Wednesday 4 January 2023

A Post-Apocalyptic Interview with Louise Zedda-Sampson

Our next anthology, Tales from the Ruins, is going to be a cataclysmic one! It will be released on the 25th of February but the Kindle version is available for pre-order today at just 99c instead of $3.99. To celebrate the imminent publication of the first Black Beacon Books anthology exclusively dedicated to post-apocalyptic fiction, we’re interviewing the contributing authors. Behold the maniacal workings of their troubled minds!

Hi Louise,

Let’s make the first question a lighthearted one...hmm...okay, got it! Is your story simply an entertaining piece of fiction or are you giving us a peek at the terrifying fate tomorrow will unleash upon us?

What a great question! My stories often have themes that are about the human condition and having to come to terms with something and move on. This story is about a mother and son trying to adapt to new and difficult conditions, and a dilemma a mother may face in a harsh and challenging environment as part of the experience of raising a child. The theme is universal, but the world they live in in this story is one I hope never comes to pass. However, after the last few years, I believe anything might be possible, unfortunately even this situation.

What is it that makes post-apocalyptic fiction so appealing? Would the world be better off if more people read this genre?

Post-apocalyptic fiction often offers hope that life continues, even after seemingly extinction-level events. It shows us the beauty of humanity in adversity, as well the ugliness, and more so how light can be discovered in the strangest and darkest of places. I think of so many stories that bring light after the dark, hope after the collapse of society. One of my favourites is The Book of Eli, where one man has made it his life’s work to pass on certain teachings in the New World. The dedication to the task and the success against all odds is something that tells us to keep striving. There are so many more books and movies where we see the green shoot in a desolate world. I think this can offer hope that change can come, and that not everything is bleak. Although, the reality is, as in my story, some things are bleak, and even though there is hope, there is also a lot that is lost. Post-apocalyptic fiction perhaps offers both views. Imagining different futures gives us a lot to think about. Any book or story that has a reader ask, ‘what if?’ on any level is great for everyone. We need a world with enquiring minds. So, in answer, yes, the world would be better off if people read more in this genre.

Do you have a favourite post-apocalyptic author?

So many authors, so the answer is no. I’ll name a few books that have stuck with me, even though there are so many more I could mention. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is chilling, and dated, but I love it. Society has collapsed, and many don’t even realise, and are falling victim to propaganda and illusion. Of course, this fits the theme of other classics such as Logan’s Run by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson, and also the movie, Soylent Green, based on a book written by Harry Harrison called Make Room, Make Room!, although in Harrison’s version there was no cannibalism. Being raised when Mel Gibson was Mad Max certainly gave me an idea of what a wasteland and post-apocalypse world could be.

Some people like to listen to music while reading. Which song can you imagine providing the soundtrack to your story?

I’m not one of those! Music doesn’t help me to write; I like total silence. For this story, I imagined the sounds of the bush, and the friendly – and not so friendly – banter of the characters, then the silence in that moment when it’s the calm before the storm.

If you woke up in your story tomorrow, what would you do? 

Look for a fortified underground safehouse. Hope I had a well-stocked bunker including shelves of ammo and communication equipment that worked.

There are no firearms or ammunition. You have to choose an everyday object from the home or garden as your weapon of choice—what’s in your hands?

A shovel. Handy things, really, for before and after. Maybe not so handy against the monsters in my story though. Would need guns and explosives!

Time to get more personal. Tell us three interesting facts about yourself.

What is interesting is dependent on the reader! Here are a few things not generally known about my working and writing life.
1. My career for many years was as a debt collector.
2. My writing ranges from New Age to sport history to horror.
3. I returned to study in my 40s and completed a Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing. It wasn’t until then that I remembered one of my childhood ambitions had been to become a journalist.

What do you aim to give your readers?

Something that makes people feel or makes people think. An enjoyable read.

What are you working on now?

I always have a short story or two bubbling along and these range from literary to speculative to horror. I also write non-fiction and am researching Australian horror history. I received a HWA Rocky Wood Memorial Scholarship in 2022 for this project, so I’ll be focusing on that next. After that, it’s a new non-fiction project. I have written one cricket history book and have another I hope to get out soon. One day, I hope to try my hand at a novella then a novel. But, plenty to do first.

Where can we find you online?

Twitter: @I_say_meow
Instagram: @louisezed
Facebook: Louise Zedda-Sampson 

Thanks for playing along. Good luck in the wastelands!

1 comment:

  1. That's an interesting thought, that post-apocalyptic fiction offers hope. On the surface, it seems to do the opposite. But when I think about it, I can see that you're right. The characters find life worth living, and they work towards improving life, so however dreary the situation, there is hope that it can improve.