Author Archives: lydias

Interview with KristaLyn A. Vetovich

Say hello to KristaLyn A. Vetovich! She was the second person to respond to my speculative fiction interview post, and I’m excited to share her answers with you today. 

What was the first speculative story you ever remember reading?

My mother hooked me on reading with the Harry Potter series. She would read them to us every night, but I would read ahead because I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next.

Who is your favourite author? Why?

At the moment, Neil Gaiman. Not only are his stories incredible, but his perspective is so encouraging and grounding for me as an author.

What do you like most about the genre(s) you read?

I love speculative fiction because it’s the best way to unleash everything my imagination can come up with, whether it’s through my own writing or leaping into a world of someone else’s design. It helps remind me that anything is possible and I can make a better reality.

More and more authors seem to be writing cross-genre stories these days. How do you feel about this trend?

I love it! Why not get creative and complex as long as it’s entertaining and makes sense for the reader? We have plenty of people (editors, publishers, etc) who keep our feet on the ground while we take our minds further into the clouds.

If you could name a pet after one character, which character would you choose? Why?

I usually let my pet’s personality inspire their names, but I did give my corgi the middle name Mikleo after a character in the Tales of Zestiria video game.

What fictional world would you never want to visit?

Any world with zombies in it. Zombies aren’t my thing.

What fictional world would you want to visit?

I want to visit the world of Good Omens and just get coffee (or tea) with Crowly and Aziraphale. I feel like that would be an excellent way to spend an afternoon.

Sharing spoilers with people who haven’t read the book or seen the film/show is a hot topic on Twitter and across many fandoms. How do you feel about sharing or overhearing spoilers?

I take responsibility for my own exposure to spoilers and if I happen upon one I see it as just another reason to experience the story as soon as possible. I’m not one to spread spoilers though. Everyone deserves the right to choose what they know going into a story.

Which series do you think should be made into a TV show or film next?

That’s a tough one! So many are already coming to the screen. As long as they’re done well, I’d watch all of them to promote the authors and their series!

Which TV show or film do you think should be turned into a book?

Avatar: The Last Airbender. Those characters would translate so well into books!

Bonus Author Questions

What is the most unusual or interesting way you’ve come up with an idea for one of your creative works?

For the Shifted series it was just people watching and imagining how hard we must make it on spirit guides to get through to us. The story exploded from there.

Sometimes characters don’t do what their creators want them to do. If this has ever happened to you, how did you deal with it?

I’ve had entire characters introduce themselves and I don’t realize it until pages later. I welcome them. If my creativity is flowing, I’m all for it and I like to think it usually works out better for the story than what I’d originally planned. I can always adjust in revisions if I need to.

What is your favourite trope?

I love the unwilling or unexpected hero. It shows that heroes come from everywhere and that being a hero is a choice anyone can make.

What tropes do you try to avoid in your stories?

I avoid love at first sight—though I believe it can happen. I like romance to be a secondary part of the plot in my stories so I can focus on the individuals and what makes them heroes in their own right.

 

About: KristaLyn is an internationally bestselling author, certified holistic practitioner, and intuitive coach who helps people attract the lives they want to live with the one thing they can’t control: divine timing.

KristaLyn lives in a treehouse in Pennsylvania with her husband and corgi, Jack, and cooperates with her family to help revitalize the Coal Region of Pennsylvania to a new, sustainable glory.

Website: www.KristaLynAVetovich.com

Email: info@KristaLynAVetovich.com

Social Media Handle: @AuthorKristaLyn

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Books I Love That Became Films or TV Shows

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

I recently did a Top Ten Tuesday post on a similar topic, so it’s going to be interesting to see how many other shows I can come up with. My best guess is that the first two items on my list will be on everyone else’s lists, too!

Lord of the Rings

With all of the 1980s and 1990s remakes coming out these days, I hope that this trend ends before anyone decides to remake the early 2000s Lord of the Rings films. They’ve aged wonderfully in my opinion. I’d rather see studios take a chance on something new than remake these films even though I do love this story.

