Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Get the Heck @Go2Heck over here for an awesome interview

'Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go'

What inspired you to write your first book?

After working in journalism and advertising for so long, I desperately wanted to just make something up (though I did that a lot with my advertising campaigns!). I just really wanted to write something fantastical and ridiculous. My son was about five at the time and we were reading a lot of classics (Willy Wonka, The Wizard of Oz, Erica Jong's Fear of Flying) along with some newer books like Series of Unfortunate Events and Harry Potter. I was just amazed at how dark kids literature could go! And how funny! I wanted a piece of that…So I initially came up with Heck after ruminating on Satan and the underworld: just wondering, as so many of us do, where exactly do bad kids go? H-e-doublehockeysticks just seemed way too harsh. But a place that was really indistinguishable from my middle school experience? Yeah: that's it! So with that concept in mind, I got writing. I initially wrote Heck as a TV pilot for Bravo, but they didn't go for it, so I turned it into a book. That could be why it's so…visual.

'Rapacia: The Second Circle of Heck'

How did you come up with your titles?

Since each circle of Heck is based upon a child-centric sin (lying, greed, growing up too fast) I would just sort of play around with words. Rapacia started out as Gimme, but my editor didn't think that was scary enough. Fibble is, of course, lying: telling fibs. Snivel is pretty obvious: just being whiny. It's actually kind of fun.

What book(s) are you reading right now?

Currently I am desperately trying to keep up with my New Yorkers. It's always the same cycle: I subscribe due to some insanely low, can't-pass-up deal, keep up for a while then finally fail miserably and, in frustration, don't renew. But then they always come back…I'm also in something of a comic book phase now (pardon…graphic novels). I'm reading It Girl, End Times, Morning Glories, iZombie and a lot of other cool series. I have China Mieville's Perdido Street Station on my bedside table but haven't cracked it open yet.

'Blimpo: The Third Circle of Heck'

Tell us, what books/authors have influenced your writing?

I definitely love Roald Dahl. His stuff was so rich and darkly funny. Kurt Vonnegut is also something of a god to me. I like a lot of authors but those are the only ones I am aware of being directly influenced by.

Are you an Outliner or a Pantser?

Actually, both in a way. I always outline everything I do. I can't imagine just venturing forth without knowing most every plot detail. But there's always a point where I deviate, like my septum, and amble a bit. And as I am always late with my drafts, the last third of my books is always a seat-of-my-pants experience.

'Fibble: The Fourth Circle of Heck'

Okay, are you a Morning Person or Night Owl?

Used to be a Night Owl. I couldn't get to sleep before 2 AM ever…but, ever since having my son (with a little help from my wife) I have lost the ability to sleep in, so I have trained myself to get tired by about 11 PM. I still seem to get my craziest ideas at night, while day is when I'm most productive and get stuff done.

Do you have to travel much concerning your books?

That depends. Whenever I DO actually get to travel, which isn't nearly as much as I would like due to finances, I always pop into book stores and sign my books if they have them. But the only time I really went on a bona-fide book tour with with Rapacia. I got to go to Seattle, San Francisco and Denver. My Denver appearance was the only time that absolutely no one showed up for one of my readings! Lately I keep it local, though I do school appearances on the Oregon coast a lot. A lot of really cool, really weird kids there.

'Snivel: The Fifth Circle of Heck'

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

A mentor? No clue. In terms of whose career Id like to emulate, again, Kurt Vonnegut. Or perhaps Tom Robbins. After Heck I can see myself branching out and for older audiences, may get a bit sci-fi. Though I have a feeling most anything I do will have an element of humor. It's just who I am. 

'Precocia: The Sixth Circle of Heck'

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

I don't think I would with my latest book, though I would love to revisit the first Heck book. I feel like the series gets better as it goes on because I'm becoming more confident as a writer, or at least getting a stronger sense of the characters and the sucky world I've made for them.

'Wise Acres: The Seventh Circle of Heck'

Last question, what's the song/album/artist you are listening to the most now?

I'm liking Iceland's Of Monsters and Men now and Vampire Weekend has an album coming out this spring which I'm looking forward to. The Joy Formidable just put out a new album which I'm enjoying. There's a great R&B band from Ireland called The Strypes which sound like early Who that I'm crazy about. They're just 16! They don't have any records out yet so I just listen to them on YouTube.

Dale's Sixth book 'Precocia: The Sixth Circle of Heck' is out TODAY!  You can find Dale on his site, Goodreads and Twitter.

1 comment:

  1. These do sound like books we might enjoy!
    I can't imagine doing a reading and NO ONE SHOWS UP. Yikes.
    You can come to my daughters school! I have been trying to get someone in and they have zero budget for it so none has worked out. We need an author who is able to do it for free.
    I'm looking up The Strypes right now! They sound awesome!


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