We asked author Anne Mendel some questions about her debut novel, Etiquette for an Apocalypse (Brackets Press, $14.99, signed copies available). Here's what she had to say:
- Post apocalyptic writing generally isn't considered humorous. What on earth prompted you to take a comedic turn?
This is a good and easy question. I thought I had something to say about moving into hard times and some things might get better. And, I figured if I made it a comedy more people might read it.
- 2. For all it's funny, you touch on some serious human situations, how family relates, how people band together in times of adversity, how stereotyping sticks with us even in disaster. Was there one particular point you wanted to make?
There is one point. Take chocolate chip cookies to your neighbors NOW! It sounds a little frivolous but here is the thing. Without community, in hard times you’re left on your own to survive. I don’t want to be the person with the shotgun blowing away my neighbors. I want us all working together to build systems that work. If we wait till a big disaster hits we are in such big trouble. You can check out survival tips on my blog at annemendel.com
- 3. You're originally from Arkansas. Did you consider setting Etiquette there instead of Portland?
In the South they have things like charm school and “stand your ground”. In the NW people don’t much care which side of the plate to put forks and knives, people aren’t much into guns and there’s so much less prejudice. It’s the perfect place to build a fictional community because when you’re starving, civility, not etiquette, is huge. I think the NW USA is a very civil society. However, would anyone buy a book called Civility for an Apocalypse?
- 4. I read this because Marc Acito insisted that I do so -- Thank you, Marc! -- so tell me, how did you meet him? Have you read his books? Did he influence you or assist in any way, aside from some serious cheerleading and book-pushing?
I started this book in a class I took from Marc on Comedy. He ended up helping me with every word, paragraph and chapter. Marc Acitio is the best writing teacher anyone could ever ask for. He’s a great cheerleader who is brilliant and makes everyone around him feel smart.
- 5. Do you have any future adventures in store for Sophia and her family? What are you working on now?
I’m working on a sequel about Sophie and her clan escaping Portland because it has become Big Brother; camera’s everywhere, neighbors turning each other in. She’s going with a wagon train to Bend, Oregon to set up a small, leaderless, community.
Fran encourages all of you who like post-Apocalyptic fun to snag this one. You'll be able to say you knew Anne Mendel "back when"!