus evil dynamic and more of a contradicting philosophy dilemma. Mutant Genesis sets up Magneto as more of an anti-hero than a villain, and really adds a level of complexity to the dynamic that, though present in older stories, really resonates as Magneto’s charisma as a political leader shines.

Age of Apocalypse:

 

In this reality-bending full-line crossover story written and illustrated by a literal who’s who of comics, we find a world in which Charles Xavier died in the 1960s (aka 30 years ago from the perspective of the story) in a mutant battle including time-hopping, amnesiac X-Men. The battle awakens the world’s first mutant, known as Apocalypse, from his planning to take over the world in a most Darwinian fashion several decades earlier. As this occurs before the dawn of modern heroes, there is little opposition to the megalomaniac and he conquers the North American continent with eyes on the rest of the world. In this world, this alternate timeline, Magneto founds the X-Men in memory of his fallen friend Charles, and everything you thought you knew about the X-Men is turned on its head. This is another one of those X-Men stories that is touched upon forevermore and introduces alternate versions of characters that have taken on life unto themselves. These characters include Sabretooth, Wolverine, Jean Grey, Cyclops, Beast and Nate Grey, who is an alternate version of Cable, as well as original characters (mostly) Nocturn, Morph, and Xorn. The elements of this story are so distinctly dark and popular that they often appear in the mainstream universe either by parallel coincidence or via reality-jumping stories.

 

Well, that does it for today but, of course, that isn’t all. There’s plenty more baddassery to go around as the X-Men break into the 21st century and into today. Make sure you come back to Eat Your Serial tomorrow and check out part two of X Marks the spot!

Movie Review: Where Do We Go Now?

For those of you who don’t know about the pilgrimage spot for all cinephiles on Long Island, I’ll let you in on the secret. Tucked away behind the YMCA on Park Avenue, sits the Huntington Cinema Arts Centre. It’s a squat building, pretty nondescript, and its parking lot is always full. It’s the only movie theatre on Long Island (that I know of, at least) that shows only independent and foreign movies all hand picked by the staff, and never a disappointment. I’ve never seen a movie that I didn’t enjoy there. Really.

This past weekend, my husband told me that a Lebanese movie entitled Where Do We Go Now?, directed by the wonderful Nadine Labaki, was playing at Cinema Arts. “You’re really going to like this one,” he told me, albeit while rolling his eyes. Let me get this out of the way: I have a passion for well-done Arab cinema, particularly Lebanese films. And this was a Labaki film, the same woman who wrote and directed the critically acclaimed movie Caramel. I practically dragged him out the door. And, once again, I was not disappointed.

Where Do We Go Now? (in Arabic, W Halla2 La wein?) is possibly one of the best movies I’ve seen all year. It tells the story of a small, isolated Lebanese village during the latter part of the 20th century, where half of the villagers are Christian and the other half are Muslim.  They appear to live in harmony and the movie spends some time showing the flirtations between a beautiful woman, played by Labaki, and a Muslim man. It won’t be a problem, the villagers advise her. Either he has to convert or you do. No big deal.

A cemetery located just outside of the village, where the women make weekly pilgrimages to visit the graves of their sons and husbands, overshadows this apparent harmony. Muslim graves are on one side of the cemetery and Christian graves are on the other; alluding to sectarian violence in the villagers’ pasts that belies their current harmonious interactions.

The women of the village hook up an old TV, connecting them to the outside world. They begin to see worrisome news reports about sectarian violence between Muslims and Christians not too far away. This unfurls the real plot of the story: the women, both Muslim and Christian, band together to prevent their hothead husbands from finding out about the tense relationships around them. Afraid that the men will start another sectarian war in the village, the women do everything in their power, from destroying the TV, to pleading, to drugging their husbands, fathers, and sons, to keep their men from killing one another.

The movie provides both belly laughs and tears. But, at its core, it remains a deeply introspective film and does not deign to provide any answers to the eternal struggle illustrated in this tiny Lebanese village; rather, it ends with a still relevant question: Where do we go now?

 

Fiona Apple in Concert

It seems like forever since the world saw Fiona Apple last (six years to be exact). With the release of her new album, “ The Idler Wheel,” Fiona has hit the road in support of her new record. Luckily, she had a tour date in Ithaca, NY at the State Theater (about an hour away from me), and I was fortunate enough to be able to catch the show; heat wave be damned, I was going to this show. It was totally worth it.

