Thursday, November 17, 2011

Interview with Rob Ziegler and Giveaway - November 17, 2011

Please welcome Rob Ziegler to The Qwillery as part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Rob's debut novel, Seed, was published this month by Night Shade Books.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Rob:  This might not be a quirk so much as an affliction, but I call it the 100-word rule. If I can get 100 words down before I’m fully awake, before I do anything else, then I can keep coming back and writing all day. But if I miss that window, sometimes I can’t write at all.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Rob:  Some writers I love, and from whom I hope I’ve been able to take some cues...Cormac McCarthy. His novels feel like narrative poems, and I wish I could steal that lyricism for my own. His feel for the west, and for landscapes, amazes me. Dennis Johnson, also a very lyrical writer, and he writes with a lot of heart. He has this talent for imbuing even his vilest characters with enough humanity that you empathize with them. William Gibson...his precision and ability to nail a big idea with a single detail. Also his affinity for using subaltern characters as windows into big social constructs. Kerouac, Ginsberg, Bukowski, too. And Borges and Marquez. And Fitzgerald. I don’t know if I claim all these as influences exactly, but I remember specific moments with all of them when I thought, I want to do THAT. I want to write.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Rob:  Well, both. I spend a lot of time plotting and taking notes when I’m not sitting at my desk writing. And then when I do sit down and start writing, I veer off the rails and head off in directions I hadn’t planned. Which is really inefficient, because a lot of those directions don’t work out. It means a lot of rewriting, but I don’t really know how else to do it. Whatever I plot, though, is basically guaranteed not to wind up in the book.

TQ:  Describe Seed in 140 characters or less.

Rob:  Ah, the twitter pitch. Okay, I’ll give it a try: Badass commando and young immigrant outlaw join forces to try and rescue America’s future from hegemonic, living corporation. Nope, that didn’t work. Totally lame description.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Seed?

Rob:  I grew up loving sci fi, so that’s what I wanted to write. But I wanted to build a world framed by real and pressing issues. I also had Brood and Hondo in mind from a short story I’d written. I love those two. I wanted to write about them, and they inhabit a very specific kind of world. They were my point of departure.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for the novel?

Rob:  Most of the research centered on climate change and biotech. I wasn’t particularly concerned with putting technical details in the story (in fact I found that the places where I did delve too much into the technical it broke the rhythm of the story telling, so I took a lot out), but I wanted the look and feel of the world, no matter how weird or extreme, to fall within the range of what’s possible. There was also a lot of random research, like platoon-level combat tactics, military terminology, Chicano slang, MexiAmerican history. Things like that.

TQ:  Why did you set Satori in Denver, Colorado?

Rob:  I grew up in Colorado, and my feelings about Denver are deeply ambivalent. I’ve lived there several times. Sometimes I love the place, sometimes I hate it. But I know it well, and it definitely gave me a perverse thrill to envision downtown subsumed by this giant, living, sweating amoeba-like thing. It also makes sense in terms of the story. Satori needs lots of water, and Denver has good access to water, even in drought conditions, from snow runoff. Satori also gets a lot of her energy from photosynthesis, and Denver is nothing if not sunny. It’s also central, on the edge of the planes, so it made sense to think of Denver as an efficient place from which to distribute seed.

TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?

Rob:  Brood and Hondo Loco were a blast to write. They’re really funny when they banter, which was fun to hang out with. Doss was fun, too, because she basically kicks ass every time she’s on the page. When I came to her chapters, the question was always, “who’s she going to fuck up this time?” Sumedha was difficult, because he’s not exactly human, so I had to really work to sink into his mind. His thinking is perfectly linear, which limited the prose in his POV. I couldn’t use analogies, or if I did I had to be sneaky about it.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in the novel?

Rob:  Maybe the scene when Doss is in the Corn Mother’s oasis. Or when she goes to battle at the end. Any time she and her troops jump from the Flylights, fun stuff goes down. Also any scene where Brood and Hondo are together. Also the scene where Brood does ceremony with Anna’s crew. That’s probably the moment closest to the emotional heart of the book. Or his scene at the end. I guess I like a lot of the scenes. I can’t pick just one.

TQ:  What's next?

Rob:  I’m working on a book tentatively title Angel City. It’s about a kid, Louis, growing up in a weird future LA where media is beamed straight into peoples’ minds through neural implants called Angels. Louis is a drug dealer of sorts, but instead of a drug he sells a technique he’s discovered for tapping the Angel straight into our pleasure center. He runs afoul of a corrupt cop, and hijinx ensue

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Rob:  My pleasure. Thanks for having me.

About Seed

Author:  Rob Ziegler
Format: Trade Hardcover, 350 pages
Publisher:  Night Shade Books (November 2011)
Price:  $24.99
Language:  English
Genre: Science Fiction
ISBN:  978-1-59780-323-6

It's the dawn of the 22nd century, and the world has fallen apart. Decades of war and resource depletion have toppled governments. The ecosystem has collapsed. A new dust bowl sweeps the American West. The United States has become a nation of migrants--starving masses of nomads roaming across wastelands and encamped outside government seed distribution warehouses.

In this new world, there is a new power: Satori. More than just a corporation, Satori is an intelligent, living city risen from the ruins of the heartland. She manufactures climate-resistant seed to feed humanity, and bio-engineers her own perfected castes of post-humans Designers, Advocates and Laborers. What remains of the United States government now exists solely to distribute Satori product; a defeated American military doles out bar-coded, single-use seed to the nation's hungry citizens.