Harry Potter 

There are certain things that work beautifully in a novel but won’t feel the same in a film (and vice versa). Overall, I was quite pleased with how the Harry Potter films depicted the Potterverse. The first few movies in particular will always feel magical to me.

The Martian

This film did an excellent job of explaining how the main character used science creatively to get himself out of all sorts of life-threatening predicaments when he was accidentally stranded on Mars. My first experience with Andy Weir’s style of storytelling came from this movie, and I’ve been a fan of his ever since.

Room 

Emma Donoghue’s original version of this drama about a young boy who had lived his entire life in the same room because his mother had been kidnapped by a violent stranger a few years before the boy’s birth made me stay up very late at night to see how it would turn out.

The film version of it was just as intense. Even though I already knew how it ended, I still found myself holding my breathe at certain key scenes.

Still Alice

Lisa Genova’s book by the same name was about a woman named Alice who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. I was so excited when it was turned into a film.Both versions followed Alice from shortly before she was diagnosed until well into the progression of this disease. They were tearjerkers and I’d reread/rewatch either of them in a heartbeat.

My great-grandmother had Alzheimer’s disease, so it was especially meaningful to see what this illness might be like for the person experiencing it. The gif above is from a scene where Alice forgets how to get home again early on in the course of her disease. It was the moment when I realized just how amazing this story is.

Hidden Figures

Where there were a few fictional tweaks to the film version of Hidden Figures that I wasn’t a big fan of, the true story that Margot Lee Shetterly wrote of how these women made the calculations that sent humankind to the moon is still something well worth checking out.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question. The image below is the list of upcoming prompts for this blog hop.

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Places to Read

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

This week’s prompt was “Books That I Refuse to Let Anyone Touch.” I was hopelessly stumped by it, so I decided to do one of the first Top Ten Tuesday prompts instead. This one is from almost a decade ago, long before I had any clue that Top Ten Tuesday even existed.

Favourite Places to Read

Underneath Trees

My family lived near a forest when I was in middle school.  Sometimes I’d ride my bike to the edge of the forest and read underneath one of the big trees just off of the official bike path. It was incredibly peaceful.

I still occasionally go to the park for this purpose today. There’s nothing like hearing leaves rustling and squirrels or other small animals chattering while you read.

On an Airplane

Flying makes me nervous, so it’s quite helpful to have a good book to distract me once the flight attendants have finished sharing the safety information they must discuss at the beginning of every flight.

I’ve actually been known to buy e-books that really catch my eye and then not read them until months later when I’m flying somewhere. It gives me something positive to look forward to during that time, and that’s always handy.

While Waiting 

I could be waiting for anything:

  • A doctor’s appointment
  • Dental treatments
  • Food at a restaurant
  • The chance to update my driver’s license

Books are a lovely and deeply-appreciated distraction in these moments…especially if the thing I’m waiting for carries the possibility of bad news!

When I Can’t Sleep

Occasionally, my brain decides to wake me up in the middle of the night for no reason. I’m simply wide awake at a time when I should be fast asleep on those nights.

It’s been my experience that the quickest way to get back to sleep is to read for a little while. Preferably, it should be something soothing, not exciting.

What are your favourite places to read? Did anyone else struggle with the original prompt for this week?

 

What to Read If You Liked The Walking Dead

Since the first post in this series was about a book published almost forty years ago, I thought the second post should feature something more contemporary from the speculative fiction genre.

I try not to make assumptions about what my followers already know about any book or graphic novel I blog about, so I’ll summarize The Walking Dead in one spoiler-free sentence for anyone who isn’t familiar with it:

After waking up from a coma, a police officer must find his missing family and adjust to a world that has somehow become overrun with zombies while he was unconscious. 

Obviously, there’s a lot more going on this world, but that sentence will give you the gist of it.

