Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Blog Tour: Character Interview with Darla from Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin

Darla's Interview

  1. What is one thing you have always wanted to do but never had a chance?
I always wanted to race in the 24 hours of LeMons. But Dad died before I got my driver’s license, and after that I was too busy keeping the farm going. I wanted to assemble an all-girl team—our signature move would be flipping the bird and flashing a big, sexy smile at guys as we flew past them on the racetrack. Not that I knew three other girls who would have been interested in racing junkers. Or who wanted to flip guys off while we creamed them in a race. Now that Yellowstone has erupted, I doubt anyone will ever race autos again.
  1. What memories make you the happiest?
Working with my dad. I mean, I loved my mother, and I miss her terribly, but it seemed like she was always trying to mold me into something I’m not. I could cuss around Dad and not get scolded. Or just be silent while we struggled to wrench a recalcitrant post out of the ground or honed the blades of the hydraulic tree-digger we built. I loved the way he’d never yell—even when I made a huge mistake that cost us a lot of money or time. He’d just explain what I did wrong and let me try it again. So those are my happiest memories. And my saddest. I miss him every day.
  1. What would you say keeps you grounded the most throughout your struggles?
Grounded? Gravity, duh.
  1. I know it is probably impossible to envision but where do you see yourself in five years?
I’ll be dead. Alex thinks we can survive and start a family, but he’s ridiculously optimistic. That’s not to say I’m giving up—I’ll never do that—but looking at things realistically, we should be dead three or four times over already. There used to be 5,000 people in Warren. Now there are 500. Some fled, but most of them are dead. And most of the survivors will die before this cussed winter breaks. Alex and I have only survived because he’s pretty handy in a fight and I keep him from starving even when there’s tons of food—pigs, rabbits, or whatever—available. I swear, sometimes he has less sense than a dwarf donkey hitched to a 30 bale wagon.
  1. If there was one thing you couldn't see yourself without at this moment what would you say it is?
Alex. I know I just said he’s kind of an idiot, and that’s true, but I love him. And, yeah, I don’t think either of us will survive this, but I’m going to put up a hell of a struggle. And if it’s a choice between me and him; I’ll save him. He’s all the family I have left. And I know he’d die for me, too.
  1. What do you miss the most about your life before the eruption?
Power tools! What I wouldn’t give for a working circular saw. Or an electric drill/driver. I’ve got some ideas about that, by the way. I’m wondering if any of those wind turbines east of Warren might still work. Or be fixable . . . I’ll catch you later—I’ve got to go sketch out a few ideas while they’re fresh in my head.

Mike Mullin
Mike Mullin’s first job was scraping the gum off the undersides of desks at his high school. From there, things went steadily downhill. He almost got fired by the owner of a bookstore due to his poor taste in earrings. He worked at a place that showed slides of poopy diapers during lunch (it did cut down on the cafeteria budget). The hazing process at the next company included eating live termites raised by the resident entomologist, so that didn’t last long either. For a while Mike juggled bottles at a wine shop, sometimes to disastrous effect. Oh, and then there was the job where swarms of wasps occasionally tried to chase him off ladders. So he’s really glad this writing thing seems to be working out.
Mike holds a black belt in Songahm Taekwondo. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and her three cats. Ashen Winter is his second novel.  His debut, Ashfall, was named one of the top five young adult novels of 2011 by National Public Radio, a Best Teen Book of 2011 by Kirkus Reviews, and a New Voices selection by the American Booksellers Association.

It's been over six months since the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano. Alex and Darla have been staying with Alex's relatives, trying to cope with the new reality of the primitive world so vividly portrayed in Ashfall, the first book in this trilogy. It's also been six months of waiting for Alex's parents to return from Iowa. Alex and Darla decide they can wait no longer and must retrace their journey into Iowa to find and bring back Alex's parents to the tenuous safety of Illinois. But the landscape they cross is even more perilous than before, with life-and-death battles for food and power between the remaining communities. When the unthinkable happens, Alex must find new reserves of strength and determination to survive. 

The first two chapters are available on my website: www.ashenwinter.com. You may reprint the first two chapters in whole or in part on your website so long as you do not charge anyone anything to access them.

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1 comment:

  1. Ha! Power tools. So Darla. I LOVE this series and Darla is my favorite character. I was fuming during a couple of scenes with Alex, because I just love the two of them together. Thanks for providing such a great interview!