When Liz asked me who I wanted to interview for Tea Cozy for the Summer Blog Blast Tour, I had two immediate answers: Barry Lyga, author of Boy Toy, which was my favorite book of 2007 and Mary Pearson, author of The Adoration of Jenna Fox, one of my favorite books of 2008. You'll see Mary's interview here later this week. For today, Barry kindly answered our questions, even though he is in the throes of revision.
Carlie: Congratulations on winning the Cybil Award for YA fiction! Tell us how it feels to win.
Barry: Obviously, I'm honored and touched that someone thinks highly enough of my work to give it an award. It's a great feeling!
At the same time, I've always worried about becoming so invested in awards that I lose sight of what's important -- the work itself. So when I won the award, it also had the odd side effect of making me more self-critical than ever, very much on alert that I don't let the writing suffer.
But, hey -- now I can put "award-winning" in front of my name, and God knows I love gerunds. :)
Carlie: Can you talk a little about your upcoming book, HERO-TYPE?
Barry: Sure. It's sort of complicated to boil down because there are a lot of thematic threads, more so than in either of my first two books. It's about heroism and patriotism and -- more importantly -- PERCEPTIONS of those ideas. I guess the best way to describe is that it's about a kid who's in the right place at the right time, and the world calls him a hero. Then he's in the wrong place at the wrong time, and suddenly he's a villain. And the book is really his struggle to figure out which one is real and why it matters.
Carlie: Here's my favorite question to ask authors: What's one book, written by someone else, that you wish you had written?
Barry: Oh, no question about it: Godless, by Pete Hautman. I am just endlessly impressed by that book. It's funny and it's serious. It's scary and it's heartfelt. It tackles a huge issue -- religion -- but it does so on a comprehensible, human scale. And it's SHORT! You can read it an afternoon, but in that afternoon, you'll laugh out loud, get choked up, and find yourself with a new understanding of organized religion. That's pretty damn impressive, especially in two hundred pages.
Thank you, Barry! (And I confess, Pete Hautman is probably my favorite YA author ever.)