About the Book:
A prescient and gripping novel of a second American civil war, and the children caught in the conflict, forced to fight.
When the president of the United States is impeached, but refuses to leave office, the country erupts into civil war.
10-year-old Hannah Miller, an orphan living in besieged Indianapolis, has joined a citizen’s militia. She had nowhere else to go. And after seeing the firsthand horrors of war, she’s determined to fight with the Free Women militia.
Hannah’s older brother, Alex, is a soldier too. But he’s loyal to the other side. After being separated from Hannah, he finds a home in a group calling themselves The Liberty Tree militia.
When a UNICEF worker and a reporter discover that both sides are using child soldiers, they set out to shine a light on something they thought could never happen in the United States. But it may be too late because even the most gentle children can find that they’re capable of horrific acts.
1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?
Thanks for having me as a guest at Reading Nook! My name is Craig DiLouie, and I’m a bestselling author of speculative fiction. In other words, sci-fi, fantasy, horror, thrillers. My work has been published by major publishers, small presses, and also self-published. My latest novel is Our War, published by Orbit in August 2019, which is a dystopian thriller about a brother and sister forced to fight on opposite sides of a contemporary American civil war.
I got into writing at an early age. I grew up in a rural part of New Jersey with a lifestyle where it paid to have a great imagination, and when I hit high school, which felt like prison to me, I put that imagination to good use. Reading was a perfect escape into amazing worlds, and after a while, I became excited by the idea I could be these worlds’ creator.
2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?
Some writers love to work in coffee shops or with great music playing. I’m not that cool. I write at home, at my desk, ideally in almost perfect silence other than the purr of my keyboard. Inside my head, though, all hell is breaking loose.
3: Where do your ideas come from?
Basic what-ifs that usually tie into a big idea. For Our War, I kept seeing right wing pundits and politicians talk up the idea of a second civil war, and I thought, OK, what would that actually look like? I became convinced such a war would look a lot like the Bosnian War of the 1990s. I did a lot of research on that war and other modern civil wars and imported those ideas into Our War.
4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?
I always either map out the plot architecture as a series of four acts, the character arcs for each major character, or usually both. There’s plenty of “pantsing” or “discovery” in there, but I always want to know where the story is going. It’s much more efficient as an approach to me, and I get better stories.
5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?
I write stories about ordinary people in extraordinary situations, the more extraordinary, the better. Sci-fi, dark fantasy, horror, thrillers. I love seeing average people put through the wringer to really see what they made of, how they react to ethical dilemmas, and make the whole thing as realistic as possible. If I were to adopt a motto for my writing, it would be: Give the reader people they care about facing extreme struggle in a world that feels real.
7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?
I don’t think you can be the best writer you can be if you don’t read. I’m reading all the time, both for enjoyment and for the learning about craft and storytelling it provides. I have many favorite authors, and nobody comes to mind as an absolute favorite. I tend to be more a fan of books than the people who wrote them, though I admire anybody who is good at this game.
8: What book/s are you reading at present?
I’m currently reading Wanderers by Chuck Wendig. It’s a sprawling read, but it’s a lot of fun.
9: What is your favourite book and why?
There’s a short list of books I revisit every few years to read again. One that comes to mind is 1984. I get something new every time I read it.
10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?
I could say quite a bit, but I think for a writer starting out, most of all I’d say: Get over any prejudice about what it takes to be a writer. Unlike athletes or musicians, we tend to see authors as born not made, though really anybody can be a writer, and as with other arts, practice makes perfect.
11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?
The best place to find me is www.CraigDiLouie.com.
Thank you for having me as a guest today!
About the Author:
Craig DiLouie is an American-Canadian writer of speculative fiction. His works have been nominated for major literary awards, translated into multiple languages, and optioned for screen adaptation. He is a member of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and the Horror Writers Association. Learn more at http://www.CraigDiLouie.com