Laurel Myler is a debut author and not many people know her or her work yet. So I thought I would take the time to introduce you to her and get to know her a little better myself with a short interview.

Her book, City Ash and Desert Bones launches September 21st! Publishers Weekly says, “…the vibrant story is a fun ride for horror fans…” Pre-order here (advance copies are already shipping).

Introducing Laurel Myler
How did you come up with the idea behind City Ash and Desert Bones?

I wish I had a solid answer for this. I honestly don’t know. Vague rumblings of it had been floating around in my head for some time before I started putting anything to paper. For me, stories are typically born out of the characters who populate it, so they introduced themselves and I built a world around that. Very bizarre, I know.

You wrote City Ash and Desert Bones as part of a college program. Can you talk a little bit about that process?

My junior year at the University of Utah, I was chosen to be part of the inaugural Novel Writing Workshop in the Honors College. I was one of ten students, and the workshop was led by Dr. Michael Gills. Every morning the ten of us were required to wake up, check in online, and then write for an hour. We turned in ten pages every week, and met Fridays for three hours to discuss the craft and workshop each others pieces. We also had a list of some twenty-two novels to read over the summer. It was the single most challenging and rewarding experience of my education. This class broke me, but I put myself back into something even better.

How did you get started writing?

I’ve been writing since I was in fifth grade and my mom bought me this notebook with purple and brown stripes on it. I thought it was the most beautiful thing on the planet, so I felt obligated to fill it up with “good stuff” rather than school work. I think I still have it tucked away in a closet somewhere.

City Ash science fiction novel coverYou’ve also been involved in some plays, correct? What do you enjoy about drama. How does it contrast with novel writing?

Yes! I wrote a two-act play for my honors thesis at the University of Utah, and it was performed at the Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival this summer. I live for drama. My ideal job title is writer/producer. There’s something special that happens when you’re not the only person representing your work. Suddenly, eight (or more) other people have input and creative control over the final project and I truly feel like my work is magnified and bettered through the interpretations of others. Script writing comes a lot more naturally to me than novel writing does, mainly because all I have to write is dialogue, and dialogue is my favorite thing to write.

Are you working on any other writing projects right now?

My current writing project is kicking my butt. It’s another novel, completely unrelated to the first, but also set in the future where circuses have become the main form of entertainment. It’s very large. And deals with a lot of heavy topics. And has been a mountain of joyous research. At the rate I’m going, I’ll have caught up to the actual timeline of the book before I finish it.

As a debut author what has been your favorite part of the publishing process? Which part did you like the least?

My favorite part of the publishing process was seeing the cover art for the first time. Brad Sharp’s artwork is absolutely stunning. That was the moment it became officially real for me.

The thing that’s been hardest is the fact that I’m practically an infant when it comes to publishing, and I’m still learning how I write, what I write, and where my weaknesses and strengths are. It’s been nearly two years since I started writing City Ash and Desert Bones and a year since I finished it. I have grown and changed tremendously as a writer in that time and even now I still have so much more to learn, so it’s strange to see a piece of writing that feels so far away and almost alien going out into the world to represent me. It is, however, thrilling to see the progress I’ve made.

Tell us 3 surprising facts about yourself.

I am a supertaster, which means I have more fungiform papillae on my tongue and taste things more intensely than your average human. It is not, contrary to the name, a super power.

King Henry VIII is my first cousin fourteen times removed.

In my life, I have been mother to four hamsters, five canaries, four parakeets, two cats, and a boatload of fish.

Are there any other authors or works that were particularly influential on your novel?

It may not be particularly obvious looking at the novel, but Ray Bradbury, Brandon Sanderson, and Emily Bronte were big influences. Still are and always will be.

City Ash and Desert Bones has a unique setting, sort of a future Wild West. Do places inspire you? If so, which places have been the most inspirational?

I am absolutely inspired by places. I love to travel, so when I’m not currently travelling I’m saving up for and planning the next trip. Every place has its own feeling to it, its own little quirks and energy. England (north and south) has perhaps inspired me the most of all the places I’ve been. Some of the novel I’m currently working on takes place there.