C.A. Huggins has always been a big fan of the sci-fi, horror and post-apocalyptic genres but always wanted to create his own universe with a different take on your typical heroes and villains. He did exactly that in Scattered Screams. As our author of the day, he chats about familial relationships and why they are so important in this book and explains why he added pack attack coyotes to the mix
Please give us a short introduction to what Scattered Screams is about.
Scattered Screams is about a father who takes his teenage son and his son's best friend on a college visit. And during that visit something unexplainable is triggered (The Disruption). The Disruption causes some people to turn into mutants and other creatures. Now, the father and two teenage boys have to fight for their lives as they attempt to make it home from California to New York City. The story is about that return home and the people they meet along the way.
What inspired you to write this book?
I'm a big fan of the sci-fi, horror, and post-apocalyptic genres and grew up reading comic books. That being said, I am familiar with the lack of diversity in those genres. Sure, it's a lot better than it was 30 years ago, and even 20 years ago. But I have always wanted to see heroes and villains that looked, talked, and acted like people I know. Not stereotypical versions of "street tough urban" characters or helpless female characters. Not everyone is Rick from the "Walking Dead”, "Jon Snow”, or Frodo Baggins…well actually nobody is a Hobbit, but you know what I mean. I wanted to write something and create an entire universe that included participating from everybody and normalized everyone regardless of race, gender, or religion.
In which ways is your new world akin to a war zone?
The world post-Disruption is an environment where anything can happen at any given moment. All inhabitants have to learn how maneuver and live with their lives in constant jeopardy. Characters also have to make decisions on who to trust, who is going to lead them, and how to react to the ever changing environment. Eventually they will have to decide if they are going to take part in the mayhem that surrounds them or be bystanders. But as we all know, even if you’re a civilian during war you can still become a casualty.
Familial relationships play an important role in your book. Why did you take this approach?
First, I knew familial relationships would be something most readers could relate to. So that was a great starting point, but when you put the ones you love in a crisis situation where their well-being is in jeopardy it is easy to tap into those emotions.
And on a greater scale for the entire series, as the Disruption happens the world becomes fractured. Families have to deal and cope with loss and new "familial relationships" are formed. These relationships are not necessarily with those of blood relation, but are relationships joined by common goals such as survival.
Why did you decide to bring pack attack coyotes into the story?
I wanted to convey the point that everything could be a threat to their safety. Every human. Every animal. And even the planet itself will eventually become a threat.
Scattered Screams is packed with suspense. How did you manage to keep the book action-packed throughout?
I tried to keep upping the ante. As soon as it seems to be a break in the action and the characters are in the clear, I introduced a new threat.
How do you force yourself to finish what you're doing before starting the next project when the new idea is nagging at you?
I’m pretty goal oriented, so I when I know I have to finish a task at hand I push through it. I try to remember what initially intrigued me so much about the project I’m working on. And I use the excitement for the next project as a carrot to finish the current one.
Do reviews and reader feedback shape your work? Or do you feel like it's better to avoid the feedback—both positive and negative—so that it won't interfere with your vision?
I don't let the reviews impact me too much. Of course you want all the reviews to be great and positive, but as an artist you need to stay true to your vision. Not to sound cliche but I don't get too high on the good ones or too low on the negative.
What are you working on right now?
I'm finishing up book 2 of The Disruption series titled "Obscured Hostility". It should be out by the end of the summer.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
All of my work can be found on my website, http://www.cahuggins.com/ and my social media vice of choice is definitely Twitter, @C_A_Huggins.