by Joyful Jerboa
Molly Looby is the author of many young adult fiction novels. Her zombie novel ZA was published in 2016 by Molten Publishing. She lives in sunny Essex, England and spends almost all of her time hunkered down at the desk under her stairs with her imaginary friends.
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Please tell us something about yourself. How did you become who you are now?
I’ve always loved stories. My childhood was filled with books. I read everything I could get my hands on, living in these stories. Then, when I was fourteen, I decided I wanted to write a book. I wanted to create one of these worlds, so I started to write. I haven’t looked back since.
Which role does writing play in your life?
Writing is a big part of my life. Once I started writing, I couldn’t stop. It became a part of who I am. When I’m in the middle of writing a book, my mind will be on it all the time, even if I’m not at my computer. And when I’m not in the middle of writing a book, I’ll be thinking about the book I plan on writing next. It’s non-stop!
Have you always wanted to be a writer or did it rather happen by chance?
I’d always liked the idea of writing a book because I’d always loved reading, but it wasn’t until I was fourteen and the internet went down one day that I tried it out. Then I couldn’t stop! So I suppose you could say I happened upon it by chance. Although, I’m sure I would’ve got into it eventually. Whatever was up with the internet that day decided it for me though!
What is your latest book, “ZA” about?
ZA is about seventeen-year-old Zane Carlisle who finds himself in the middle of the zombie Armageddon, or ‘ZA’ as his girlfriend’s brother calls it. He finds himself trapped in his girlfriend’s house with his mum, his girlfriend, her parents, brother, best friend, and they all have to band together and work out how to survive in this new world. It follows Zane through the very beginning of the zombie Armageddon.
How was the idea of “ZA” born? What is behind the creation of the story?
My dad, my brother, and I have always been zombie freaks. We watched loads of zombie films, played zombie video games, and would quiz each other about our Armageddon plans. It was inevitable that I would write about zombies eventually. And it was so much fun!
How do you market ZA? Do you have a publisher or do you do that by yourself?
I do whatever I can to spread the word about ZA. I talk to schools, go to events, and last year I was lucky enough to have a book signing at Waterstones. My publisher is Molten Publishing, which is a publishing company I run, so it’s the best of both worlds in that respect.
When doubt creeps in, you have to push past it.
Who were the first people you gave your book to read?
The first person to get a copy of ZA was my dad. Not only did he teach me to love zombie stories, he taught me to love stories, and I don’t know where my writing would be without his encouragement.
What is the most difficult thing about writing a book?
I would say doubt. When doubt creeps in, you have to push past it. Sometimes it’s difficult to ignore the voice that whispers, this is rubbish. Why are you writing this? No one will want to read this. It’s something all writers I’ve spoken to have to battle with, and for me, that’s always the hardest thing.
Do you write for a living, or is this more like a hobby?
It takes a long time for authors to make enough money to only write what they want to write for a living, and I’m not there yet. But I love running my publishing company, and when I am writing a book, I treat it as seriously as if it was the only thing I did for income.
To get to the end! At first, all you have to do is write, write, write. Don’t allow yourself to stop. Don’t go back.
Are you considering writing another book? What will the book be about?
Yes! I’m planning to have another book out in 2018. It’s totally different from ZA. It’s called Fire and Ice, and it follows Ash and Cerulean, a Flare and a Shard. Shards and Flares have hated each other for centuries, but when Ash and Cerulean crash into each other one day on the way to training, everything changes.
I’m also writing the sequel to ZA, which I expect to be out in 2019.
Could you tell us about tools that help you in your writing process?
I’m always more productive if I turn my internet off. Then if I try to get to Twitter or something, it won’t work, and I remember there’s no time for distractions! I also find that hiding my word count helps me to write faster as I’m not constantly checking it!
What is your best advice to aspiring authors?
To get to the end! At first, all you have to do is write, write, write. Don’t allow yourself to stop. Don’t go back. Get to the end before anything else. Editing is for later. Concentrate on writing above all else.