Today I am interviewing K.S. Merbeth, author of the new post-apocalyptic novel Bite.
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DJ: Hey K.S.! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
K.S. Merbeth: Hi, thanks for having me! I’m a proud nerd, cat enthusiast, and tragically unskilled gamer. I grew up in Tucson, Arizona, and recently moved to northern California. Bite is my first novel.
DJ: What is Bite about?
KSM: Bite begins with sixteen-year-old Kid wandering alone in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. She’s picked up by a crew of outlaws: foul-mouthed leader Wolf, quiet sharpshooter Dolly, scarred but warmhearted Tank, and good-looking but cowardly Pretty Boy. They introduce her to a lifestyle revolving around killing and looting, and soon prove to be magnets for trouble, despite claiming that they are the trouble.
DJ: What were some of your influences for Bite?
KSM: I drew inspiration from not only books, but movies, comics, and video games. Some of the major influences are The Road by Cormac Mccarthy, various Tarantino movies, and the games Fallout 3 and Borderlands. In general I love the post-apocalyptic genre, so I consumed a lot of stories of that type and thought: what can I do that hasn’t been done yet?
DJ: What is the universe for Bite like?
KSM: Bite takes place in a futuristic version of our own world, which has been ravaged by nuclear war. There’s no government or law, just the vast, unforgiving wastelands. The wastes are hot, dry, and sparsely populated by scattered towns and nomadic wanderers, all fighting tooth and nail over limited resources. It’s a world torn apart by violence, where people quite literally prey on one another to survive.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?
KSM: My main character, who is dubbed Kid by the crew, is a bit naïve and clumsy to start off. But she’s a lot scrappier than she seems, very resourceful, and perhaps most importantly, she’s able to view horrible situations in a light-hearted way. Overall she’s just trying to find a place she belongs in a crazy world, which I think is a feeling many people will relate to.
DJ: What was your goal when you began writing the Bite? Is there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across to readers when the story is finally told?
KSM: I didn’t set out with a goal in mind, but I think a message naturally emerged – about the nature of good and evil, heroes and villains, and how drawing a line between them is not always easy. Especially in such a brutal world, “right” and “wrong” are difficult to define, and really dependent on perspective. Everything is in shades of grey.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Bite?
KSM: I loved the action, which Bite has lots of! The crew runs into trouble at every turn, and I really enjoyed writing the fast-paced fight scenes. However, I had just as much fun with the dialogue. In between all the fights and craziness, there’s a lot of banter and joking around, which I loved writing.
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
KSM: As I mentioned earlier, the story plays with the ideas of good and evil, right and wrong. I hope Bite will get readers talking about those concepts and how they apply to the characters. Kid and the crew are definitely not victims of a cruel world; they’re at the top of the food chain. They’re killers and cannibals, but they’re also very human. I’m curious how readers will respond to the characters, and whether or not they will find them relatable and sympathetic despite their status as the “bad guys.”
DJ: What is that one thing you’d like readers to know about Bite that we haven’t talked about yet?
KSM: While I’ve talked about the characters, I haven’t really touched on the dynamic of the crew, which is one of my favorite aspects of the book. They’re a crew of cannibalistic raiders, but they’re also the closest thing that any of them have to family. The bond they share is distinct and powerful, and Kid has a unique relationship with each of her crewmates.
DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from Bite that you can share with us?
KSM: Here’s one of my favorite excerpts!
“You know,” Wolf says, “it’s days like these that really make me appreciate humanity.”
His comment is met with silence. I assume everyone, like me, is trying to work out how that makes any sense.
“The fuck?” Tank finally says, effectively summing up my own thoughts.
“I’m serious. I mean, look at this place. Look at this fucking world we live in.” He sweeps his hands in a broad gesture, indicating the expanse of wastelands around us. “It’s unlivable. Or at least, it should be, you know? And yet here we are. I bet most of you weren’t even alive before the war, huh, Kid? Pretty Boy? Little post-bomb babies raised on radioactive milk, that’s what you are. Probably shouldn’t even be possible.” He lets out a low whistle and shakes his head. “People just do what they have to do, like always. Ain’t nothing that can kill us.”
“Like cockroaches,” I say.
“Right. That’s deep, Kid.”
DJ: Now that Bite is released, what is next for you?
KSM: I’m currently working on the sequel to Bite, which should be out next year!
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
DJ: Is there anything else you would like add?
KSM: To my readers, future readers, on-the-fence potential readers: please feel free to reach out to me! I love to hear peoples’ thoughts and am more than happy to chat.
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
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Buy the Book:
Amazon | Barnes & Nobel | Goodreads | Kobo
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Kid is trying to survive in a world gone mad.
Hungry, thirsty and alone in a desert wasteland, she’s picked up on the side of the road by Wolf, Dolly, Tank and Pretty Boy – outlaws with big reputations and even bigger guns.
But as they journey across the wild together, Kid learns that her newfound crew may not be the heroes she was hoping for. And in a world that’s lost its humanity, everyone has a bit of monster within them…
Debut author K.S. Merbeth is obsessed with SFF, food, video games, her cat and resides in Tuscon, Arizona.