When I read The Last 8 I fell in love with the main character Clover and I knew I had to reach out to Laura to see about an interview. I’ve been trying to be more proactive about featuring authors, so I am so pleased to continue with these interviews! But I know you don’t want to listen to me ramble, I’ll just shut up and show you what interesting answers Laura had!
Clover Martinez has always been a survivor, which is the only reason she isn’t among the dead when aliens invade and destroy Earth as she knows it.
When Clover hears an inexplicable radio message, she’s shocked to learn there are other survivors—and that they’re all at the former Area 51. When she arrives, she’s greeted by a band of misfits who call themselves The Last Teenagers on Earth.
Only they aren’t the ragtag group of heroes Clover was expecting. The group seems more interested in hiding than fighting back, and Clover starts to wonder if she was better off alone. But then she finds a hidden spaceship, and she doesn’t know what to believe…or who to trust.
Can you describe the synopsis of The Last 8 in song titles?
I use song titles and song lyrics to name the 3 biggest parts of The Last 8, and I think it’s telling of what the parts are about.
Part I is called “It’s the End of the World”, from the song by R.E.M, which is the first song that plays in Independence Day. Part II is called “Apocalypse, Please”, by Muse, and it follows the world after it ends. Part III is named after a song by Imagine Dragons, “On Top of the World”, which is about getting over obstacles and standing on your own.
Lili here, I adore MUSE it was my first ever real concert I went to at Madison Square Garden and it was epic! Even from the really far away seats I had!
I adore SF, can you think of some pop culture references or influences on The Last 8? I’d love like a To Watch/Read/Listen to which could accompany this book.
I think the biggest influence for me while writing was Independence Day. It was my favorite alien invasion movie as a kid, and I’d just rewatch it again and again. When I first started writing The Last 8, I definitely wanted my book to have the same kind of vibe.
I grew up reading/watching sci-fi, so my writing had many influences at that. I loved Star Trek, so that was an influence as well, especially on how it’s more about the actual dynamics of humans instead of just focusing on the alien plot points. Another influence was Attack the Block, which is an amazing movie and I love the character dynamics and racial discussions that highlight the plot. As for listening, one of my favorite podcasts is The Message, which is about a team that has to decode an alien message that comes from space and kills anyone who hears it. I also mention a bunch of things in the book as well, mostly because all of my characters are nerds who love
And just because I love aliens so much, here’s my top ten movies/books that have aliens in them:
- Arrival, dir. Denis Villeneuve
- Cowboys vs Aliens, dir. Jon Favreau
- The 5th Wave, by Rick Yancey
- Pacific Rim, dir. Guillermo del Toro
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
- Whisperer in the Darkness, by H.P. Lovecraft
- Falling Skies (TV Series)
- Alien, dir. Ridley Scott
- Zathura, dir. Jon Favreau
- The Disasters, by M.K. England
- The Martian by Andy Weir (technically doesn’t have an alien, but it’s one of the most awesome sci fi books I’ve ever read)
Lili here, I also adored The Martian! It felt so realistic and tangible to me in a way that I think is hard to put a finger on.
Realizing that we need people around us, even at the end of the world, is crucial to your book. Can you talk about the importance of this theme to you?
I’ve always had a deep connection to my friends and family, and to me it was essential that this was brought in the book. A lot of YA includes romance (not that it’s bad), but often, it seems like romantic love is a key reason for characters to do the things they do. That was never the case for me, so I wanted to write a book that friendship was central to the story. It’s friendship and other people that keep the world going, even when the rest ends. I wanted people to feel represented by this, that not being in romantic love is okay, and that having friends is just as important as romance.
Lili here, this is so refreshing to read about! I loved that I didn’t have that predictability factor where I was like, welp, which person does the MC end up with? That’s not bad! But it just seems like a piece of the plot and sometimes it doesn’t jive as well with the story.
Can you walk me through some of your biggest SF influences?
I read a lot of sci-fi ever since I was a kid, so my references vary a lot. I think Douglas Adams has always been a reference. I love his whimsical approach to subjects like the answer to life and everything else, and how he relies on humour to tell a great story. I also like things that have a lot of action sequences in them as well, so JJ Abram’s new Star Trek movies have been a great influence as well. It’s hard to pin down how much of sci-fi has actually influenced my work, but I never get tired of exploring new worlds and technology by reading new authors.
Can you talk about the first time you felt represented in the media or in books? If you have yet!
I think there are degrees of representation and how much you identify with each character and their background. For me, the first time I truly connected to a character in my adolescence was Katniss, from The Hunger Games—she was the big sister I strived to be, and so many of her own reactions hit really close to home. The thing about representation is that we shouldn’t have just one option to pick from, and just overall have more people readers can identify with, be from their background or sexual orientation or religion.
Did you always want to be a writer? Can you talk more about the evolution of The Last 8?
I always liked writing, but it took me a while to realize I actually wanted to be a writer. I first started writing fanfiction just because I enjoyed telling stories, but I wasn’t thinking about making a career out of it.
The Last 8 started in an airport when I was waiting for a flight to visit my sister, and the first idea that struck me was about a girl driving a car and hitting a spaceship. I only knew that the spaceships were commonplace in her world, and I started developing the story from there. The story changed a lot since then, but the essence stayed the same.
Are there any upcoming projects you’d like to tease us with? Any more SF projects we should look forward to?
Right now I’m working on the sequel of The Last 8. All I can say is that the Last Teenagers on Earth are back with even bigger adventures than the first time around. I love these characters, so it’s awesome that I get to keep writing them.
Lili here, I CANNOT WAIT!
About the Author
Laura Pohl is a Brazilian YA author. She likes writing messages in caps lock, quoting Hamilton and obsessing about Star Wars. When not taking pictures of her dog, she can be found curled up with a fantasy or science-fiction book. She makes her home in São Paulo, where she graduated in Literature.
She is the author of THE LAST 8 (Sourcebooks, 2019). When not writing, she likes reading science fiction and fantasy, and enjoys deep discussions about conspiracy theories and alien life. Learn more about her on her website, and make sure to follow her on twitter, instagram, and pinterest.