In Conversation with Zoe Cannon

In conversation with Zoe Cannon, author of the Internal Defense series, a dystopian fiction:

What/who inspired you to start writing?

Honestly, it’s hard to say, because I can’t remember a time when I haven’t known that this was what I wanted to do with my life. If anything, my love for books inspired me, because books are the one thing I’ve loved longer than writing. But I think I was just born with a head full of stories to tell.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I live in New Hampshire with my husband and a cuddly giant of a dog. I write dark dystopian novels, but I’m actually a pretty cheerful and idealistic person in real life. It sometimes surprises people when they talk to me after they’ve read my books, because they expect me to be full of doom and gloom about the future and instead I get excited about the possibilities for where we might go from here.

What is your favourite genre?

I like to read a little of everything (except horror – I don’t think I’ll ever understand the appeal of being scared for fun), but my favorite books tend to be YA, especially YA science fiction and fantasy. I love the way YA books can blend genres more easily than adult books, as well as the focus on characters’ inner lives and their struggles to become the people they want to be.

Which is your favourite book?

There are too many! But one of my favorites is Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. It’s a brilliantly-written YA novel about friendship in World War II.

Who is your favourite author?

Again, that’s a difficult one to answer… but probably Lois McMaster Bujold. I’m mostly a fan of her science fiction, but I’ve also read and enjoyed a couple of her fantasy novels. Aside from presenting the most realistic vision I’ve ever read, her novels are both genuinely fun and deeply thought-provoking.

What are your hobbies?

Aside from writing, I like to play with 3D art, and every so often I’ll get into a gaming mood and spend days or weeks engrossed in one game or another. And I usually have my nose in a book.

Perfect holiday destination?

Anywhere with a beach! I love the ocean so much I sometimes suspect I should have been born a dolphin. I got the chance to visit Hawaii a few years ago, and I’d love to go back.

Describe a perfect day.

To be honest, a perfect day for me would look much the same as an ordinary day does for me these days. I get up late, I work on whatever my current writing project is, I read, I snuggle with my dog, I have long and geeky conversations with my wonderful husband. I stay up until all hours of the night (or morning) writing and daydreaming and playing games. What more could I ask for?

Which is the best part of writing a story?

The best part, for me, is before I start actually writing the story, when I’m still figuring out what I want it to be. That’s when I get most of my ideas – in the initial brainstorming phase, before I’ve set a single word down on paper. It’s an amazing feeling, when a book first starts coming together in my mind. It feels like putting a puzzle together, only I’m creating all the pieces myself.

How much inspiration do you draw on from real life experiences? With respect to plot, characters etc.

I’m sure there are aspects of my life in my stories, because everyone’s life experiences affect who they are and what they think and the kinds of stories they believe in – which is, of course, where all writing comes from. But I never set out to write from my own experiences. Why would I write about my own life when the ones I can create are so much more interesting? 🙂