10 Questions with Lynn Lamb
Lynn Lamb lives in Monterey, California. Lynn’s series of post-apocalyptic novels, The Survivor Diaries, feature a flawed heroine leading a group of villagers after a nuclear holocaust. She writes other work of a sci fi, horror, and dark fantasy nature. She is also pretty nifty with video camera technologies.
1 How and when did you start writing?
I have written since I was eleven-years-old in one way or another. I studied film writing in college and only began writing novels in the last three years.
2 Who is your favorite character from someone else’s work, in any medium (movies, games, books, etc)?
I love Claire Fraser from the Outlander series. She is strong, outspoken, and brave. It is important to me to have sheroes in my writing—no damsels in distress in my books, nor in those I read and enjoy.
3 Do you write film scripts? Have you considered scripting your novels? Do you feel that your work is “filmic” given your background – and tell us a little about that background.
My background in scriptwriting is in corporate video rather than fiction. I know, doesn’t sound too fun or sexy, but it was actually a challenge to be creative with a dry subject matter. Ultimately, I wanted more when it came to my writing.
I would love to see the Survivor Diaries on the screen. I think it would make a powerful HBO series. It’s full of action and great characters. Many fans have encouraged me to put it out there, but there are so many stories in my head, I haven’t had the time yet. Maybe someday.
4 In your novel Mechaniclism, we have a girl-in-the-bubble scenario in the present day, and mechanical men from the Enlightenment era. Is that right? The Survivor Diaries books are set
on a post-apocalyptic Earth. So what real life experiences inform your writing, if any?
I find inspiration in the strangest places. Mechaniclism came from research on early automatons. They were extremely advanced for their time, and I couldn’t believe how little information there was out there on them. The scribe character from my books was based on the ancestor of the modern computer. The “doll” wrote in script using an advanced form of cams. I found that fascinating. Ireland, my modern day shero of the piece, had to be the other side from the coin of the clockmaker who created the first automatons. He is a fictional character, loosely based on a real genius imprisoned until he produced a miniature, moving city. Ireland also finds herself the victim of a lifelong imprisonment, but she prospers in her limited circumstances. It’s about what we make of the cards we are dealt.
The Survivor Diaries is a bi-product of my lifelong fear and
fascination with nuclear apocalypse. While I was growing up, there was no such thing as watching television around the dinner table. We spoke of world news and events, and I was introduced to the subjects of nuclear holocaust and the Cold War at a young age. Looking back, perhaps I was too young. I remember staying up nights worrying about something happening to my family. After reading Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, by Eleanor Coerr, my fears only worsened.
Writing about nuclear war and survival is a way to help tame those worries and allowed me to play out a scenario where my family and I not only survive but become experts in forging the land independent of society as we know it today.
I am currently writing Lullaby of the Dead. It will be part of the Opus of the Dead series, and my inspiration for that was a single graphic.
5 East coast girls are hip and stylish. The Southern girls, the way they talk, they knock me out. The Midwest farmers’ daughters really make you feel alright. And the northern girls, the way they kiss, they keep their boyfriends warm at night. But why do we wish that they all could be CALIFORNIA girls? And do you choose California consciously as a setting for your fiction, a place for your characters to populate? Or do you assume your work will be set there, and perhaps change location later (if at all)?
Ha, ha, ha. This has to be the best, and perhaps most dangerous, question I have ever been asked in an interview! But yes, let’s make them all California girls. -Wink-
I’m a California native, born in Los Angeles. My family moved to Monterey when I was a child. It’s been the home of literary greats like John Steinbeck, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Robinson Jeffers. The beauty of the landscape here is inspirational. Some of my other work has is in San Francisco (Mechaniclism), Los Angeles and Big Bear (Lullaby of the Dead).
With that said, I might venture out of the state, but only in my writing.
6 Who is your favorite character from your OWN books? With
whom do you most closely identify?
Laura Patton, the reluctant leader of a group of nuclear war survivors, is a dynamic, flawed, but ultimately heroic character. I love that she is not afraid of crying or making mistakes. When she is thrown into the lion’s pit, she rises to the occasion, and eventually takes on some very unsavoury villains. Because I built her after some of my own life, I do identify with her. However, she is far stronger and more adaptable than I am. I strive to become a person as virtuous as Laura. Maybe someday…
7 The Survivor Diaries: Thematically, what sets them apart from each other (10 words per book).
Monte Vista Village: Fear and the big bang.
The Beginning at the End of the World: Escape to the unknown.
Moving Mountains: Learning the new normal.
Frozen Webs: The heartbreak of the horrible truth.
8 What about feminist tendencies? Or misogyny? Do the survivors mirror society at large today in terms of their make-up, kindnesses, religious beliefs and prejudices?
There are people afraid of the word “feminist.” I love the F -word. If you believe in equality of the sexes, you’re a feminist. It’s very simple. No one says, “That guy in the book I read last night was such a great role model for boys. He was strong, brave, and never backed down from a battle. I would love to see more males like this in literature.”
Sadly, misogyny is still alive and well. We can see it in politics,
and it always makes me scratch my head. I felt it was important to reflect that in my stories. It’s tricky to write from that point of view, so I kept reminding myself, “These guys have no idea what idiots they are. They know they are right, and they see nothing wrong with what they are doing.”
I tried to strike a balance with the survivors’ virtues. I believe there is good in the world, even when I see so much selfishness, hatred, and prejudice. It’s everywhere. But when there is a disaster, there are always people there to help. I want to believe that in such a great planetary catastrophe we would come together rather than stand divided.
9 Is your Survivor Diaries series narrated entirely by one person, or more than one? And how difficult is that to do, in terms of point-of-view?
The main point-of-view is through Laura’s eyes; however, there are two others who write journals to preserve the history of the Villagers. As a writer, it was fun to change it up some.
10 You cite Darwinism in the post-apocalyptic Survivor Diaries series. James Lovelock proposed via his Gaia theory that the world is actually optimised for life in such a way that, similarly, it is very
likely to sustain living organisms of some kind after an extinction level event. Do you have faith that enough of us would still be around to prove that theory correct, if something awful happened the day after tomorrow?
I will answer that with a quote:
“Nations, like stars, are entitled to eclipse. All is well, provided the light returns and the eclipse does not become endless night. Dawn and resurrection are synonymous. The reappearance of the light is the same as the survival of the soul.”-Victor Hugo
Thank you so much for your wonderful answers and your time, Lynn!
Thanks for the interview. Your questions are both insightful and thoughtful.
Lynn Lamb is on Amazon, on Twitter and on Facebook.
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