Drum roll, please - Introducing E. J. Wenstrom!
Thank you, Ms. Wenstrom, for joining me today and answering a few silly questions. We'll then get down to the nitty-gritty.
What is your favorite activity to do in the summer? Winter?
In summer I'm all about the beach! I love to be in the sunshine and by the water. After spending about six years in Michigan, any love I may have had for winter is now gone. I've paid my dues on winter forever, I think.
What led you to start writing novels?
I was looking for a creative challenge, I think part of me felt a need for something outside of my career that would be totally my own. We were making small talk in the office and I made some sort of off the cuff comment that prompted my colleague to say, "That sounds like a novel. You should write it." And I just though ... well huh. Maybe I should try that. And I did.
Great that you gave it a shot. You have talent!
Cats or dogs?
Dogs! My spouse and I have a very attitudinal miniature pinscher named Pippi.
If you were to be gifted a superpower that you had to use continuously for 8 hours every day, what would it be?
Oh boy. There's a lot of superpowers that would be great to have, but not to be used constantly for full shifts every day! LIke psychic powers. Under these rules I might choose something like super speed or flying, so I could whoosh around and stop waiting to get from place to place.
Star Trek or Star Wars?
They're both wonderful! But if you're making me choose, my ultimate loyalty is with Star Wars.
What is your favorite author/book?
My favorites are always in flux but one constant over the years has been Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles. I come back to it every few years.
The zombie apocalypse will happen in two days. You are fully stocked with food, water, and toilet paper. What is the one thing you will have stocked up on as your guilty pleasure?
Coffee. The real apocalypse starts when the caffeine runs out.
Oh, wow, I never thought of it that way. So true!
When is your favorite time to write?
I wake up and write at 5am before my day starts, when my mind is fresh.
Where do you draw inspiration? Real-life? Daydreams?
As a creative I believe you are what you eat. Everything I read, watch, engage with in the world is fair game. I've gotten ideas from songs, from snippets of overheard conversation, from other books I'm reading. Ideas are everywhere, it's focusing on one long enough to bring a full novel to fruition that requires discipline.
You have a book published. Yay! Do you have more? Do you have a favorite character (and, if so, which one)?
I do have more! Before Departures I wrote the Chronicles of the Third Realm War series, a dark, voicey fantasy series about a golem desperate to become human, who tries to steal a soul from the Underworld and gets entangled in a war between the realms.
It's impossible to pick a favorite character from among your own creations. But the protagonist of Departures, Evalee, is the most like myself of all the characters I've written so far.
I enjoyed Departures! Defo a five-star from me. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Tonight, seventeen-year-old Evalee is scheduled to die.
She’s planned her celebration for weeks, and other than leaving her sister Gracelyn behind, she’s ready. The Directorate says this is how it should be, and she trusts them, as all its citizens do. So tonight she dresses up, she has a party, and she dances. Then she goes to sleep for the last time … except, the next morning, Evalee wakes up.
Gracelyn is a model Directorate citizen with a prodigious future ahead. If she could only stop thinking about the shuffling from Evalee’s room on her departure morning. Even wondering if something went wrong is treasonous enough to ruin her. If she pulls at the thread, the entire careful life the Directorate set for her could unravel into chaos.
Swept away by rebels, Evalee must navigate a future she didn’t count on in a new, untidy world. As the Directorate’s lies are stripped away, she becomes determined to break Gracelyn free from its grasp—before Gracelyn’s search for the truth proves her to be more unruly than she’s worth to the Directorate.
Thank you for visiting today!
E. J. Wenstrom believes in complicated heroes, horrifying monsters, purple hair dye and standing to the right on escalators so the left side can walk. She writes dark speculative fiction for adults and teens, including the young adult dystopian novel Departures and the award-winning Chronicles of the Third Realm War series (start with Mud). When she isn’t writing fiction, E. J. Wenstrom is a regular contributor to DIY MFA and BookRiot, and co-hosts the Fantasy+Girl Podcast.
Start the Chronicles of the Third Realm War series for free with the prequel novella when you join E.J.’s newsletter.
Social media links…
You can find me
@EJWenstrom on Twitter