Today I’m SO happy to interview Dan Krokos! He’s totally my kind of
nerd author! I recently read his middle grade science fiction adventure, The Planet Thieves [see my review] and loved it!. He is also the author of a YA futuristic thriller, False Memory and newly released in that series False Sight.
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TAB: I warn you I love Firefly and Farscape as an adult and lots of other science fiction shows but my love really started as a child. Back in me wee little days it was all Star Trek, Voltron and Robotech…I lived in Okinawa for five years…I watched a lot of mecha anime! (ok I cop to it The Last Unicorn was still my favorite..give me a break a little girl still likes sparkly horses!) So what shows did you like growing up?
DAN: Oh man, what shows did I not love? I have to thank my dad for making me watch Star Trek TNG with him. And Voyager. And Deep Space Nine. I loved 24 (though I was a teen at that point). I also loved all the standard cartoons you can imagine.
TAB: What made you want to be a writer? Aching to have carpel tunnels? a desire to poke out ones eyeballs as words pour from your fingertips?
DAN: When I was younger, I worked at a gas station. This went on for 9.5 years. During that time, books were all I had to escape the misery. One time, I began reading the dark elf series by RA Salvatore. I loved it so much I would have to stop reading just to contemplate the awesome action and epicness of it all. I wanted to give that feeling to other people. That’s it, that’s the whole thing. I just want to tell stories that make people have to stop reading. If that makes sense.
TAB: Tell me about one of your typical writing days…what are your routines? Favorite places to read, write. Music? millions of notes strewn all over the floor?
DAN: Chaos. Pure chaos. I don’t have a set start time or end time. I just throw coffee into my eyes and hopefully get some work done. I don’t really like writing away from home, but I do like brainstorming in cafes and stuff. If I’m all alone in my house it’s too easy to watch TV instead of make notes.
Music is a huge part of my writing. I can’t come up with cool stuff without a soundtrack, but when I’m actually writing there’s no noise so I can hear the flow of the words.
TAB: What was your reaction to your cover art? You can tell me…I’ll only just tell… everyone!
DAN: It’s fantastic. It’s more than I could’ve hoped for. The book also has illustrations inside, and there’s nothing quite like an artist taking your words and creating images that are cooler than what you initially imagined.
TAB: Do you have any embarrassing moments with a fan?…if you haven’t yet well just prepare yourself.
DAN: Not with a fan. One time a lady came up to me and said, “SO AM I GONNA LIKE YOUR BOOK?” and that was weird.
TAB: What is your favorite science fiction book? Then of course what about science fiction movie? If you don’t say 5th Element I might have to let my 9 month old eat your book after all (he has already tried to steal it from me twice today).
DAN: I LOVE THE FIFTH ELEMENT. I have to see it again before I can rank it among my top ten, but it’s on there.
I’m a huge Star Wars fan, like everyone else in the world—but my obsession is special. The Matrix is my favorite movie of all time.
For books, I loved Ender’s Game, though I haven’t read the sequels. I love The Electric Church by Jeff Somers. Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman is in my top 5 books of all time. I really really loved Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Oh man I wish I could read all of these for the first time.
TAB: If The Planet Thieves could or would be made into a movie any actors/actresses in mind if you could pick a cast at this point?
DAN: I would want Chloe Moretz for Merrin Solace, but I’d also want her for Miranda North from my book False Memory. I think she’s disgustingly talented.
TAB: Are there any specific reasons you chose to write in the middlegrade/young adult genre rather than adult? and do you think you’ll try your hand at adult fantasy?
DAN: I wrote adult before this, and I am doing it right now. I wrote books for teens just to switch things up and try something new and challenge myself. I don’t want to write the same kind of stuff forever. And yes I would like to write an adult fantasy. I just have to find a time when I can really dedicate myself to it.
I didn’t really get the idea to write for teens until I read The Hunger Games. It was so thrilling I wanted to write something that felt the same way. I’m actually surprised there haven’t been more YA books like it. Not dystopians, but books that are just as exciting and fast-paced.
TAB: Tell me honestly…just how much if at all Star Trek inspired this story? I swooned for Wesley Crusher as a child…shhh don’t tell. Wil Wheaton probably already knows though, since I stalk his internet presence.
DAN: Not as much as you’d think, at least not the various series. The 2009 movie was a huge inspiration though. I was watching it, and thinking how it was cool that these cadets had to run the ship for the first time. Then I started to wonder what it would be like if they were actual teens, not like thirty year old cadets. I went from there. But the Earth Space Command was definitely inspired by Starfleet, but it’s not as . . . friendly.
TAB: How was your experience with getting published – hardest thing you’ve ever done? Like catching a greased pig? What was your reaction when your book got picked up?
DAN: Playing co-ed softball is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Getting published wasn’t hard so much as it required a lot of patience. I knew that if I kept writing, I’d eventually get there, simply because I was getting better with each book I wrote. Okay, so I guess that’s the hard part—to keep writing even when you know you’re a long ways away from being good enough.
By the time the book got picked up, I’d had an agent for over a year, so my reaction was what you would expect: beyond thrilled.
TAB: When are you giving us the next book? I need more, it was action packed all the way thru and I loved it!
DAN: The Planet Thieves 2 comes out May 2014, but before that I have the False Memory sequel, False Sight, coming this August 13th.
TAB: How active do you think you are in the book blogging community and how has it treated you? Eaten you whole?
DAN: I don’t blog so I would say not active at all. But I have a lot of blogger friends on twitter. They have treated me better than I deserve.
TAB: Do you have any experiences with bloggers you’d like to share? Or pet peeves?
DAN: You’re trying to get me in trouble.
TAB: Do you prefer e-books over physical books? *Be warned …. your answer might cause me to go into mass hysterics.
DAN: Physical books of course, but I live in New York, so I’ve taken to reading some books on my phone on the subway. It’s easier than lugging a book around the city. But I also fly a lot, so taking an e-reader on a plane is worthless.
TAB: and the most IMPORTANT question you will ever answer *drumroll please* – What are your thoughts and feelings on the Amazingly Delicious – Canned Not quite Meat – SPAM?
DAN: I love it. Or at least I did the last time my uncle fried me up some. I’m not sure I would eat some right now just for the heck of it. But I think it will be an incredibly important source of protein after the apocalypse. What else will last as long? Nothing, I tell you.
TAB: Ok so maybe SPAM isn’t the MOST important question…How about: Do you have a confession for us?
DAN: I’m not entirely sure where almonds come from.
The Planet Thieves is the first thrilling installment of a new middle-grade series by Dan Krokos.
Two weeks ago, thirteen-year-old Mason Stark and seventeen of his fellow cadets from the Academy for Earth Space Command boarded the SS Egypt. The trip was supposed to be a short routine voyage to log their required spacetime for summer quarter.
But routine goes out the airlock when they’re attacked by the Tremist, an alien race who have been at war with humanity for the last sixty years.
With the captain and crew dead, injured, or taken prisoner, Mason and the cadets are all that’s left to warn the ESC. And soon they find out exactly why the Tremist chose this ship to attack: the Egypt is carrying a weapon that could change the war forever.
Now Mason will have to lead the cadets in a daring assault to take back the ship, rescue the survivors, and recover the weapon. Before there isn’t a war left to fight.
Miranda 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.
Dan Krokos’ debut is a tour-de-force of non-stop action that will leave readers begging for the next book in this bold and powerful new series.
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