Thursday, February 18, 2016

Get to Know Laurel Myler

Dog Star Books welcomes new author Laurel Myler! Laurel is a Salt Lake City native graduating from the University of Utah with a degree in Psychology and Latin. She enjoys British lawn sports, collecting model ships, manga, and watching trash TV with friends. Her work has been performed at Westminster College and the Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival. City Ash and Desert Bones is her first novel. You can find her on Twitter @victorylaurels.

Tell us about your first Dog Star release!
Three hundred years in the future, a tiny town called Big City in the middle-of-nowhere Nevada is finally getting apostles. The United States is run by a church government called the Theocracy and apostles, acting as liaisons, are how they police it all. A brand new pair has been sent to Big City to retrieve the desperately needed oil from the reserves under the land. Little do they know that the town is under siege by beings the locals call “takers.” Reesa, one of the apostles, is a sort of Frankenstein's monster created by the takers out of dismembered pieces of Big City citizens, only she doesn't know it yet. Everything pretty much goes to hell as soon as she arrives.

Who and what were your influences for this book?
This book is a strange sort of conglomeration of all kinds of weird media I’ve consumed and internalized over the years. I can point to Rango and Back to the Future: Part III in particular. Bits of it also come out of my own frustrations and education, particularly a psychology class I took my junior year of college called “Sensation and Perception” (which happened to be both frustrating and educational).

Describe your writing process, especially for this manuscript.
Every day, I typically wake up an hour earlier than whatever time I need to start getting ready and use that time to write. This could be drafting, experimenting, editing, you name it. I also keep a journal on me to jot down any notes that pop into my brain during the day.

This manuscript was unique in that I composed it as part of the novel workshop course in the Honors College at the University of Utah. When I woke up, nine other people were waking up with me and working on their novels in their homes. We met weekly and workshopped regularly. My peers became a backboard for ideas and a tremendous support structure. Those friends kept me going when I wanted to give up.

Why sci-fi/speculative fiction?

Honestly, because I hate dealing with reality. I think there’s a bit of an escapist, an imaginer, in all of us, and mine tends to dominate my thoughts. Writing for me is a refreshing break from the day-to-day trudge, and it wouldn’t really be a break if I wasn’t off in some alternate universe messing around with some other reality. I’ve had a great love for fantasy and science fiction since childhood. I blame The Twilight Zone.

What do you hope readers will take from this book?
I hope I’ve captured a bit of the beauty that is the hopeful hopelessness of mankind’s existence. We’re funny little creatures rolling around on the surface of a giant rock hurtling through space and everything we do is at once redundantly useless and tremendously important. Not everything has a happy ending, but that doesn’t make a life any less valuable.

Can you leave us with a teaser?

Here’s how it all begins:

“Reesa did not know it yet, but when she stepped from the coach she was putting her foot down in the dirt where she would die, or that she was many different pieces of seven people who already had. The crystal white sole of her shoe set down on the ground with a crunch. The sound made her feel like she was stepping out of a time machine to the past. Away from the skyscrapers, away from the lights, away from everything she knew, to a tiny desert town too far west to warrant a dot on a map. Big City was certainly not what its name implied.”