We met Anthony Ergo at YALC last year. Since we’re gearing up for the Young Adult Literature Convention once more, this seemed like an appropriate time to share the interview we did with him.
PP: Hi Anthony, a big thank you for coming. We loved Dystopia (click for Katy Haye’s review) and wanted to find out more about it and you. When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
AE: I started writing stories at school thanks to a very inspiring and encouraging English teacher. Having graduated with a degree in English Literature, I wrote my first children’s book and soon progressed to writing for young adults to explore more mature themes, such as the world of the supernatural as featured in Dystopia. It’s fair to say that I caught the bug and after seven years of on-off writing I finally published Dystopia in the summer of 2014. By contrast, the sequel – Hysteria – took just three months to write!
PP: Which of your characters would you most like to be stuck in a haunted house or at the bottom of a London sewer with?
AE: I would choose Julietta from my most recent novel, Plague Risers, as she is a sword-wielding destroyer of zombies so I’d feel pretty safe with her at my side.
PP: If we suddenly descended into a totalitarian police state where the writing of fiction was banned, what would you do instead?
AE: Now that sounds like a dystopian society from hell! As well as writing, I’m also a musician – I play bass guitar and electric cello in a female-fronted rock band, Signed In Crimson. So I guess I would pour my creative juices into the band if I couldn’t write fiction.
PP: What one thing that you know now do you wish you’d known when you were sixteen?
AE: That the only truly important thing is to be happy and to do what you love – anything else is a waste of time and energy.
PP: In three words, why do you love/what’s the best thing about books?
AE: Escape from reality.
PP:What are you working on now?
AE: My most recent novel is Plague Risers – a zombie fiction with a twist, set in the Middle Ages. It was perfectly described by one of my beta readers as “Game of Thrones meets The Walking Dead”. It’s written in first-person present-tense and from multiple points of view. I studied the medieval period as part of my degree and I want to recreate that authentic world (it’s set in France during the time of the Black Death).
(Editor’s note – this interview is from a while ago. I was excited to see that Anthony’s newest book is a steampunk novel, Age of Transience – I’ll be sure to check that out at YALC 2016!).
PP: And finally, the Paisley Piranhas like to share the love because we know how wonderful it is to find a new book or author to fall in love with. Can you recommend a (YA) book or a writer we might not have heard of that we really should try?
AE: One of my favourite YA trilogies is Stone Heart by Charlie Fletcher, set in London where the statues around the city come to life. It’s a great concept and a fun read.
PP: Thanks for the recommendation – and good luck with all your projects!