Interview with Erin Bowman, author of Contagion - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

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Interview with Erin Bowman, author of Contagion

Today, on USA Today, I revealed the cover of CONTAGION–the first novel in an action-packed sci-fi duology. I’m thrilled to talk about CONTAGION with author Erin Bowman, who also wrote the upcoming RETRIBUTION RAILS, and VENGEANCE ROAD, which I loved!


  • Synopsis


    After receiving an urgent SOS from a work detail on a distant planet, a skeleton crew is dispatched to perform a standard search-and-rescue mission.


    But when the crew arrives, they find an abandoned site, littered with rotten food, discarded weapons…and dead bodies.


    As they try to piece together who—or what—could have decimated an entire operation, they discover that some things are best left buried—and some monsters are only too ready to awaken.

  • Interview

    Tell us about CONTAGION.

    CONTAGION is the first in a sci-fi thriller duology. It kicks off when two teens working part-time gigs at a drilling conglomerate end up on a rescue mission neither of them is qualified for. Things go majorly awry (naturally 😉) and “search and rescue” quickly becomes “run and survive.” It was a lot of fun to write and let me play with some of my favorite sci-fi tropes: supposedly uninhabited planets, companies with questionable morals, unreliable narrators, life changing discoveries, and a strong dash of horror.

    How was the idea for the novel born?

    This is actually my first novel inspired by a dream! (Well, less of a dream and more of a nightmare.) In this nightmare, I was part of a small crew that had just locked our mechanic in an airlock after he started acting strangely. We were arguing about starting quarantine procedures when he began throwing himself at the door, screaming that we let him out. His eyes had completely filled with blood. That one image sparked the entire book.

    A lot has changed since I first started playing with the project in 2012, but this nightmare remained my main source of inspiration.

    You’ve had some really amazing, memorable covers. What were you hoping to see with the cover for CONTAGION? Did you have any initial ideas?

    Thank you! I’ve been really lucky with my covers.

    With CONTAGION (as with all of my books), I didn’t know what I wanted to see on the cover, only how I want it to feel. When I started discussing cover directions with my editor, I threw around words like “dark” and “mysterious” and “creepy.” The planet the characters travel to is very rugged, and we discussed how that landscape might also lend itself well to the cover. Landscape discussions led us to the idea of water—its movement, the things it can carry unbeknownst to us, how much it can hide in its depths. An organic angle felt like a nice contrast to a lot of the sci-fi covers I’d been seeing in YA, so I was convinced. Harper hired a company called Bose Collins to create the water elements you see on the cover, and the rest fell in line from there.

    Did you go through many iterations and what were your thoughts on the final cover?

    After we’d agreed on the general direction, there weren’t too many iterations. (At least not that I got to see.) David Curtis, the Harper designer on this cover, finalized everything and incorporated the title and tagline into the art. Just wait until you see the full jacket! He knocked it out of the park. (Shameless plug: I’ll be revealing the jacket in my newsletter, so be sure to sign up!).

    In short, this cover is everything I could have hoped for. It’s organic and ominous and full of movement, not to mention incredibly unique. I can’t think of anything else like it, and I love where we ended up.

    Switching gears a little bit… RETRIBUTION RAILS is coming early November! For those who haven’t read VENGEANCE ROAD, what can you share about Retribution Rails? Does this second book in the series stand alone?

    RETRIBUTION RAILS is set in 1887, ten years after the events of VENGEANCE ROAD. It’s about is about a boy in possession of a mysterious gold coin who is forcibly recruited by a train-robbing gang interested in the piece, and about the aspiring female journalist who will either be his ticket to freedom—or a noose. RR is a companion novel to VR, not a direct sequel, so you don’t have to read VR first. RR will stand on its own. (I’ve even seen reviews from readers who started this “series” with RR and had no trouble understanding everything.) However, I will say that RR includes cameos from VR characters and you just might have more fun with RR if you’ve read VR first.

    What are you reading now, or any recent faves you can share?

    I’ve been jumping between genres all summer! My favorites were GRIT (Gillian French), THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE (Mackenzi Lee), and THE HATE U GIVE (Angie Thomas.) I also just finished UNEARTHED (Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner) which is a super fun sci-fi with an Indiana Jones meets Lara Croft twist—out in January!

  • Erin Bowman used to tell stories visually as a web designer. Now a full-time writer, she relies solely on words. She lives in New Hampshire with her family, and when not writing she can often be found hiking, commenting on good typography, and obsessing over all things Harry Potter. Erin is also the author of the Taken trilogy, Vengeance Road, and Retribution Rails. You can visit her online at or on twitter @erin_bowman.

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