Emmy Jackson is the author of the post-apocalyptic urban fantasy novel Empty Cradle: The Untimely Death of Corey Sanderson. He lived as a nomad in an RV for three years, wandering the continental United States at will. He was born and raised in Detroit and always returns no matter how many times he moves away. He is an ex-school bus driver, an ex-marketing manager, and a self-published, self-syndicated freelance writer. Emmy speaks the secret language of cars, is a rescuer of things, and enjoys dancing, collecting toy cars and traveling to visit new goth clubs. He lives in a suburb of Detroit.
Writing, for me, has always been about listening to the voices in my head. I don’t mean that in a facetious, Hot Topic T-shirt way, but almost literally. It’s always started with a character speaking (or thinking) and if I listen carefully enough, some mental clutch slips a little bit and my new imaginary friend’s reality will begin to overlay my own, ever so slightly. It’s kind of like an image projected on a window, mirroring and adding to the reality beyond.
When this first started happening, in grade school, I didn’t think anything of it; an overactive imagination was just a handy way to make every day an adventure, after all. As I got older, though, I began to wonder if it was “right,” going so far as to visit a therapist or three during college. When they asked if I heard voices, I told them yes, and tried to explain, but this led to all future efforts being directed toward getting rid of the voices. And this, in turn, made me realize that I liked them.
Rather than resisting, I started to let the clutch slip a bit more. Given a bit of leash, a new imaginary friend was happy to tell me about her world, about how it worked and how it was similar to this one, if it was. When a new voice began talking in my head and wouldn’t shut up, I started writing down everything she said; when she finally decided to take a rest 550 pages later I had the first draft of a novel, as well as a new friend. Sometimes they stick around after the book’s done; I don’t know if this means I’m not done with them yet, or vice versa.
I’ve gotten used to walking through life with two or three alternate realities rolling simultaneously, passing through a number of parsing filters so that I can glean relevant bits of character detail and interaction for a post-apocalyptic world out of a trip to Wal-Mart, or envision a fierce hand-to-hand battle based on the flow of traffic during rush hour–hopefully while not falling so far into my own worlds that I forget to stop for red lights.
The world can be a pretty chaotic place, with a freewheeling brain. I’d go into detail about how I go about disengaging it–except that I don’t, really. Every day is an adventure of some sort, a series of moments in my life as well as half a dozen others. I have been known to fill notepads at a deforestational rate.
Is this something that’s teachable, or learnable? I don’t know, exactly, and unfortunately that, like a lot of writing advice, is spectacularly unhelpful to you if you don’t work that way. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to write, as it turns out, only the way that works for you. So, the best I can offer is this: if you’re a writer and your world is a kaleidoscope like mine? You’re not the only one.
Empty Cradle: The Untimely Death of Corey Sanderson (ISBN 1463715420) is a post-apocalyptic urban fantasy that takes readers on a road trip approximately a hundred and fifty years after a plague of infertility leads to society’s violent collapse. The depopulated land once known as North America is home to isolated walled cities, vast herds of wild cattle-buffalo hybrids and the large predators that feed on them, determined bandits and mutated, half-human “biters.” Seven in ten women are rendered sterile by “Empty Cradle,” manufactured goods and working electricity are rare, shape-shifters and mutated human “biters” are common, and travelers must navigate all of these threats just to survive.
Author’s page: www.emmyjackson.com
Amazon CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/3651549