Feature: Interview: The Weepers

Interview with Susanne Winnacker, author of the Weepers series.

1). The Weepers is a fresh look at the apocalyptic genre. Where did the idea for The Weepers come from?

My husband and I once visited a bunker from WW2 and I just wondered how people could bear to be down there for a while. And one day I had the image of a girl in a bunker in my head – the oppressive athmosphere, the boredom. From there the story developed. I asked myself why they were in a bunker. When I grew up we often had signs that warned of rabies and the thought of running across a rabid animal always creeped me out.

2). Sherry is an incredibly strong and cunning character. Did you have anyone in mind when you were creating her?

No, I don’t base my characters on people I know. Her voice was there from the start. And her character is the result of her life and environment. She had to play the role of the adult in the bunker when her parents broke down and that formed her character.

3). The actual weepers are far more fierce than other monsters in most apocalyptic genres. How did you come up with the idea for them?

I read about symptoms for rabies and looked at pictures of infected animals. It was horrible and from there it was easy. My mind just came up with all kinds of creepy images.

4). How did you get interested in writing this particular genre?

When I started writing The Other Life, I had no clue about genres. I didn’t know my book was post-apocalyptic/dystopian. Only when I started researching did I realize that. And then I also realized that it was a genre I loved. Without knowing it, I’d watched quite a few dystopian/post-apocalyptic movies in my life.

5). What would you like for readers to take away from The Weepers?

That there’s strength in each of us. Sometimes it just takes a life-changing event for us to realize it and reach our full potential. And I’m trying to show the importance of family in my book.

6). On the cover of the UK copy of The Weepers there is a butterfly. Is there any special meaning/ symbolism to this?

There isn’t a butterfly in my book but I think it’s a nice imagery. I associate butterflies with hope and beauty, and both are difficult to come by in Sherry’s world. Moreover, the butterfly is broken and bleeding – a metaphor for the state of this new world.

7). Your bio says you studied law before becoming a writer. What made you start writing?

Law doesn’t leave much room for creativity and after a while I realized that I was missing something and that I needed an offset to the hours spent reading laws. I never thought I was creative or capable of writing a book but once I started I couldn’t stop. I’d found my passion!

8). The Weepers is set in Los Angeles CA. What made you choose this city?
My husband and I travel a lot and one of our favorite destinations is the US. When I visited L.A, I was surprised to see that it wasn’t as “glamorous” as I’d thought it would be. But still most people associate the city with beauty and fame, and parts of L.A. reflect that and I just thought that a city like that, a city that’s the home of Hollywood, would be perfect to show the downfall of everything beautiful. What happens to a city that was full of life, once everyone’s gone and everything’s destroyed? What’s left?

9). What are some of your favorite books?

There are sooo many! But my favorite adult books are The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, the Mercedes Thompson series by Patricia Briggs and Soulless by Gail Carriger.
Favorite YA books: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, Divergent by Veronica Roth, Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and The Darkest Powers series by Kelley Armstrong.
Favorite Children’s books: Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling (duh!) and Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan.

10). On your blog (http://susannewritesfiction.blogspot.com/) you posted one of your new year resolutions is to write two books. Can readers expect an installment to The Weepers?

Yes, the sequel THE LIFE BEYOND will be out in 2013.

11). Do you have any other ideas for books? If so what are they?

Yes, I have another book that’s done. I can’t say much about it yet, except that it’s YA and a thriller.

12). What is the hardest part of writing for you?

The blank page. It’s intimidating. I actually don’t like first drafting very much. Revising is much more fun because there are already words on the page that I can work with!

13). What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t give up. Listen to advice. Be patient. Improve because there’s always room for improvement.

14). Are there any authors that inspired you to start writing?

J.K. Rowling. Before I read the Harry Potter books I wasn’t that much of a reader and I only read adult books. She changed everything and made me want to write my own stories.

15). If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?

“Life is like a box of chocolates.... You never know what you’re gonna get." (From one of my favorite movies: Forrest Gump)

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