Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Interview with Erin Carrougher, author of Augland



Today it gives the Speculative Fiction Showcase great pleasure to interview Erin Carrougher, whose first novel Augland has its debut on December 6.


Augland is set in a post-apocalyptic world in and around your home-town, Seattle. What caused the apocalypse and how do the survivors cope now?


I could talk about this FOREVER! One company changed the course of history: the Artificial Existence Center. The AEC created an android they call “Artificial Existence Beings” that allow humans to transmit their mind into an artificial body. Augland started out as retirement homes where people could live in an endless vacation in whatever body they wanted. Soon, wealthy people of all ages were living in increasingly elaborate Augland theme-parks.


But the lure of the new technology became too powerful. The government tried to regulate AEC, and AEC convinced people that the government wanted to control their newly augmented lives. Thus, the Civil War. When the AEC gained control of the country, there were only two options left: live with the AEC technology in an Augland park, or work for one.  


Your protagonist, Ashton, works for the AEC but can’t keep her head down. Who is Ashton and why is she so defiant?


Ashton has every intention of blending in and becoming a good worker. That’s what makes her character so dynamic. She wants to stay low, be the same as everyone else, but she can’t seem to obey when others are being taken advantage of. 


Sheva is Ashton’s closest friend, a mother-like figure to her, and when something happens to Sheva, Ashton is forced into defiance and with that, a reputation of disruption. 


Sometimes dystopian fiction seems like a manual helping us imagine what to do once the apocalypse arrives. Is this real or are the novels just a great read?


I think there are definite take-aways. It’s important to realize where the true power lies. It’s with the people. Too often, we are afraid of what we don’t know and that paralyzes us. It is this fear that allows tyranny to flourish.


What are your plans for the launch and the run-up to the launch? Where can people read about what’s happening?


I’ve got plans to celebrate with friends and family! It’s been such a long road to get to this point and I’m so excited that now others are able to read what I’ve spend the last two years developing.  


I’ve also been keeping readers up to date with the process and news on my website (www.erincarrougher.com) with sneak peeks of where they can purchase a hard copy of the book at local Seattle bookstores.


Tell us something about the Pacific North-west. How far is it a place that lends itself to the idea of a remote and challenging wilderness?


The greater Seattle area gives me a lot of room for creativity. In Augland 54, the park is divided into seven different locations which incorporate most of the Pacific Northwest landscape. 


“Maya Bay” is placed on the shores of Elliott Bay. “Hollywood Boulevard” uses Seattle and Bellevue—there may even be some recognizable landmarks. “Predator’s Biome” stretches to the wilderness and mountainous landscape of North Bend. I LOVE using recognizable features in my futuristic PNW world. 


Without spoilers, can you hint at what Ashton discovers in the new Land of Legends park? How does she end up there?


This is hard to do without spoiling anything, but I’ll do my best! Land of Legends is a new park within Augland created for customers to experience a real-life virtual reality game. But unlike a video game, this game has real consequences. 


Ashton doesn’t fit the corporate standard and finds herself sent to Land-of-Legends, which is meant to be a rehabilitation centre. Or, rather, a place that scares you into being pliable.


Are there writers, series, movies or games that inspire you? And what are you enjoying now?


Les MisĂ©rables has been a big inspiration, especially as it pertains to the classes and rebellion. It’s also a beautiful story about the lives of people less fortunate. As for what I’m enjoying now? I’ve been hooked on Marie Liu’s Legend Series.


Are you working on a sequel and how do you imagine a series about Augland developing?


YES! I’ve finished the first draft of the second book of the Augland novel. Things will get a little darker for Ashton and Wolfe before we see a glimmer of the hope of reform. Next, the third book in the trilogy! I can’t wait to continue the story.


How do you combine writing with the day job? Do you have a routine?


It can be difficult. I find writing in the morning and right before bed is when I feel the most creative. There are definitely times it doesn’t come easy, but persistence is key! Always make time. Always be open to feedback and rework until it’s the story you want to tell.


In your bio, you mention that you enjoy experimental cooking. How much do the recipes and ideas find their way into your writing?


I think writing and cooking can be quite similar. It all starts with a recipe. Augland’s outline morphed and changed as I wrote and became something I wanted, but not what I originally thought it would be. Recipes to me are the same. It’s an outline to a final product, but as I go things change and shift with different ingredients! It’s part of the creativity of cooking and writing, especially when it turns out better than you ever expected 😊.


What is your next step?


Well now that I’ve started writing I just can’t stop! I’ve completed the draft of my second book and I just can’t wait to get it in the hands of readers.


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About Erin Carrougher:




Erin Carrougher lives in the Seattle area and was more than suited to write about the region as the location of her dystopian novel. She has a passion for storytelling and loves to envision worlds other than our own. Carrougher minored in Creative Writing and currently works as a Sales Manager, and enjoys cooking and the outdoors. Augland is Carrougher’s first novel.


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