Author Spotlight: DeAnna Knippling
Posted by Debbie Mumford
DeAnna Knippling drinks a lot of tea, but she’s not fussy about it, because that would be rude. She likes horror movies but tends to jump excessively and squeak. She thinks the epitome of ghost stories were the Brits at the turn of the century, more specifically E.F. Benson, although she’s not fond of the Mapp & Lucia books, which strikes her as a shame. She grew up on Tom Baker and the peacock death cry of the Mystery! series and had a cat named Cheshire Cat. It wasn’t until later that she discovered Edward Gorey, and felt both delighted and as though someone had been hiding something from her for years. You can find her at http://www.WonderlandPress.com.
Why did you become an author? Was it a childhood dream?
Actually my childhood dream was to be Crystal Gayle, the country singer with six-foot-long hair. I wandered quite a bit before I decided I would be a fiction writer, actually – first it was poetry, then plays. Then, finally, I acknowledged that mostly what I did in my spare time was read SF/F/H short stories and novels and I should try writing some of those.
While I was going to high school and college there was this huge bias against genre novels, and it felt like I was making a major stand against the establishment. “I will write…genre!!! I will entertain!!!”
Truly you get some funny notions going on when you’re that age.
What’s your greatest obstacle in writing?
Getting over the fact that there’s so much to learn. It doesn’t sound like it should be traumatic, but it is. I learn something new…and suddenly EVERYTHING I’VE EVER WRITTEN UP TO THAT POINT IS HORRIBLE. I go into this black despair. Fortunately I’ve got it down to like a day of despair before I bounce back again, so I can study people like Stephen King and not feel like I’ve wasted the last decade of my life for more than a couple of hours.
What makes the world of your novel different from ours?
I was going to say “zombies,” but that’s not really it. I live in the U.S. in modern times, and that world is Victorian England, which I think is more of a difference than zombies themselves would be. Today, a zombie plague, we’d all freak out be all over the phones and the Internet about it; Pat Robertson would no doubt tell us that the plague was because of sinners, and a bunch of people would put up a meme making fun of it. Whereas the Victorians, I’m convinced, would be all, “The worst sort of chaps are returning from the dead. Quite an issue for the current administration, don’t you think? These crumpets are quite nice, Hartley, do let Cook know.” We’re much more expressive and responsive now, for better or worse.
What was the most exciting thing happening when you wrote your novel?
This entire novel has been pervaded by a sense of both excitement and doom. The research has been AMAZING, though. The entire time I was writing it, I was running around and going “DID YOU KNOW ABOUT ALICE AND QUEEN VICTORIA’S SON?!?” and things like that. Total geekery.
Who is your favorite Indie author?
Anne Elliot. She’s my friend in real life, so I was kind of going, “Oh, well, I’ll read her book for her and say nice things, blah blah blah.” No. It turns out that she writes these perfect little teen romances, which sounds trite because of the way we’ve been encouraged to think of such things, but they’re just little miracles of character and plotting and pacing. You walk out of them going, “Wait wait, my headache is cured and tomorrow will be a good day.”
Who is your favorite traditionally published author?
Living? Uh…Right now, Mark Lawrence. Very dark high fantasy.
If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?
Travel more. For some reason I have this hangup where I love doing it but I’m constantly talking myself out of it. Have you seen that Kids in the Hall sketch about not putting salt in your eye? Here’s my self-talk:
“I want to travel. Oh, travel is expensive, I shouldn’t travel, I don’t deserve to travel, IF YOU TRAVEL YOU WILL BETRAY EVERYTHING YOU EVER LOVED.”
I’m an introvert. Can you tell?
Thanks for chatting with us, DeAnna. And now, what you’ve all been waiting for…information on DeAnna’s latest release!
With the invention of a serum that prevents most people infected with the zombie sickness from becoming raving cannibals, Victorian society finds itself in need of more standards: to separate the infected from the whole, to control when and how the infected can come into contact with the pure, to establish legal contracts, precedence, employment, and more, with regards to the walking dead.
The very backbone of the British Empire is its standards.
The middle daughter of the Dean of Christ Church in Oxford, Alice Liddell, finds a certain lack of charm in the standards she must follow, with increasing strictness, day after day. Wild and rebellious, she battles her father’s cold discipline, her mother’s striving to hide her middle-class origins, and the hollow madness of the world around her, in which the teetering Empire desperately pretends that nothing is, in fact, the matter.
Enter Mr. Charles Dodgson: one of the chaste Dons of Oxford, married to his mathematics. He charms Alice and her sisters, often taking them on walks and boat rides (chaperoned, of course), and telling them jokes and stories. He is twenty-four when he first meets them.
And he is dead.
Turned in a tragic accident at Rugby, Charles uses the serum to keep him from the ordinary sort of madness that affects zombies.
But it doesn’t affect the elegant madness of his brain.
And one day, as he sees Alice struggle against the chains that constrict her, chains so similar to his own…
…one of his playful stories becomes something more.