Our first Autumn Author is E.A. Copen. She writes some engaging stories, not the kind where some dude puts a ring on it. I’m talking about books you will stay up reading because you can’t sleep, plots will eat you. Here’s a little bit about the author:
E.A. Copen is the author of the Judah Black novels and the forthcoming space opera, Broken Empire. She’s an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy and other genre fiction. When she’s not chained to her keyboard, she may be found time traveling on the weekends with her SCA friends. She lives in beautiful southeast Ohio with her husband and two kids, at least until she saves up enough to leave the shire and become a Jedi.
Now, here’s the interview with this fellow font of geekitude!
D.R.- Who is your favorite TV or movie character and why?
E.A.- Beatrix Kiddo/The Bride from Kill Bill 1 and 2. She’s partially the inspiration for Judah Black. Kill Bill is a very violent, revenge-driven love story. It’s Romeo and Juliet on steroids. Beatrix is such a badass…And she’s a mom!
D.R.- Who is your favorite animated character and why?
E.A.- John Constantine, demonologist and master of the dark arts. He’s the epitome of the snarky urban wizard in a gritty setting and the reason I picked up my first comic book recently. The art is beautiful, the stories are layered and the world is a perfect mix of darkness with a sliver of hope thrown in. He’s human and makes mistakes. That’s what I love.
D.R.- What book do you recommend the most?
E.A.- The Fantasy Fiction Formula by Deborah Chester. It’s more than just another how-to book on writing. It’s what I wish I’d learned before I wrote! More informative than the five years I spent as an undergrad studying fiction. If you write fantasy and don’t have this book on your shelf, you’re missing out.
D.R.- How do you get ideas for stories?
E.A.- Everything I’ve ever written started with the words, “What if…” What if werewolves and vampires were real? How would the government respond if they suddenly came out to the public? There are some book and TV series that already deal with that (True Blood has vampires out, the Mercy Thompson series has the werewolves and fae out to the public). Neither scenario satisfied me with a plausible answer so I decided to write my own.
D.R.- Which genres do you write and what’s your favorite one?
E.A.- The Judah Black novels are urban fantasy thrillers and I have another one of those coming out in October, though it’s a spin-off novella from the main series. I also have a science fiction novel coming out in late November called Broken Empire. It’s more of a space opera. Think Game of Thrones meets Star Wars. My favorite? I have a particular weakness for magic. But then, Arthur C. Clarke’s third law says any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. I love it when two genres mash together to make something new.
D.R.- What do you do if you see your idea has already been done?
E.A.- Write it anyway. Everything has already been done at one point or another. Characters and the relationships they form are what make a story unique, not a plot. Even Shakespeare borrowed ideas from his predecessors. If one of the greatest English-speaking writers of all time can do it, why not us? Take the idea and make it your own with the details.
D.R.- What’s the most unexpected thing that’s ever inspired you?
E.A.- I get inspiration from all kinds of weird places. The latest was when my husband jokingly suggested that a vampire character of mine might be suffering from vampire diabetes because of how grumpy he was. I turned it into a major plot point and, surprisingly, it worked flawlessly.
D.R.- What’s the best advice you’ve gotten about writing?
E.A.- There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Jim Butcher said that but it probably came from somewhere else before that. You’re the only one standing in the way of achieving your goals. And if you want something, you have to go get it, no matter how much it scares you. That was part of what finally pushed me to stop obsessively editing and publish. I wanted to be a published author and to make an income from my writing. It took a lot of work but it was worth it.
D.R.- Tell me about the biggest surprise your own character, story, or setting has given you.
E.A.- In the Judah Black series, the town of Eden was a surprise. Paint Rock and Eden are real places in Concho County, Texas, but I’ve re-built them for the purpose of the story. Eden is a towering metropolis in the series when, in reality, it’s a rather small town. There are no skyscrapers, no hospitals taking up city blocks and no pharmaceutical companies. I got to build a city from scratch and I’m always finding new corners to explore.
D.R.- Tell us about your plans or ideas for a new-to-you genre in the future.
E.A.- I’m in the early stages of writing a horror western/weird west novel called Beasts of Babylon. It re-imagines a world where, when we went west, we found more than Native Americans, open wilderness and gold waiting for us. There were monsters in them thar hills!
The main character, Anastasia Thorne, died and rose from her grave in search of vengeance after her son is murdered and her homestead burned to the ground. She teams up with notorious outlaw, Jesse Gallagher, (who’s gifted with six seconds of foresight) and Sheriff Christian Thorne (sharpshooter and Ana’s husband) to hunt the flesh-eating monsters stalking Horne Pass.
This all sounds so exciting! I can’t wait to see a Weird West genre book by E.A. Copen. Oh, and by the way, you can find her on her website, Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter. You can find links to her books here on her Author Central Page.