Interview with Anthony DiGiovanni

What are your five favorite books, and why?
"The Stand" by Stephen King holds a special place in my reader's heart, because it achieves that blissful balance among horror, science fiction, and fantasy, written with unforgettable characters in a masterfully crafted atmosphere.

"Oxygen" by Randy Ingermanson and John Olson is just plain fun to read, as the authors' styles wonderfully tell a story that gives you reason to care about what happens to the characters from start to finish.

"Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" by J.K. Rowling, though a cliché choice, is one of the most imaginative novels I've ever read, with a fun mystery, an engrossing story world, and a host of characters that are easy to connect to.

"Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" by Philip K. Dick is a one-of-a-kind story that does everything right with robots, virtual reality, and other futuristic technologies. If this novel hadn't been written, neither would "Unnatural." Did I mention this was published in 1968?

"The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins is YA dystopia done right, as the backstory and setting are unique and clever, the characters are well-rounded, the twist on the death match arc (including the factor of social capital, not just physical strength and quick wits as determinants of survival) is brilliant, and the subversion of stereotypes in the romance subplot is refreshing.
What do you read for pleasure?
Anything whose situation or concept as described in the summary intrigues me. I generally don't fall back on genre or author loyalties, so I've thoroughly enjoyed books in sci-fi, horror, historical fiction, fantasy, romance, crime, mystery, suspense, scientific nonfiction, philosophy, and biography. I preferred "The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green to "The Door Into Summer" by Robert Heinlein even as a sci-fi author, for example.
What's the story behind your latest book?
"Unnatural" started out as a story germ whose only similarity to the finished product is that the protagonist awoke to everyone else's apparent death, and he hated a man named Isaac Livingston. Uriah was a person quite literally named Person, who was even more misanthropic than the Uriah my readers know: Upon discovering that the apocalypse had happened, Person shrugged, relieved to be rid of society, and secured one of the corpses (Livingston) to a tree in a crucifixion pose so that he could paint that corpse, basically as an artistic middle finger to his enemy.

This story, called "Plurality" at the time because I thought it would be a clever play on the Singularity, included fragments of Jane's arc and Marshall at the EMFI. But by the time I reached the introduction of Sabrina's perspective, the story seemed far too thin, so I wrote the first scene from scratch and went from there. Writing this first draft took a disciplined schedule from April to August, after which I gave it two more significant revisions in between simmering periods and time I allowed beta readers to read the second draft. A few more months of polishing, learning the ins and outs of self-publishing, and crafting the cover design later, my debut novel was born.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Writing and revising dialogue that cuts into the deepest emotions, speculations, and interpersonal battles of my characters is an engagement I couldn't compare anything to if I tried. It makes me feel alive, which is really all that matters about this enterprise besides hearing readers' positive reactions.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The itch to write, the desire for food, social pressure, the fun of friendships and family interaction, the prospect of exploring a great story, music, the new things to learn, the old joys to relive, "Breaking Bad," and pasta. In that order.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Most of them I learn about through Internet or in-person word of mouth, some through book lists, and a few through author fandom. I don't generally browse, though that's a fairly common method according to the Smashwords survey.
Published 2014-02-15.
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Books by This Author

Unnatural
Price: Free! Words: 98,360. Language: English. Published: February 11, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » High tech, Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
(2.00)
After hunting down a robotics engineer he believes to be a sexual predator, a destitute man in southern Nevada finds that he's the only conscious person on a planet of suddenly comatose humans -- until his victim appears to be commanding the world's androids. Marked public enemy #1 in the eyes of a moon colony that'll do anything to sustain the human race, can he prove he isn't better off dead?