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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FAMISHED: THE COMMONS has been released!

by Jennifer 11. August 2014 09:22


Famished: The Commons
Gentlemen Ghouls #2
MORE INFORMATION

E-book: $4.99
ePub, PDF, and Mobi

Add to Cart

AMAZON | DriveThruFiction

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FAMISHED: THE COMMONS, Gentlemen Ghouls 2

by Jennifer 4. August 2014 10:20

FAMISHED: THE COMMONS by Ivan Ewert
To be released on 11 August 2014

You might have noticed the new cover style. Here's Famished: The Farm's new cover.

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Interview with Ivan Ewert

by Jennifer 8. April 2014 09:36

Ivan Ewert is the author of Famished: The Farm. Its sequel, Famished: The Commons, is going through the editorial process right now.

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What drew you to Speculative Fiction?

Ha, I just did a blog post about this! My father was a huge speculative fiction fan. His library was the thing I coveted most in my young life. When I started reading, I was actually more interested in legends like King Arthur, Robin Hood, and such – things that Disney probably turned me onto initially – but the trappings of fantasy were there.

Therefore, as I was reading, dad would suggest things I might enjoy. In third grade, I think, there was a confluence – my mother was teaching (voluntary) art classes to grade school kids, and she brought in the Brothers Hildebrandt, where I learned about The Hobbit. That was it. Done. Fantasy all the way.

Lovecraft was my introduction into horror, straight out of dad's library. He also had a lot of originals from Van Vogt, Asimov, and such, but he preferred hard science fiction, which I just don't find interesting. When I found social science fiction, I got more into it.


Was there a reason you started writing?


I drove my mother nuts with "Let's pretend" as soon as I was old enough to communicate. She humored me, though there was the occasional "Let's pretend you're Ivan, a human boy, and I'm his mother, okay?" I loved make-believe so much more than reality. (Let us leave that in past tense for the moment …)

So again, in grade school, I sat down and wrote a play at some point for my friends at school. I remember a cuckoo clock, living toys, and a lost girl. Not much else. Everyone loved it, though, and I was hooked on both the creative aspect and the attention it garnered.

Role-playing games distracted me for a long time, and didn't write much in high school – I was making stories but not having to work at writing them down. After college, I took it more seriously.


Where do you get your ideas?

Do you know I think you're the first one to ask? Ideas have always come to me most easily when moving through the darkness – driving before dawn, flying through the night. Moving silently, alert for danger, other travelers, and story fragments.


What's your current writing process? Outliner/Pantser, when, do you play music? pen/paper or keyboard/ink? any rituals? Etc.

AIP turned me into an outliner. Once I have the outline done, I carve time in my daily calendar, aiming for a minimum of one hour (usually my lunch hour at work).

When that time hits, I turn off my email notifications, my telephone, and any instant message programs. I work in Microsoft Word, though I just bought a new laptop and plan to give Scrivener a whirl. I don't like writing by hand as much. That distracts me.

Music is key. KEY. For horror and science fiction work, I'll usually go to bandcamp.com and search tags for ambient, downtempo electronica, or doomjazz. Fantasy is either Azam Ali Radio on Pandora.com or Darkfolk Radio on Last.fm.

Then, I just write until the time I allotted is up.

I don't have any real rituals. I do give a short "thank you" every morning to whatever's given me all the good in my life, which includes an imagination and the ability to convey it.


How did you get started with AIP?

I met Jennifer Brozek online through Livejournal; I think it was a friend-of-a-friend thing. I had a lot more spare time at that stage in my life, and I posted little snippets of tales and writing exercises online. We became friends online, then met up at a convention and – to my mind, anyway – became friends in real life.

When she founded The Edge of Propinquity, she asked me to contribute; and I can't tell you how happy that made me. I really enjoyed the work, and the discipline it required. Not that I was perfect. At all. I did enjoy it, though; and I'm beyond flattered that AIP continues to believe in me and work with me. They are wonderful, wonderful people whom I love very much.
 

Talk some about the Gentleman Ghouls series.

The Lovecraft short story, "The Picture in the House," which scared me sleepless, inspired the main subject matter. I wanted to examine the way that closed, insular societies work. Cults and secret societies have always fascinated me, as has the American experience as a whole, which I hope will come across more clearly as we release the books.

I wrote the first book, FAMISHED: THE FARM, over the space of four years. FAMISHED: THE COMMONS took a little over one year. I've written quite a bit about the process of editing those.


What are you working on now?

I have a dear friend named William Dolan who paints tremendous Chicago street scenes (check him out at http://www.dolanart.com/). His motto is, "I never talk about my work. Talking about it makes me feel like I've done something about it, and as such, the work never really gets done."

I saw a lot of truth in that. Talking about the work dilutes it for me and makes it easy to pretend it's moving along faster than it is. I'm still focused on the Gentleman Ghouls series as well as some poetry and short stories, one of which I'm very excited about.


Best and worst advice you've received or heard about writing.

The worst advice is "write what you know." I hate that phrase with a passion; it lines shelves with copyists and endless memoirs of suburban alienation. I've said it before; write what you're excited to know more about.

The best advice … Steven Raichlen, one of my cooking idols, says, "Set concrete goals with realistic timetables." Creative work is still work, and if you just dream up this great big book you want to write "someday," well. Someday never comes.


Any last words?

Not last, I hope.

But I believe in you. I believe in everyone reading these words … you can do anything you want to. It might not be easy, it might not be fun; but it's possible. When you think nobody has any faith, think again. I want you all to succeed and live a life that you find worth living.

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Read more about Ivan at his website.

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Sale!

by Jennifer 28. November 2013 18:00

HOLIDAY WEEKEND SPECIAL

November 28-December 2nd

ALL ebooks are $0.99

All domestic shipping is free with the code: BLACKFRIDAY

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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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Short and Sweet Reviews

by Jennifer 26. January 2013 17:36

Short and sweet reviews for our Apocalypse Ink Production books on Amazon:

Industry Talk - five stars
"This book contains a number of essays about two specific fields: Role-Playing Game Freelance Writing and Editing Anthologies. It was though the author had been looking over my shoulder and decided to help me out by giving advice for all of my pending projects. If you are interested in either topic, I highly recommend this book." -Jason Andrew

Famished: The Farm - five stars
"I  don't normally read the horror genre, but this book kept me riveted to the very end! Highly recommend to anyone who loves to be scared and horrified!!" -Kelly S. Madsen

Caller Unknown - five stars
"I was surprised at how well this was written. It was complete in and of itself while fitting into a series (or so it is advertised -- I plan to find out by reading the series). You can read more than enough about the plot or the setting. I just wanted to confirm it is carried off well without gratuitous sex or other miscellaneous material. Two thumbs up." -S. Marsh

 

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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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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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Ivan Ewert on Writing Horror

by Jennifer 19. October 2012 20:08

Famished: The Farm author Ivan Ewert talks about writing horror on Booklife Now. It's a great article.


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