Excited to have Nicole Mabry on the blog today. She’s here to discuss her timely novel, Past This Point. Welcome, Nicole!
Author Name: Nicole Mabry
Book Title: Past This Point
Book Genre: Apocalyptic Women’s Fiction
Release Date: Out Now
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
Please tell us about Past This Point.
After years of failed relationships, Karis Hylen retreats from her social life, whittling her days down to just work and her dog Zeke. Her self imposed exile ends up saving her life when a deadly flu epidemic wipes out half the United States, and she must survive for months, alone in her apartment building.
How did you come up with the idea?
Years back there was a horrible snow storm in NYC and at the same time, a flu was making its way around my office. I work at NBC on the Saturday Night Live floor, which makes it a very busy floor. I was doing my best to stay away from everyone and barricade myself in my office so I wouldn’t get sick. Cuomo shut down all forms of public transportation because of the snow storm, which essentially shut down the city. That night, I had a vivid dream that combined these two elements, the flu and the shutdown, and it eventually became the plot for Past This Point.
How long did it take for you to write the book? Did you do have to do any research?
I wrote the first draft in two months. But it was a very skeletal draft. I then spent the next two years editing it. One and a half years on my own, and then a few months editing with my agent. There was a ton of research that went into it. I had to research emergency response to something like this, how water, electricity and gas would be handled, food, police, etc…I needed to research what would cause a power outage in just one area of NYC, how viruses worked and how they were cured or vaccinated against. My favorite thing, though, was writing the cross country trip to the quarantine border. I’ve never driven cross country but wanted those scenes to ring true. So I basically Google mapped the entire trip and then went to street view and did the entire trip. It was so helpful, because I could see what my characters would see during the drive.
For you, what’s the hardest thing about writing?
The actual words are the hardest. One of my writing instructors said most of her students come from a place of words, but I come from a place of plot. I have plots coming out my ears, but not enough time or mental space to actually write all of them. I feel very confident about my plots, but I agonize over the words to create the worlds I’ve imagined.
What do you love most about it?
Building intricate plots and taking people into my crazy head. The main reason I wrote Past This Point was because I was telling my best friend about my dream and her response was, “And then what happened?” Well, then I woke up! But she pushed me to write this because I then spent the next hour telling her what I would do if this happened to me and it ended up being a great plot. It was inspiring to me that I could engage her that much with just a ‘what if.”
If you were speaking to someone who hasn’t read your writing before, why should they want to read Past This Point?
Past This Point is not only an action packed thriller and emotional tear-jerker, but it’s also an inspiring story of a disillusioned woman who undergoes a major mental transformation by the end. Not only did my character make much needed changes, but I did in real life as well. Seeing what Karis went through and how her thinking changed by the end, changed my own thinking too.
How does your day job inform your novel writing?
I work on USA Network, Bravo and SYFY networks at my job and being so immersed in such diverse shows has helped me in so many ways when writing Past This Point. Combining reality TV with aliens, viruses, FBI and crime shows, and emotional dramas has helped me to combine these different but adjacent genres in my own work.
What are your interests outside of writing and reading?
I work in photography in my day job. It was my first real passion. I shoot art photography mostly. Nudes, studies in shape and color. I try to explore the way our bodies fit into the landscape of life. I’ve been shooting for almost thirty years and still enjoy it. However, lately, most of my free time is spent on writing. I do still post some of my images from time to time on Instagram but the bulk of my work is on my website. And my other major interest is horror movies. I can watch them all day long, which I know is really odd. But I belong to a horror movie club and I do a top ten horrors for each year. It’s more of a fun hobby.
Are you working on a new project?
Yes, I actually have several in the works. One is a co-written thriller about a serial killer that taps into the current true crime trends. My co-author and I are currently querying agents for this one. On my solo projects, the second one is also about a serial killer, but a female serial killer and follows the #metoo movement. This is the one I’m working on right now. I do have another project that I was about 2/3 of the way through but then I realized, timeline-wise, the female serial killer one needed to come first. This third one is about a woman who witnesses a kidnapping of a young girl. When she tries to intervene, she ends up getting kidnapped along with the girl.
Where can readers find you?
Thank you, Nicole! Past This Point is available NOW.
Karis Hylen has been through the New York City dating wringer. After years of failed relationships, she abandons her social life and whittles her days down to work and spending time with her dog, Zeke. Her self-imposed exile ends up saving her life when an untreatable virus sweeps the east coast, killing millions.Alone in her apartment building, Karis survives with only Zeke, phone calls to her mom, and conversations with two young girls living across the courtyard. With the city in a state of martial law, violence and the smell of rotting corpses surround her every day. But her biggest enemy is her own mind. As cabin fever sets in, vivid hallucinations make her question her sanity. In addition to her dwindling food and water stash, Karis must now struggle to keep her mind in check. When a mysterious man enters the scene, she hopes she can convince him to help her make it to the quarantine border. With the world crumbling around her, Karis discovers her inner strength but may find that she needs people after all.
Nicole is an award winning photographer and writer who now lives in New York City after growing up in Northern California. She manages photography post production at NBCUniversal, working on USA Network, Syfy and Bravo. Nicole’s photography has graced the covers of books internationally and has been featured in shows throughout the city. Nicole is an animal lover, avid book reader and horror movie junkie. Her love of the macabre led her to write Past This Point, an apocalyptic women’s fiction novel. Past This Point has won several awards including a silver medal in the Author Shout Reader Ready Awards, Best Book of the Year on Indies Today, and has been shortlisted for the Chanticleer Global Thriller Awards for High-Stakes Suspense.