Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Meet Dan Krokos!

1. Tell us what FALSE MEMORY is about
A girl with no memory discovers she's a genetically altered weapon of mass destruction. Her creators are planning to sell them off to the highest bidder. Miranda is not okay with this. Chaos ensues.

2. How long did it take to write?

The first draft took 12 days, which was a pretty bad idea, but at least I got the frame in place. I was pretty much just trying to stay ahead of my doubts. After that I worked on it for about 2 months. After it sold, I probably put another month into edits.

3. Do you outline, or just write by the seat of your britches?
I like the headlight method for outlining. I like to have a vague idea of where the story is going when I sit down to write. I also usually know how the story ends, so I have that end point in mind. I'm not comfortable outlining in great detail, because I like some creative wiggle room, but I also don't think I could just sit down and write something without thinking about it first.

4. What did you learn when you wrote it?
Writing from the POV of a teenage girl is painful.

5. When you're stuck while writing, what do you do?
Stop writing. Or come up with something crazy to get me entertained again.

6. What did the copy editor catch that made you groan?
A couple things that showed my grasp on grammar is not nearly as firm as I thought. It was a while ago, but I know there were a few sentences that really surprised me. But each copy editing session makes me better, so I'm happy about it.

7. Do you have a favorite book about the craft of writing?
James Scott Bell's Plot and Structure is a great starting point. When I started writing I knew what I liked in stories, but I didn't know why things worked the way they did. This book gives a good overview and framework for you to put the pieces of your story into. I feel like you need structure ESPECIALLY in the beginning, when things are so new.

I also liked On Writing by Stephen King. Even though it has some crazy advice (don't write a 180,000 word novel)

8. A memorable book you've read this year, and what made it stand out?
A Storm of Swords by George RR Martin. Mr. Martin taught me a valuable thing about stories with his series. If you can make people feel like any character could die at any moment, you will increase the tension dramatically. I wish more of today's writers were willing to kill off members of their main cast.

9. Is there a book that makes you think "if I could write something like this,  I'd die happy?"
Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell. It is brilliant, and all the things I like in a novel. It is funny yet has gut-punching drama. The balance and mastery is something I can only hope to achieve one day.

10. Care to confess to any guilty pleasures?
I don't believe in guilty pleasures. If you enjoy something and it doesn't hurt anyone, why should you feel guilty? (I enjoy romantic dramas)

11. What's your ringtone?
The chant from The Dark Knight Rises. When all the guys in the prison are going DESHAY DESHAY BASARA BASARA DESHAY DESHAY BASARA BASARA.

12. Will the world end in fire or ice and why do you think so?
Fire, most likely. Why do we have so many nuclear weapons? We have enough to destroy everything a bunch of times over. After a while were they just like "Okay might as well, what are we gonna do with all this Uranium?" 


Colin Smith said...

Hello, Dan! I gave you a shout-out on Twitter yesterday (he's @DanKrokos, btw), but this is a formal "hello." I really am looking forward to reading FALSE MEMORY. May this be the first of many best-sellers for you! :)

Debra Lynn Lazar said...

Dan, You freaking rock. I loved this interview! I know we don't always agree on politics (hah!), but I hope you know how much I respect and admire you and your talent. Best of luck to you for a long and successful career.

Elisabeth Black said...

So excited to read this book!

Pamala Knight said...

Awesome interview! I can't wait to read FALSE MEMORY. Also, my chaptermate Erica O'Rourke (also a kick ass YA author) told us that Dan will be at Anderson's Bookstore in Naperville at the end of August. There's a panel of excellent YA authors. In addition to Dan and Erica, Veonica Roth and three others will be there) So, I'll be excited to get my copy signed.

GillyB said...

Love this interview. So excited to read your book. But 12 DAYS??? My GOD, man.

Kristin Laughtin said...

Great interview, and I have to second the 12 DAYS???? comment. That's crazy, man, especially since revisions only took another few months. Suddenly I feel very slow. I take longer than that just to outline, because I'm on the opposite side of the spectrum when it comes to planning.

I've written one book about a genetically altered weapon of mass destruction myself (although I haven't tried to get it published yet, and everything else about the plot sounds different), so my interest is piqued and I know I'll definitely have to check your book out!

Ellen said...

So agree on Storm of Swords. Reading that whole series, but especially that book, changed my perspective on writing more than possibly any other book I've read since LotR when I was 12... :D

Sheila JG said...

"Writing from the POV of a teenage girl is painful." - Ha ha! I have to check this out.

Unknown said...

Nice article, thanks for sharing.

Anna @ sewa mobil

Simon Hay said...

12 days, 12 years! We have something in common. 12! I've had you on my to buy list for some time. I have 5 books to read & then I'm buying you! Janet, cool questions.

Dan Krokos said...

Thanks guys! And Debra, I've grown over the years :)

And I hope no one feels slow or compares themselves to my pace. It was mainly for that book, because I didn't know what I was doing and had to stay ahead of the doubt.

I really worked at a crazy intense pace and didn't come out of my writing cave. Things take longer now. Going faster is not always a good thing. It ended up making more work for me in the end.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dan!
Congrats on the release and the beautiful cover! FINALLY!! Been waiting on this one forever.

I know you're excited. Wishing you LOADS of well deserved success.