Interview with Ann Aguirre - Outpost Tour!

When I got the chance to read Outpost as part of an ARC tour by my amazing Twitter pal Kathy (aka @thebrainlair), I was intrigued. I hadn’t read anything by Ann Aguirre yet, but I had heard great things about Enclave, the first book in the Razorland series. I grabbed it, devoured it, and got excited to get my hands on Outpost.

I loved the second book even more than the first. Do you have any idea how rare that is? So I did what any enthusiastic reader would do – I tweeted about it. Imagine my surprise when the MacMillan Kids feed sent me a message asking if I’d like to host a Q&A with Ann Aguirre. Authors are rock stars in my book, so I was excited and more than a little nervous. I promptly reread both books to help me find just the right questions to ask. I was thrilled to get her responses


Maria:  I saw in your author notes the variety of sources you used to help create the Razorland world. When you did your research, what bits were the most fascinating or frightening to discover?

Ann Aguirre: I was shocked at how fast the world erases signs of humanity. The show Life After People is particularly illuminating in that respect; it shows you just how long it would take for a formerly settled area to be reclaimed. (It's not as long as you might think).

  (Maria’s Note: You can check out information about that History Channel show here.)

Maria: As you worked through world building this post-apocalyptic land, when did you decide that you had enough detail? Was there a detail that made you think, “Wow, that’s it!”? Did you have to go back and add or change things about the world as you wrote the story itself?

Ann Aguirre: Continuity is important, but don't worry about it as I'm drafting. In subsequent revisions, I make sure all the details given are consistent, however. The thing about series writing is, if I establish a thing as being true in book one, I can't change the rules without a good reason, at least as pertains to the rule itself. People can change their behavior for various reasons, as can the Freaks, but I can't move a river from the east side of town to the west just because I'm in the mood. So most changes I make are to ensure consistency, and I do change things in revision, add description, but nothing that has already been established. I can't contradict my own canon on a whim.

Maria: When you begin a multiple book series like this, do you plot out all the books before you begin, or do you take it one book at a time? Within a single book, how tightly do you plot out the events before you begin to write it?

Ann Aguirre: I have a story arc in mind from beginning to end, generally. Like, book one -- introduce the hero and heroine. They fight a war of succession and win. Book two -- their relationship heats up and their kingdom is jeopardized by goblins. War coming again. Book three -- hero and heroine get together forever, and they also triumph over the goblins. That's about as detailed as I get in my plotting. I know more or less what happens, but as to how they get there, exactly? I figure that out as I write. In other words, I don't plot events at all.
Maria: Both Enclave and Outpost have a lot of well sequenced and detailed battle scenes. Did you have to do any special research to help prepare you to write this type of scene?

Ann Aguirre: I watch a lot of action movies. I pay attention to the choreography. I also watch MMA and UFC matches. Sometimes I troll for spontaneous fights recorded and posted on Youtube. Those can be illuminating, too. 

Maria: As a comics reader, I’m curious about your choice of “Gotham” as the name the people of Salvation use for the area from which Deuce and her group escaped. What led you to that name choice?

Ann Aguirre: This article sums up Gotham and its relationship to New York City, far better than I could. Click and read; it's seriously fascinating.  (Hint, it didn't start with Batman.) The reason I chose it is because it distances us from present-day New York, and gives the city a more mythical feel.
   (Maria’s Note: That article was fascinating, as were the comments below it. I had no idea!)
Maria: While the series focuses on the incredible strength of Deuce, I admire how you displayed many different types of strength through other characters like Tegan and Momma Oaks. Watching Deuce try to merge her Huntress side with her more tender nature was one of my favorite parts of her development. Can you tell me a little about any women who have inspired you?

Ann Aguirre: Single mothers inspire me. They have to be all things to their children, all the time. They work multiple jobs and there's nobody to turn to in the middle of the night when things get rough. I admire their strength and their resolve.

Maria: Beyond Momma Oaks, Longshot was another character who stepped in to support Deuce’s desire to use her strengths instead of sticking with the town’s emphasis on gender appropriate behavior. Have you had someone serve a similar role in your life, supporting your dreams and goals?

Ann Aguirre: My husband has always supported me. I love him like crazy, and he was one of my first fans, back when I was typing stories nobody read in an AOL forum / bulletin board. He gave me the strength to keep trying, even when I stopped believing I had what it took. I'll always be grateful to him for that.

Maria: Did you have any particular music that you listened to while working on the Razorland series? Do you listen to different music as you write your different series?

Ann Aguirre: Yep! Enclave had a playlist, but I didn't put it together officially. However, I learned from that oversight, and I do have one for Outpost to share with you.  Each book definitely requires its own musical choices, so it does change.

Once again - a huge thank you to Ann for answering my questions.

Read my reviews of Enclave and Outpost. Both include the official trailers. 

Also, don’t miss the novella Endurance. It takes place in the same world, but focuses on Thimble and Stone, and bridges the gap between Enclave and Outpost:

Intrigued? Dying to have your own copy of Enclave and Outpost? I’ve got you covered. MacMillan has offered to give away a copy of each book to one winner from this post. Check it out!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A free Fall 2012 Fierce Reads chapter sampler for e-readers is now available for download, which includes Outpost

Take a look at some of the other stops on the Outpost tour:

Outpost Blog Tour Schedule
Tuesday 9/4             
Wednesday 9/5      
Thursday 9/6            
Friday 9/7                  
Saturday 9/8            
Monday 9/10           
Tuesday 9/11           
Wednesday 9/12    
Thursday 9/13         


  1. I haven't read either book! *gasp!* Guess I'd better! Sounds great!

  2. I really do like Katniss as a heroine. She's badass and yet tender. Loyal, smart, and many other adjectives...


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