Today is my stop for the release blog tour for After Life Lessons by Laila Blake and L.C. Spoering. I had the chance to have a chat with the main protagonist Emily and asked her some pressing questions about her story. She is officially one of my favorite people ever! I can't wait for you guys to see what she had to say!
If you're in need of a new zombie survival kit... you will have the chance to win one just like Emily's! It's loaded with stuff I totally never would have thought of...it so freaking awesome!
Stay tuned for more information about After Life Lessons; the author's Laila and L.C. are hosting two tours... the first half consisting of mostly promo material (character interviews, spotlights, author interviews, guest posts, excerpts, and more!) and the second half consisting mostly of reviews. You can see the HUGE list of participants and get a preview of what they are posting by clicking here or (http://www.liltliterary.com/after-life-lessons-tour-schedule/)
Be sure to check out http://www.liltliterary.com/ for more awesome stuff from the authors!
Hi Emily, thank you for taking the time to stop by Accepted Wisdom to answer some questions. It is my honor to have you here!
Emily: Hi! That’s my pleasure, totally. I mean, it’s still weird to be interviewed just because two people with nothing better to do wrote a story about me, but you know… it’s fun!
1. Can you tell us what your story is about? (No spoilers please)
Emily: Well, I guess... the end of the world? A zombie virus outbreak takes out huge amounts of the population. We - that is my fiancé and his son, Song, kind of manage to stay alive, holed up in our apartment for a long time but finally we ran out of stuff and decided to try and get out of New York. Sullivan didn't make it, though, and then Song and I were by ourselves, trying to make it South. That's when Aaron finds us. He’s a medic out distributing the last of his supplies, and he offers to help us out.
We kind of become this rag-tag team of broken misfits, I guess. And then, slowly and painfully we start to heal each other.
2. When you think of yourself what comes to mind?
Emily: That’s so hard to answer. It changes all the time. In a way, I think that’s actually a lot of what the whole story is kind of about, you know? What is left of you when everything you thought was so important to your identity is taken away… and then how you find a new you. Or maybe what the old you was all along.
3. What is your greatest achievement and fear?
Emily: I think, in a lot of ways, it’s myself - both the achievement and fear. I left home to be more “me,” I guess, but nothing ever quite turns out the way you think it will. I didn’t expect to be a mom, not at twenty, or to watch the world end.
I’ve always been afraid that I won’t be enough, that I’ll let myself down, you know? So maybe that I keep surviving is the achievement part.
4. What do you want most out of life for you and your loved ones?
Emily: No more dying, no more leaving. That’s what I want. And I want my son to grow up happy, just to spite everything. Like this massive rebellion against circumstance. That’s what I want.
5. What do you consider the most overrated virtue? The most underrated?
Emily: I think chastity is pretty overrated. I know that sounds like a joke, but I really don’t see the point of that, what good does it do - especially when you put it up against like kindness or humility, you know? Those are underrated, maybe. Depends on who you talk to, but they definitely were before everything went to shit around here.
6. I know you’re an artist at heart… what draws you to the art world?
Emily: I think at the beginning, it was this sense of freedom. And that’s such an overused word now, but I just listened to music, or read about artists and there was something about them - they didn’t live in a box. They opened themselves up to experiences, to pain and lust and joy and everything. They didn’t care about what they were supposed to do, or what the neighbors thought.
That fascinated me. I wanted to be like that. And so I started - in my small way at first, drawing or trying to write (that never was my thing though). In the end, that made it easier to just leap and find my tribe, you know?
And, of course, eventually I found out that this freedom isn’t totally real either. That they do care what other people think, that they just follow a slightly different playbook. But by that time, I loved the act of creating so much, that it didn’t matter.
7. When and where were you the most happiest?
Emily: New York. It was one of those fantasy places when I was young, and the only place I ever envisioned myself. I got there and, really, it was exactly that: it was where I belonged, in a way I never did before.
I hated leaving, but it was like watching something die: it wasn’t the place I’d loved, the place I ran to, not anymore. I like to keep it in my memory as that, my home.
8. Besides the basic necessities, what other items do you need to make it through the zombie outbreak?
Emily: Something to live for. I know that’s not an item, but it’s the one thing I needed. I wouldn’t have survived this long if wasn’t for Song, if I didn’t have to take care of him. And then I’d never met Aaron, would never have found my own reason.
9. What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone who is trying to survive the zombie apocalypse?
Emily: Logically, first off, always: don’t give up. It’s stupid, but you’d be surprised how often you have to remind yourself after another freezing day, another day without food, another run-in with zombies. Don’t give up. No sugar-coated optimism, just keep going.
Aaron Related Questions:
1. What was your first impression of Aaron?
Emily: He is really tall. No, wait, I know that sounds stupid, but dude, he stood in that doorway at the gas station where we were holed up, and I was kind of crouching on the floor and he was like this giant. I was terrified!
But then he talked and… you know, he offered to help. He has these really intense, really kind eyes. That’s why I trusted him even when my head was still telling me not to.
2. How would you describe your relationship with Aaron?
Emily: Complicated and, well, not. Most of us make our own complications, and I think we did, both of us. We both had our issues, and fears, and they were all valid, but also crutches we used to keep from hurting again. It took a lot of trust to give those up. I think we both figured that out, that trust thing.
The rest is spoilers, hehe.
3. What is one trait you admire about him that you wish you had but lack?
Emily: The funny thing about me and Aaron, I think, is that in the end, we are more alike than I could ever have imagined when I first met him. But he is more trusting than me, kinder than me, and more patient. A lot more patient.
I like being able to learn from him. He’s a good person to look up to.
4. What is your most memorable moment with him?
Emily: He let me cut his hair. It sounds silly, but there was something around that that made it more intimate than almost anything I’d done in my life up until then. He was close, and there were candles all around us. And I think, part of me knew then... I don't know. I was scared of that part.
5. How do you define love?
Emily: In words? I don’t know, it might be beyond that. And there are so many different kinds of love - there is love that makes you feel weaker, and love that makes you strong. There’s love that’s healthy, and love that isn’t, or not fully - there's love that changes you, and love that roots you deeper in who you are. There’s… so much of it, everywhere.
I think love is when someone else becomes more important to you than yourself. And then you are forced to jump and you never know before it’s too late, whether that was a good trade or a bad one, but it’s still love.