Interview with Ivan Ewert about Famished: The Commons

by Jennifer 19. August 2014 08:39


Famished: The Commons
Gentlemen Ghouls #2
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1. Previously, you've written series for me. Now that you are writing novels, has it been difficult to shift it from an episodic format to a novel format?

It’s a mixed bag. I prefer the structured cadence of the serial format, with a specific deadline every month. But that leaves little time for review of the work by independent alpha or beta readers, which sharpens the quality of the work I’ve done in novel format.

Peter Ball talked in his interview for Exile about some of the specific difficulties in the serial format around outlining and planning. While it’s true that there are restrictions there, sometimes those restrictions can result in wonderful things you never thought of. It’s similar to structured poetry vs. blank verse.

For example, I actually “killed” Gordon at the end of Year One, and only then learned the editor wanted me to continue the story another year. Without that wrinkle, Orobias would never have been created. He and his agenda have become so central to the story since then, it’s hard to imagine the books without him!

Overall, I’ve converted to the novel format. I wouldn’t mind going back to serials, but I’d use the skills I’ve learned in the past two years to approach it differently this time around.


2. Famished: The Farm and Famished: The Commons are set in middle America and on the East coast. Have you ever been there? Are parts of the story set in real world locations?

Nearly all the locations are real! Though I can’t speak to the activities of the people who actually live and work in those buildings. Every location Gordon visits exists – from St. Raymond’s Catholic Church outside Sun Prairie to Pete’s Hot Dogs in Greenville to the Attitash ski resort. A large part of the concept of the Gentleman Ghouls series is how closely tied to the real America their world is.

I’ve lived my entire life in the American Midwest, mostly northern Illinois along the border with Wisconsin. The landscape fuels a lot of my ideas and creativity, and Madison, Wisconsin (where Famished: The Farm begins) is one of my favorite places in the world. From there I use a lifetime of walking through forest preserves and woodlands in the upper Midwest to spin the rest of the Farm’s story.

There’s a special note of horror in parts of the Midwest. We have the wide open spaces of the West, but less of the self-reliance that could save an isolated individual. When you look across a prairie, realizing there is nowhere to hide from anything that pursues you, it’s a disturbing sensation...

As a child we often vacationed in Vermont and Maine. While I haven’t been back to New England in decades, the impressions of those resorts inform many scenes in The Commons.

With all of that said, Google Earth is a godsend! It’s not the same as being there, of course; but it does provide more of those wonderful restrictions I mentioned above. Putting Carol’s house on a specific cul-de-sac in Greenville, South Carolina allowed me to inform the attack of the Ghouls in a more realistic manner than just dreaming up a subdivision.


3. Will you explain who "the Boeren" is?

The Gentleman Ghouls place a lot of importance on bloodlines and families. Gordon Velander’s great-grandfather, Han Boeren, left the Farm in the prologue to that novel and remained free under the assumed surname of Velander until his death. His son, Hank, and grandson, Thomas, had no idea of their relation to the Gentleman Ghouls – or even of their existence.

When Sylvie finds Gordon and recognizes his bloodline, she immediately looks for other male relatives. Finding none, Gordon simply becomes known as “The Boeren” in her communication with the Ghouls, and the title sticks.


4. Do you have any other stories set in the same fictional world as the Gentlemen Ghouls universe?

I write flash fiction and small scenes when I need to fill out a character’s background, or see how they’d respond to different scenarios. Some of the character studies I draw up result in full-fledged short stories – Linh’s final estrangement from her father, Jacob’s encounter with his grandfather in the Commons cellar. Some are horror, some are more slice of life.

Understand that I wouldn’t share them in their current rough form. They’re more like exercises to give me a better feel for the character, though I’ve considered running Goodreads contests with these sketches as potential prizes for fans.


5. What are you working on now?

My number one priority is outlining and starting work on Famished: The Ranch, the final book in the Gentleman Ghouls series. I have a cycle of short fantasy stories and a young adult urban fantasy simmering on my back burners, but I don’t plan to do any more serious work until The Ranch is with beta readers.

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Origins Game Fair

by Jennifer 8. June 2014 22:45

Apocalypse Ink Productions will be at Origins Game Fair with a table in the Library in the dealers hall. Jennifer Brozek and Dylan Birtolo will also be at Origins in the Library and on panels in the Writers Symposium. Be sure to come by, say hello, and get a book signed!

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Last Day of the Holiday Sale

by Jennifer 2. December 2013 10:26

Holiday Sale!
Apocalypse Ink Productions Store
All ebooks are $0.99 and all domestic shipping is free.


If you prefer Amazon:

FICTION
Caller Unknown, Karen Wilson Chronicles, Book 1, Jennifer Brozek
Children of Anu, Karen Wilson Chronicles, Book 2, Jennifer Brozek
Famished: The Farm, Gentlemen Ghouls, Book 1, Ivan Ewert

NON-FICTION
Jay Lake’s Process of Writing, Jay Lake
Industry Talk, Jennifer Brozek

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From the Authors

by Jennifer 25. November 2013 10:15

Here's a peek at some of the stuff our authors have been doing lately.

