I’m pleased to introduce Carol Ervin to Author Wednesday. Carol’s first two books are a part of a historical fiction series. The Girl on the Mountain and Cold Comfort will be joined by the third in the series, Midwinter Sun, later this month. Today she’s stopped by to talk about her newest endeavor which takes her from historical fiction to science fiction. Dell Zero is the story of a society that uses drugs to control everyone.
Welcome Carol. I’m intrigued that you made the jump into science fiction. Tell us a little bit about Dell Zero and how it’s been received.
Dell Zero is the story of a society that uses drugs to control everyone. The main characters are Dell, a young (un-medicated) woman who has grown up outside the system, and John, an old-timer who is hundreds of years old and unhappy about living forever. One reviewer called the story bio-punk; another said dystopian. I think of it as futuristic. I like science fiction that’s based in reality, and I think elements of this story, such as character behavior, are true today.
Making it relevant to our society today even though it’s futuristic is an excellent way to draw in readers. What’s your one sentence pitch for your book?
In a society of humans medicated to live forever, only newborns like Dell think and act independently, and they will change everything.
How did you choose Dell Zero as the title? Has it been the title from the very beginning?
When I started Dell Zero, there was no Dell, just John, a disillusioned, confused man, hundreds of years old. Early-on, I added Dell to the story, and she took over. So the story that began as John 316 changed to Dell Zero. My sister, the book’s first reader, suggested the title.
I like it because it’s unique and easy to remember. Is the book traditionally or self-published? Why did you choose one over the other?
Dell Zero is my third self-published book. I love the opportunity to do it all myself, and I wouldn’t do it any other way. The self-pubbing tools offered by Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace are wonderful. I’ve proved I can be successful (at least in my own estimation), and I like not being handled by a publisher or agent. I also like formatting the books myself, and the ability through digital publishing to make changes at any time. However, I would not be self-published without the wonderful community of self-published authors on the Internet who help each other. I give a lot of credit to authors Victorine Lieske, Rachelle Ayala, and others who led the way and continue to share good advice.
I like all those things about being an Indie Author as well. There is a tremendous support system out there. It’s one reason I do Author Wednesday. I like giving other Indies exposure. Since this is such a departure from your previous works, tell us you conceived the plot.
Dell Zero: The idea of a society made immortal by drugs came to me on the road to a week-long fishing trip. The week was rainy, so I had a lot of cabin time, and of course I’d brought along my laptop. So any time we weren’t fishing, I was making notes, creating details of the society and exploring plot ideas. At the time I was also developing Midwinter Sun, the third book in my historical fiction series. All year I went back and forth between these two books. Both have two narrators, and both are in present tense.
I’m impressed that you could switch back and forth so easily. Tell us a bit about your writing rituals?
I’m a planner, not a “pantser,” and a heavy re-writer. I’m editing before I finish a sentence. I make tons of notes and then do four or five drafts, and I rely on feedback from trusted readers.
I’m a pantser until I get deep into the novel and then the planner in me takes over. You’ve now tried two very different genres. Are there other forms you’d like to try?
I’d like to try different approaches to narrative fiction. I wrote two books this year in present tense (Dell Zero and Midwinter Sun), and I liked that so much I’m not sure I can go back to past tense. All four books are in third person, and I’m ready to try first person. Midwinter Sun is a love story. I might write another love story in first person.
Tell us about your latest endeavor.
Midwinter Sun is the third book in the Mountain Women series, and continues characters and settings from the first two books. But unlike the others, it’s told from the point of view of two characters: May Rose, the main character of the first book, and Barlow, the man she rejected years ago. The story reunites these characters fifteen years later. It’s been fun, being in both heads and re-building their relationship.
What advice can you give to other writers about receiving a bad review?
If you have good feedback from a group of writers you admire and trust (or support from agent, editor, and publisher) and these people approve your work, then pay no attention to a bad review. There’s a huge range of reader preferences and expectations, and no book will ever appeal to everyone.
That’s excellent advice. How does your immediate family feel about your writing life?
My husband is very glad that I have stories to write, because he knows I would not be content as a retired person without something to keep my mind and fingers busy. I think my kids are proud.
I’m so glad you stopped by today, Carol. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you a little bit better. We’ve crossed paths before in our various writing groups, but I’ve never had the pleasure of chatting with you. I wish you success in all your writing endeavors.
From Carol Ervin: I’ve been a teacher and business owner, and now am happy to write full-time. (married, two kids, two grandkids). I grew up in a small town in Ohio, and have lived most of my life on a farm in West Virginia.