I’m very pleased today to be hosting an interview with Karen Henderson of Kayelle Press, to talk about the new anthology, Tomorrow. This post is part of the virtual book tour for this newest publication from Kayelle Press. Karen and I have been Internet friends and colleagues in writing for many years, despite being separated by about half the Earth! So while I couldn’t actually sit down with her for this interview, I think you’ll find our conversation interesting. And be sure to read to the end to find out how you can win a copy of the Tomorrow ebook!
Sherry: What sparked the idea for the “Tomorrow” anthology?
Karen: I’ve had a fascination for ‘the end times’ for many years. Couple this with a need to escape reality and I found myself reading books that took me to other worlds. But it was always the books that started in our world and then changed to something else that thrilled me the most. If the theme was realistic, there was more chance that it could actually happen. And because I was desperate for something to change, I was easily swept away.
When that desperation disappeared and the need for change ceased, my view changed entirely but I found I still enjoyed the books. However, I was no longer looking for something and I realised that the worlds I believed would save me, would in fact be extremely difficult to live in.
As an avid gamer, my favourite PS3 game is “Resident Evil” (I have the entire set), I developed an obsession for killing zombies in post-apocalyptic worlds. This carried over to my reading and those imaginary worlds I used to get lost in became zombie infested instead.
The romantic notions I held dear were replaced with dark, foreboding civilisations where all we take for granted is gone—no electricity, no running water, no communication providers (phone or internet), no shopping centres; everything that makes life easy, gone. The thought is actually disturbing. Throw in reasons for the changes—human error or neglect, pandemics, natural disaster—and we could very easily find ourselves in a harsh new existence. That sparked my imagination and the idea for the “Tomorrow” anthology was born.
Sherry: What were you looking for, in particular, in the stories for the book?
Karen: When I put the call out for submissions I didn’t have a definite list of ‘must haves’. The one thing I wanted was a variety of ‘predictions’—zombies, biohazard, space travel. Action and entertainment is always high on my list. Connecting with the characters is always good too. Other than that I let the author and the story do their thing. I’ve always loved surprises!
Often, the stories I enjoy the most are the ones that reach out and grab me. It can be something I can relate to or something that speaks directly to a memory or a feeling or a thought in my mind. It’s wonderful when it happens. It allows me to become totally engrossed in the characters and the plot. Strangely, the author may never know that a simple sentence they have written changed the entire reading experience for me. Of course, it can easily work in reverse too.
Sherry: Was there anything that surprised you in the submissions you received?
Karen: I guess the biggest surprise was to discover that I’m not alone in my obsession. Over 200 submissions proved that there are a lot of people out there who think like me. That shouldn’t surprise me really, but it did.
It was interesting to read other people’s predictions. The manuscripts proved how vast an imagination can be. When I think about how much thought had gone into developing some of the storylines I read, I was amazed. The authors had me convinced that what they had written could come true.
Sherry: One of the questions you’ve asked in talking about the book is “How do you think you would fare in an apocalypse?” So I thought I’d ask you: How would you do?
Karen: Terrible! Honestly, I couldn’t light a fire without a match or a lighter. I’d be doomed unless I could connect with people who could help me.
After initiating the “Tomorrow” anthology, I spotted a book on wilderness survival in an opportunity shop. I purchased it and now have a few tips for finding water and making shelter, but feel quite sure that getting enough friction between two sticks to spark a fire is totally out of my range of capabilities.
And when it comes to food … I really don’t want to think about it, let alone experience the hunger I’d feel due to my lack of skills. Killing an animal would be difficult. Hunger would force me to do it, but skinning and gutting it would be beyond me. And how would I cook it? Yes, I’m back at the fire making problem … again.
I could become a vegetarian and that would solve some of the issues I would be having. However, it would be just my luck that the first root or berry I ate would be poisonous!
I have a question for your readers: How would you fare in a post-apocalyptic situation?
Sherry: What’s next for Kayelle Press? Do you have a project waiting in the wings?
Karen: There’s a few actually. The first of our “Awesome Aussie Tales” books is due for release later in the year. “The Obelisk Trap” by Margaret Pearce is a fantasy story for younger readers. It will make a brilliant addition to our list.
Submissions are also open for Volume 2 of the “Hope” anthology series. These books contain speculative fiction short stories by various authors from around the world. The second volume will focus on a theme of “courage”. Also included in the book are small factual snippets on suicide awareness. The profits are donated to Beyondblue, a leading suicide awareness advocate in Australia.
Finally, the third instalment of The Land of Miu series is due for release in 2014. “The Lion Kings” by Karen Lee Field will conclude the fantasy trilogy for younger readers.
This interview is part of the “Tomorrow” Virtual Book Tour starting on 6 July 2013. To find out more about the stories, the authors and the publication go to the virtual book tour schedule page at http://www.kayellepress.com/2013/06/tomorrow-virtual-book-tour-schedule/.
I am offering Sherry’s readers a chance to win a copy to the “Tomorrow” ebook (in the format of the winner’s choice). Just leave a comment on this post and your name will be in the draw. One name will be randomly drawn and the winner will be announced in the comments section, in a couple of days.
Before I go, I’d just like to say a big thank you to Sherry for hosting this stop on the book tour. Please take a few minutes to look around.
About Karen Henderson
Karen Henderson is an editor at Kayelle Press, a small independent publisher of speculative fiction in Australia. Their latest release is “Tomorrow”, a post-apocalyptic anthology exploring the possible outcomes of plagues, biohazards, human error, natural disasters and intergalactic travel. The book is available in paperback and various digital formats from their website and from most online bookstores. Visit the website (www.kayellepress.com) to find out more.
Thanks, Karen, and continued good luck with Kayelle Press!