Goth Girl Rising Blog Tour Day Two: First of Two Parts: Interview with Barry Lyga
Here's the first interview ever conducted on my blog. This interview was done approximately two months prior to the actual tour date. Being as a writer's schedule is packed, I made sure to send my inquiry and questions in advance. For new readers, I'm doing a blog tour (only one blog included) for Goth Girl Rising. All week there will be reviews of the Barry Lyga books I've and a surprise Friday. It's imperative to read every review as Friday's surprise involves having foreknowledge of anything that's posted throughout the week.
**Caution (for my readers with sensitive ears) there is some profanity within the interview***
I'm including the disclaimer, otherwise I'll face the wrath of a disgruntled reader whose ears are sensitive to profanity. I once posted a story on Fictionpress without the profanity and violence warning and was sent a horrifying email in response from someone who hounded me for five pages. Because of these experiences, I'm very careful when posting anything and everything on the internet.******
1.First let me begin with a general question. Since no one ever throws that insightful questions till around the end. When did you begin writing and what sort of stories did you begin writing?
I remember writing stories at a very young age, as young as nine or ten. And I know that we had story-writing assignments in grade school that I always enjoyed. Most of those early stories tended to be science fiction or super-hero stories, since those were the genres I read at the time.
2.Was there any graphic novel or specific novel that really influenced your writing?
There was no single graphic novel or novel that stands out, but I know that the authors who influenced me most as a kid were a strange mix: Edgar Allan Poe, Paul Levitz, Alan Moore, and Joe Haldeman!
3. As I'm a huge fan of Joss Whedon and since he's really shaped my writing and really inspirited me to write stories that both entertain and impact readers. I'm going to ask this question, just as I've asked other writers. Have you seen or read anything written by him? And if so, which of his creations are your favorite?
Oh, sure, I'm familiar with Joss's stuff. I've seen Buffy, Angel, Dr. Horrible. I think the Buffy musical episode is one of my favorite episodes of TV ever, certainly up there in the top ten with some of Twin Peaks. And the last episode of Angel is just incredible.
4.Here's some more novel related questions. Since not all my blog readers are comic book fans or closet comic book fans. But, are any of the events within any of your novels inspired by real life experiences?
Definitely. A lot of what Fanboy goes through in the novel happened to me, usually filtered through the gauze of memory. I tried to make everything in the novel either sadder or funnier than what actually happened, though.
5.What inspired you to create the character of "Kyra?"
Wish fulfillment! She is exactly the kind of person I wished I'd known when I was Fanboy's age, and since I never had that opportunity, I decided to give it to Fanboy. I made Fanboy's life a lot worse than mine in many, many ways, but knowing Kyra is the major way his is better.
6. Now many of your novels explore many mature themes that teens are unable to find elsewhere within other young adult novels. Your books have explored sexual abuse (Boy Toy), social adversity (Fanboy and Gothgirl), and even freedom of speach "Hero Type." Are there any other issues you'd wish to explore in future novels?
Well, I don't think of my novels as "exploring issues." I just look at kids and look at how they live their lives and what they deal with and I think to myself, "OK, if I were a kid with this sort of life and this sort of attitude and then THIS happened to me, how would I react?" and I take it from there. I certainly never sit down thinking, "With THIS book, I will tackle the issue of [fill in the blank here]."
7.With "Boy Toy," some have written concerned notes in response to the subject matter. And whether it's appropriate for it's general audience. Have you received any similar responses to either "Hero-Type" or "Fanboy and Gothgirl?"
Oh, sure -- no matter what you write or how respectfully you handle an issue, someone will bitch about it. For Hero-Type, someone complained that Kross does not respect his father and, furthermore, was horrified that Kross's mom is -- gasp! -- a lesbian. Tough. In Fanboy, one parent actually complained that Fanboy thinks about sex so much that she was afraid her son would read it and think that if HE didn't think about sex all the time, there was something wrong with him! I hate to break it to you, lady, but if your son is a teenager and he's not thinking about sex, there IS something wrong with him!
8.Since your novels are marketed within the Young Adult market; you're bound to have read many of the books within that specific market. Are there any recent young adult releases that you highly recommend?
There are so many excellent YA books right now that it's tough to only list a few. But Jellicoe Road is one that everyone should read. Also, Ten Mile River by Paul Griffin, After the Moment by Garret Freymann-Weyr, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steve Chbosky, which isn't recent, but everyone should read it.
9. Now a question for all the aspiring writers such as myself! But do you have any tips on the best method for writers to send their drafts to publishers? I'm asking this since there's always questions about the process but never about how one is to pique a publisher's interest.
I find that most aspiring writers ask this question far too early; early efforts are best spent crafting a kick-ass piece of writing. If you do that, you won't have any trouble landing an agent or a publisher. But I write a series of Writing Advice articles on my blog, and that's a topic that will be coming up soon, so I encourage your readers to check it out at http://barrylyga.com/
10.Another writing question; Do you listen to any music while you're writing?
Sometimes. I don't have any sort of hard-and-fast rule about it. Some days I just feel like cranking up the music while I work and other days, I like it quiet.
11.Any final comments you wish to share besides shameless self promotion?
Just the shameless self-promotion will do. :)
Thanks again Barry Lyga for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions!!