I was hoping that walking into the theater would be a relief from the 90-degree weather outside (was praying for air conditioning) but, unfortunately, that was not the case. The opening act was Fiona Apple’s own guitar player, Blake Mills. Mills had a sound that was nothing like his Fiona. His soothing blues-style almost put me to sleep, but not because it was boring. Once again, I blame the heat. I was so relaxed and enjoying the music that I felt like taking a nap. I would suggest checking out his music when you’re not sitting in the middle of a crowded 100-degree theater if you enjoy blues-rock. The best part of his set was when he closed up the soulful set with a song from LaBamba. The crowd was pleased with the classic throwback. Even my partner-in-crime for the night was caught saying, “I love this song.”

After a few minutes of rearranging the stage, it was time for the main act. As we waited, I couldn’t help but notice how many different age groups were in the theater.  Behind us were a young father and his daughter, who looked like she could not be any older than five. Ahead of us were young women in their mid-twenties who were next to a middle-aged couple who were definitely enjoying their time by celebrating with a few drinks and dancing to the music playing in the background.  I couldn’t help but smile at all the varying groups.

Finally, Fiona Apple came onto the stage accompanied by an amazing light show. She immediately burst into “Fast as You Can.” After the first song, she was definitely feeling the heat, too. She made sure to keep a comradeship with the audience, asking every few songs because of the temperature of the venue. After hearing a few old favorites, such as “Shadowboxer” and “Get Gone,” I was wondering if we were going to ever hear some new material from the album she was touring for. Finally, she played a couple songs I was a bit unfamiliar with (I assume they were new), but she never told us the name of any of the songs. She also played her lead single, “Every Single Night,” with such vigor that I thought she was going to fall over.

Throughout the set, even though Fiona made comments about the heat, she did not stop for more than a few seconds to cool herself off between songs. Her energy was always up, whether she was dancing to her song, or banging on a piano, the woman never missed a beat. By the last two songs, the heat was finally getting to Apple. After finishing her breakthrough single “Criminal,” she laid down on the floor in front of the fan. Myself and everyone else (including her band) thought she was down for the count when she didn’t get up. She managed to pick herself up off the floor and said she could do one more song. At the end of the night, we were all hot, sweaty, and happy for the great show we had just witnessed.  Fiona Apple was definitely a performer who played with every bit of her body, from her head to her toes (she made a joke about how magazines will not let her be barefoot because of her bunions). Humble and energetic, this was definitely one of the better shows I’ve attended, and I hope it won’t be another six years until I see her again.

 

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Written by:

Katie Sperduti

A Twitterview with Author Lorena Gay

Twitter Interview with Author Lorena Gay

June 14, 2012

Conducted by Fiona Leonard

 

Lots of people talk about writing a book but never do it. Author @lorenagay, however, has done just that. Over the last few months, her novel On the Cusp of the Earth has appeared in regular installments on Eat Your Serial, a publishing domain that’s bringing back serialized novels (http://eatyourserial.com/serial/on-the-cusp-of-the-earth/). This evening, I’m talking to @lorenagay about her novel, her publishing experience, and plans for the future.

@FionaJLeonard: Welcome Lorena!

@LorenaGay: Thanks, Fiona! Excited to be here.

FL: OK given that this interview is taking place across two continents we should probably start with some introductions. I’m talking to @lorenagay from Ghana, West Africa. Lorena, you’re in Portland now, but on the move soon?

LG: Yes, I’m in Portland, Oregon now, but next month I’m moving to New York City.

 

FL: Seems like travel and writing have always been a part of your life. How did you get into writing?

LG: I learned to read early on and loved it, but I wanted to create my own stories. I started writing a chapter book at age 8.

FL: What was it about? Do you still have it?

LG: It was about a boy on a little league baseball team. I played a lot of sports as a kid. Yes, it’s in my basement in a box.

FL: (I dread anyone ever finding the romance novel I wrote in my teens…)

LG: Oh, the writing isn’t very good 🙂 But the title was good. I called it Baseballs Don’t Bounce.

 

FL: Seems like great titles are a talent of yours! Can you tell us a bit about On the Cusp of the Earth?

LG: Well, it’s about a young engineer with a dark past who is trying to reinvent herself. Then she falls for her mysterious coworker. They find themselves on the run while on a business trip together to Moscow, and discover the other is not who they thought.

 

FL: So what inspired you to write this novel? Were you on business in Moscow at the time?!

LG: I wish! No, I’ve not been to Russia before. It’s on the list. I was inspired while commuting home listening to the Amélie soundtrack. There’s a track, #11, that had me imagine two people on the run together in a war in the snow. And it grew from there…

 

FL: Is music an integral part of your writing process? I know some writers use specific music to inspire/get into the setting.

