Interview with Kirby Howell

What would you do if you lived through the apocalypse? The real fight to survive comes after everyone else is gone.

A plague of epic proportion sweeps the globe, leaving less than one percent of the world’s population immune. Among the living is Autumn Winters, the teenage daughter of a famous actress. When Autumn’s parents don’t come home and the city is overtaken by a dangerous faction, she goes into hiding with a small group of underground survivors. They’re led by a mysterious young man who harbors an unearthly secret, and with whom Autumn feels a deep connection.

Autumn in the City of Angels is the first novel in a series, followed by Autumn in the Dark Meadows and Autumn in the City of Lights.

1. What would you do if you lived through the apocalypse?

Well, first off, we’d take a cue from the bad guys in our book and go to bulk warehouse stores and stock up on non-perishables and fluids.  Then, we’d probably hole up in a library.  What better place to keep yourself entertained through the end of the world?  Besides, the idea of bringing snacks into the library, where it’s never allowed, is just too tempting not to do.

Clearly, we’re rebels.
2. You've gotten a lot of positive reviews that mention how realistic your characters seem. What is it about your characters that people really connect with?
We love that readers are connecting with our characters! It's really tough to get into a story if you don't connect or relate to the characters. Our main character, Autumn, is mildly unrealistic because she's the daughter of an A-list movie star (and lives all the perks that goes with it), but she doesn't act like it. She's unspoiled and the opposite of what people might expect. This makes her accessible to readers. Autumn also says and does what she thinks is right and while this is sometimes admirable, she doesn't always think things through all the way and this impulsive and stubborn nature gets her into a lot of trouble sometimes. How often do we, as real people, do and say everything we think? We know we don't! Reading a character who follows through on this impulse can be fascinating.
3. There's a lot of books about post-apocalypse/end of the world scenario. Why should readers read your series?
Autumn in the City of Angels takes place in present day and, unlike other post-apocalyptic books, begins before the typewriter ink hits the fan (so to speak). The reader gets to witness the world falling apart. It's a terrifying thing to experience not having enough food, the water not working, the texts from your friends ceasing, and waiting for your parents to come home with a sinking feeling that your vigil might be in vain.
The Autumn Series also delves into the hard sciences, such as physics and astronomy. We make it accessible to unlike-minded readers by making Autumn the constant learner.  So the reader is educated about what’s going on in the world through Autumn.
4. How did you come up with the pen name Kirby Howell?
It's a mashup of our maiden names! Jessica "Kirby" Alexander and Dana "Howell" Melton.
5. When does the next book in the series come out, and can you give us any spoiler-free details?

Our standby answer to this is, “As soon as we can finish it!”  But that’s not very specific, is it?  It’d definitely coming out this year, hopefully in the early part of 2015.  We’ve already completed a rough draft and are in the middle of re-writes.  So soon!

As for a spoiler, what we can say is that while the first book was set in Los Angeles, and the second book opened us up to a good portion of the Southwestern United States, the third book will be on a more global scale, so we’ll finally get a sense of how this plague affected the rest of world, and not just one small portion of the States.  We’re really excited about that.

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