Thursday, September 6, 2012

Interview with Camille Picott author of Sulan

Hi Camille, first off I'd like to say thanks for making the Indie Book Blog a stop on your Sulan release book tour. Tell us a little about yourself.

Hi, Scott! Thanks for hosting me today on your site!

I am a life-long geek. I am obsessed with aliens, spaceships, and everything in between. I have original unicorn paintings by fantasy artist Rowena Morrill in my office over my computer. I own the Buffy Musical soundtrack and can sing every song. I have a not-so-secret crush on Captain Malcolm Reynolds. I have taken fencing, archery, and broadsword lessons at various points in my life, though my exercise these days usually involves running at a local track.

In the real-world, I am a full-time working mom and wife. I work in the wine industry as a purchasing agent. I get to buy all the corks, bottles, cartons, etc. needed for wine. It’s a fun industry and I love it.

Sulan is a bit of a dystopian/cyberpunk fusion, what made you write a story using those elements?

The technological advancements we see every year never cease to amaze me. (I grew up in an era where the Internet didn’t even exist!) I am also fascinated by what appears to be a downward spiral of our economy and environment, and disheartened by the power and influence wielded by corporations.

I took all of these factors and imagined each of them exponentially to create the near-future dystopia of Sulan: a post-economic collapse, post-environmental disaster world, all governed by a flimsy American government. All real power, wealth, and security comes from America’s powerful corporations, and those who run them. I anticipate seeing virtual reality made mainstream in my lifetime, and so I could not imagine a near-future without it.

I purposely set out to create a dystopian society that was near-future, as opposed to a setting existing hundreds of years in the future. I want readers to feel the reality of Sulan as something that could be just around the corner.

Do you relate to any of the characters more than others?

I definitely have a paranoid streak like Killy, though I’m not that extreme.

I probably relate the most to Sulan. I very much remember being a teen and wanting adult freedom. Not to the extent that Sulan experiences it, but I think a lot of teens get to a point where they’re ready to beat down adult barriers and strike out into the world on their own terms.

What kind of age is this series aimed at?

I wrote this as a young adult series with the hope that it will cross over into an adult audience. I read a lot of YA myself and I love it.

What kind of plans do you have for these books as a series?

I don’t generally outline, but I do have a rough idea of where the series is going. I think there will be six or seven books total.

I was a big fan of the concept of Riska, where did he come from?

I’m so glad you liked Riska! I am a “cat person.” I totally expect to be an old lady with way too many cats. Riska’s personality is the hybrid of two of my cats, one of whom even rides around on my shoulder the way Riska does.

The concept of Riska came from an earlier draft of Sulan. Sulan was originally a young girl of about eight. She had a stuffed white tiger that brought her good luck. I eventually decided to make Sulan older with the hope of appealing to a larger audience, but I just could not let go of Riska. Since no self-respecting teenager can carry around a stuffed animal, I made him real. Riska also serves to foreshadow the large-scale genetic engineering that appears later in Sulan.

Do you have any other work available?

I have a middle grade fantasy series called Chinese Heritage Tales. The books in this series are Raggedy Chan and Nine-Tail Fox. Both are adventure stories that feature mythological creatures from classic Chinese mythology.

I also have a dozen or so short stories published in various e-zines, which you can find by googling my name.

With your book Raggedy Chan you have a limited edition doll available on your website. Do you have any plans for any special bonus merc for Sulan (stuffed Riska please!)?

I have a pipe dream of turning Sulan into a full-color, fully illustrated novel. If I garner enough support for the novel, I hope to launch a campaign on Kickstarter to help raise funds for it.

I had not considered a Riska doll! Thanks for suggestion. I will definitely keep it in mind!

Who are some of your writing role models?

There are a lot of writers I like, but there are a few that I particularly idolize. Suzanne Collins and Susan Ee are both masters at pacing. Rhiannon Frater and Lois McMaster Bujold are character experts. And Octavia Butler writes serious SF that I can only aspire to.

What is the first book your remember reading that really left an impression on you?

My most beloved books as a child was The Secret of the Unicorn Queen. They were about a teenage girl who falls into an alternate dimension and meets up with a band of female warrior who ride unicorns. (I did mention that I have been a geek for my entire life!)

C.S. Lewis’ Narnia books were my “gateway” drug. Once my dad read those to me, I could not stop reading.

Well thanks for taking the time to stop by Camille. I know you are super busy with your tour and wish you all the best luck with your writing.

Thanks again for hosting me on your blog! You run a great site and I always enjoy reading your reviews.

Check back tomorrow for my review of the book and a coupon code for Sulan free on Smashwords.


  1. Hi Scott, thanks so much for posting the interview! And thanks for participating in the blog tour!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Camille!! It's great to have you as a guest and I'm looking forward to reading more of your books.

  2. Finally could enjoy an author interview. ;) Much more fun when you know and love the book.

    1. I agree that having a bit of background knowledge helps to understand interviews better. Thanks for stopping by!