Please welcome Ezekiel Boone to The Qwillery as part of the 2016 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Hatching was published on July 5th by Atria/Emily Bestler Book.
TQ: Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?
Ezekiel: I started writing seriously about ten years ago. Before that, I wanted to be a writer, but I hadn’t yet realized that meant I actually had to work at writing. I was a stay-at-home dad, so writing time was hard to come by. We invested in a babysitter to come by for two hours, twice a week. Back then, the fifty dollars a week we paid for those four hours felt like a lot of money, and I didn’t want to waste it. Like a lot of writers, I started because I was a serious reader. Always have been. I don’t care what the genre is, good writing is good writing, and the best books feel like a sort of magic. I guess I was hoping I could capture some of that.
TQ: Are you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?
Ezekiel: I’m a hybrid. Depends on the book and the project. With The Hatching, particularly since it’s the first book in a series, I’ve been planning out more and more before I start writing. It’s easier to keep the reader in suspense if I know what’s coming next. That being said, there’s a certain freedom to leaving yourself some discovery as a writer. Sometimes you think you are going one way, but if you’re open to change, your writing can lead you somewhere even better.
TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?
Ezekiel: The most challenging thing is remembering to treat something that is an incredible privilege like the job that it is. Some days I roll out of bed and can’t wait to get to the computer, and other days there are distractions. But the days I can force myself past the distractions — errands to run, friends who want to meet for lunch, the internet — end up being the best writing days. It’s easier now, because writing is my job, but it was harder when I first started.
TQ: What has influenced / influences your writing?
Ezekiel: My kids. The way they can get lost in a book is inspiring, and I’m trying to recreate that feeling for my readers. More than anything, I want these books to be fun. Sure, The Hatching is scary, but only scary enough that you’re afraid to put it down. I wanted the book to be a kind of thrill ride that makes you remember that reading is supposed to be a joy.
TQ: Describe The Hatching in 140 characters or less.
Ezekiel: The Hatching is Jurassic Park meets World War Z. It’s as if Stephen King and James Patterson had a baby and that baby was a swarm of spiders that ate everything in its path.
TQ: Tell us something about The Hatching that is not found in the book description.
Ezekiel: Well, I know that in advanced reading copies, we didn’t indicate that The Hatching was the first book in a series, and I think that took some people by surprise. But that’s not a very fun answer. How about this: for a scary book, there’s really a decent amount of humor.
TQ: What inspired you to write The Hatching? What appeals to you about writing Horror?
Ezekiel: I didn’t want to write the book at first. It’s about an ancient form of spiders that hatch in a meat-munching frenzy, and I’m absolutely terrified of spiders. I had the idea and set it aside, but then I started having crazy nightmares about spiders. I figured the best thing to do was write it to get it out of my system. As for horror, I think the appeal is that we live in a world and a time when real life can be truly frightening, but scary books give readers a safe place to be afraid. Plus, it’s fun.
TQ: What sort of research did you do for The Hatching? Why spiders?
The spiders in The Hatching are fictional, but I tried to keep them grounded in fact. My editor had a question about the eggs hatching after such a long period of stasis, and I was able to point her to a university professor who’s hatching eggs that have been in wait for seven hundred years. It’s a bit like Michael Crichton: fiction grounded in fact. As for why spiders, the answer’s easy: there’s a reason we’re afraid of spiders.
TQ: In The Hatching who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?
Ezekiel: Tough question. The Hatching has a big cast, and I loved all of them. If I didn’t, they wouldn’t have made it past revision. But easiest? How about the spiders? Just kidding. I think the answer that is probably agent Mike Rich. He would have done well in a stand-alone crime thriller, and it was fun to see him instead dealing with spiders. The hardest was the trio of Scottish characters. The character part wasn’t hard, but their connection to the story may not be as obvious as some of the other threads.
TQ: Which question about The Hatching do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!
Q: Do you have any interest in doing a photo shoot with spiders crawling all over you?
A: Hell, no!
TQ: Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Hatching.
1) As it got closer, Miguel took another step back, but by the time he realized that it wasn't actually a river, that it was not water of any kind, it was too late.
2) “You were right,” Julie said.
“Of course I was right,” Melanie said. “About what?”
TQ: What's next?
Ezekiel: Book two, Skitter, comes out in 2017, but I also just finished a new book that I’m hoping to be able to talk about soon. No spiders, but some good scares.
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
Ezekiel: Thank you for having me. Now go read The Hatching!
The Hatching Series 1
Atria/Emily Bestler Book, July 5, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages
“An apocalyptic extravaganza of doom and heroism…addictive.” —Publishers Weekly
“It’s been too long since someone reminded us that spiders are not just to be feared, but also may well spell doom for mankind. Fortunately, Ezekiel Boone has upped the ante on arachnophobia. This is a fresh take on classic horror, thoroughly enjoyable and guaranteed to leave your skin crawling.” —Michael Koryta, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Wish Me Dead
An astonishingly inventive and terrifying debut novel about the emergence of an ancient species, dormant for over a thousand years, and now on the march.
Deep in the jungle of Peru, where so much remains unknown, a black, skittering mass devours an American tourist whole. Thousands of miles away, an FBI agent investigates a fatal plane crash in Minneapolis and makes a gruesome discovery. Unusual seismic patterns register in a Kanpur, India earthquake lab, confounding the scientists there. During the same week, the Chinese government “accidentally” drops a nuclear bomb in an isolated region of its own country. As these incidents begin to sweep the globe, a mysterious package from South America arrives at a Washington, D.C. laboratory. Something wants out.
The world is on the brink of an apocalyptic disaster. An ancient species, long dormant, is now very much awake.