Monday 22 April 2013

House of Secrets Blog Tour : Interview with author Ned Vizzini

*** Don't miss my giveaway where you can win a copy of House of Secrets ! ***

Ned Vizzini is the bestselling author of the acclaimed young-adult books The Other Normals, It's Kind of a Funny Story (also a major motion picture), Be More Chill, and Teen Angst? Naaah.... In television, he has written for ABC's Last Resort and MTV's Teen Wolf. His essays and criticism have appeared in the New York Times, the Daily Beast,and Salon. He is the co-author, with Chris Columbus, of the fantasy-adventure series House of Secrets. His work has been translated into ten languages. He lives in Los Angeles.

This week sees the publication of House of Secrets, which J. K. Rowling described as "a breakneck, jam-packed, roller coaster of an adventure". All week, Ned Vizzini will be stopping off at various blogs to answer some questions about the book and I'm honoured to announce that he's calling in at The Madhouse today !


Hi Ned, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions. First of all, can you tell us how House of Secrets came to be? Where did the original idea come from?

The story of this novel started about ten years ago when Chris started writing it as an original screenplay entitled "Stones Of Time." He completed about 90 pages of the script, and realized that if he continued writing, this film would cost over $500 million dollars. Years later he pulled out the "Stones Of Time" script and thought it might work as a novel.

You co-wrote the book with Chris Columbus. How did that partnership come about?

It started with a phone call in early 2011 from my agent. He told me that Chris Columbus, the filmmaker, was interested in meeting with me, possibly to pursue a book project, and that there wasn't any way this could be a bad thing.

I agreed—but I was nervous. Chris wrote The Goonies and Gremlins and directed the first two Harry Potter films, of course, but he also made my family actually enjoy a night out together over Christmas 1990 by directing Home Alone. It was stupefying to me that we all liked it. The only things we all liked were 1) Burger King and 2) The Simpsons. It was a Holiday Miracle!

What was the first stage of writing the book, did you both sit down and plan it together?

At our first meeting, Chris handed me pages of "Stones Of Time". He said, "Read this and let me know if you think there's a book in here." I loved the story so I composed a draft of the first chapter, sent it over and it all kicked off from there.

Were there ever any disagreements on characters or plot? If so how did you resolve these?

Chris and I never had any serious disagreements. I think we both understood that if the other person felt very strongly about something in House of Secrets, it was best to try it out instead of debate it. If it didn't work, we'd know—and then we'd fix it.

Was there a particular character who was more your creation than Chris’s or vice versa?

Chris came up with Fat Jagger—who was originally “Fat Russel” and was supposed to look like Russel Brand. (Chris is really into all things English.) I came up with the blades that Captain Sangray has attached to his beard. (I am into all things pirate.)

Which character is your favourite and why?

I like Cordelia. The story that she tells about learning to read when she was very young and having someone say “That baby is reading!” is based on my life. I enjoyed tuning out the world with text from a young age.

What is your all time favourite book?

I think Jurassic Park is the real Great American Novel; I think it does all the things that Moby-Dick does but with a mastery of pacing that has yet to be matched. Let the nay-saying begin !

Thanks Ned !

Make sure you call in on the other participating blogs to hear more from Ned Vizzini.

(Click here to see the links to the blogs involved in the blog tour)

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

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