September 16, 2015

Meet Some UtopYA2015 Lovelies (Unofficial) : ER Arroyo

Please welcome the next guest in my Meet Some UtopYA2015 Lovelies (Unofficial) series. During Saturday’s signing event, I was lucky enough to sit right next to her. We talked kids and books, and I fell in love with her sweet spirit and beautiful smile.

Thanks for coming onto the blog today.

EA: Thanks for having me. It was great to meet you (and your daughter), and I’m glad we’ve been able to connect after the con!

You are instrumental in a wonderful Facebook group: Band of Dystopian Authors & Fans. Tell us about the group and tell us how it came about.

EA: Last spring, I released The Offering, the second book in my YA dystopian series called the Sovereign Series. I was looking for places online to promote it, and at the time Facebook groups were becoming very popular places for people to discover/promote books. My friend (and at the time, also a publicist) suggested I find a dystopian group. Would you believe I could not find a single one?

So I approached my friend Cheer and asked her to start a group with me. We quickly hashed out what we wanted the group to be like – that we would focus on dystopian, apocalyptic, and post-apocalyptic fiction. That we would invite authors to join, and hope they would invite their fans. Together we would all build this community. It’s this idea that you can give fans a place to discover books and discover authors without feeling spammed. It’s a place where authors and fans alike can just hang out and love the same stuff together.

Today, about 13 months later, Band of Dystopian (BOD) is nearly 2,500 members strong. Between 175 and 200 of those are authors, that we know of. We support writers in all phases of their experience and careers – novice to bestseller. I like to say, “this is our tribe,” and I know many of our members would agree. Those who share our tastes in fiction, TV, movies, etc. have found a place to feel at home online. And Cheer keeps things crazy fun! So that helps.

Giveaways, games, discussions, release parties, writing exercises... we have a blast! For a bunch of doom and gloomers, we sure are a happy bunch.

I love the group. So much fun! Prep for Doom debuted at UtopYA and is officially on sale now. It’s described as: From the imaginations of twenty authors of dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction comes PREP FOR DOOM, an integrated collection of short stories that tell the tale of a single catastrophe as experienced by many characters, some of whom will cross paths. How did this awesome piece come together? Which authors are featured?

EA: This project was born out of our BOD community. We have an author side group for authors to talk shop and conduct author business apart from the main group, and we just started some conversations and brainstorming sessions. Someone gave us the idea to write in the same universe, and we took it a step further and decided to actually write the same STORY. So we came up with a basic idea – a viral outbreak, similar to Ebola but airborne. All the characters would be facing the exact same catastrophe. I put out a fact sheet with parameters that each author had to adhere to. The symptoms of the virus, locations of safe havens and bunkers, suspicious persons, and most notably, a website called where a bunch of doomsday preppers have made plans for the end of the world. We allowed authors to submit their stories and from them we chose 21, a prologue plus 20 chapters.

Each author was free to create their character and scenario as long as they stayed within our parameters. A considerable amount of detail was smoothed out in editing, to make sure the world building was correct and consistent. Several characters appear in more than one story. The stories interlace in really cool ways, yet each is unique. Each is truly its own short story, yet also a “chapter” in the overall “novel.” The reader is witnessing a single apocalypse from 21 points of view. 

I was oversaw the project, worked on all the development editing, and I penned the final chapter. We had a great group of authors alongside me. Some of the authors are new, some are best sellers. Just an awesome, awesome group of people. Laura Albins, Amy Bartelloni, Brea Behn, Casey L. Bond, TK Carter, Kate Corcino, Harlow C. Fallon, Kelsey D. Garmendia, Caroline Gill, DelSheree Gladden, John Gregory Hancock, Casey Hays, Kate L. Mary, Jon Messenger, Monica Enderle Pierce, Cameo Renae, Hilary Thompson, Yvonne Ventresca, and Megan White.

That's an awesome group, and it sounds amazing. So, what’s up next for you?

EA: I’m working on a story for another anthology (unrelated to BOD) that’ll be out this fall. After that... Well, now that BOD has had me sufficiently distracted for the last year, I suppose I ought to finish the Sovereign Series. Two short stories remain, both prequels (the first one, Transgression, is already out). After that, I’m not sure yet!

Wow. You are a busy lady. So, I've been asking all my lovelies... what's your favorite inspirational quote? Why?

EA: “The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanely sensitive. To them... a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death.

Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create -- so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, their very breath is cut off...
They must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency they are not really alive unless they are creating.” – Pearl Buck

Why? Because someone who came long before me understood what I spent my entire adolescence unable to verbalize. (<-- You can be safe in assuming what I just said has a lot to do with my affinity for young adult fiction. Don’t anyone dare try to tell me teenagers can’t feel complex, intense, and very REAL emotions.)

Amen! Well said. It was amazing to meet you in Nashville this year. What do you think makes UtopYA, renamed Utopia for its fifth year in 2016, so special?

EA: This was my first year attending. I loved that there were actual Young Adults at the conference! As Utopia expands, I hope and trust that will they continue to foster, support, and care for young minds.

✮ Quick Answers  

Last Movie you Saw: Snowpiercer
Comedy, Romance, Drama, or Horror? Umm. Science Fiction :) But I do enjoy a pretty healthy blend of all of the genres you listed. And The Walking Dead. I am failing at this “quick” thing.
Last Book You Read: Eleanor & Park
First Job: Grocery store cashier
Gift cards or Cash? Whatever works for the giver
Favorite Vacation Spot: What’s a vacation? ... I miss the beach, I’ll go with that!

I hope to see you at UtopYA next year!
You bet!! Oh, and here’s my favorite photo from UtopYA. It’s me and my business partner, Cheer. It’s my favorite because we met in person for the first time at the con after working together for a year online. :)

More about ER 

E.R. Arroyo is the author of YA Dystopian, The Sovereign Series, and co-founder/owner of Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans, a Facebook community, blog, and company that champions dystopian, apocalyptic, and post-apocalyptic fiction. E.R. is passionate about books, music, and her family, and she loves to talk shop with other authors and with her readers.

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Band of Dystopian

From the imaginations of twenty authors of dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction comes PREP FOR DOOM - an integrated collection of short stories that tell the tale of a single catastrophe as experienced by many characters, some of whom will cross paths. 

What begins with a seemingly innocuous traffic accident soon spirals into a global pandemic. The release of Airborne Viral Hemorrhagic Fever upon New York City’s unsuspecting populace brings bloody suffering within hours, death within a day, and spreads worldwide within a month. 

An online community called Prep For Doom has risen to the top of a recent doomsday preparation movement. Some have written them off as crazy while others couldn’t be more serious about the safety the preppers could provide in a global disaster. But when AVHF strikes, their preparation may not be enough to save them. 

Website  |  Amazon  |  Goodreads

Please visit often for more UtopYA2015 Lovelies (Unofficial) interviews, 
and check out the announcement post to see
the schedule and links to past interviews.


Jo Michaels said...

So cool! I love that the BOD group was formed because she wanted to market a book. Brilliant :) Great interview, ladies!

Unknown said...

Thanks Jo! Ironically, I very rarely promote my books in the group because I just have so much honor for this thing the group has become. We're blown away by how much people love it. It's truly become so much bigger than me (and Cheer). :)

Tia, thanks for having me on your blog! Hope to see you next year!