Interview with Dan Krokos, author of <em>False Memory</em>
So I am thoroughly pleased to introduce fellow debut author (and friend) Dan Krokos. He was kind enough to agree to an interview despite his CRAZY tour schedule. Dan's book, False Memory, recently released from Disney-Hyperion, and I can safely say it's awesome. Kind of a Bourne Identity meets The Island. But cooler.
Miranda North wakes up alone on a park bench with no memory. In her panic, she releases a mysterious energy that incites pure terror in everyone around her. Except Peter, a boy who isn’t at all surprised by Miranda’s shocking ability. Left with no choice but to trust this stranger, Miranda discovers she was trained to be a weapon and is part of an elite force of genetically-altered teens who possess flawless combat skills and powers strong enough to destroy a city. But adjusting to her old life isn’t easy—especially with Noah, the boyfriend she can’t remember loving. Then Miranda uncovers a dark truth that sets her team on the run. Suddenly her past doesn’t seem to matter...when there may not be a future.
[hr] 1) So, Dan...you're a dude. In YA. That's unusual. Do you ever feel like the "odd one out" or do you even notice? (Feel free not to answer this question if it's just...too weird.)
Nah, not really, because most writers are nerds, so there is always something to talk about. Look at how I became friends with you and Sarah—we like stories and stuff. I feel like nerdhood transcends gender.
The only time I feel like the odd one out is when I see the high school aspect of the YA community. The cliques and stuff. I have no interest in that. I'm down to talk about Star Wars and Harry Potter and funny stories and burritos.
2) Nerdhood does transcend gender—wise words, Dan. Wise words. You are one of the few (only?) people to not only survive the Query Shark, but wind up with an agent in the process... Tell us a bit about how you went from lowly writer to published author.
I worked at a gas station for many years, and spent my days either brainstorming or researching publishing on my “smart phone.” Query Shark really taught me a lot, and I found examples of queries all over the web.
When I wasn’t working, I was writing. With the mindset that I would not stop until I succeeded. Success is measured in different ways, but I needed to see my book in a bookstore.
So I worked, and queried. But people have to remember that sometimes the book you get signed for is not the book you sell! I wrote 2 more books before starting False Memory.
3) Wow. Impressive determination, young Jedi. So...with all your novels, are you a plotter or pantser?
Both, depending on the book. For The Planet Thieves, I wrote the first half with a decent amount of notes, but then I outlined the entire back half. It was a proposal, so I was very detailed, but I allowed myself room to play while I was writing. I kind of loved it, and plan to write the sequel with a complete outline. It was definitely the most fun I’ve had writing a book.
My mind moves too fast if I don’t make notes. All of my books would be 100 pages long. I outlined a little bit of False Memory as I was writing it, but not enough, and that’s why I ended up having to do extensive edits. I try to just do whatever feels good or right in the moment, rather than adhering to one method.
I will say I like the headlight method. Write a little, then outline a little, then write some more, etc.
Wow this is a long answer.
I do plan to keep trying new things. I’d like to write a book with no notes or editing, just to try it.
4) Me. TOO. I'm very curious what sort of horrible (or perhaps wonderful) I could produce sans notes or editing. ;) Now, you've actually sold two series. This is both amazing and enviable. Has it been hard to work on two separate series at the same time? Are you an exceptional Manager of Time?
I am terrible at managing time. Recently I’ve learned to unplug the Ethernet cable from my machine while writing, but it’s been a slow 2012 filled with lots of edits.
The hardest part has been switching gears. I recently finished a round of edits on Planet Thieves, and now I’m back on False Memory 3, which requires a total mind shift, but Planet Thieves will be coming back to me soon, which means I can’t get too into FM 3 because I’ll have to shift again, and so on and so forth. The length of my books makes it easier—False Memory was like 71k, and Planet Thieves is a little less than that. I want to write some longer books, but that will definitely make it harder to do two series. My fantasy project will, alas, have to wait.
Don’t mistake that for complaining, though. I love being busy, and I can’t wait to get more of my stuff out there. The timing can be rough, is all. Doing two rounds of edits on one book, with a round in between on another book, is soul sucking in a way I can’t fully explain.
You guys don’t like editing, right?
5) Um, I personally love editing. When it's not on a deadline that is... But wait! Pub brawl!! What's your weapon choice?
Like do I want to really hurt people or are we brawling in a fun way?
If we’re having fun I would use a mattress. Just lift it over my head and drop it on people. (If you’ve never had a mattress thrown at you, it knocks you down, but you don’t get too hurt unless you fall into something hard or sharp.)
If the pub brawl is over whether New Adult is a real thing or not, I’d probably want a bottle of hemlock. We could all do a shot and then never talk about it again.
Just kidding, don’t send me an angry email please!
[hr] No angry emails. In fact, we're gonna CELEBRATE your interview and book release by giving away a copy of False Memory. All that YOU, our dearest readers, have to do is leave a comment telling us if you think there should be more male authors in YA (WE DO, WE DO! We love being strong girls, but it's nice to have some boys in here to remind us what boys are really like). We will email the lucky winner in a week, and of course: the contest is open internationally. :) a Rafflecopter giveaway [hr]
After pumping gas for nine years to put himself through college, DAN KROKOS, now twenty-six, dropped out to write full-time. He enjoys watching TV, playing MMORPGs, and drinking coffee. Currently, he’s hard at work on the next book in Miranda’s journey. Follow his antics on twitter @DanKrokos.