Everyday, as technology advances, people are finding more ways to make our lives more comfortable. What if one day all of that was taken away? How would you fair? I probably wouldn’t do very well. Just think about the basic needs, water and food. Where would I find clean water if I ran out of bottled water and there was no running water? If my stove and oven didn’t work and my grill is out of propane, how would I cook my food?
I was very lucky to come across an author who addressed the very problem. In her novel, The Girls Guide to the Apocalypse, Daphne Lamb focuses not mainly on zombie killing badassery, but on how normal folks like us can transition into such a life. So…I’m not a girl, but I’m sure if this book can help a girl survive the apocalypse, I could probably benefit.
Michael Pang: Can you tell us a bit about your background?
Daphne Lamb: I’m originally from Colorado, the only child (unless you count our household full of cats and dogs) of two very hard working people. Besides being a writer, I’m a violinist, do stand up comedy and am an avid collector of bad movies and all things Wonder Woman, and I’m currently a year into learning aeriel silks. I live in Los Angeles, which is a great city to be a writer.
MP: So you’re a fan of Wonder Woman. Did you grow up reading comics?
DL: I did! I was fascinated with graphic novels and tried my hand at drawing and writing my own with mixed results and they weren’t the most effective crimefighters. Overall, I think the X-Men and the Justice League should feel good about their job security
MP: Where and when did your writing journey begin?
DL: As long as I can remember, I wanted to write – at least ever since my Mom let me rewrite the ending to Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer in the back of the book. Since then its been writing in whatever forum I can find, which is a few produced sketch shows, a bad movie blog and a television project currently in development. Of course there’s always the few novels that will never leave the bottom of the drawer, but that just goes without saying.
MP: That’s a great way to start. I remember that when I was a child, whenever I watched a movie where I didn’t like the ending, I would imagine a full set of alternative endings to my liking. But I was never assertive enough to put them in writing. So, you started writing at a very young age. Who are your favorite authors and how have they influenced your writing?
DL: Too many to count for this space! I would have to include Margaret Atwood, Douglas Adams, John Swartzwelder, Louise Erdrich, Alan Moore on my list of favorites. With each of these authors, I was struck by not only what original voices they had but how deftly they were able to craft unusual perspectives with strong identifiable voices. You know you’re reading the work of a great author when it makes you want to up your own game!
MP: Definitely a great list of writers! I can only image what a strong voice your books must carry. So, you mentioned that in addition to being a writer, you are a violinist and a standup comedian. Sounds like you are a very busy woman. What does a typical day in your life look like? And how does your writing routine fit into your day?
DL: Writing routines require a lot of discipline no matter what your daily schedule looks like. I also work a day job, which can pose as a challenge, but I’m fortunate enough to be able to sneak in writing time when there’s a lull. Typically, I’ll give myself a writing goal for the week to allow some flexibility day to day. A usual day for me is to get up, do yoga, then go to work. After work, I come home and set about getting as much writing done as I can, whether it be for my next book or any other side projects I might be working on.
MP: Setting a writing goal really is key! It’s definitely hard to be working full time and working on novels on the side. Not only is it hard to squeeze the time in, but by the time I have the free time, my brain is already drained from the day. Good thing I get most of my writing ideas from dreams! How did you come up with the idea for your novel?
DL: A few years ago, I went on a trip to Belfast with Habitat for Humanity. While it was great to be part of that, I was overwhelmed with how lacking I was in basic skills. After getting demoted from hammering nails to pouring water in a tub, it occurred to me how I didn’t have a chance in the event of the Apocalypse. The title was born and the story unfolded from there.
MP: Haha, what a revelation! I’m right there with you. I’m pretty sure that in the event of an apocalypse the only people who would stand a chance would be builders, farmers, and military. I guess that’s what books like yours come in for the rest of us. What do you think sets your novel apart from others current on the shelves?
