Published by Pickles Press on 3-11-2015
322 years after the apocalypse, the world has changed, but her people have not. Secrets, lies, and manipulations endure among a small group of survivors taking refuge on an island in the Northern Pacific.
No one knows what claimed so many lives over three centuries ago, and no one asks, except Ashley Wortham. She can feel the secrets around her, begging to be uncovered.
But the nine elders who govern the island guard their secrets jealously. They believe the islanders know what they need to, and they hide their secrets behind a ruse of peace. But when Ashley, and her best friend Mason, go down the rabbit hole, no one is prepared for the truths they uncover. What will they do when they discover the downfall of humanity lies within their own island, deep inside the dead room?
Interview with Stephanie Erickson, author of The Dead Room
Can you talk a little about what the book is about?
Sure! The book is about a little island of survivors more than three centuries after the mysterious apocalypse. No one knows what caused the end of civilization, and no one has much time to stew on it, what with trying to stay alive and such. But the not knowing thing really gets on a few people’s nerves and that’s when things get fun!
What makes your book unique?
The Dead Room is an odd combination of post-apocalyptic, dystopian, mystery and maybe even a little techno-thriller. I think that makes it pretty special.
Where did you get the idea for the book?
My husband and I actually came up with it together. We came up with the end first, although we didn’t know it was the end at that stage. Then I kept asking more questions and building on the idea. It was fun!
Is there any message you want readers to get from reading the book?
That no matter what, the truth will find its way out eventually.
How long did it take to write the book?
From first word to finished product? About 7 months. The first draft only took about 7 or 8 weeks to write, but it needed a lot of work!
Who is your favorite character, or what character was the most fun to write?
That’s a tough question. I like Mattli. He’s a good man, with a good heart that has to make tough decisions that aren’t always right. He’s human. I like that about him.
Can you talk about how you wrote it? Did you do any outlining? Did it take you in any unexpected directions?
I did outline. But yes, it did take some unoutlined turns. Particularly with Branneth, and even Mason did his own thing for awhile, haha. It was a fun journey, and I’m looking forward to digging into the next book in this series to see where the characters want to go next!
If you could go back and change anything in the novel, what would it be?
People don’t seem to like what happened to Ashley (not giving any spoilers away), but I’m not sure I would change that. It’s Mason’s story to tell, not hers. Sorry guys!
How did you come up with the cover?
I can’t take much credit for that! The amazing designers over at Damonza did it, and they did a great job with it. I told them the basic concept, explained about how the box is a central symbol throughout the book, and told them I like something graphical rather than photographic. It turned out perfect I think!
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I was in third grade. We’d just read Matilda in school, and I knew then that I wanted to write just like Roald Dahl and make people laugh and cry and feel real emotion through the power of words.
What was the first story that you ever wrote?
Oh God. I think it was called The Tesseract or something like that. I wrote it with a friend of mine, about a sinkhole to another land. (We live in Florida, sinkholes are everywhere lol.) Also, I was like 8.
What is your favorite genre, and why?
To read: I really like Fantasy. Something with a little magic, or some fantastical element like the main character can see the future, or something like that. Because I like an escape from reality. I like to think that we all have some magic in us, waiting to be unlocked!
To write: Paranormal romance, or dystopian. My Unseen series has been so much fun to write! I love it!
Are there any books you are absolutely inspired by?
Tons! George R. R. Martin is absolutely astounding. And the more interviews I read of his, the more I love him. His books are so complex, without being overly detailed-since all the details are important and lead to something. The Poisonwood Bible is another one that had a huge impact on me.
What are you working on next?
I’m just getting ready to send Unforgiven (book 2 in the Unseen series) off to the editor, and I will start outlining The Dead World (book 2 in The Dead Room trilogy) next week!
What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Stick with it! This is a marathon not a sprint. Just because you’re struggling doesn’t mean you give up. You simply try harder.
How do you juggle writing with family time?
It’s a challenge for sure. My daughter is 2, and doesn’t have daycare. But I write during nap, and after she goes to bed, and sometimes before she gets up if I need to. I make it work. She is my priority, and one of the reasons I write.