Dustin Thomason, author of newly released 12.21 was nice enough to answer some questions for my blog! Aaaand he’s a super fox. Bonus points, he likes a good vodka martini. He also co-wrote the very excellent The Rule of Four, so check him out!
Julz: How was writing this novel on your own different than doing a collaboration (like Rule of Four) or writing for TV?
Dustin: Writing alone means you are the only boss and the employee, and sometimes that’s great, and other times it’s very hard. You have to motivate on your own, and critique on your own. You can still get feedback from others, but you have to be your own first critic. In a television writer’s room, or when you’re collaborating on a novel with someone, you get that constant feedback loop that can be both hard and very rewarding. I like doing both, and depending on the project I plan to continue to write alone and to work with partners.
Julz: You created such a scary scenario with the spread of prions. In my review I mentioned developing psychosomatic symptoms of prion disease. What would you say to readers who develop insomnia after reading your book.
Dustin: I hope the only insomnia people have from reading this book is because they can’t put it down! There are other distinct symptoms of prion disease if readers are worried, not just insomnia. They should also be aware that they’re not alone—that insomnia affects at least a third of the population, usually developing during adulthood and later. FFI only occurs in about forty families worldwide.
Julz: When researching ancient Mayan culture, what was the most interesting tidbit you came across? Were you able to travel to the region of Central America that you so vividly described?
Dustin: One of the most mistaken assumptions about the collapse of the ancient Maya people is that the invading Spanish and other European explorers brought it on. What people don’t know is that the abandonment of the great cities, the mysterious exodus of tens of thousands of Maya from the lowlands of Central America, happened 500 years before Columbus’s arrival. And now, over a thousand years later, we still aren’t sure why. There are piles of hypotheses and very well researched and very logical possibilities. But there is no clear answer. This incredible unsolved mystery was one of several pillars of inspiration for 12.21, and something that will always fascinate and intrigue me.
Julz:. Are you going to do anything to celebrate 12/21/12 in a few months
Dustin: Planning to throw a huge party, probably in Los Angeles. Maybe on the beach near where I live. At midnight I want to be surrounded by all of my dear friends, those who have been hearing me talk about 12/21/12 for years and are probably tired of my beating the drum. I definitely owe each of them a few drinks.
Julz: Please tell my readers or favorite drink and your favorite book.
Dustin: Favorite drink: Vodka martini extra dirty. Favorite book: The Stand
Any of us who attempts to write a story about the end of the world—or a new beginning for it—must bow before King’s masterwork. A tapestry of memorable, complicated characters, a big, weird, wonderful tale of good and evil, his Christian morality play, The Stand is the longest part of King’s doomsday shadow in which we all sit. When the book was initially published, he cut many hundreds of pages to please his editor, but from the first time I read the unabridged version and got to live inside that imagination, all I couldthink was: “If only it were a thousand more.”