Welcome back to The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe, a recurring series here on Tor.com featuring some of our favorite science fiction and fantasy authors, artists, and others!
Today we’re joined by Mary E. Pearson, award-winning author of The Jenna Fox Chronicles, The Miles Between, A Room on Lorelei, and Scribbler of Dreams. She writes full-time from her home office in California where she lives with her husband and two golden retrievers.
The Kiss of Deception, the first book in Pearson’s Remnant Chronicles, is available now from Henry Holt & Co. Read an excerpt here on Tor.com.
Describe your favorite place to write.
Outside away from my desk. It isn’t far but in the corner of my backyard I have an Adirondack, a table, and an umbrella and when I go out there with my laptop I feel like I am away from telephones and all the other business “stuff” that goes along with being an author. I’ve made a habit of only using my laptop for writing so I just never go on the internet when I’m out there. I live in San Diego, so unless the weather is extreme, I can pretty much sit out there year round. I am also an outdoors kind of person, so being surrounded by trees, birds, and the occasional lizard, is conducive to chilling and thinking.
Name your favorite monster from fiction, film, TV, or any other pop culture source.
Okay, this is really going to knock me down several notches with monster-loving fans, but I like my monsters with a side of humor, because I scary easily. I was seriously traumatized by Alien. Come to think of it, pretty much all monsters who take over humans freak me out—even the farmer in Men in Black. Yeah, I’m a lightweight. So give me Godzilla, or Frankenstein in the 1948 Abbott and Costello film.
If you had to choose one band or artist to provide the official soundtrack to your new book, who would it be?
David Arkenstone because of the mystical, but also epic quality of his music. I used several of his songs in my playlist as I wrote The Kiss of Deception. But Evanescence, is a close second. The haunting feel of My Immortal, Hello, and Breathe No More captured the main character’s state of mind.
What kind of apocalypse (zombie, robot, environmental, etc.) is most compatible with your survival skills? And what kind of apocalypse would you like to avoid at all costs?
I think something along the lines of an environmental/technological apocalypse, like in the Revolution series. I can be pretty handy and resourceful when it comes to making and growing things. The one I wouldn’t survive is a zombie apocalypse. I would just let them eat my face and be done with it.
List three things you’d like our readers to know about you and your work.
- I am undependable. You might get gritty contemporary with one book, science fiction, magical realism, or high fantasy with another. The premise and characters choose the genre, not me. Most of my readers are willing to go along for the ride regardless of genre.
- I never say never when it comes to something I will write, because I know eventually it will come back to bite me in the butt. I always said I would never write a series—when I was done with a character and their story, I was done. Wrong. I’ve discovered I love the vast landscape a series offers. I tend to write long anyway so it turns out, series gives me the perfect vehicle for writing “large” stories.
- I learn something new with each book. My newest series, The Remnant Chronicles, is teaching me extreme discipline. They are big books and they have big deadlines. I am not a particularly fast writer so that means no days off for me. As it turns out, this is a good thing. I find by writing every day, it is much easier for me to get right back into the story when I open my laptop.
Which language, real or fictional, would you like the ability to speak fluently? Who would you talk to?
Vendan. It’s the language of one of the kingdoms in my book. If I was fluent, I wouldn’t have to keep track of every word and make sure I was using the right tense. And of course if I was fluent I could eavesdrop more easily on the baddies.
What literary or film science fiction technology do you wish existed in our world right now?
Is there really any other choice? Teleportation. Airports and “leg room” on planes are a form of medieval torture.