As a fair warning, the graphic novels as well as the TV show based on them are both incredibly violent. I actually had to stop reading and watching both of them a while ago due to this, although I’m still intrigued by the characters Robert Kirkman first created in 2003 and the assumptions he made about what life would be like in this sort of world.

If zombies and post-apocalyptic worlds are things you enjoy reading about, here are some other books that might be equally appealing.

Some of these titles have popped up in many similar lists online, but I’ve come up with a few classic novels I thought would work as well because of how many themes they share with this series.

Humans have dealt with plagues for millennia. For most of that time, we didn’t know why someone would seem to be perfectly healthy one day only to become dangerously ill the next.  You might be surprised to see how many similarities there are between an outbreak of cholera or rabies and a zombie infestation.

What happens when a society breaks down is another string connecting all of these recommendations. While I tend to have a much more optimistic view of how the average person would behave in that situation, not every writer agrees with that. It’s always interesting to see more pessimistic takes on the topic.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Imagine trying to stay alive in a world where nothing grew anymore. Now picture doing it while raising a child by yourself.

The relationship between the main character and his son reminded me a lot of how Rick Grimes interacted with his son in The Walking Dead. Both of these parents had been pushed to their limits by worlds they couldn’t possibly have predicted or prevented. Their love for their children was what kept them going in impossible situations.

Fair warning: this is a pretty violent story. Be sure to read some full reviews of it before checking it out if you’re sensitive to or triggered by acts of violence.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

In this tale, a group of schoolboys were stranded on a deserted island after a plane crash. They needed to figure out how to survive there without any adult supervision for a long period of time.

This was one of the first classics I thought about after I discovered the zombie genre. True, there weren’t any monsters on the island, but the unstable, dangerous community these kids developed reminded me a lot of how many living characters behave in typical zombie movies.

If only William Golding were still alive. I’d sure like to see what he thought of the similarities between this book and today’s horror movies.

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks

Zombies attacked. Humans fought back. Eventually, society stabilized enough for researchers to begin collecting stories from the survivors of this apocalypse.

I liked this more hopeful approach to how people might respond to a zombie invasion. People banded together in many of the anecdotes the narrator collected, and not all of them were the folks you might necessarily expect to make alliances with one another. Some characters also survived circumstances that seemed like they should never have worked out okay in the end. It wasn’t all doom and gloom.

Oh, and do not watch the film based on this book. The only things it shared in common with the original version were the title and the fact that zombies exist in both universes.

Yes, I might still be a little vexed about that.

Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus by Bill Wasik, Monica Murphy

If you think about it, rabies shares many similarities with whatever virus, bacteria, plot hole, or magical disease that creates zombies depending on which universe we’re talking about.

This disease is spread through bites and scratches.

Once symptoms appear, death is certain.

People and animals unlucky enough to be infected with it become agitated and unpredictable.

Sometimes I wonder if rabies was one of those real-life diseases that encourages creative minds to come up with fictional versions of it. They certainly have enough in common for me to think this is a likely explanation for at least some of the zombie folklore out there.

Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaugh

This is one of those graphic novels that I keep waiting for Hollywood to discover and turn into a TV series. It was a post-apocalyptic story what happened to the world after a virus killed off all but one man on Earth while leaving everyone who had two X chromosomes unaffected.

It was much less violent than The Walking Dead has been so far, but humanity still had to figure out how it was going to survive in the longterm. Since even frozen sperm and male embryos died out in this plague, humanity would only continue to exist for at most another century if the characters couldn’t figure out a way to create the next generation without the help of the Y chromosome.

Most of the storyline dealt with the main character’s quest to travel to the other side of the globe and find his estranged girlfriend. That journey was far from an easy one, but it did introduce the audience to all sorts of interesting characters along the way.

The Plague by Albert Camus

This tale was written at a time when epidemics happened more often than they do in most countries today. I’ve read that Camus was influenced by the Cholera outbreaks that happened both in the setting of this novella as well as closer to home. While the storyline doesn’t mention this disease by name, it does give clues that this might be what was killing off the characters so quickly.

