Today’s guest on the Pack of Aces is Erica Cameron! Before we launch the interview, here’s a little more about who she is. 🙂
After a lifelong obsession with books, Erica Cameron spent her college years getting credit for reading and learning how to make stories of her own. Erica graduated with a double major in psychology and creative writing from Florida State University and began pursuing a career as an author.
Erica is many things but most notably the following: writer, reader, editor, dance fan, choreographer, singer, lover of musical theater, movie obsessed, sucker for romance, Florida resident, and quasi-recluse. She loves the beach but hates the heat, has equal passion for the art of Salvador Dali and Venetian Carnival masks, has a penchant for unique jewelry and sun/moon décor pieces, and a desire to travel the entire world on a cruise ship. Or a private yacht. You know, whatever works.
Question 1: So we know you enjoy writing, but do you have any other passion? Hobby? Awesome animal friends you could show off? Tell us about the things you love!
Jewelry! I make jewelry for fun (and usually have a selection of stuff to either give away or sell at events). I danced growing up, too, though I haven’t done that for years. Ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, modern, and basically whatever classes my studio threw at me. Oh my goodness do I love a good dance movie. Musical theater was a big thing for me growing up, too! When my middle school put on Into the Woods, I was Cinderella’s mother. Had my own tree and everything! Another hobby I’ve kind of let fall by the wayside, but I adore going to see a good musical. But no, before you ask, I haven’t yet seen/heard Hamilton. 😉
Question 2: You have a series called The Dream War Saga, in which characters sleeping can access another world. Can you tell us more about it?
Demons come into your head at night while you’re sleeping and steal things out of your brain.
That’s what I usually say when someone asks me about it, which makes it sound a little more like a horror story than it actually is, but it’s a pretty apt description! In more detail, the series is about the point at which two worlds converge and the people who are affected by that convergence. It’s about family in its various forms and what that word can mean. It’s about being committed to the choices you make—even when they’re wrong—and then being just as committed to fixing your mistakes. It’s about a quiet kind of bravery that doesn’t involve swords or fights and instead is as simple and complicated as standing up to someone you’re terrified of and saying, “No.”
Right now there are two novels and a short story out that are set within this universe. Sing Sweet Nightingale is Mariella and Hudson’s story, and it’s about what happens when a series of dreams leads Hudson to the Mariella’s small town in upstate New York. This book is the real launch of the series, but technically the short story called Whatever it Takes happens first. Chronologically speaking, at least. That story will soon be available for free on Amazon and other sites, or you can read it in a copy of the Doorways to Extra Time anthology. Deadly Sweet Lies just released in December 2015, and it’s the second book of the series even though it can be read first without any confusion.
Question 3: What first made you excited about this story?
There were two questions I was trying to answer when I first started writing the short story of what would later become Sing Sweet Nightingale: Why would someone willingly and completely stop speaking, and what would happen if you were the only one who knew another universe existed? The ways the answers to those two questions intertwined was what first thrilled me about writing this story, and it’s what kept me going even when Mariella, one of the narrative characters in Sing, was being incredibly difficult to understand. Deliberately, in my opinion. 😉
Question 4: Are there any ace characters in your novels? If so, tell us about them!
Yes! In Deadly Sweet Lies, book two of The Dream War Saga, you get to meet Julian Teagan, Mariella’s cousin. He’s got an expert poker face, a messed up childhood, and a compellingly earnest (and kind of weird) sort of optimism about the world. He is also confirmed on the page as falling on the asexual spectrum. I adore Julian for a lot of different reasons, but one of the major ones is that researching for his character is what solidified my own acepiphany. For that reason, Julian and Deadly will always hold a very special place in my heart.
In addition to that, there is a character named Kody in the Laguna Tides series I co-authored with Lani Woodland that I can confirm is demisexual. His on-page confirmation statement of his orientation doesn’t happen until book 3 (which is coming out later this year), but he’s definitely under the acebrella.
Question 5: How does your aceness informs your writing, if at all?
It definitely does, especially since my realization that I am, in fact, asexual. It wasn’t a label I knew about or incorporated into my identity until 2014 when I was writing Deadly Sweet Lies, but it’s always been part of me. It informs the way I write romances, for one. My characters will never have on-page sex, not because I have any moral objection but because I literally cannot fathom actually writing that. I think my brain might short-circuit if I tried. I really do enjoy writing flirty, sarcastic, innuendo-laden banter, and everything up to heaving kissing where they start losing clothing is fair game, but then the door will close. There are and will be very few exceptions to this rule.
My aceness has also made me hyperaware of the dearth of ace characters, so I’ve promised myself that every single series I write will include at least one ace-spectrum character. Not necessarily the narrative voice, but somewhere in the story someone will be confirmed asexual.
Question 6: Any other projects? What are you working on right now? It doesn’t have to be writing, though that’s always a bonus!
Pretty much my entire life revolves around my writing projects right now, especially until June. But I am so super in love with both of the series I’m working on, so I’ll tell you what little I can!
The first series you’ll see anything from is my Assassins series. There will be two books and both will be coming out later in 2016 from Riptide Publishing’s new YA imprint Triton Books. I can’t reveal the titles or much about the books yet, but I can tell you that it’s hugely diverse across the race and sexuality spectrum, includes lots of gun fights and explosions, and has more curse words than all my other books combined. So that’s something.
In January 2017, Entangled Teen will release the first book of a fantasy trilogy. The book is called Island of Exiles and the series is The Ryogan Chronicles. It’s a sprawling story with swords and magic and secrets and storms and deserts and grudges and so much else I can’t even list it all.
After both of those series are done, or at least well on their way to being complete, I have a fantasy/sci-fi mashup that I’m really excited about working on, one that will have a feisty asexual girl as the central character. She’s wonderful, her friends are epic, and I cannot wait until I have the time and brainpower to work on her story!
Question 7: When we started this blog, each of us chose a card to identify with, depending either on our writerly interests or our internet persona (Ace of Squid, Ace of Stars, Ace of Shifters, Ace of Horrors, Ace of Swords). If you had to pick one—anything—what would it be?
Oh! I don’t know! Is this kind of like picking what you’d hoard as a dragon? Because I’m pretty sure I’d hoard stories. Books, movies, oral histories, audiobooks, music that tells me a story—any and all of it. Or if that doesn’t work, I’ll be the Ace of Gemstones. It’s dangerous to take me into a bead store or to look at interesting, unique jewelry. I want ALL THE SHINY THINGS. 😉