Today I am welcoming Scott Cramer, author of Night of the Purple Moon to my blog. His book is an interesting post-apocalyptic story about a comet that leaves deadly space dust in its wake, killing adults and older teens.
Welcome to On The Shelf, Scott and thank you for the interview! I’d like to ask you some questions, first about your book, then about yourself.
About the book:
Did you always know the exact direction you wanted for the story or did things morph as you started writing it?
I knew the general direction of NOPM, but that still left lots of room for morphing, improvising, letting the characters take over. Morphing is one of the great joys of writing. Creative discovery. It can also get you in a pickle. It helps not to stray too far afield from the narrative.
I used to write very spontaneously. Literally, I’d sit down and type and eventually the kernel of a story would emerge, and then I’d type more, trying to fashion that kernel. Typing 100-words a minute was a piece of cake.
Then I discovered screenwriting and learned the importance of story structure. Way back in the day the Greeks figured it out. Now I adopt a three-act structure for most of my stories. There are a million books on writing screenplays, but the one I found most helpful was Save the Cat by Blake Synder.
Finally, it helps me to have few touch points to aim for as I’m working on a story. Again, wandering is fun, but if you wander too much, both the author and characters get confused.
Do you have a favorite character or one that you most enjoyed writing?
I enjoyed writing about my four leading characters. Each of them, to greater and lesser degrees, had character arcs. At least that was my goal. They started out as “A” and through facing challenges and their fears they eventually evolved to “B”.
I tried to give each character an internal flaw, something that would hold them back, and something they would have to overcome if they were to succeed.
How much research did you have to do for NOPM?
I certainly had no personal experience with menstruation, so I had to learn about that through a combination of Google and my two daughters. I am really lucky to have an editor who is also a medical doctor. He kept me on track with some of the medical issues. Finally, I relied on several beta readers to help me fine tune some of the “romantic” scenes between several characters. There is a scene between Abby and Kevin at the end of the jetty where Kevin presents her with a ruby bracelet and Abby senses that he wants to kiss her. He does. And she is more than ready for that, but at the last second he gets cold feet and bolts. Abby’s very first reaction is to think that she did something wrong. I would have never gotten that right without help of someone who remembers what it was like to be a 13-year old.
I read another interview that you did over at Rally the Readers where you said you were going to do a sequel titled Colony East. Did you know you were going to do a sequel, or was this something that happened after you finished NOPM?
Halfway through Night of the Purple Moon I knew there would have to be a sequel, god willing, and three quarters of the way through I knew I had to write a trilogy. Colony East started out as the working title of the sequel but more and more it is sounding pretty good to me. I have a general sense of where the story is headed, and I have a fuzzy sense of what needs to happen in book 3.
Any writing advice for those aspiring authors out there? (Myself included :-D)
Be creatively courageous. As much as humanly possible, don’t worry about writing something really bad or really stupid. I am always reminding myself to take chances and go for it. Worrying what others will think about your writing can kill a lot of great ideas.
Coffee or tea?
I buy coffee beans at the supermarket and grind them on the spot. I am the only person I have ever seen using the grinder. I bang and shake the machine to make sure I get every last coffee granule, and then I ask the checkout person to treat the bag like gold.
Some random fun fact?
I dug deep into the most random recesses of my mind and came up with the most random fact. I live in Boston and my friend and I drove to Alaska and back, ten thousand miles in fewer than three weeks. There are many stories from that trip, but I supposedly came across my identical twin in town of White Horse in the Yukon Territory in Canada. He (my twin) and a small girl were leaving a Laundromat. My friend and I were entering the Laundromat. The small girl stopped and stared at me. My friend stopped and stared at my twin. I looked at my twin and he looked at me and neither of us seemed to know what all the fuss was about.
Wow, that is pretty random! Yet kind of awesome, ha!
Thanks again Scott for being here! Definitely check out his book and
Source: Author Request
Add it on Goodreads!
The epidemic strikes everyone who has passed through puberty.
Abby Leigh is looking forward to watching the moon turn purple. For months, astronomers have been predicting that Earth will pass through the tail of a comet. They say that people will see colorful sunsets and, best of all, a purple moon.
But nobody has predicted the lightning-fast epidemic that sweeps across the planet on the night of the purple moon. The comet brings space dust with it that contains germs that attack human hormones. Older teens and adults die within hours of exposure.
On a small island off the coast of Maine, Abby must help her brother and baby sister survive in this new world, but all the while she has a ticking time bomb inside of her — adolescence.
What would happen if adults died and only children were left? This is the question the author answers in this book. Space dust from a passing comet kills adults and older teens, leaving behind only children to fend for themselves. I really enjoyed seeing the system the children developed on the island and felt they were very smart, especially Abby and Kevin. Abby was a very strong girl for her age and she worked really hard to keep them all save after such a horrible trauma. All the children had to be strong and cope with such an awful catastrophe.
Abby was my favorite character. She was strong and smart and kept everyone in order to be able to survive. Her and Kevin were definitely the brains of the operation and took excellent care of so many children.
The fact that space germs turns a pre-pubescent child into a ticking death sentence is a bit scary, and age is only one factor, the biggest factor–when puberty hits–comes at no specific time, so really it is a semi-random death sentence. I like the way the author made something so beautiful–a gorgeous purple moon and sky with a streaking comet–into something so scary the next morning.
One thing I didn’t care for much was the use of the GD word. Five times. On one page. I’m not against curse words in stories as long as it goes with the story, but for me, the GD word isn’t appropriate in a book that a 12 year old would read. But this is coming from a person who doesn’t cuss, so I’m a bit biased.
I liked the way the book ended and I look forward to the sequel and seeing how the young community progresses. And I enjoyed seeing the contrast between the island community and how the children of the mainland could be.
Realistic, great story idea, strong young characters, a bit of foul language.