E. G. Stone has been writing for quite some time now, and she recently started a new Series, On Behalf of Death. Read the reviews to the titles by clicking the link!
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room – or rather the giant turtle 🐢 with the four elephants 🐘 on it’s back. Your Elsewhere is a fantastical place – does it share some common ancestry with the famous Discworld?
For the record, no this series is not in any way based off of Discworld, unless I suddenly developed magical powers to reference a series of which I have read, quite literally, only one book. This was not done on purpose; I quite liked the one book I read (The Colour of Magic, if I remember correctly). I just could never find the books on the shelves in bookstores here in the States, and I always ended up purchasing other books when in the UK, so … Sir Terry’s books have been on my list to read for quite a while, but The Innocence of Death exists separately, for good or ill or just generally ironic. Probably ironic, since the universe and I have been having regular tiffs for years. So far, the universe is winning (it’s bigger than me, but I’m scrappy).
Well, no one is bigger than life, right? And speaking of life, I particularly liked Death’s wife. I think most of us are familiar with the saying that Life is a bitch. Was that your inspiration for her, or how did she turn out so fierce?
I did not intend to draw inspiration from the phrase, “Life is a bitch”, it just sort of came out that way. After all, if you think about it, all the good things happen in Life. But so do all the bad. Life (both the character and, well, life) is fickle, fantastic, amazing, cruel, disinterested, passionate, etc. etc. etc. Everything that happens in Life, the things we cry over and the things we rejoice over, got rolled into one and then thrown onto the page when I did my wordsmithery. The result was … highly entertaining to write.
Fitting, as it was also very entertaining to read! Your book has also all the promising features that indicate the start of a great series. What’s next in stock? Will we be seeing Cal again, or will we have to get acquainted to a new protagonist?
Oh, no, you’re stuck with Cal. That poor guy would really like a vacation, but I just can’t quite help myself. I have plans for anywhere between fifteen to twenty books, all with Cal as the protagonist, because it’s just so much fun to say, “What would happen if I had a teenager accidentally summon Cal because Death couldn’t be bothered?” Or, “Let’s throw Cal into a tech conference beleaguered by poltergeists.” I mean, any commonplace, absolutely normal situation I could come up with, I’ve thrown Cal into and then had things go terribly wrong. It’s entertaining. Also, poor Cal.
He’s starting to look like Rincewind (but probably not as fast). It’s also great news for me, as I really liked him, especially as the first person narrator in this tale. Were there moments where you wished you had chosen a different perspective? Are you planning on keeping this point of view throughout the series?
In other books that I’ve written, I’ve used third person limited narration, and it’s absolutely a blast to write. I can look at the minutae of a character from an outside perspective. I tend to use entirely different language when it comes to description, dialogue, even action. For this series, though, the entire premise is built upon snark, and that just comes across so much better to me if I can have a main character making potentially ridiculous comments as the narrator throughout. Also, the potential for Cal misunderstanding things is much higher, and I just couldn’t resist that.
With the added benefit that he is as clueless to the world as the reader, together exploring Elsewhere. You mentioned somewhere – I think it was on Goodreads – that the Innocence of Death started it’s life (or not life? Unlife?) as a NaNoWriMo. Do you still participate every year?
I participate in NaNo when I have a story idea that desperately needs writing, or a book that is already in progress and desperately needs writing. Most of the time, I am working on a couple of projects at a time, so I don’t feel the need to worry about daily word counts or monthly book writing, because things are already flowing smoothly. To properly answer your question: sometimes yes, sometimes no. It depends on what mood my brain is in.
NaNoWriMo is usually kind of a frenzy. Does this suit your writing style, or do you like to plan ahead, merrily plotting along till everything is laid bare?
I am a plantser, and not just because I have a fondness for succulents and ivy. The On Behalf of Death books tend to almost write themselves, because the concepts are fairly simple and I know precisely what needs doing to further the series and sort out character conundrums. The larger, more epic-scale books tend to be plotted out at least as far as scenes go. Once I have the basic scenes and plot points put onto paper (yes, actual paper) then I can go in and start writing away. The details sort themselves out, and if I happen to diverge from my plan, well, there be dragons?
Well, dragons – and probably Cal thrown in their midst. Despite the humour and the fantastical creatures, my take away from this tale was that you have to fight for what you want in life. Is there anything you like to stress about the book in case the readers might not catch unto it?
I think you captured the idea of the book very nicely. Standing passively by in life can be a useful thing when you need to relax, rejuvenate, recharge. But once that period of time is over? If you do nothing, then nothing will get done. Fighting can take different forms, but they require actual movement in a slightly forwards direction.
Also, I just had fun with throwing Cal into entertaining situations.
Obviously! And this interview has been entertaining as well, so I’m concluding with my final question: What is your favourite drink or cocktail (if you have any)?
Tea! I’m a tea dragon and you can make arguments about caffeine being good or bad all you like, but it will not change the fact that it is tea time. Always.
Thank you for time! I’m going to drink tea and wait till the next book in the series arrives then. 😉
Black tea – spiced up
Tea might not sound like an ingredient for a cocktail or mixed drink, but that’s just a matter of perspective. From my point of view, on a very cold winter day, there is nothing better than a cup of hot, black tea – spiced up with Caribbean Rum! Add a slice of citron or orange, if you like, and enjoy together with a blanket and a good book!