If you’re not familiar with Cholera, know that it’s a bacteria that causes such severe, persistent diarrhea that people die of dehydration. In short, it is an awful way to die, and the plot did go into detail about what happens to the human body after being exposed to this illness. (So maybe don’t read this while eating lunch….)

Like fictional zombie diseases, Cholera didn’t have a cure and was poorly understood. I’m not surprised Camus was inspired to write about it. It struck communities without warning and spread like wildfire through fecally contaminated water and food. Seeing how the main character reacted to an illness that no one could stop reminded me so much of Rick Grimes’ reaction to the many deaths he saw while trying to survive in a zombiepocalypse.

What other books should be added to this list? Have you read any of these titles?

Previous posts in this series:

What to Read If You Liked Clan of the Cave Bear

Interview with Portia Kitcher

Portia Kitcher was the first person to respond to my speculative fiction interview post. I’m excited to kick this series off with her responses! 

Image credit: Arthur Rackham.What was the first speculative story you ever remember reading?

Grimms Fairy tales – being read to at first and then reading them myself – over and over!

Who is your favourite author? Why?

Justin Gustainis. I like him because he writes characters I like and care about. His Occult Crime series combines my two favourite genres of fantasy and crime solving.

What do you like most about the genre(s) you read?

Good guys vs. bad guys with the good guys generally winning.

More and more authors seem to be writing cross-genre stories these days. How do you feel about this trend?

That depends – I don’t like a lot of romance in my books – always keen to get back to the action, but I do like it when magic/occult combines with crime.

If you could name a pet after one character, which character would you choose? Why?

Yoda – because he is wise and small.  I am small and aspire to be wise.

What fictional world would you never want to visit?

Wonderland.

What fictional world would you want to visit?

Middle Earth.

Sharing spoilers with people who haven’t read the book or seen the film/show is a hot topic on Twitter and across many fandoms. How do you feel about sharing or overhearing spoilers?

I personally wouldn’t read the end of a book first so I don’t want to read spoilers, and don’t really understand why people do.

Which series do you think should be made into a TV show or film next?

Justin Gustainis Occult crimes series.

Which TV show or film do you think should be turned into a book?

Interesting question – I would watch a film/TV show of a book I had read but not the other way around.

About Portia: My plans to become a doctor were change due to family circumstances at the age of 17 when I left college and started work as a laboratory technician.  I got married at 18 had my two children, then went back to work 15 years later as a science technician in a school.  I then worked in Social Services as an administration officer for a supported employment agency.

I am now at home with my retired (second) husband.   I am an amateur musician and classical singer and also make celebration cakes.  I am currently doing a project where I am donating 60 of my hours to good causes.

https://thegiftoftime.home.blog/

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Favorite TV Shows and Why

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews. I wish this prompt had happened in January or July! I tend to watch lots of TV when the weather is freezing or unbearably hot. Spring and fall are when I cut back on shows and spend more time socializing with friends and visiting the great outdoors to soak… Read More

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Became Great TV Shows

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl This week’s topic was a page to screen freebie. I’ve decided to narrow down my focus to five books that were made into wonderful TV shows. I’ve left off a couple of the titles that I always discuss on this blog (*cough* The Handmaid’s Tale) so I could focus… Read More

What to Read If You Liked The Clan of the Cave Bear

I’ve decided to start another series on this blog. Just like with the interviews with people who love speculative fiction that I’ll begin publishing here next week, Hopeful Science Fiction, film reviews, Questions from the Search Engines, and Blogging Advice, this series won’t be updated on a specific schedule. Once I’ve come up with several similar titles to… Read More

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Books I Want Youth to Discover

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews. I’d never tell a kid that they must read a specific book. Just because a story was meaningful to me at a certain age doesn’t mean every child or teenager would want to read it then. People grow at different rates, and we obviously all have different interests as… Read More