I’m delighted to be hosting Craig DiLouie in my hot seat today.
Craig is chatting to us about his inspiration for One of Us, about his characters, the best part of his writing journey and more. Enjoy. x
- 432 pages
- Publisher: Orbit (19 July 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0356510972
- ISBN-13: 978-0356510972
- ASIN: B079DVXM34
THEY CALL IT THE PLAGUE
A generation of children born with extreme genetic mutations
THEY CALL IT A HOME
But it’s a place of neglect and forced labour
THEY CALL HIM A FREAK
But Dog is just a boy who wants to be treated as normal
THEY CALL THEM DANGEROUS
They might be right
The story of a lost generation, and a boy who just wants to be one of us.
Available to purchase in digital, paperback, hardcover and audio book formats.
Welcome to Jera’s Jamboree.
Please summarise One of Us in 20 words or less.
One of Us is a dark fantasy described as The Girl with All the Gifts meets To Kill a Mockingbird.
What was the idea/inspiration for your novel?
Published by Orbit in the second half of July 2018 and available in hardcover, trade paperback, eBook, and audiobook, One of Us is about a disease that produces a generation of monsters now coming of age in ramshackle orphanages in the American Deep South.
Abused and rejected by the human race, they aspire and become willing to fight for the same rights and opportunities as everybody else, resulting in a violent uprising. The result is a misunderstood monster novel that is also an examination of prejudice, violence, and what makes a monster a monster.
The concept had several influences, notably Southern Gothic literature; The Island of Dr. Moreau, with is examination of what makes a beast a beast; and the film Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, with its beastly underclass rising up against their masters. I particularly liked the idea of telling a modern monster thriller with a Southern Gothic tone and elements, borrowing its dark, gritty subject matter often dealing with taboo, the grotesque, and prejudice.
Please tell us about the characters in One of Us.
One of Us has an ensemble cast of “monster” children and “normal” kids and adults, providing a broad cross-section of views and events going in in Huntsville, a small town in rural Georgia, and the nearby “Home,” or government-run orphanage for plague children. The plague kids live in a separate and dramatically unequal world at the Home, while the “normals” live in fear knowing the Home is just a few miles away.
The plague kids are interesting in that despite being monstrous in appearance, they’re all too human in their hopes and aspirations. The “normal” kids want their counterparts at the Home to get a fair shake, but the adults in the town fear and loathe the Home’s residents. Some of these “normals” are familiar Southern Gothic tropes, and while they are “normal” in appearance, they often act in monstrous ways, tying into a core theme of One of Us, which is what makes a monster a monster.
If you could choose to be one of these characters Craig, which would you be?
It might be Goof. He’s a plague kid whose mutation is having an upside-down face. Like the other plague children, he is also developing special abilities that catch the attention of the government, which it uses to become a failed and later an unlikely hero. No matter how bad things get, he tries to find humour in his situation, and through it all he holds onto his hope of one day living a normal life. Goof is the comic relief in a very dark and gritty tale.
Was there anything about your protagonist that surprised you?
I was surprised how much readers have connected with Dog, one of the plague kids. Out of all the characters, he is the most consistently kind, and he believes that by working hard and following the rules, the “normal” world will give him a fair shake. Unfortunately, that world is not fair.
What scene did you enjoy writing the most Craig?
I really enjoyed writing the scene where the plague kids have had enough and use their powers to rise up. It’s an extremely cathartic scene and completely changes the direction of the story. From here on out, there can be no peace and no understanding, only war.
Can you share with us what you are currently working on?
I’m currently wrapping up revisions for another novel for Orbit. This story is about a brother and sister forced to fight as child soldiers on opposite sides of a second American civil war. As with One of Us, I think it’s going to be very provocative.
Finally, what has been the best part of your writing journey so far?
I thought it’d be seeing the spine of my novel on bookstore shelves, but honestly, it’s been reviews and letters from fans, especially those who feel especially touched in some way by my work. It’s really been an amazingly humbling and gratifying journey.
Thank you for being my guest today Craig.
Wishing you success with all your projects.
Read the reviews of One of Us, including The Guardian, SciFiNow, Starburst, B&N Sci-Fi/Fantasy Blog, and The Washington Post.
Craig DiLouie is an American-Canadian writer of speculative fiction. His works have been nominated for major literary awards, translated into multiple languages, and optioned for screen adaptation. He is a member of the Imaginative Fiction Writers Association, International Thriller Writers, and Horror Writers Association.
Connect with Craig DiLouie