2012 YA Debut Interview + Giveaway: FALSE MEMORY by Dan Krokos

A new week, and more in the Summer 2012 YA Debut Interview Series, featuring debut YA authors who’ve written books I am absolutely dying to read! I’ve chosen eleven (yes, 11 this time!) debuts to feature, and I hope by the end of this series you’ll be as excited about these books as I am.

Today’s Summer 2012 YA Debut is False Memory by Dan KrokosRead on to see how this author answered the Q&A… And be sure to enter to win a signed and personalized finished copy of False Memory! UPDATE: Dan is giving away his book to TWO lucky winners!

Nova Ren Suma: I’ll start with the dreaded question you may be hearing already from strangers on elevators, long-lost family members, and your doctor while you’re sitting on the examination table in the paper gown during your next checkup: “So what’s your book about?” (Feel free to use the jacket copy, or describe in your own words. Up to you.)

Dan Krokos: I’m going to take the easy way out and post the jacket copy:

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.

In my experience, every book wants to be written differently—and each one behaves differently from the one before it. Some novels like it out of order, and some rigidly insist on being written from start to finish. Some novels come out fast; others are excruciatingly slow. Some novels torment you, and some sing you to sleep. What did your novel want? How did you appease it? Did it ever misbehave?

This novel was an adventure from the beginning, because I’d never written anything like it before. It started as an experiment. I wrote a lot of masculine adult fiction for a long time, and stacked up quite a few rejections saying exactly that—too masculine. I was worried I was turning into those authors that could only write one thing.

At this point I’d been really getting into YA because of The Hunger Games, and, yes, even Twilight. So I decided to mess around with a character that kept popping up: a girl named Miranda North, who didn’t know who she was.

It was hard. But I wanted to grow, so I didn’t give up. There were times during the editing process (before submission to publishers) that I would lie down on the floor and think maybe I should just take more classes and try to get a real job before pursuing a writing career. I’m glad I didn’t take the responsible road, because the experiment turned out great—I grew as a writer, which was the ultimate goal. I know now that I can do more than one thing.

Tell us about the place—as in the physical location: a messy office, a comfy couch, a certain corner table at the café—where you spent most of your time writing this book. Now imagine the writing spot of your fantasies where you wish you’d been able to write this book… tell us all about it. 

I wrote False Memory in my condo in Cleveland, on the top floor, during a hot summer with no air conditioning. During the day the temperature would hover between 88–90. I wrote the book without wearing a lot of clothes.

Imagine you’re on the subway, or the bus, or sitting in a park somewhere minding your own business… and you look up and see the most perfect person you could picture devouring your book. This is your ideal reader. Set the scene and describe him or her (or them?) for us.

My ideal reader is anyone who picks up my book and takes the time to open it. If a leopard was sitting on the subway bench with False Memory in its jaws and was really just puncturing the pages with its teeth, I’d still thank it for at least carrying the thing around.

Publishing a novel is full of high points, low points, absolutely surreal points, and shocking points you never thought you’d see in your lifetime. Tell us a high point, a low point, a surreal point, and something shocking or at least somewhat surprising about your experience so far.

High: The editing process. More than one person at Disney has made me look like I know what I’m doing, which I’m so grateful for.

Low: There have been a couple low moments. All of them were my fault. But I’ve learned from them—perhaps even become a better person because of them—and that’s called turning a frown upside down.

Surreal: Seeing my cover. That might sound like a canned answer, but it was the first proof I had that there were people I didn’t personally know working on my book. A team of people worked on it. I’ve met some of them. There’s a guy I haven’t met who designed some parts. I wonder who he is. It’s crazy that his job for however long was to work on my cover. It was a moment of validation, that I’m not just some guy with coffee and a keyboard.

Shocking: Seeing the amount YA writers talk about other YA writers. I think the community could benefit from everyone taking a week off and remembering why we’re all here.

Dream question: If you could go on book tour anywhere in the world, with any two authors (living or dead), and serve any item of food at your book signing… where would you go, who with, and what delicious treat would you serve your fans?

This is easy. I would go with Josh Bazell and Chad Kultgen. I would serve beef wellington (I had it at a wedding once and it blew my mind out of my face). And while Josh and Chad don’t write YA, a tour would be a great way to force them to hang out with me.

If you had to pick one sentence, and one sentence only, to entice someone to read your book, what would it be? (I almost hate myself for asking you this question and making you choose! Almost.)

I stand on the edge, hands on my hips, heaving, a little shocked I’ve thrown two people off roofs in the last ten minutes.

False Memory will be published by Disney*Hyperion on August 14, 2012. Read on for a chance to win a signed and personalized finished copy!

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.

Visit him at dankrokos.com to find out more!

Follow @DanKrokos on Twitter.

The giveaway is now closed. Congrats to the winner!

What is the next Summer 2012 debut novel I’m looking forward to? Come back tomorrow to find out.

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