Interview with M.F. Soriano

What's the story behind your latest book?
When I was a kid, my brother and I devoured Fantasy fiction, especially books from the Dragonlance line. I started to get serious about my writing a few years later, but by then I'd moved on to reading Literary (with a capital L) books, and most of what I wrote reflected that. I ended up going to college for a writing degree, and the program was all about Literature--very highfalutin stuff. By the end of my time at college, writing had become pretty tedious for me. I'd started writing a novel more than once, but I'd always gotten too bored to finish.

After I graduated, I took the time to consider what had made me want to write in the first place. I remembered the Fantasy fiction I'd loved as a kid--the way it had ignited my imagination, the sense of adventure it had communicated. I started reading it again, and came across authors I'd never read before, like Jim Butcher and George R.R. Martin and Patrick Rothfuss. These writers were doing very exciting things with the genre, moving it in directions I'd never seen it move. It inspired me.

I decided I wanted to try my hand at writing Fantasy fiction, and I started on my novel Blood Brothers. In the end, writing that book was the most fun I'd had writing anything, ever. It gave me a chance to let my imagination run wild, and to honor what had excited me so much about Fantasy as a kid, but it also gave me a chance to turn certain conventions upside down, and to take a Fantasy story to places I'd never seen Fantasy go. In particular, I loved having the opportunity to incorporate mysticism and altered-mental-states in a Fantasy setting, especially as aspects of magic, and to focus on the effects of race and class on character personalities.
What are you working on next?
I'm working on a horror series called Zombie City. But, just like Blood Brothers played around with certain conventions of the Fantasy genre, I'd like to think that Zombie City comes at the whole Zombie genre from a fresh angle. Perhaps most notable about the series is its setting: San Francisco. The current transformation that San Francisco is going through, from a city known for alternative lifestyles and immigrant communities to a city known for tech start-ups (which is basically the newest form of Big Business), is the key to everything that happens in the book. Really, it's almost like a parable about gentrification... with zombies. (It's also brutally violent and horrific, probably the darkest thing I've ever written.)
Published 2014-07-24.
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