Today, I have an extra special treat for you all as I have the privilage of presenting Rob Boffard, whom I interviewed on this blog and reviewed his debut novel Tracer a few months back, interviewing Sarah Lotz, The author of The Three – “A chilling tale of three children who emerge from three seperate plane wreckages, seemingly unhurt” and its new sequel Day Four. (Both of these books are on my TBR and I hope to get to them soon). So please give a warm welcome to these two stalwarts of the Sci/Fantasy/Horror genre. *cues applause*
Rob: Just finished Day Four, and loved it. Amazed that I haven’t seen a horror story set on a cruise ship before. You’re going to get asked this question a lot, but why’d you pick that for the setting?
Sarah: Thank you for saying that! I reckon it’s because I grew up watching The Poseidon Adventure and Jaws and other sea-related horrors. I’m a massive wuss, and there’s something intensely lonely about the thought of being cast adrift in the middle of a vast empty ocean – in some ways it’s like being lost in space. As to cruise ships, being trapped in an environment with a bunch of strangers and bad cabaret is pretty much my worst nightmare. In DAY FOUR I concentrated on the lower end of the cruise market, which is basically a microcosm of a capitalist society: up top are the consumers, eating and drinking and floating from one giant Duty Free port to another, down below are the workers from so-called developing nations, working twelve-hour shifts for very little pay. Peering beneath the waterline on these ships and looking into this somewhat exploitative aspect of the industry was a real eye-opener.
Rob: Can you explain how this story fits into the world you established in The Three? It’s not a direct sequel, right?
Sarah: DAY FOUR isn’t a direct sequel, although there are elements of a follow-on to THE THREE towards the end of the novel. I know that sounds arsey and confusing and needlessly obtuse, but it’s hard to say more without major spoilers! Added together I hope the books provide all the answers to any questions readers might have about the plot or fate of the characters – but in retrospect I reckon I probably should have spelled this out a bit more in the narratives.
Rob: With the two books (The Three/Day Four) you’ve established a pretty unsettling supernatural force – one that, to me, seems unstoppable. Is there an end point for this story you’re weaving? One where we finally get to confront and either overpower or succumb to these beings?
Sarah: That would assume that we are the good guys and the entities in THE THREE and DAY FOUR are the bad guys! My lips are sealed on this.
Rob: Religious fanaticism is a big theme in your writing. What scares you about people like Pastor Len and Celine Del Rey?
Sarah: The fact that there are so many charlatans exploiting people’s fear and grief for monetary gain and/or power is not only scary, but makes me sick to my stomach. I did a lot of research into psychic mediums before I wrote the novel, and while some of them seem to honestly believe they have a gift and can talk to the dead, there are some really vicious con-artists out there too. As part of the research, I learned how to cold read, a la John Edward, which is remarkably easy once you know the trick behind it.
Rob: You do a lot of collaborative writing (SL Grey etc). What’s key to making those relationships work?
Sarah: You have to leave your ego at the door and be prepared to kill your darlings when you’re collaborating with someone. The minute you start being precious or fighting about, say, commas and stuff, it’s doomed to failure. And as a rule, I find it helpful to collaborate with people who are more talented than I am!
Rob: I’m coming up to the release of TRACER. It’s my first novel, so I’m freaking out a little bit! Do you remember how you felt on the day before your debut? What was it like?
Sarah: You have nothing to freak out about as TRACER is absolutely brilliant – I’ve read it twice now and loved it both times. But yeah, I was terrified. My first novel, POMPIDOU POSSE, was published in South Africa the first time around (Hodder is kindly re-releasing it this year). Far from being a global bestseller, it sold about twelve copies and gave me a taste of what it’s like to fail as a writer – in this game, where you often need a thick skin, this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing!
Many thanks to Sarah and Bob for stopping buy. If this has pipped your interest in their books, please do check them out. Also be sure to stop by and read my 5 star review of Rob’s debut novel Tracer and my interview.
ABOUT THE BOOKS
THE THREE by Sarah Lotz
Four simultaneous plane crashes. Three child survivors. A religious fanatic who insists the three are harbingers of the apocalypse. What if he’s right?
The world is stunned when four commuter planes crash within hours of each other on different continents. Facing global panic, officials are under pressure to find the causes. With terrorist attacks and environmental factors ruled out, there doesn’t appear to be a correlation between the crashes, except that in three of the four air disasters a child survivor is found in the wreckage.
Dubbed ‘The Three’ by the international press, the children all exhibit disturbing behavioural problems, presumably caused by the horror they lived through and the unrelenting press attention. This attention becomes more than just intrusive when a rapture cult led by a charismatic evangelical minister insists that the survivors are three of the four harbingers of the apocalypse. The Three are forced to go into hiding, but as the children’s behaviour becomes increasingly disturbing, even their guardians begin to question their miraculous survival…
DAY FOUR by Sarah Lotz
The extraordinary, unforgettable sequel to THE THREE – perfect for fans of The Shining Girls, The Passage and Lost.
Four days into a five day singles cruise on the Gulf of Mexico, the ageing ship Beautiful Dreamer stops dead in the water. With no electricity and no cellular signals, the passengers and crew have no way to call for help. But everyone is certain that rescue teams will come looking for them soon. All they have to do is wait.
That is, until the toilets stop working and the food begins to run out. When the body of a woman is discovered in her cabin the passengers start to panic. There’s a murderer on board the Beautiful Dreamer… and maybe something worse.
TRACER by Rob Boffard
A huge space station orbits the Earth, holding the last of humanity. It’s broken, rusted, falling apart. We’ve wrecked our planet, and now we have to live with the consequences: a new home that’s dirty, overcrowded and inescapable.
What’s more, there’s a madman hiding on the station. He’s about to unleash chaos. And when he does, there’ll be nowhere left to run.
In space, every second counts. Who said nobody could hear you scream?
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Sarah Lotz is a screenwriter and novelist with a fondness for the macabre and fake names. Among other things, she writes urban horror novels under the name S.L. Grey with author Louis Greenberg; a YA pulp-fiction zombie series, Deadlands, with her daughter, Savannah, under the pseudonym Lily Herne; and quirky erotica novels with authors Helen Moffett and Paige Nick under the name Helena S. Paige. She lives in Cape Town with her family and other animals.
Rob Boffard is a South African author who splits his time between London, Vancouver and Johannesburg. He has worked as a journalist for over a decade, and has written articles for publications in more than a dozen countries, including the Guardian and Wired in the UK. Tracer is his first novel.
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