What inspired your latest novel?
Published in hardcover, eBook, and audio book by Orbit and released August 20, 2019, OUR WAR is about the consequences of political tribalism as told in a story about a second American civil war. This story is about a brother and sister forced to fight as child soldiers on opposite sides, and the people whose lives they touch: a UN worker who wants to stop the use of child soldiers, a journalist seeking to expose it, and a rebel militia sergeant who begins to see the humanity in those he hates.
The novel has several influences. The first is the rise of violence and polarization in American politics. Another is the Bosnian War of the 1990s; if a second civil war occurred in America, it would far more likely be between city and country than between states. And the last is American exceptionalism, the idea America is superior to broken countries like Syria, but should war ever break out inside our borders, the country will suffer like any other, producing refugees, atrocities, and even child soldiers. This brutal world provides the backdrop for a story about love, sacrifice, and the meaning of patriotism.
How did you come up with the title?
The title speaks to the personal nature of a war that divides communities and even families.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The message is simple. If Americans cannot agree on a common set of unifying ideas, then it is just another multi-ethnic empire. Aside from that, there are many minor themes.
How much of the book is realistic?
All of it—that’s the intent, anyway! As I said, I took a great deal of inspiration for what a war in America would look like from the Bosnian War of the 1990s. This was a war between conservative and liberal, between ethnicities, between urban and rural. Most of the combatants were average people motivated to fight either out of resentment and demonization of their countrymen, or out of desperate self defense. In a war like this, everybody fights, and nobody wins.
Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?
I’m on Facebook and Twitter, and I have a blog at www.CraigDiLouie.com. At my blog, I review a lot of interesting books, movies, and TV shows.
Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?
OUR WAR is a standalone novel, though of course there is potential to continue the story, if enough readers want to read it.
My next novel is about a group of people who grew up in an apocalyptic cult and survived its horrific last days, and who reunite to confront the past and the entity that appeared on the final night. This novel is about trauma, memory, belonging, and faith.
Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
I grew to love all the characters in OUR WAR, but my favorite is Hannah, a girl who joins a local militia after everything has been taken from her. Forced to grow up fast, she accepts her new cause and family and fights for them. In the end, she must learn to fight for herself if she wants to survive the war’s aftermath. Her story is heart-wrenching, relatable, and hopeful.
Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?
For me, genre is what the story needs, not what I need. My job as the author is to tell a good story. That being said, some genres allow you to do more interesting things. OUR WAR is a straight-up literary thriller. Otherwise, I’ve written sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, which allow me to play with a fantastic element. Horror is particularly fun because you can really push boundaries and entice the reader to consider uncomfortable truths.
Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?
Both, in that I outline the major plot points so I always know where I’m going. During writing, there is a process of discovery between the plot points, where the story and characters tell me what they want to do.
What is your best marketing tip?
Write the absolute best book you can write. Nothing sells a book better than a good book that resonates.
Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance?
I use social media primarily to network with other writers. It’s been invaluable for that. I also connect with fans. I think it’s very hard to get new readers on social media these days unless you dedicate a lot of time and energy to developing a certain persona and flogging it. I’d rather my books speak for themselves, while remaining accessible and responsive as an author.
Craig DiLouie is an acclaimed American-Canadian author of literary dark fantasy and other fiction. Formerly a magazine editor and advertising executive, he also works as a journalist and educator covering the North American lighting industry. His fiction has been nominated for major awards, optioned for screen, and published in multiple languages. He is a member of the Imaginative Fiction Writers Association, International Thriller Writers, and the Horror Writers Association. He lives in Calgary, Canada with his two wonderful children.
Please check out Craig’s Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Craig-DiLouie/e/B001JS1SCQ