Secret Service Agent Sienna Doss has watched her world collapse. Once an Army Ranger fighting wars across the globe, she now spends her days protecting glorified warlords and gangsters. As her country slides further into chaos, Doss feels her own life slipping into ruin.

When a Satori Designer goes rogue, Doss is tasked with hunting down the scientist-savant--a chance to break Satori's stranglehold on seed production and undo its dominance. In a race against Satori's genetically honed assassins, Doss's best chance at success lies in an unlikely alliance with Brood--orphan, scavenger and small-time thief--scraping by on the fringes of the wasteland, whose young brother may possess the key to unlocking Satori's power.

As events spin out of control, Sienna Doss and Brood find themselves at the heart of Satori, where an explosive finale promises to reshape the future of the world.

About Rob

Rob lives with his wife in western Colorado. He writes speculative fiction. Seed is his debut novel.

Rob's Links


The Giveaway


What:  One commenter will win a copy of Seed generously provided by Night Shade Books.

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

Which post-apocalyptic or dystopian novel would you recommend?

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)   Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)   Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3)   Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Thursday, November 24, 2011. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*


  1. God, I've wanted to read this book ever since I've heard of it first time! Thank you for a fantastic giveaway!
    Feed by Mira Grant is definitely THE BOOK that has to be read at least once before you die.
    +1 comment
    +1 follower
    +1 shared

    impy80 at hotmail dot com

  2. I enjoyed the interview; it was a great read. I'm adding Seed to my must have live.

    If you want to read about a dystopian society, read The Administration series by Manna Francis.

    +1 comment
    +1 follower

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  3. My favorite dystopian novel is the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

    +1 comment
    +1 gfc follower

  4. I loved aftertime by Sophie Littlefield, would totally recommend it!

    GFC reading mind

  5. The oldies are the goodies. Brave New World remains my all time favorite distopian novel. But I'm definitely looking forward to Seed.

  6. I think the same as Stephanie.. The Hunger Games!
    +1 comment
    +1 GFC: blackwolf
    +1 tweet:!/PandoraSWolf/status/137237535284936704

  7. I enjoyed the interview;dystopian novel is the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
    +1 comment
    +1 follower

  8. I highly recommend the Gone series by Michael Grant! Excellent:)

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follower

    jwitt33 at live dot com

  9. I would recommend anything Carrie Ryan, I love the Forest of Hands and Teeth! edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom
    GFC Krystal Larson

  10. I recommend ASHFALL for great post-apocalyptic reading.

    I follow,


  11. Awesome interview!

    I loved, loved, loved Mira Grant's Feed and Deadline. The Hunger Games is right up there too.

    Thanks for introducing this author. Have another book to add to my wishlist!

    GFC: erin

  12. I really enjoyed Ellen Connor's Nightfall and I can't wait to read the rest of the series.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com
    GFC follower

  13. Post Apocalypse novel..... got to be Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson....

  14. I enjoyed Logan's Run. IT was pretty good. Seed looks like a wodnerful book to read. Thanks for sharing
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  15. I second the Newsflesh series by Mira Grant. Most definitely EPIC!
    +1 comment
    +1 follower

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  16. Awesome interview! I would recommend The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins and Divergent by Veronica Roth.

    GFC follower (cherry^^)
    Tweeted -->!/v97_/status/137394181730611200

    Thanks so much for the giveaway!


  17. I just finished The Eleventh Plague
    by Jeff Hirsch and really enjoyed it. I would definitely recommend it!

    +1 comment
    +1 follower

    thegirlonfire27 at gmail dot com

  18. Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days #1) by Susan Ee. It is an amazing book! The writing, characters, plot - all is so interesting. Absolutely unputdownable)))

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follower as Sofija Kapranova

  19. The Road by Cormac McCarthy

    If only because I agree about the landscape comment.

  20. First- congrats on your book. I am absolutely fascinated by it! I agree with another commenter about Brave New World. I was obsessed with it in high school along with Clockwork Orange. Fahrenheit 451 comes to mind and there's another one that I can't remember the name and it's going to drive me crazy until I do!
    Thanks for the giveaway!
    msmjb65 AT gmail DOT com

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC as MJB

  21. Hard not to go with The Stand by Stephen King! Thanks so much for the great interview (and the giveaway, of course)! I love to hear what authors have to say about their craft and their books. Thanks!

    GFC follower Spaz

  22. There are so many good (or at least interesting) post-apocalyptic and dystopian novels with a lot of different approaches to the main theme and beacuse of that I would recommend something which shows a bit of all of them, like for instance an anthology of stories like Wastelands (edited by John Joseph Adams) where a reader can sample a bit of everything and which could be an introduction to further reading.


    +1 comment
    +1 follower


  23. Matched by Ally Condie
    GFC: Maria Magdalena
    Twitter: FelysAoi!/FelysAoi/status/138303142860296192

    Maria Magdalena

  24. Thank you for taking the time to share with us today. I have not read a dystopian yet. I did purchase The Hunger Games and look forward to the read and finding out what this genre is about. I would love to read Seed as well as I am definitely intrigued.
    +1 comment
    +1 follower
    +1 tweeted =!/ZDz59001/status/138350580279160832


  25. I would have to go with Hunger Games. That is the first one to come to mind. Your book sounds great. I am adding it my wishlist. Thanks for the chance.

    I am a follower.
    sariahwalters at gmail dot com

  26. Thank you for the great interview and giveaway. This book sounds awesome. I have not had a chance to read dystopian yet. This seems to be a good book to start.

    +1 comment
    +1 follower (jary)

    flaca 798 at

  27. i recomend The Hunger games.!!!
    gfc follower