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Apocalipstick by Lisa Acerbo‏

Lisa Acerbo is a high school teacher and adjunct faculty at the University of Phoenix. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, daughters, three cats, and two horses. When not writing, she mountain bikes, hikes, and tries to pursue some type of further education--she's working towards an EdD.

Jenna should be having the time of her life at college. Instead, her only desire is survival. She lives in a world gone insane after a virus kills most of the population. Being alive after the apocalypse is bad, but when the undead return, hungry for humans, times turn darker. For Jenna and a small group of survivors, the goal is to reach the High Point Inn. At the inn, Jenna develops feelings for Caleb, who, while exotic and intoxicating, is not quite human. Will this new utopia last?

Q) What inspired you to write this story?
I grew up reading novels by Judy Blume, Johanna Lindsey, Dean Koontz, and Stephen King, among others. While entirely different genres, these authors inspired me to want to read more and write fiction. Is it odd that I love both horror and romance genres? I love authors who can create vivid conflicts and life-like characters in relationships, romantic or otherwise. These days I am inspired by the books my high school students read like Twilight, the Chicagoland Vampire Series, and The Hunger Games. I enjoy reading romances with action and adventure, and I hoped to create a book with those elements.

Q) How long did it take you to write?
Apocalipstick took me about three years to complete. I was working on my EdD and writing the book was my creative outlet. When classes and weekly academic essays became overwhelming, I would fall into a creative black hole for a while and it helped. Writing creatively keeps me sane.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
I love the prewriting and drafting stages of writing. As Anne Lamott says in her book on Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, “The first draft is the child's draft, where you let it all pour out and then let it romp all over the place, knowing that no one is going to see it and that you can shape it later.” It is fun to get all the ideas down even if they make no sense when you reread them later.

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?
Writing a romantic scene is scary and intimidating. They are much harder to write than the zombie battles. I grew up in a very traditional, very Catholic family, so love scenes can be tough to write at times, but I am starting to get over that fear. Book two is zombies and romance 2.0.

Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
Stephen King. I recently read two of his new books – Joyland and Doctor Sleep – and loved them. These stories reminded me why I enjoy not only teaching others about literature and writing but also practicing the craft myself. Even though I know I could never come close to King’s level of mastery, reading great stories makes me want to become a better writer.

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
I’ll have to clean it out one day and get back to you on that question.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
Apocalipstick was my first book, but book two in the series is coming together. Jenna and Caleb undergo a challenging quest. They leave the safety of the inn and their travels resemble the traditional journey of the mythological heroes brought to light by Joseph Campbell. There are also many unexpected twists for the characters and someone rises from the dead, but not as a zombie. I was working on my first book and already planning the next book in my head, thinking about the changes and developments that would happen to Jenna and Caleb, the main characters.