Laura Barcella, author of The End, is here to talk with us about writing, her peculiar dining habits, and the reason why she always carries an extra pair of shoes around with her.
(And by the way, if you’re curious about apocalyptic pop culture, or just want to know how to prepare for the end of the world, get over to the book page for The End and click “Buy Now”â€”because really, who knows how much time weâ€™ve got left!)
Zest Books: Welcome to the Zest Books blog, Laura Barcella! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Laura: Well, I’m a 35-year-old Washington DC native who’s been living in San Francisco since 2005 (I lived in NYC for 5 years before that). I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a wee one. When I was in grade school, I used to write and illustrate my own versions of teen magazines. I was obsessed with Sassy magazine and wanted nothing more than to work at a teen magazine one day. It finally happenedâ€”my first job out of college was as an editor for Teen Beat magazine, where I got to write stories about Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake (they were dating then!) and why the Backstreet Boys were, like, IT.
Zest Books: Oh wow, I was a huuuuuuuuge Backstreet Boys fan back in the day. I wanted to marry Brian Littrell. Anyway…why write about the apocalypse?
Laura: Well, why not? It can be kind of a morbid subject, but it’s also pretty universally fascinating. I think everyone has wondered, at one point or another, when the world might end and how it might go down. Also, there are so many awesome apocalyptic cultural works out there, so it was really exciting to be able to pick and choose the best of the best.
Zest Books: So you’ve written about teen idols and apocalyptic pop culture. Do you write about anything else?
Laura: Yes, I write a variety of other stuffâ€”personal essays, feature articles, reviews, all kinds of things. You can learn more about me and check out some of my other work at my website, www.LauraBarcella.com. An anthology I edited, Madonna & Me, just came out in March. It’s a collection of nonfiction essays about Madonna, all written by female writers (I have an essay in there, too). I was a huge Madonna fan growing up.
Zest Books: Sounds like you’re one busy lady. What is it that you love about writing?
Laura: I like having an outlet to express my thoughts and feelings. I was a big diarist from childhood through college; I still keep a journal now, but I don’t write in it nearly as much as I did when I was younger. Sometimes the writing process can be difficult and, to be honest, my favorite moment is when I’ve finished writing something! That proud, relieved feeling of having finished a piece is pretty awesome.
Zest Books: Well, completing any piece of writing is a huge accomplishment. You should feel proud!
Laura: Aw, thanks!
Zest Books: Whatâ€™s your favorite piece of apocalyptic pop culture? Did it make it into the book?
Laura: I’m a horror-film junkie and I’m especially fond of the zombie-apocalypse film genre. Night of the Living Dead is a perennial fave, as are Shaun of the Dead (omg so funny) and 28 Days Later. And yep, they all made it into the book!
Zest Books: Did writing this book freak you out at all? Any crazy apocalyptic dreams?
Laura: I never had any apocalyptic dreams, but yeah, I did become a pretty paranoid apoca-nerd while I was writing.
But that reminds me: I did have one really scary moment after leaving a movie theater late one night. The streets were busy but they were all dark and the power had randomly gone out in one part of the city. I had a brief panicky fear that something epic and horrible had happened while my friend and I were sitting obliviously in the movie theater. I felt betterâ€”though slightly sillyâ€”when I got home and found the power was still on at my place. Phew!
Zest Books: What do you do when you arenâ€™t writing?
Laura: My non-writing-related hobbies are pretty average and probably not super-exciting (alas). I love animals (I have two cats and a dogâ€”all rescues), and Iâ€™m also pretty into going to the movies, listening to music, going out to eat (I’m a pescetarian, which means a vegetarian who eats seafood), exploring the city, reading, going on weekend jaunts, and of course I love self-serve frozen yogurt, and imported gummy candy. I also tend to waste too much time on the internetsâ€”like most people I know.
Zest Books: Whatâ€™s coming up next for Laura Barcella? Are you working on anything exciting?
Laura: I haven’t started working on another book yet, but Iâ€™m hoping to do that soon! In the meantime, I’m experimenting with some book ideas, doing some freelance writing, and considering moving back to my native East Coast from my adopted home of San Francisco.
Zest Books: Don’t leave San Francisco! The city wouldn’t be the same without you.
But thanks so much for stopping by and chatting! Before you go, do you have any advice for people if the world truly does end in 2012?
Laura: Carry flats in your purse so you can run like hell if and when the time comes. đź™‚