What was the first image that sparked the story that would later become The Farm?
I was sitting in a workshop about world building at a writer's conference and I was thinking about this basic inconsistency in all vampire stories. If they're really stronger, faster, smarter than us, then why are they the ones who are hiding? Why not just take over and farm us as food? Of course, it took me a couple of years to get from that spark of an idea to an actual story that made sense, but that was thespark.
How did you make the switch from writing romance novels to post-apocalyptic vampire novels?
Don't laugh, but I think there's actually a common thread between romance novels and a lot of post-apocalyptic fiction. Obviously, I've always loved reading and writing romance novels. Romance novels are the most optimistic of all fiction and also the most intimate.
But I've also always been drawn to post-apocalyptic stories. The Postman by David Brin is one of my all-time favorite books. There's a sort of basic optimism in many post-apocalyptic books (not all, but a lot). They're stories of humanity sinking to the absolute depths, but rising out of those depths to carry on. There's a powerful message of love and hope in the very idea that there will be a post apocalypse, that there will be anything after. Of course, to me the most interesting aspect of the apocalypse is how we take care of the people we love as things are falling apart. What kind of sacrifices we're willing to make to for others.
I had known for years that someday I wanted to tell a post-apocalyptic story, I just needed to find the right setting. And then, of course, I added in lots of scary monsters, dramatic sacrifices and a hot guy. :-) With The Farm, I got to play around in all the sandboxes I love best.
Mel's chapters have a distinct rhythm and add another dimension to the story. What compelled you to give her a POV?
From a plotting perspective, when I started writing the book, I decided early on that Lily needed someone to take care of. The stakes wouldn't be very high if Lily was only trying to get herself off the farm. Lily needed someone who appeared vulnerable and defenseless, but at the same time, wasn't. Mel has her own quiet strength and her own amazing intelligence. She brings a lot to the table. For the reader to see all that, we needed to be in her head.
The first several drafts of the opening chapters didn't have Mel's point of view. I still remember the buzz of excitement I felt when I first considered writing in her POV. It was terrifying and exciting all at the same time.
Was there a bit of research or a scene you love that didn't make it into the final book?
I did a lot of research about epigenetics that didn't make it into the book. That's pretty dry stuff ... I think I can safely say no one is sorrythat didn't make it into the book. :-)
I also did some research on Aztec culture and origin myths that may come up in later books. As a writer, there are always things I need to know about the world that the reader just doesn't need to. Maybe some of it will come up later, maybe not.
As for things that I wish had made it in... well, there's a scene between Carter and Lily that my editor had me pull back some on. She was absolutely right, by the way. It was the right call to tone down the tension between them, but I still might offer the PG-13 version of thescene as one of the prizes for people who sign up for my Green Team. (You can go here for more info: http://www.escapethefarm.com/green-teams/)
Book two is already highly anticipated. Can you give readers a taste of what's to come?
It is? Wow, that's cool! Okay, a taste of what's to come ...
Well, I don't want to give away too much, for all the folks who haven't read the first one yet, but we get to see some of the rebel base camp and we learn about what's going on outside the Farms. On a personal level, Lily deals with some big heartbreaks and betrayals. Plus, we get more vampires. That's always a good thing, right? I should also mention that I'm working on a couple of prequels that should be available soon, so check my website for more information about those: www.EscapeTheFarm.com
by Emily McKay
Life was different in the Before: before vampires began devouring humans in a swarm across America; before the surviving young people were rounded up and quarantined. These days, we know what those quarantines are—holding pens where human blood is turned into more food for the undead monsters, known as Ticks. Surrounded by electrical fences, most kids try to survive the Farms by turning on each other…
And when trust is a thing of the past, escape is nearly impossible.
Lily and her twin sister Mel have a plan. Though Mel can barely communicate, her autism helps her notice things no one else notices—like the portion of electrical fence that gets turned off every night. Getting across won’t be easy, but as Lily gathers what they need to escape, a familiar face appears out of nowhere, offering to help…
Carter was a schoolmate of Lily’s in the Before. Managing to evade capture until now, he has valuable knowledge of the outside world. But like everyone on the Farm, Carter has his own agenda, and he knows that behind the Ticks is an even more dangerous threat to the human race...
Emily McKay loves to read, shop, and geek out about movies. When she’s not writing, she reads on-line gossip and bakes luscious deserts. She pretends that her weekly yoga practice balances out both of those things. She lives in central Texas with her family and her crazy pets. Though she’s never been much of a joiner, she somehow still managed to join multiple group blogs. (A pathological need to be part of any group of that wants her? Best not to analyze this too deeply.) So you can visit her at the Jaunty Quills, Harlequin Desire Authors, or Peanutbutter on the Keyboard. She also co-write young adult rom-coms as Ivy Adams.
Where to find her...
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