Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I HEART YA: Author Interview: Emmy Laybourne

Author Emmy Laybourne drops by to chat about what drew her to becoming a comedian, the many great actors she has gotten the chance to work with, what essentials a survivor needs to have at the ready and all things Monument 14!

TeamNerd Reviews: As PROUD nerds, we are ALWAYS more than happy to let our nerd flags fly freely *hehe* What would you say qualifies you as a nerd? Do you like to collect anything relatively nerdy (like stamps)?

Emmy Laybourne: It is such a joy to be here with all of you Proud Nerds! My sisters and brothers! I am certainly one of you.

Here’s proof: Laura Ingalls Wilder is my bowling name! Every time we bowl, I enter it onto the screen. It takes forever and my 6 year old keeps asking me, “Can we bowl already?” His bowling name is “Striker,” which says a lot. The thing is, I truly LOVE the Little House series. I admire the writing, I marvel over the lives of the Ingalls family. I swoon, just a bit, for Almanzo “Manly” Wilder. Really, what could be more nerdy?!

TeamNerd Reviews: You are known for many talents and one of them is being quite funny as a comedian *wink* Why drew you into comedy? What do you think it is about humor that gives people either the courage to be honest or the strength to overcome?

Emmy Laybourne: There is a wonderfully freeing element to doing comedy – you give yourself license to say or do anything. No subject is taboo for a comedian. But that’s not what drew me to comedy – I love making people laugh. It’s as simple as that. There’s an exchange of power and energy. You think of something funny – you know it’s going to work – you do or say it – and then it’s like a ball of light zipping across the room. It shoots into the people you’ve aimed at and BAM, they light up. They laugh! What a rush!

TeamNerd Reviews: You’ve worked (as an actress) alongside many awesome actors such as Molly Shannon, Will Ferrell, Michael Douglas, John Travolta, etc. Did any of them offer you any pieces of wisdom that has stuck with you over the years? What’s one of your best memories from working with each of them?

Emmy Laybourne: I was truly inspired by Will Ferrel’s generosity on the set. If an extra or a grip came up and made a joke with him, Will would play along, doing funny voices and improvising whole scenes. By the end of Superstar he must have had twenty running jokes with crew members – and Will kept track of them all. 

TeamNerd Reviews: The Monument 14 Trilogy reminded me of The Mist by Stephen King, but where in Monument 14, a bunch of kids get stuck inside a superstore while the world veers into one freak accident after another, in the Mist, it’s a bunch of grownups trapped in a small town store while aliens try to take over the planet. If you could place one of your characters from Monument 14 into Stephen King’s The Mist to survive battling aliens, which character would you choose and why?

Emmy Laybourne: Niko is always my go to guy in all survival scenarios. He’s a boy scout and scouts are super-knowledgeable about everything from knot-tying to shelter-building to leadership. If you’re ever in a crisis, go find yourself a scout!

TeamNerd Reviews: You have a survivalist mentality, which inspired the theme behind Monument 14 Trilogy. What would you say are the top ten essentials all wannabe survivalists should have ready to go at a moment’s notice?

Emmy Laybourne: Ooooh! Great question. Here’s my list:
  1. Waterproof matches.  (In a tin)
  2. Candles. (Light source and also helpful for starting fires. You can even eat candles in a pinch – if they’re made of tallow)
  3. Magnifying glass. (For starting fires and getting stingers out.)
  4. Hunting knife.
  5. Small medical kit. (Don’t forget Band-Aids, antibiotic cream and pain reliever!)
  6. Tarp. (Hammock, tent, water collector – priceless!)
  7. Snare wire. (Okay, I don’t have this in my kit, but I really want to get some. Can be used for setting snares for game and all sorts of other stuff.)
  8. Needles and thread. (Surgery, anyone?)
  9. Water purifier tablets or bleach.
  10. A salt lick (you set it in the woods and when deer come – you get them with your knife or your snare. Wow, this is getting gristly!)
TeamNerd Reviews: Monument 14 is experienced through the eyes and thoughts of kids and teenagers versus adults. What would you say is the biggest difference between the way a child/teenager approaches dealing with a traumatizing situation versus the way an adult would? What was a major challenge you faced in writing from the perspective of youth instead of adults when dealing with such a dark themed book?

Emmy Laybourne: In general, I think that teenagers may feel trauma more deeply than both little kids and adults. The minds of small children often shroud themselves in denial when given data that is too terrifying for them to handle. And grown-ups may have already experienced loss  such as the death of a parent, hard financial times, loss of beloved friends, etc. so that when they feel something awful, they can remember that “This too, shall pass.” I think that teenagers experience loss and heartbreak more deeply.

That said, I think that teenagers are very good at thinking outside the box, so that while they might feel trauma more than others, they will also have different gifts in terms of how to deal with it. I feel like we see this a bit in Monument 14. Niko, Alex, Josie, Dean and the rest are able to come up with some pretty ingenious solutions to the situations that arise in the Greenway.

TeamNerd Reviews: What do you think you’ve learned as a parent that has helped to make you into a better writer?

Emmy Laybourne: I’ve learned that everyone does their best work when they are well-rested and well-fed!

TeamNerd Reviews: Do you plan to continue writing in the Young Adult genre? If yes, what’s the next sub-genre (paranormal, fantasy, supernatural, urban fantasy, contemporary romance, etc.) you would like to explore and why?

Emmy Laybourne: I will absolutely continue writing in the YA genre. I love the authors I’ve found working in YA and I adore the readers. It’s a welcoming and warm community – one that I cherish.

I’m going to explore the horror sub-genre in my next book. I’m just brainstorming the details now – but I’ll keep you posted!

TeamNerd Reviews: If you could play the villain from any one of your favorite books that was turned into a movie, who would you choose and why?

Emmy Laybourne: Oooh, truly – I’d love a shot at Miss Hannigan, from the musical Annie. It would be exhilarating to play someone with such bad judgment and loose morals! 

Thanks so much for having me here! I HEART YA now and always! I’m delighted to connect with readers on Facebook: or on Twitter: @EmmyLaybourne!

Win a copy of MONUMENT 14: SKY ON FIRE & SWAG which includes tote bag and wristbands on I HEART YA page!

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