Interview with Claudie Arseneault, author of Viral Airwaves

1. Tell us something about your latest book. Is it your debut? What genre does it belong to?ViralAirwavesCover

My latest novel was indeed my debut. Viral Airwaves sits halfway between dystopia and solarpunk (green, hopeful, community centered futures). It follows Henry Schmitt, a lover of noodles and willful denial. One day a bunch of rebels make irruption in his life and he discovers proof the government has intentionally created the Plague that killed thousands. All they have to spread the word, however, is a hot air balloon.

Technically, I also edited and published an anthology of solarpunk dragon short stories, called Wings of Renewal. Amazing sci-fi/fantasy stories with a lot of diversity. And our cover is plain gorgeous. So yeah, I’m really proud of that, too.

2. Is your book part of a series or can it be read as a stand-alone?

Viral Airwaves was created as a standalone novel. You can start with it and be just fine. It’s a complete story in and of itself. It does, however, have a prequel novella! That one is called The White Renegade and is available for free. It follows Seraphin, the rebel leader in Viral Airwaves, and tells an important part of his backstory.

3. When does your book release?

Mystery, haha! More seriously, though … Viral Airwaves and The White Renegade are already out. I don’t know when the next one will come out. I’m aiming for early Fall 2016, but we’ll see how that goes.

4. Which character of your book was the hardest to write?

In Viral Airwaves, definitely Henry. The thing with Henry is … he’s convinced he can’t really amount to anything. In his mind he is not a hero, and he should absolutely not get involved in illegal activities. It took me several drafts to get a good feel of him and make him into an interesting character, and a couple more to really smoothen out the first third of a novel and get him acting.

5. If you’re not writing, what do you love to do?

Gosh I spend so much time writing these days I’m not even sure what to answer. I game a lot to relax. Any kind of games, but RPGs and strategy games are a personal favourite. Oh and board games! I adore board games and we’re always playing one. Anything from quick and simple games (Love Letter, Carcassonne, etc.) to more complex and long boardgames (Agricola, Battlestar Galactica, 7 Wonders). We love them all.

6. Did anyone inspire you to start writing or did you always knew you just had to write?

Someone pushed me. My second boyfriend, a british who also aspired to write and with whom I did a lot of roleplay. He kept telling me my ideas were fantastic, and that I should write a novel out of them (I am!). It got me started, and soon enough I couldn’t stop and knew I HAD to do this.

7. Any advice/tips for newbies?

Don’t be afraid to rewrite. Don’t rush into it at the slightest new idea either, but never discard rewrites. If you have this new idea which would make the story tighter, more intense, and better in so many ways? Except it’d demand that you rewrite it so much of it, you might as well start a new draft from scratch? Consider it. Consider it hard. Chances are, it’ll be worth every minute of your time. Writers never stop learning. Between themes and structure and characters and pacing and prose … there’s just too much to know! Rewrites hammer in your craft while you make your story better. Plus, most of them aren’t a sign you got the story wrong the first time. They’re proof you, as a writer, have evolved and gotten better at large-scale considerations. So put your skills to good use and rewrite that novel!

Also, get a small group of writers on a similar level than you and exchange critiques. You’ll learn a TON from this, too.

8. Are you already writing a new book? Can you tell us a little bit about it?

My next book is the first of a trilogy. It’s a political fantasy rife with LGBTQIAP characters, happening entirely in a single city, Isandor. Although it has a large cast, it centers primarily on three of them: Lord Dathirii, an idealist elven noble who provokes the enclave of wizards from an evil Empire into a dangerous trade war; Hasryan, an assassin who gets accused of the one murder he didn’t commit and is set up as a scapegoat for a decade-long feud; Arathiel, who returns from 140 years out of Isandor, his senses drained by a magical trap and his family and friends dead. All of them (and others) need to confront what home means to them, and how much they’re willing to sacrifice for it.

Also I’m writing an interactive fan fiction of Fire Emblem, a turn-base strategy game I love. Readers will get to vote on some events and character interactions as the story unfolds, and I have cool character art. I just started, so you can check it out at bladeofbegnion.com . 🙂

9. A word that you use way too often? (Mine are “quite” and “probably”)

“Just”. I use it all over my first drafts. I just (hehehe) can’t help myself. It’s okay, though. I know I need to look out for it when I clean up. Otherwise, I think I have more problems with words I can never remember how to spell, despite using them several times over the last years.

10. Last but not least: What’s your favourite type of candy, if you don’t mind me asking?

Oh no I have to choose? That’s cruel. I would say tie between Reese and Coffee Crisps? Especially the bite-sized ones! I always end up eating the entire bag! On the other hand, there’s not a lot that can be the kind of candy mom prepares when Christmas rolls around, but that might be the novelty.

Author Bio: Claudie_AuthorPic_Medium

I’m a young French Canadian writer, living in Quebec City — which, yes, means French is my first language. I started writing back in 2007, and promptly became quite addicted to it. I am strangely fond of squids and hot air balloons, in addition to being a big gamer (both board games and video games). Almost anything geeky or science-related will be right up my alley. Especially virus/bacteria! Invisible killers forever!

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

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