Author Crush Friday with Erica Cameron
Glitter girls, you have pressing questions for your favorite authors and we have their answers. Welcome to our weekly segment, Author Crush Fridays.
We love asking questions and we love the answers from some of our favorite authors. Today we’re talking to Erica Cameron, author of the final book in The Ryogan Chronicles series, War of Storms (November 5, 2018; Entangled Teen). Thank you for talking to us today, Erica! We’re honored! Erica has fantastic advice for teens going through difficult times right now. We also love her answer on what she’s most passionate about in life. Make sure you read until the end!
GLITTER: Tell us five things that people might not know about you.
ERICA: I am asexual, something I’ve written about a lot in various places because it’s an orientation that is so often misunderstood.
Despite having spent 99% of my life in Florida, I’m still not used to the heat. I’ll live somewhere with seasons one day!
The year I turned 30, I spent several months taking a solo road trip across the country. I drove over 15,000 miles, and it was incredible. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
I have a strange fascination with crime shows. Criminal Minds is a favorite, but recently I’ve become deeply attached to the BBC shows Death in Paradise and Midsomer Murders.
Although I went to FSU immediately after high school, I had no idea what I wanted to study. It wasn’t until my junior year that I declared a major. Eventually, I graduated with a double major in psychology and creative writing.
GLITTER: How would you describe your writing to a new reader?
ERICA: I write complex stories with deep friendships and lots of secrets. No matter what genre I’m writing in, those elements always seem to appear. There is also usually kissing at some point. Because kissing.
GLITTER: Do all of your ideas turn into books, or do you write a ton down until one resonates with you and then start writing that book?
ERICA:Unfortunately not! I have so many ideas every year and writing them all is impossible. There’s simply not enough time! Every so often, though, there’s an idea that doesn’t spark and then fade; it takes on an alluring glow that leads me down a rabbit hole. Even then, not all those ideas become books, and not all the books I’ve written have become published works. No matter how glittery and intriguing a certain idea is, I have to know what to do with it before I can mold it into a book.
GLITTER: How do you find the emotional truths in your writing?
ERICA: Every struggle we face in our lives has been part of someone else’s experience as well. Love, struggle, faith, betrayal, loss—all of it is universal. Even if I construct a story full of magic and impossibilities, it will resonate with readers so long as the character’s journey is psychologically and emotionally true. Not every arc comes from my own life—that would be incredibly monotonous to write after a while—but remembering the uncertainties, the depressions, and the triumphs can be a powerful thread to weave through a book.
GLITTER: What one question sparked the whole plot of War of Storms?
ERICA: There were really two. I wanted to examine what made a leader as opposed to a ruler or dictator, but the even bigger question was “How in the world am I going to get most of them through this alive?”
GLITTER: Do you need to read Island of Exiles and Sea of Strangers before reading War of Storms or can they be read out of order?
ERICA: War of Storms picks up mere hours after the end of Sea of Strangers, and the events of each book heavily informs the next in the series, so I recommend starting from the beginning despite how hard I try to fill in as much of the backstory as I can with each new installment in the story.
GLITTER: Do you have any particular writing rituals?
ERICA: My schedule has changed so much over the years that I’ve never been able to develop a ritual that stuck. Being somewhere comfortable with my laptop and just enough noise in the background to keep me focused is as close as I’ve come. It’ll be nice if I ever have the chance to write full time and really develop a system; thankfully, the only things I really need are my laptop and a good night of sleep.
GLITTER: What character do you relate most to?
ERICA: Although many of the characters have some element of me in them (it’s a hard truth to escape when I invented them all), I connect most to Sanii, Etaro, and Zonna. I’ll leave it up to friends and readers to guess which traits of which characters are most like me.
GLITTER: Do you have anything that you love to collect?
ERICA: It’s a bit of a cliché, but books! Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had an urge to keep all the books I read. I’m not a collector in the terms of rare editions or anything like that, but I have quite a few signed books, a lot of advance release copies, and a wide array of favorites.
GLITTER: What book of yours do you hope to see on either TV or as a movie and why?
ERICA: I’m torn between my Assassins duology and the Ryogan series! I love action movies, so seeing one of my own on the big screen would be amazing. The Ryogan Chronicles has so much going on in the background, though, that I think it would fit better as a TV show where we would be able to follow multiple characters and storylines at once. In the right hands, either project could be incredible to see come to large screen life.
GLITTER: What one piece of advice could you give any teen going through difficult times now?
ERICA: Never be afraid to ask for help. Weather it’s a family member, a trusted friend, an empathetic teacher, a therapist, or an online resource, help can come from somewhere. You’re not alone.
GLITTER: Did any of the authors you read in high school affect how you write now?
ERICA: Absolutely. Tamora Pierce was the first author I ever called a favorite, and when I tried to write a fantasy novel in high school, it was little more than horrible, thinly veiled Tamora Pierce fanfiction. I didn’t even know what fanfiction was at the time, but I can’t deny it in hindsight. Honestly, I don’t think any books read as an adult will ever have the same impact as those read and loved between childhood and the teen years.
GLITTER: What are you passionate about in life?
ERICA: Growing the awareness of the asexuality spectrum and of emotional abuse. I didn’t learn about asexuality until after I’d already been married and divorced, and the relationship had been extremely manipulative and emotionally toxic. Understanding my own orientation might have given me a better chance of standing up to my ex. Knowing more about the cycle of control and coercion abusers tend to follow would’ve helped even more. Awareness and understanding are key to accepting asexuality and stopping emotional abuse, and I want to do as much as I can to make these goals reality.
GLITTER: What are you working on right now?
ERICA: Spaceships! PAX NOVIS is the first book of a brand new series, and it’s set far in the future and was pitched as The Expanse meets Star Trek: Voyager. Human colonies have spread across the Milky Way and have been at war for centuries. Everyone depends on the resources carried by massive Pax Class Cargo ships, the PCCS, including the stowaway teens hiding on-board the Novis. No one knows it, not even the stowaways themselves, but they may be humankind’s only hope when Pax ships start to vanish. It’s been an incredibly fun universe to construct, and I can’t wait for the book to release. Plus, I’ve already seen the cover, and WOW. It’s exquisite.
Erica Cameron is the author of books for young adults including the Ryogan Chronicles, the Assassins duology, and The Dream War Saga. She also co-authored the Laguna Tides novels with Lani Woodland. An advocate for asexuality and emotional abuse awareness, Erica has also worked with teens at a residential rehabilitation facility in her hometown of Fort Lauderdale.