There was a point when I would not read YA books because I thought they would only be suitable for YA. It is writers like Barry Lyga and his novel I Hunt Killers who are changing my perspective of this genre. I Hunt Kills is easily one of my favorite reads from this past year. Please Welcome to Blood Rose Books:
If there was one author you could co-write a novel with (they can be alive or dead) who would you choose and why?
Collaboration is an interesting question. I avoided it for a long time, but now I’ve collaborated with Peter Facinelli and Rob DeFranco on the upcoming After the Red Rain and I learned a lot about the process. I think I’d love to write something with my pal Libba Bray. She’s not just fun and endlessly inventive, but she’s also such a better writer than I am that I think I would learn a lot.
From novels to graphic novels to comics and even a short film, is there another type of media that you would like to try? Do you find that each media type has its own challenges and advantages?
I’d like to try a comic book series for a change, something long-form and extended, where I can lay out plot lines far in advance. I’m also interested in web comics and in trying to develop a TV series. And, yeah, each medium has its own quirks, its own ups and downs. My natural inclination, I think, is toward novels, so it’s always an adjustment to move into another medium andtry to adapt and re-think things.
Many adults have started reading novels that are classified with the YA designation. Why do you think YA novel are now appealing to adults? Do you think that this may change some of the overall content of the YA genre? Do you write with a youth or an adult reader in mind?
I think the easiest explanation for adults reading YA is probably the best one: There’s a lot of really good YA being written and it doesn’t lard on the pretension that a lot of adult fiction does. (Note that I said “a lot of adult fiction,” not “all” or even “most!”) I can’t say for sure if that will change the content in YA — I know that in my case, I don’t really think about the age of the audience all that much when I’m writing. I like to say that I don’t write books for young adults, I write books about young adults. The age of the reader doesn’t matter to me.
What do you think would be the hardest or most challenging genre to write a novel in and why?
Mysteries are tough, I’ve discovered. Really tough. The details have to be perfect and you’ll never know until the book is published if you were too transparent or too opaque. But the truth is, every genre has its challenges. Sci-fi requires a ridiculous level of research. Fantasy requires rigid adherence to world-building. Romance has its own requirements in terms of the nature of the hero and heroine. Anything you sustain for 300 or more page is going to be difficult.
In your series featuring Fanboy and Goth Girl you touch on issues that I think that all teenagers face at one time in their lives (bullies, being an outcast, losing friends, sex ect), did you use some of your own high school experiences to create their experiences? What do you want YA readers to “get out” of this series?
Yeah, a lot of what happened in those books is based on my own high school life. I like to say that first book in particular is more autobiographical than I should admit in public. But your second question comes perilously close to “What is the moral of the story?” And I don’t believe in salting my stories with messages or morals that the reader needs to “get.” There may be such things embedded in the narrative, but as long as someone reads the story and experiences some emotional change along with the characters, I feel like my job is done and they’ve “gotten out” of the story all that they need.
I Hunt Killers, is a dark themed novel what appeals to you about the dark and disturbing aspects of human nature?
I’m absolutely fascinated with people who are messed up. I have a real soft spot for bad people. Not evil people, necessarily, just bad people, people who don’t fit in, people who haven’t figured out how to adapt to the world and the society around them. Such people often live on the fringes and the fringes are where dark things happen. I think we can learn a lot by trying to understand such people. I’m not saying we should agree with them or condone their actions, but if we understand them, maybe we can help them or at the very least come to prevent people from falling into the grasp of that darkness in the future. The first step to eliminating darkness is turning on a light; understanding is a light.
Jazz is a very interesting, intense and conflicted character, minus the fact all of the changes that happens when one is a teenager, he is also trying to combat against himself at times because of his serial killer upbringing, what went in to the creation of his character?
I conjured Jazz the same way I conjure all of my characters: I put in place his backstory (raised by a serial killer to take up the “family trade,” dad now in jail, loner) and thought to myself, “Okay, I am now this kid. What is my life like? What do I think and feel and fear?” It’s really a matter of acting, in a way, of submerging myself — my instincts, my ego — and really becoming the character. At that point, it’s easy to write him because in a way, I am him, and I’m just reporting on the world the way I see it.
One of the aspects of I Hunt Killers that I really enjoyed was your portrayal of the struggle that Jazz has to go through mentally as he constantly hears his father’s voice in his head teaching him tricks of his trade, how did you get into the mindset of a serial killer? What type of research did you do for this character? Was there one serial killer that inspired you more than others?
I spent about three months doing research before I wrote the book. I spent a lot of time reading serial killer histories, trying to absorb that kind of madness. There was no one serial killer that inspired me more than any other — I didn’t want Billy to be a thinly disguised version of, say, Ted Bundy or Dennis Rader. I wanted him to stand on his own. So I did all of that research to try to figure out how serial killers thought in general, not specifically, and then I tried to synthesize something new, something that felt like the next step on the continuum of serial killers. I wanted Billy to feel both familiar and unfamiliar at once, so that you wouldn’t just be afraid — I wanted you to feel uneasy. Constantly uneasy and maybe not even sure why.
Do you have any information on upcoming works or events that you are able to share?
Sure! Like I mentioned before, I’ve written a book with Peter Facinelli and Rob DeFrano titled After the Red Rain. It’s very, very different from I Hunt Killers and it comes out in August 2015!
What is one book (other than one of your own) that you think everyone should read?
Read STAY WITH ME by Paul Griffin. A beautiful, haunting, horrifying, uplifting read. Everyone should read it. Everyone.
I would like to thank Barry once again for being part of my Blogoversary and I highly reccomend his novel I Hunt Killers. Barry has very nicely supplied a giveaway (US) to go along with his interview so fill out the rafflecopter information below. :)a Rafflecopter giveaway