LG: Definitely! I listen to single songs over and over again for hours while writing. I listen to a lot of scores while writing.

FL: If you want to check out the track @lorenagay was inspired by you can find it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RD3WwM6l1J0

LG: Actually, I just did a blog post about my “playlist” when writing or getting inspiration for scenes…

http://lorenagay.tumblr.com/post/24792059084/the-playlist

FL: Love it – a tweet interview that comes with its own soundtrack!

LG: We do what we can… 😉

 

FL: Your lead character is an engineer with bipolar disorder. What sort of research did you do to understand her personality?

LG: Well, I used to work for a defense company, so I have a lot of engineer friends to observe and talk to about technology. In 2006 I was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder, so I’ve been researching that for years already. Emma has bipolar I disorder. Bipolar I & II are different in that type I is marked by higher intensity levels of mania and depression. Type II is more chillaxed.

 

FL: What was it like exploring something you have personal experience with, through a fictional character?

LG: Emma starts out medicated, so her actions are controlled, but then she loses her meds and things unravel. It was hard to figure out how to portray her reactions and thought processes realistically based on that, her awful past and her love for Ruel. Sometimes I would just become very overwhelmed with how many things influenced her decision-making. It was definitely hard to do.

 

FL: If writing a realistic portrayal of her reactions/thought process was the tough part, which chapters did you enjoy writing most?

LG: I really enjoyed writing the middle of the book…chapters 7-13. The cliffhangers were so fun and the research was interesting. I was writing about a tiny village in Romania that only had websites in Romanian, so it was a good use of my experience with romance languages.

 

FL: Why did you choose to publish as a serial?

LG: I started the book in December 2008 and heard about @eatyourserial in 2010. I really just wanted a way to finish this book.

 

FL: In my experience, Indie Publishing involves a steep learning curve. What lessons have you learned?

LG: Planning. I thought I had outlined my book enough, but when you’re down to the wire each week, it has to be meticulous. The book went a totally different direction than I initially planned, which caused a ton of writer’s block around chapter 16.

 

FL: Do you have any tips or resources you’ve found that you could recommend to other writers?

LG: I definitely recommend writing. I know it sounds trite, but it’s the only way you can improve and know your output capacity. And I’m indebted to my husband for being my cheerleader. I think everyone needs someone to keep them on task. Novels are long.

FL: I agree! Writer’s partners have to be patient!

 

FL: I’m nearly to the end of my interview with @lorenagay, does anyone have a question to ask Lorena?

 

@Sj_niuph: Have you started any new work?

LG: I’m working on finalizing some short stories to send to literary journals right now, and hashing out a concept for a script.

 

@Rachel_B123: Yes, can you tell us the info about how to buy the book?

FL: Great question @Rachel_B123! @lorenagay where can people find you?

LG: You can find me at: http://www.lorena-aline.com, like me at http://www.facebook.com/lorenagay or http://lorenagay.tumblr.com. And, Rachel, you can pre-order the novel at http://www.eatyourserial.com/preorder

 

@SisterPenguin: How important are distractions to the process?

LG: Distractions… are a delicious evil. They can inspire, but they can also derail.

 

@Sj_niuph: Were you exhausted or euphoric when you finished the novel?

LG: Sj, I was both. I was working on a Doctor Who story at the same time as finishing the final chapter. So, exhausting, but great. From chapter 12 onward, I was writing a chapter per week while working my full time job, which I do not recommend to anyone.

 

@Operarose: what is your favourite writing-time snack to munch on?

LG: Opera, I usually drink coffee while writing.

 

@Operarose: Twitter: a help or hindrance to writers? 😉

LG: Twitter is the biggest help!!! Haha, the writing community I’ve met via twitter enabled me to get through this book. #amwriting

 

FL: Ok last question – If your novel is made into a movie, who will play Ruel and Emma? (cos we know you’ve thought about it!)

LG: I think about it always, and it always changes. But I’ll say a dirty blond version of Ksenia Solo for Emma and Karl Urban for Ruel.

 

FL: Excellent! This has been great! Thanks Lorena for agreeing to chat about On the Cusp of the Earth. Good luck with publication.

LG: Thank you, Fiona! Everyone should check out Fiona’s novel The Chicken Thief. I read it and couldn’t put it down.

FL: And thanks for following tonight’s chat. Remember you can read and buy Lorena’s novel at www.eatyourserial.com/preorder

LG: Goodnight and Good Morning to everyone (on 5 continents!) Thanks so much for following! It was fun.

 

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More From Lorena Gay can be seen on her personal website: http://www.lorena-aline.com/