I took some time to chat with rising YA horror author, J.M. Wilde about her experiences writing and her interests. She recently shared a Q & A video to celebrate the launch of her newly revamped books in The Eva Series. The books follow a group of teens as they fight their way through a zombie apocalyptic version of her home, Australia. The series puts a twist on the traditional YA post apocalyptic novella as it features teens struggling to survive and only seems to broach the topic of romance as an afterthought. (You won’t find any Twilight Saga style mooning over a love interest of the week over here.) I reviewed the first of her books for Zombie Apocalypse Defense Force, but as she is one of the few successful female authors in the indie publishing scene, I wanted to pick her brain a bit more for Gores Truly. I consider her a success even though her novella was only recently released; As They Rise was originally released on Wattpad and became a Wattpad featured story, was featured on The Huffington Post, and gained over 3 million combined reads. Since its original, release the novella and full length novels in the series have undergone vast revisions in order to produce a publishable work.
GT: You mentioned in your Q & A video that your husband was interested in zombies; is that an interest that you shared with him prior to writing the Eva series?
JW: Not at all. In fact, zombies used to terrify me before I started writing about them! I refused to watch anything with zombies in it. But once I started writing The Eva Series, I began to see how awesome they are. Needless to say, I’m now a huge fan of anything with zombies in it.
GT: What does your writing space look like?
JW: I do most of my writing at my dining table. I try to keep it tidy, but being a dining table, it generally doesn’t stay that way. So, in the spirit of transparency, here are two photos of my writing space: one of how I try to keep it, and; one of what it looked like when I was in the middle of plotting and planning my latest story.
(Author’s note: The “messy”/”realistic” photo of her writing space can be found at the bottom of the article and will make you feel like less of a failure for not residing in a Pinterest-worthy photo set.)
GT: Who is your “writing idol”/who would you say that you aspire to be like?
JW: At the moment, I’m really digging Hugh Howey. Not only do I love Wool, but I admire his achievements and commitment to pulling back the curtains on the whole writing/self-publishing process.
GT: Writers are typically voracious readers – is there a writer/are there writers that you think influenced your work either directly or indirectly?
JW: Until recently, I had a tendency to sway towards nonfiction books and writers. I love reading memoirs, especially memoirs by women who inspire me. To be honest, I think I’m more influenced by films. I’ve been a movie lover all my life, and I feel I learned about story structure, character development and the hero’s journey by watching it all unfold on the screen. As a result, when I plot and write, I see my stories unfolding like a movie in my head as I go.
GT: What are you working on now/what can we expect, next?
JW: I think the next project will be a spin-off book/s about Lea, one of the characters from The Eva Series. It will follow her story of survival during the zombie outbreak. And I also can’t wait to start working on the sequel to Awakened, my paranormal romance series.
GT: What is your favorite writing quote?
JW: “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” – Richard Bach’
You can find The Eva Series (As They Rise is book 1) at many major book retailers: