Saturday, March 7, 2015

Elbot Carman, Author of Lola the Buhund - The Empty Sky

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Elbot Carman is the author of Lola the Buhund | Book 1 | The Empty Sky.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
Ack.  I'm always so bad at describing myself.  I'm a graphic designer by day, writer by night. As a whole, I'm a huge geek.  I was born in Ohio, but I've lived in numerous places all over the US.  Never staying in one place for too long has gifted me an expanded view of the world, I suppose.  I'm a lot more well-travelled for my age than I care to let on.

Describe the plot of your book in a few sentences.
Lola is born into a world that (in reality) could not survive –  without the sun, the moon, and the stars there is no daylight.  Food and resources are scarce, yet many still manage to persevere this harsh world.  Never knowing of what the world was before and without realizing what fate has in store for her, Lola is set on a path to discover exactly what happened to the world of Lumea when her home is destroyed by a cruel monarch.

Who do you think would most appreciate your book? 
I feel that this book would appeal most to younger readers (ages 9 and up), although I've had readers well into their 70s tell me they enjoyed it.  When I began working in it I wanted to create something that younger readers could enjoy but wouldn't necessarily isolate older readers.

What made you decide to write a novel set in a hostile world where the sky has gone empty? 
Well, this might get a bit candid and long-winded, but here goes..  Before I go into this, there are two details you need to keep in mind: one is that Lola is based off of a real dog by the same name, is the other is that I'm an adult living with clinical depression and degenerative disc disease.  In 2011 I was living by myself when my degenerative disc took a turn for the worst and I was in a state where I literally couldn't walk because I was in so much pain. I had to pack up everything, quit my job, and drive 4000 miles across the country to move back in with my family so that I'd have help available when it became an issue again.

It flared up again the moment I finished moving.  I was unemployed and bed-ridden, spending almost every waking moment on my laptop trying to find work in the area.  I was completely miserable and the world around me seemed dark and bleak. Before I'd moved back in, my mother had adopted Lola.  In a weird turn of events, she ended up bonding with me instead of my mother and was constantly by my side throughout the entire ordeal.  Eventually my situation improved, but that experience was part of what inspired the desolate world Lola and her friends live in.

The main character, Lola, is a Buhund. What is it like writing from the perspective of a Buhund? 
It was challenging, since I wanted her to be a relatable protagonist but wanted to stay true to the personality and character of the dog she's based on. I eventually broke the process down to repeatedly answering the question “What would Lola say in this situation if she could talk?”

It gave me the opportunity to explore the actual Lola's personality more in depth.   She's a lot quirkier than you'd expect a dog to be.

Who was your favorite character to write? 
I don't know if I can commit to a favorite in that regard.  A majority of them were very fun to develop and write – although I had a few issues that resulted in me toning down some of the villains.  I guess I'd have to settle on Lola as my favorite.  There's a certain spunk to her that I really appreciate.

Without giving too much away, can you tell us a bit of what to expect in the next book in the series?
Something big is going to be set in motion and Lola will have to grow even as a character to stop it.  Meanwhile, another member of the cast gets to learn a rather harsh lesson: when you bend the rules, there's always consequences.

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