The Survivors by Sean Eads has just been short-listed in the Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror category by Lambda Literary! Why are we so excited? Sean is also a librarian at Standley Lake Library. His novel, narrated by journalist Craig Mencken, tells the story of an invasion by rude aliens.
The Survivors is laugh-out-loud funny at the start but quickly becomes very dark. Did you always know that the story would go in that direction?
Yes, I knew the story would take a dark turn as it attempted to imagine how the peculiar alien invasion might go. I wanted the story throughout to constantly move between uneasy humor and violence as a way to keep readers interested and guessing.
How did you find Craig Mencken’s voice?
His voice is, in part, a parody of the voice David Sedaris uses when narrating many of his essays. I’d been re-reading Me Talk Pretty One Day at around the time I got the idea for The Survivors, and started thinking what a Sedaris-esque “character” might be like as a war correspondent in an alien invasion. While the story ended up being a bit different from that initial intention, I think some of that origin still comes through in how my narrator speaks.
This is your first novel to be published in print. What else have you had published?
My latest short story, “To Bie or Not to Bie,” came out in Shock Totem. It involves zombies and a young troupe of Shakespearian actors. I have two more stories coming out in separate anthologies this year. One is called “The Oven,” and examines how the Ginger Bread Man would react in a world overrun by the living dead. The other involves Oscar Wilde battling zombies during the 1900 Paris Olympics. I have a science fiction/mystery story called “The Seer” coming out soon. I’ve also tried my hand at a thriller novel called Trigger Point, which was released in 2012 in e-book format.
Describe your writing space.
My writing space is wherever I happen to be when I have a moment to write. At home, it’s pretty much in front of a computer with a lot of dirty dishes stacked up around my keyboard. But I can write anywhere—a park, a laundromat; it doesn’t matter. I have actually written in the bathtub before, but that was messy. I don’t need a room with a view, complete silence, or anything like that.
You work full time at JCPL. When do find time to write?
Having no social life helps. I’m usually up in the early morning staffing AskColorado, the state’s live virtual reference service, and I’ll be working on a story in-between helping patrons. I generally write a couple of hours after work as well. I used to be very disciplined about writing for three hours every day, but in the past couple of years I’ve found myself becoming more of a “burst” writer, pumping out large amounts of words in a short time, then going at a more relaxed pace for a week or two. I love writing and it really never comes down to finding time. I just do it.