Sunday, April 14, 2024

Q&A with Erica Waters




Erica Waters is the author of the new young adult novel All That Consumes Us. Her other books include the YA novel The River Has Teeth. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts.


Q: What inspired you to write All That Consumes Us, and how did you create your character Tara?


A: I love gothic literature and am a sucker for the dark academia genre, so I was very intrigued by the idea of pulling these two interests together and using ghosts and haunting as a way to explore intellectual ambition and obsession.


I had such a good time playing with dark academia and gothic tropes as I crafted the world of the college and Tara’s group of smart and difficult classmates.


Additionally, I have always wanted to write a book about what it’s like to be a first-generation college student and the particular joys and struggles of that experience.


As the first person in my family to go to college and as someone who grew up low-income, starting at a university meant having a strong sense of dislocation and unfamiliarity and an enormous feeling of pressure to succeed. The stakes are high.


This was my starting basis for Tara, who feels lost and lonely while also harboring ambitions that feel a little too lofty for her.


Q: How did you come up with the idea for the Magni Viri society?


A: I loved the idea of a small, intense cohort of students removed from the main campus, isolated in their own dorm and essentially left to their own devices.


A Victorian mansion for a dorm building with its own private cemetery? A group of brilliant, secretive students doing work that seems way too advanced? It was a perfect spooky set up. 


Q: How was the novel’s title chosen, and what does it signify for you?


A: Choosing a title for this book was difficult. I worked together with my team at HarperTeen to come up with a title that could really encapsulate the heart of the novel while also effectively signaling its genre.


When one of my editors, Clare Vaughn, suggested All That Consumes Us, I knew it was exactly the right title for this project.


I think the word “consumes” has a double meaning here, conveying intellectual and emotional obsession as well as the risk inherent in such an obsession—to be swallowed whole, destroyed, consumed.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I have two projects actively in process. One is another YA novel in the same vein as my four published books, this time set in a haunted tourist town in Florida.


The other project is an adult novella, also set in Florida. It’s too new for me to share details yet, but I’ll say that it involves alligators and is the weirdest thing I’ve ever written.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: All That Consumes Us is dark and spooky, but it’s also a story about loneliness and found family, how we make a home for ourselves with the people we choose to love. And speaking of love, there’s a sweet sapphic romance too!


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

No comments:

Post a Comment