Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Author Interview with Scott Cramer

Today I'm excited to welcome Scott Cramer, author of Night of the Purple Moon, to the blog. You can read my review of this young adult dystopian novel here. The Kindle edition of Night of the Purple Moon is available for free download from Amazon today! US readers can click here, and UK readers can click here.

Welcome to Rally The Readers, Scott! Thanks for answering a few questions today. First, what inspired you to write Night of the Purple Moon?

I wanted to write a story that people of all ages would enjoy and in the end would inspire them.

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry and Homecoming by Cynthia Voight are two novels I really like. In each book the young main characters faced incredible odds and took dangerous journeys.

In thinking about NOPM, I wanted to increase the odds and raise the stakes. Rather than have one or both parents die, what if all parents die? What if the electricity stops and there is no more running water? What if all the survivors have a ticking bomb inside them, the act of growing up; puberty becomes a death sentence.

That is a gut-wrenching, perilous situation for young teens and children to find themselves in, and that is the germ of the idea that led to my writing Night of the Purple Moon.

Did you base any of the characters on people you know in real life?

Every character starts out with elements of people I know, and perhaps even elements of my personality.

But that’s just to get me started. Perhaps like an artist doing a rough sketch with a pencil.

The more I explore the characters the more they take on lives of their own. You know you have succeeded in creating a strong, three-dimensional character when as a writer you start to guide them, rather than dictate what they should do. They take over and very often surprise you with their decision making.

What is your favorite scene in the novel?

I don’t want to give anything away, but I am very proud of a tender scene I wrote with Jordan and his mom that takes place toward the end. There is also a 20-page sequence that involves Toucan. I spent a long time working on it and I think it came out really well. Many people have reported they needed a box of tissues for that part of the book.

Which character did you find easiest to write about? Most difficult?

Actually, they were one in the same: Abby Leigh, my main character. It was difficult because I am not a 13-year old girl, but it was easy because I have two daughters.

In the early stages of writing about Abby, I asked my two daughters lots of questions about puberty and growing up. It wasn’t long before they got used to my questions.

And then, as so often happens when creating characters, Abby took on a life of her own. I no longer needed to ask people questions or do Google research. Abby told me what she wanted to do, how she would act . . . .

If you were one of the kids on Castine Island, what would your survival plan have been?

There is an equal chance I would have done one of these two things.

A) I would have panicked and found a boat, sail or motor, and ventured immediately to the mainland. Knowing what I know, though, that would have been a big mistake, because as difficult as things were on Castine Island, life on the mainland was even more chaotic.
B) I would have tried to plan ahead, way ahead. The catastrophic epidemic took place in April. On the island, there would have been plenty of food during the summer. I would have looked ahead to the winter and thought, what do we need to store for the lean months.

The ending of Night of the Purple Moon perfectly sets up a sequel. Will there be one, and if so, can you divulge any details about it?

I can divulge that I am diligently at work on a sequel and that the title is ‘Colony East.’ More than that? Hmmm, I better follow my instincts and say the story will have to speak for itself.

And now for the obligatory random questions:

Favorite color?

My favorite color is turquoise. But I have an admission to make. I am definitely not color blind, but I have what I would describe as “color amnesia.” If you asked me right now, “Scott, what is the color of your living room wall?” I couldn’t tell you. I would have to guess.

But it’s not as bad as it might seem. Whatever energy/molecules missing in the part of my brain that deals with color, all went to increase my sense of smell. I have an incredible, almost genius ability to detect subtle odors. Sight to the eagle is like an olfactory ability to me.

Once in a while I see on television a person who works for a perfume maker whose job is to smell perfume. I could do that, I think. In fact, I would love to do that, make money with my nose.

One time a woman stepped out of a car 30 yards away. A gentle breeze was blowing my way. I said, “excuse me, but are you wearing L’air du Temps?” She was!

Favorite ice cream flavor?

Mocha chip.

Favorite place to write?

Holed up in my small office in my house, shades drawn, with Misty-Duck (our cat) and a cup of cold black coffee by my side.

Book you’d take with you to a desert island?

One of those 1000-page plus Russian novels by Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky.

Thanks again for your time today, Scott! I really appreciate it!

Find Scott Cramer:


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