Ivan talks about what it's like to go through heavy revisions on a novel (Famished: The Commons) for the first time. This is the sequel to Famished: The Farm.

Jennifer talks how she came up with the title for the fourth Karen Wilson Chronicles book, Chimera Incarnate. The first two books, Caller Unknown and Children of Anu, are already out.

Jay talks about his 2013 fiction bibliography. He doesn't mention his writing book, Jay Lake's Process of Writing, because it's not fiction. It's an impressive list. You should take a look.

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Update for 22 Aug 2013

by Jennifer 22. August 2013 10:31

Jay Lake's Process of Writing has been shifted out to September 15th due to dealing with Jay's schedule and final proofs. However, the book looks good!

Mena, the AIP kitty, has gone back into ear surgery on her other ear. We've already made arrangements to pay for this ear surgery but, the MENA code will still give you 30% off your order.

Finally, don't forget about the Goodreads Giveaway of Children of Anu, Book 2 of the Karen Wilson Chronicles.

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Children of Anu by Jennifer Brozek

Children of Anu

by Jennifer Brozek

Giveaway ends August 31, 2013.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

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The Next Big Thing

by Jennifer 3. January 2013 10:18

Both Ivan Ewert and Jennifer Brozek have talked about their "Next Big Thing" in blog posts. As it happens, both of these are AIP projects.

Jennifer talks about The Children of Anu in her post.

Ivan talks about Famished: The Commons in his post.

Bonus! Ivan talks about a local eatery naming a sandwich after his book series that sounds very tasty.

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Free Chapbook by Jennifer Brozek

by Jennifer 8. December 2012 10:18

It is Jennifer Brozek's birthday on December 9th and she wants to give everyone a gift of free fiction. Take a look in our webstore to see what it is.

 

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Giving Thanks

by Jennifer 24. November 2012 13:10

Ivan, author of FAMISHED: THE FARM, talks about "giving thanks" and writing acknowledgements on his blog. While Jennifer, author of CALLER UNKNOWN, talks about her "gratitude" for the disasters in her life that brought her to where she is today. Those of us at Apocalypse Ink Productions would like to thank everything who has supported us thus far and will support us in the future. We appreciate every single one of you.

 

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Talking FAMISHED with Ivan Ewert

by Jennifer 8. August 2012 09:46

1. Why did you choose to write about something as disturbing as ritualized cannibalism?
Ivan: When the opportunity to write a horror story came along, I knew I had to be both frightened and fascinated by the subject matter. None of the usual paranormal situations fit the bill - I like supernatural tales but they don't usually scare me any longer. So I asked myself, "what's the most frightening thing you ever read?" It was a Lovecraft story titled "The Picture in the House," about a South Sea captain who had encountered - and been changed - by exposure to cannibalism. It probably didn't help that I read it around age 12, but I still remembered it vividly.

As to the fascination, it's something so difficult to imagine. Even in times of desperation, the way this would change a normal person is almost unthinkable. That's why I made Gordon so normal - he's nobody's hero at the start of the book, and probably would have lived a quiet, normal life if he hadn't been brought into this circle. Watching him break down in my mind, then watching him rebuild, was a great process.

2. How much research did you do for FAMISHED: THE FARM?
Ivan: The land, weather and physical features of the novel were already familiar. I spent some time on a working farm in Allegan, Michigan while writing the first draft, which helped to get the sense of rural isolation down.

Most of my research for the Farm itself revolved around isolated compounds like Warren Jeffs' and the Minutemen, with information gathered from news reports, interviews with former members, and various hate watch organizations. Not fun research, but important.

The supernatural elements were made up of memories from things I'd read before, then re-read and altered to fit my view of the FAMISHED universe.

3. Is there a sequel forthcoming?
Ivan: With three more known bases for the Gentlemen Ghouls, I've definitely got two more books in mind. Gordon will change quite a bit over the next year, and so will the fabric of the cannibal cult.

4. What was the most disturbing part of FAMISHED to write?
Ivan: Martin's betrayal in the pigpen, during the siege. It came ripping out in a short night's work and I wanted to keep that raw, immediate, emotional feel of betrayal and pain as I went through edit after edit. The hurt, the blood, the weakness and the helplessness were all things I felt strongly while setting it down. It was definitely the most difficult and emotional section to write.

5. What was the best part of FAMISHED to write?
Ivan: The climactic scene at the Farm. There were so many moving pieces to keep track of, so many conflicting agendas and ways in which to cross one another. I had this great map all laid out across my desk for weeks and would just tear it off, re-create it, and figure where everyone belonged to get the most out of the scene. It was work that rarely felt like work.

6. Where can we find all things about Ivan Ewert?
Ivan: You can follow me at ivanewert.com. In addition to news on all upcoming creative endeavors, I can promise that all recipes posted there are perfectly safe for human consumption.


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