DL: First of all, its got a fantastic cover which is thanks to Greg Simanson. Secondly, there’s a lot about the Apocalypse and doomsday scenarios of the future, but the focus on those stories is about people who do badass things like fight zombies and help Charlize Theron drive pretty girls all over the desert. I want to know about the people who’ve been trying to master the first world problems of this relatively comfortable society we currently in, and then to have that rug jerked out from under you. Maybe we think we could do okay if we had to adapt to that kind of world, but what’s the process for getting used to it? That’s the story no one was telling and that’s what sets my book apart. That and all the jokes.
MP: I do love books with humor! So you mentioned that your book is focused on the people and their transition from their normal daily lives to living in and end times scenario. Which character in your book is your favorite and how much of yourself is reflected in that character?
DL: Definitely the main character Verdell, who I envisioned as myself on my worst days. She’s made a life of trying to half-ass her way into just being comfortable, which is something I relate to unfortunately all too well. However, she has a issue with confidence, and its an insecurity that doesn’t allow you to see not only what you’re worth but what great things you can be capable of when you make the effort to stand up and take control of what you really want in life.
MP: Sounds like a very strong female lead! I expected nothing less based upon your favorite authors. I am also very intrigued by the passion you have for your story. You must have had a lot of fun writing it. Which scenes in your book did you have the most fun writing?
DL: The whole book was a lot of fun to write, but if I had to narrow it down, I really enjoyed any scene where Verdell and her workaholic boss Robert interact, which was in an abandoned house and in the quarantines. Robert will not let go of his corporate thinkspeak and Verdell will not give up on fighting it with her own dry logic. Those interactions against a life and death backdrop were definitely the most fun I had.
MP: Sounds fascinating! What do you hope for your readers to take away after reading your book?
DL: I wrote the book as satire, so I hope people found the humor, but also the fact that while the generations who came before us fought extremely hard to make our lives comfortable and fulfilling, there’s a danger in merely existing in that kind of comfort. John Lennon wrote “Living is easy with eyes closed,” which is only half true. I hope people take that away.
MP: That is an excellent takeaway in this age of entitlement. What are your hopes for this novel?
DL: My hopes are that it entertains readers and makes them laugh. My hopes are also that it starts a discussion about what we value and what’s really important in this life. From the feedback and reviews I’ve read, it seems to be working!
MP: That’s great! What do you have in store next for your readers?
DL: I’ve recently finished a new novel about what happens when you combine a creepy mountain retreat with a spouse you realized you don’t really know and the music of Hall & Oates. And of course, I have begun work on the sequel to The Girls Guide, where we see Verdell battle more signs of the Apocalypse, including moving back in with your parents as an adult.
MP: Sounds like it’s going to be another interesting read! Thank you so much for sharing with us your story!
Check out Daphne’s book below…
The Girls Guide to the Apocalypse
by Daphne Lamb
Publisher: Booktrope Editions
Publication Date: August 11, 2015
Genre: Post Apocalyptic
Welcome to the Apocalypse. Your forecast includes acid rain, roving gangs and misplaced priorities, in this comedic take on the end of the world as we know it, from debut author Daphne Lamb.
As a self-entitled, self-involved, and ill equipped millennial, Verdell probably wouldn’t have ranked very high on the list of those most likely to survive the end of the world, but here she is anyway. Add in travelling with her work addicted boss, her boyfriend who she has “meh” feelings for, and a handful of others who had no businesses surviving as long as they have, and things aren’t exactly going as planned. But despite threats of cannibalism, infected water supplies, and possibly even mutants, Verdell is willing to put in as little effort as she can get away with to survive.
About the Author
Daphne Lamb was raised in the wilds of Colorado and now resides in a very different wilderness known as Los Angeles. She is a comedian and award winning writer who has worked in television, film and video games. In her spare time, she enjoys collecting comic books, discussing awesomely bad movies and thinks about what it would be like to own a cat.