Friday, February 16, 2018

Walker Q&A with Neal Shusterman

1.       Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you. 
I like to write longhand before entering it into the computer—and I use a fountain pen.

2.       Where did the idea for Scythe come from?
After so many years of teen dystopia, I wanted to do the opposite.  Instead of a story about the world gone wrong, I wanted to explore the consequences of the world gone right.  What happens when we, as a civilization, get all the things we say we want?

3.       What is your favourite book?
Hard to pick just one.  But if I had to, it would be A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving.

4.       What inspired you to become a writer?
The books I read growing up, and teachers who encouraged me along the way – particularly an English teacher I had in 9th grade.

5.       How did living overseas as a teenage influence your writing?
 It made me feel like a citizen of the world, and that nothing was beyond my grasp.  I honestly don’t think I would have had the nerve to think I could be a writer without that experience.

6.       If you were to become a Scythe who would you choose as your patron historic?
  Kurt Vonnegut

7.       What book do you wish you had written?
Ender’s Game.  But here’s the thing – Orson Scott Card had asked me to co-write Ender’s Shadow with him (a retelling of Ender’s Game from the character Bean’s perspective). In the end, however he decided to do it himself instead – although he gave me a really wonderful mention in the foreword.  After reading Ender’s Shadow, I was glad I didn’t write it, because if I had, I would have been robbed of the pleasure of reading it! 

8.       What is your favourite word and why? 
Brouhaha.  It’s just a funny word, and my books create quite a brouhaha!

9.       Describe your writing style for us in ten words?
 Thought. Provoking. Enough. To. Keep. You. Up. All. Night. Pondering.

10.   What is your favourite writing snack?
Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice-cream.
11.   Can you tell us a little about your next project?
It’s called DRY, and it’s a story about what happens when the water runs out in Southern California.  It’s predicted to be bad.  I co-wrote the book with my son, Jarrod, and it follows several kids during the first week without water, when twenty-three million people basically become water-zombies, willing to kill for water.  It’s kind of a zombie apocalypse story, but a real one, and that’s what makes it so scary.  Naturally we’re watching very closely what happens when Cape Town, South Africa runs out of water…

Missed the SK review of Scythe?  Catch up here.

Q&A courtesy of Walker Books.
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