THE END IS NOW Author Interview: Jamie Ford

This interview was conducted by Lee Hallison.

What were the challenges you faced in writing a second story set in this steampunk-flavored Seattle?

Typewriter Jamie Ford

Typing the story on one of these, which was only slightly easier than using Windows 8.0. Plus, do you have any idea how hard it is to find parts for an Enigma Machine?

What most inspires you about the steampunk genre?

What’s steampunk? You mean we’ve actually landed on the moon and people send naked pictures of themselves through the air to hand-held devices named after a fruit?

What kind of arcane sorcery is this? GET THEE BEHIND ME, SATAN!

The use of silver as a medicinal or protective element is an unusual alternative to traditional medicine. Did you discover this fact when researching this particular story or had you come across it before?

I was in a chemistry class years ago where the lecturer was talking about the hazards of ingesting colloidal silver to treat parasites (I know, good times, right?) and I thought he meant some whack-a-doodle, circa 1800s snake-oil treatment. But he was talking about now. Then he showed us slides of people in the U.S. with ashen faces from silver poisoning. Take that, parasites.

Why did you choose basic elements (mercury in the comet tail, silver in her blood) as a motif in this story?

There’s a beautiful simplicity to basic elements. You can relate to most of them, see them, feel them, weigh them, taste them, (Elements – Collect them all, kids!) I can get my brain around them much easier than theoretical concepts like strangelets, graviphotons, and things like the width of a gold atom’s nucleus.

Plus, my high school chemistry teacher left a profound impression on me. He’d lost an eye in a skiing accident years ago and didn’t wear a glass eye. He merely put a fresh band-aid over the socket each day. True story. Thanks for the nightmares, Mr. Lyon.

Dorothy is a fierce survivor despite being a heroin addict. Do you think she will escape the men at the end?

Weirdly enough, active heroin addicts are fierce survivors. It’s counterintuitive to think that way, but the few that I’ve known personally could seemingly survive anything (though most of us wouldn’t call it surviving, but you know what I mean).

In the end, I think Dorothy will escape every tormentor but herself.

What is it about apocalyptic fiction that is so intriguing to readers and writers?

Whether as a reader or a writer, apocalyptic fiction lets us jitterbug with out own mortality. We are enamored with death and all the opposites of it. That’s why poems like “The Hollow Men” by T.S. Elliot endure, because of lines like “Lips that would kiss, form prayers to broken stone…and this is the way the world ends.”