Thursday, May 2, 2013

Author Interview #177: The Cloud Seeders by James Zerndt

Our interview today is with James Zerndt, author of The Cloud Seeders (Young Adult: 4.3 stars, 40 reviews). Before we get to the interview, here’s a brief description of the book: Serve Your Country, Conserve Your Water, Observe Your Neighbor. This is the slogan of the Sustainability Unit and of a country gone eco-hysterical. After nearly twelve months without rain and the hinges of the world barely still oiled, Thomas and his younger brother, Dustin, set out across a drought-ridden landscape in search of answers. But what they discover along the way will change their lives, and their country, forever. Drawing rave reviews for its originality and style, and described as “brilliantly simple” by The Kindle Book Review, The Cloud Seeders is available in print and Kindle through Amazon.


1. When did you start writing, and was there a significant event that prompted you to do so?
I wrote a little bit in high school and college but then there was a dry-spell of, oh, about ten years. I’m not sure what, exactly, brought me back to it. More or less, loneliness, I think.
2. What inspired you to write The Cloud Seeders?
It actually started off as a short story (“Would You Rather”) which I got a lot of positive comments on, so I decided I’d try to turn it into a novel. The idea for the book actually came while watching the news. There was something on about a drought in California and there were these people ratting out their neighbors for watering their lawn or washing their car when they weren’t supposed to. I just sort of went from there. Oh, and Would You Rather was a game I used to play with a friend of mine on our drives out to the Oregon coast to surf. Only our version of the game was a little more messed up than the one they play in the book.
3. What is your book about?
I always have a hard time with this question when people ask me. In a nutshell, it’s about two brothers. There are some sci-fi elements to the book, and because of the ages of Thomas and Dustin it’s been classified as Young Adult, but I never set out to write for either of those markets. I just got immersed in these two characters and wanted to see what would happen to them in this world where, for some reason, it had stopped raining.
4. What do you enjoy the most about writing?
How time can just disappear when it’s going good. You sort of raise your head and an hour has gone by. It’s not always like that, of course, but when it’s going good…yeah…almost nothing beats it.
5. What was the hardest part about writing your book?

World building. I’d never even heard that term before my agent mentioned it. With this type of book, you have to create this alternate world (even if it closely resembles our own—which mine does) so that every little piece logically fits into place. If you move something in chapter one, it can affect something much later in the book. It’s kind of a nerve-wracking experience. For me anyway. I’m not a big fan of sticky notes.
6. Where do you get the inspiration to write?
That’s an easy one. From other writers, other books.
7. Who is your favorite author and why?
Roddy Doyle because he doesn’t mess around. He can break your heart and make you laugh all in the space of one, beautifully short sentence.
8. What do you like to do when you are not writing? What is your ultimate luxury?
Drinking PBRs and playing softball on Sunday at Hosford.
9. Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
I don’t think so. If you haven’t read anything by Roddy Doyle, I’d recommend The Woman Who Walked Into Doors or The Snapper. Or maybe Stump by Niall Griffiths. My writing isn’t necessarily similar to theirs, but they’re all good reads.
Which, in the end, is what we’re all after I think.
Read more about The Cloud Seeders at Amazon.

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