Today I am pleased to welcome D.J. MacHale, one of the contributing authors to Guys Read: Other Worlds for a guest post today. This title, along with the other Guys Read titles, are excellent novels for reluctant readers (especially boys)! My own son has enjoyed each and every one of them. Stay tuned for his review of Guys Read: Other Worlds, due to post tomorrow!
D.J. MacHale is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Pendragon series and the Morpheus Road series. He has written, directed and produced many television series and movies for young people that have been seen on Nickelodeon, The Disney Channel, HBO, Showtime, PBS, Discovery Kids, and the broadcast networks. D.J. lives with his family in Southern California. You can visit him online at http://djmachalebooks.com.
The trigger. That’s what I’m always looking for. It’s that magical moment when something happens that sparks the idea for a story. One of the hardest things to do is start from scratch and say: “I think I’ll write a story.” There are far too many possibilities. My daughter is always asking me to tell her ghost stories. For somebody who has written dozens of ghost stories, and hundreds of every other kind of story, you’d think it would be a snap. It isn’t. I need a trigger. So I got smart and said to her: “Okay, give me a title.” Once she started coming up with things like: “The Whispering Trees” or “The Mutant Bunny” it was off to the races.
When I was asked to write a short story for Jon Scieszka’s awesome Guys Read series, my first thought was “Sure!” My second thought was: “Uh oh, now what?” I had no ideas. That was until I heard the title for the collection. Other Worlds. Bingo. Trigger. Shake, stir…“The Scout”.
Many (okay, all) of my stories deal with some form of fantastical conflict. Whether you call them science fiction or fantasy adventures, my characters have to deal with larger-than-life challenges that you don’t come across in your average day. At least I hope you don’t. However, as wild and improbable as the worlds they operate in may be, at the heart of all these stories are very real, relatable characters who are learning about themselves as much as they are learning about the boogie man. That’s what makes a science fiction story interesting to me. Sure, it’s exciting to have all the explosions and narrow escapes and unique settings, but none of that fun stuff matters if you don’t care about your characters and what’s going through their heads as they face the unknown.
I’m often asked why I write for guys. The truth is, I don’t. I write about things that I like and since I’m a guy, I like guy-things. I sort of wish sometimes that I could write a girl-centric story. I’d probably sell a billion more books. But I can’t do that. I have to be true to what comes out, and what comes out appeals to guys. (To be honest, my stories appeal to plenty of girls too, but mostly to the kind of girls I like hanging around with….girls who like guy-things)
With “The Scout”, I did something I had never attempted before. There’s only one character. Kit. That was a real challenge because with one character, there’s nobody to talk to. No dialog. No clever exchanges between characters to help bring out their personalities. By doing this, I got right to the heart of what I always try to do, which is to get into the head of a real person and have the reader experience the adventure right along with them.
It’s Kit vs. “Other Worlds”. Nice trigger. I hope you like it.
Thank you, D.J. for stopping by! Guys Read: Other Worlds is out today. What are you waiting for!?