Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Interview: Daniel Waters

I had this posted before the whole makeover and thought it necessary to transfer it over to the new layout! Again, I felt so lucky when I posted this two weeks ago, and feel just as special now!

Daniel Waters is the author of Generation Dead and its sequel: Kiss of Life, which comes out on May 12.

Did you always want to be an author?

Yes, since third or fourth grade

Why did you decide to write for young adults?

I didn't even know that's what I was doing! The first offer I received for GD was from an "adult" publisher. I met with an agent who told me all the reasons why GD was a YA book, and why I wanted to be an author of YA books. I signed with him and took his suggestion, thank goodness. It makes total sense to me now--I love writing for young adults.

How did you come up with idea of creating a world where American teens come back to life after death?

The idea for GD came from when I was in a hotel channel surfing, and I stopped to watch a news magazine program about violence in schools. basically, kids were having fights or engaging in random acts of violence just so they could film it and put the clips on YouTube. The show ran a few of those clips and I was horrified. I started thinking about all the reasons why a kid would and could hurt another kid, and for some reason as I was thinking this the thought that if zombies existed, they would be the most persecuted kids in the school. I started to wonder what they would do if a zombie tried to take a living girl to the prom!

When writing a novel, do you already know the beginning, middle, and end? Or do you make it up as you go along?

It depends. Usually I have a pretty good idea about the beginning and the end, although my first ending for Generation Dead was a lot different than the one I ended up writing for the book. Generally, I think theme and character arrive at the same time, and plot comes to me a little later.

Do you find any parts of writing difficult?

It can all be difficult at times, but if you intend "difficult" to mean "arduous" or "tedious", then my answer is no. Even when the words aren't coming easily, or I find seven times as many errors when rewriting, I still am having fun.

Are any of the characters based off of real people?

Nope. There are a few characters that are named after real people, but their personalities are not superimposed on them.

Besides writing, what other interests do you have?

Other than my main interest, which is my family, I'm crazy about music, especially old vinyl which I obsessively transfer to mp3. If I left my iPod in the sound dock it could play for 92 days without repeating a song, which really is kind of ridiculous. I run, I read. And lately I've begun buying old role playing game stuff from the Internet but I haven't figured out why yet.

Who are some of your favorite YA authors?

Oh, there's tons, but I won't name them for fear of leaving someone crucial out.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Write and read for at least fifteen minutes each and every day. Learn how to take criticism, and learn to recognize which criticism is useful and which isn't.

Is there anything you can tell us about Kiss of Life?

Only that I'm really, really looking forward to having people read it, and that there are some big changes in store for Phoebe and the gang.

Thanks again Dan! If you haven't read his book, you have to. It's was got my hooked on reading again!