1. What is your book about?
In Grayland we meet Marina Magaña not long after her sister commits suicide. Marina’s grief exacerbates the rut she’s in: her relationships with friends and family are tense, she’s in a dead-end job, and her future prospects are bleak. In other words, she’s really lost.
However, one day Marina finds a locket and begins encountering a strange figure who she calls “the gray man.” Bizarre things start happening, and Marina can’t explain any of them. Her life, which was already grim, becomes darker, more complicated, and more dangerous than she could ever have imagined.
Although the narrative revolves around Marina’s mounting conflict with the gray man, Grayland is also about dealing grief and other hardships. The story chronicles Marina’s experiences that stem from a traumatic loss, a mixed family, and socio-economic realities that characterize living in modern America.
2. If you could have a drink with a famous author (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
What a tough question. I can pick anyone?
In that case, I’d pick Erik Larsen. He’s the author of several non-fiction books that are distinct because they read like novels. One of his most well-known works is Devil in the White City, which will be made into a movie soon (with Leonardo DiCaprio, just letting you know).
Drinking microbrews is a regional pastime where I live, so Mr. Larsen and I would hit a brew pub. After the server gives me the tap list, I’d mull over the choices before me. Should I get the seasonal ale? What about a hard cider? An IPA? The beer will become irrelevant, though, when Erik Larsen starts telling me everything I want to know. What has it been like, being a popular writer of historical non-fiction? I wonder how his background has shaped his writing style, because it’s lively and approachable — such a departure from traditional history books. We’d discuss World War I, the late Edwardian Era (we’d order another round of beers), and the early days of wireless telegraphy. Things won’t stop with recounting historical eras, either. I’d ask about his take on historiography, biographical writing, narrative storytelling techniques (we’d be getting a pitcher of who-cares-what-kind beer by that point), reviewing bibliographical sources, and research methodologies. How did he get ahold of so many primary source documents? Was it hard keeping the facts straight? What about architecting multiple storylines, especially in Dead Wake? I want to know it all.
Mr. Larsen had better not object to me video-recording everything, because our encounter would totally turn into an episode of Drunk History.
3. What books changed your life?
Books impact my life on a daily basis. I feel them not only changing my life, but shaping it.
If we’re talking specifics, though, Stephen King’s memoir On Writing changed my life. Before I found that book, I imagined writing stories, articles, essays, and novels, but the prospect of writing intimidated me. My aspirations rarely progressed beyond scribbles or doodles in my notebook. And then I saw On Writing, and even though I’d never read anything by Stephen King before, I got the book. Sure enough, it proved to be my best impulse buy ever. Mr. King’s story about his writing career is compelling, and his advice for other writers is quite sound. For me, the messages in that book are invaluable.
On another note, how can I forget Game of Thrones? I mean, come on: anything is possible in A Song of Ice and Fire, because, somehow, George R.R. Martin combines the elements of historical fiction writing, political intrigue, murder, erotica, culture-clash, romance, coming-of-age, princesses and dragons, and a zombie apocalypse into one spellbinding, extraordinary series. If that’s not life-changing, I don’t know what is.
4. What is your must have food item while writing?
While writing I must have dark chocolate and tea. It’s a bonus if there are dried cherries or hazelnuts to munch on, but chocolate never fails to be my snack of choice.
5. The item to the left of you right now is your zombie apocalypse weapon of choice – what is it?
It’s easy to promise yourself you’ll fly into action when the moment arises, right? That’s easier said than done.
When I realize the apocalypse is happening and zombies are on my doorstep, I’d berate myself for not being better prepared. I’ll curse myself for never having learned to shoot a gun or use a battleax. I’ll panic because the closest weapon-like thing will be the kitchen knives, which will be on the other side of the house.
It wouldn’t matter if the knives were closer, though: I know absolutely nothing about knife fighting. Of course, the premise is a no-brainer — slash and stab your opponent — but knife fighting isn’t that simple. It requires mastery of technique. Strength. Dexterity. You got to know how to block and stuff. And knife throwing? It always looks so easy.
Knives would be entirely out of the question. Hell, any kind of hand-to-hand combat wouldn’t be an option at all, since my experience boils down to childhood brawls with siblings. Too bad I didn’t learn more in Tae Kwando before quitting the class. Back then, getting kicked, punched, and shouted at wasn’t as much fun as I expected, but I guess that wasn’t the point, was it?
Focus, I’ll remind myself. There’ll be no point in lamenting what I can’t do: that’s how weaklings think. That’s how people get eaten by zombies.
I’ll need to act. But what will I do when zombies crash through my front door? I’ll need to find a weapon, and fast.
On the desk nearby will be my husband’s IBM Model M keyboard, which could work as a shield and club. I’ll use the thing until battering it to pieces, because IBM hardware is good, but not that good. The time will come to ditch the keyboard, so with my best effort, I’ll launch it at the nearest undead man, woman, or child, hoping the blow impedes my assailant while I run like hell.
Maddie DeLange’s book is called Grayland and all the details are below:
Grayland by Maddie DeLange
September 28, 2015
Marina Magaña struggles to get through each day after her sister, Rachel, commits suicide. One day Marina finds a mysterious locket, and soon after, a mysterious figure—the gray man—appears. Marina doesn’t know what to make of the strange events that follow, but she comes to understand that the gray man is more powerful than she could ever have imagined.
Maddie has been kind enough to offer an eBook of Grayland. All you have to do to go into the draw to win a copy is to click on the Rafflecopter image below!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The world is a fascinating place, and I’m thankful to be in it. I like being outdoors, being indoors, spending time in the Pacific Northwest, and also getting away from it. I live to eat, love to learn, and, just like everybody else, take too many pictures with my phone. My home is in Oregon with my friends, family, husband and son.