Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Author Interview: Jay Asher

If this interview seems a bit different from my most recent ones, question-wise, it's because Jay was the third author I ever asked to do an interview with, and I sent off questions that, in retrospect, are not exactly the best. However, Jay's answers are great and that's why I'm posting it! Hopefully I'll be able to do a second interview with Jay sometime and get some better answers outta him :P

About the Author: Jay Asher got the idea for Thirteen Reasons Why (a New York Times bestseller!) at a museum. While taking an audio tour, he was struck by the eeriness of the voice in his year--a oman who described exactly what he was looking at, but wasn't there. Jay lives on the central coast of California. Thirteen Reasons Why is his first book. You can find out more about him on his Class of 2k7 profile,, or add him as a friend on MySpace.

How long have you known you wanted to be a writer?

Ever since elementary school when I wanted to write and illustrate my own comic strip. But my drawing skills never improved beyond sixth grade.

What's your writing regimen like? How do you deal with writer's block?

I usually go to a coffee shop right after work and sit there until I'm not feeling creative anymore, which can be hours...or minutes. Writer's block is interesting, because it usually comes when I can't think of a creative way to solve a problem. How do I deal with it? I move on to something more exciting to think about. For question, please!

Do you ever listen to music while writing? Any artists you want to mention as grade-A music?

Sometimes I'll listen to music before I start writing to put myself into a certain mood. I listened to a lot of Buffalo Tom and the My So-Called Life soundtrack with Thirteen Reasons Why. But I'm so easily distracted that I can't listen to music while I'm writing.

Can you tell us what your second book is going to be about? Do you know when it's coming out?

It's a secret. So if I told you, I'd have to start all over. But it will definitely be a little lighter than 13RW.

(Stephs stands curious...)

Thirteen Reasons Why was your first published novel. What were the biggest surprises you had going from unpublished to published?

I never imagined school and bookstore visits would be so much fun. My presentation touches on the serious aspects of the book, but also deals with the lighter side of my writing journey. I'd give presentations every day if I could.

What's the biggest piece of advice you give to aspiring writers?

Join a critique group. You might as well have your friends tell you what isn't working before an editor has the chance to.

Congratulations on becoming a New York Times Bestselling author! How did it feel when you found out Thirteen Reasons Why had hit the list?

I cried. I was a blubbering fool! The book had been out almost six months before it hit the list, which means it was mostly word-of-mouth which propelled it that high. It meant people were recommending it to their friends. And more than good reviews or awards, that's all I really wanted (though the reviews and awards were nice, too).

Who has been your biggest influence when it comes to writing?

Louis Sachar's There's A Boy in the Girls' Bathroom was a huge influence on storytelling and character development. Chris Crutcher really opened my eyes to the power of teen literature. But probably the most suspenseful and unique reading experience I ever had was as a little kid with The Monster at the End of this Book. I'm always on the lookout for a book that enjoyable.

What're you reading right now? How do you like it?

Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway. Just an amazingly fun book. Great characters. Great dialogue. And funny!

Tell us: Does writing for young adults rock or what?

It's the best! Why would anyone want to write for another group?

Veering away from the literary world a bit: What are you favorite movies and TV shows?

The Goonies is one of the most fun and exciting movies ever made. And My So-Called Life is simply the greatest TV show ever created.

Here's your chance to be creative: Make up a question for yourself and answer it!

Q: If there's one thing you could eliminate from this world, what would it be?
A: Onions.

Hope everyone enjoyed the interview!


Amee said...

I loved Louis Sachar's There's A Boy in the Girls' Bathroom too! I actually have two copies. :P

Tali said...

I relly want to read this book, it looks good.

are you interested in a link exchange??

Chelsea said...

I loved Thirteen Reasons Why, and thought this interview was great! I loved There's A Boy in the Girls' Bathroom, too, but I haven't read it in SO LONG! I need to pick it back up.

Beth Fehlbaum, Author said...

What a great interview! I really like him.
(And I thought your questions were fine, by the way...)

Beth Fehlbaum, author
Courage in Patience, a story of hope for those who have endured abuse
Chapter 1 is online!

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