Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Interview with Author Daniel Waters

Daniel Waters is the author of Generation Dead, which YAYA reviewed a while back. We offered to do an interview with him and he accepted. So, without further ado...

What made you first want to become a writer?

I think I was just born that way. Or I was dropped on my head, maybe. I was writing and drawing comic books when I was a little kid.

I had a major epiphany regarding writing when I was in the fourth grade. We had to write sentences using our weekly spelling words, and the teacher would pick the best of these to read to the class. One day (probably when I was supposed to be paying attention in another class) I was looking at the words of the week and they seemed to fit together in a story, so instead of sentences I wrote a story.. The teacher ended up reading the whole thing to the class even thought it was a horror story, which I thought was pretty cool. The following week I started the first chapter of a serial, which the teacher again read. Soon after, other kids in the class started doing stories, and it could get quite competitive. I always managed to get the serial read, though, for the rest of the school year.

My classmates seem to enjoy the stories I wrote. A month or so into the serial, the class bully stepped to me on the playground and I thought I was in for a scrap. Instead of throwing down, he asked me what was going to happen in next weeks' chapter. This was a major revelation to me as to the power of writing.

I promise I will try to only use my powers for good.

Have you written novels for other age groups? What makes YA different?

Generation Dead is actually the thirteenth novel I've written (the others are locked safely away for the time being). None of them, GD included, were consciously written as YA.

After going to a writing conference and listening to a panel of YA editors, I realized that almost everything I'd written would qualify for the YA category--almost all of my books had teen protagonists, dealt with teen issues, etc. But I never thought of them as "YA novels"--they were just novels to me. I didn't intend to be a YA author, it just sort of happened.

That being said, I'm happy to be classified as being an author of YA books, because I think that's where a great deal of enthusiasm is in the book world right now, both among publishers and readers--there really is a surfeit of good books and good authors to be found in the YA section of your local book store.

Ultimately, though, the categories are just something that makes the books easier (or harder!) to find on library and bookstore shelves. Most adults would love many of the YA titles that are out if they'd listen to their kids and give them a chance. And teens will naturally find the good stuff in the other sections of the store.

Do you think zombies are the new vampires?

No. But I do think that YA fiction is the new Rock n' Roll.

If you could be alive or dead (as a zombie), which would you choose and why?

Alive, he cried. Not being able to enjoy a nice grilled cheese sandwich would just kill me.

Do you have a favorite character?

My own? Not really. Love 'em all.

Other people's characters: Holden Caulfield.

What about a favorite author?

Arrrrggggh. I feel like a little kid that has been told they can only have one stuffed animal on their bed at a time, while all the others have to sit on the floor in a big heap, watching with their sad glass eyes.

P.S. I would never limit my kids to one stuffed animal on the bed, but I hear it happens.

What about a favorite cliche?

"Keep reaching for the stars."

Do you have any other books planned?

I have whole libraries planned.

Thanks so much for participating, Daniel, and congratulations on Generation Dead's release.


Megan said...

Cool interview.

And this new YAYA layout is way pretty.

Sage said...

LOVE the stuffed animal answer :-D

Suzanne Young said...

Aw, man. "Keep reaching for the stars" is awesome! hah. You're a funny guy, Daniel. Thanks for the interview.

Unknown said...

"YA is the new Rock n' Roll!" HA! Love it...I've quoted that on my site, it's so brilliant!

Daniel Waters said...

Thanks, everyone, and thanks for having me. I really appreciate it.

Take care,