Our guest today at Bookish is the extraordinary Chris Howard, who burst onto the YA book scene with his phenomenal debut novel, Rootless.
Chris Howard is extremely talented. His novel made a huge impression on me. I can't tell you how much I loved, it was thought-provoking, emotionally affecting and deeply meaningful. A thoroughly compelling, completely mind-blowing, visually stunning creation that deserves a special place on your bookshelf.
Click here to read my rave review of Rootless!
Click here to read my rave review of Rootless!
1. Welcome to Bookish Chris! Your YA debut, Rootless, is such an intriguing and thought-provoking read! I absolutely loved the unique futuristic premise and the action-packed plot, not to mention the great lead protagonist! Could you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind your book?
I'm so glad you enjoyed it! The initial idea came to me when I was hiking in the Colorado Rockies and found myself surrounded by trees decimated by a type of beetle that's creating havoc throughout a lot of the forests here in my adopted home state. I started to imagine "what if" some sort of insect evolved to be able to eat anything and everything: all the trees and plants, crops and grasses, animals… even people. I immediately pictured a young man building trees out of scrap metal on the dusty plains of this desolate future, and I imagined him setting off to try to find the last living trees. I wanted the world to be a burned-out, wild west sort of place, with remnants of technology and ragged tribes of people. But I also imagined a corporation engineering corn that could withstand the locusts - so I had an idea of the "have-nots" versus the "haves" in my mind.
2. How long did it take you to write it?
I wrote the first draft very quickly - in about six weeks. But I then worked on it with my agent and editor for close to a year.
3. Which part of Rootless was the hardest for you to write?
I loved writing every single part of the book! Really, it was such a blast, though some parts are tough emotionally, writing them was still exhilarating.
4. What do you hope readers will take away from reading Rootless?
I just hope they'll feel something and enjoy the story and the characters, and hopefully get swept away. I intended certain themes in there about humanity and nature and the ways we come together to survive, but it's really up to each reader to put into it and take out of it what they will.
5. What is your favorite part of the writing process? Least favorite?
I love the first draft more than anything. My least favorite part? Well, I've received emails from people who are upset with me because they think the book paints GMOs and companies like Monsanto in a bad light. I set out to write a story, not to make a political statement, and I could really do without getting yelled at in emails :) But you just have to let all that bounce off… even all the positive emails from people who loved the book - it's nice to hear, but it's also a distraction from creating something new.
6. How do you approach writing a new story? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
A bit of both. I like to fly by the seat of my pants, but only once I've spent a lot of time thinking and getting to know the characters and setting and finding the right voice.
7. Would you say that your life changed a lot after you got your publishing deal with Scholastic? How did that feel?
In a way, yes. I achieved a goal I'd worked really hard to reach and it's a real privilege getting to work with the great people at Scholastic, as it is to see my story reach readers all over the world. It felt amazing to sign the deal, and it still feels great. I ended 2012 on the cover of Publishers Weekly along with some other awesome authors. Two years before that issue came out, I didn't even have an agent, so it was a really good couple of years! But then of course you set new goals for yourself, so now I'm working on those :)
8. What are some of your literary inspirations? Favorite books/authors?
Wow. So many, of course. My favorite writer of all time is Cormac McCarthy, but I've been inspired by so many different things. Comics and films and music, too. My website goes into a lot more detail, if anyone's curious.
9. What's next in line for you? When can we expect to see the sequel to Rootless?
I don't know when the sequel will be available, but I have written the second book and most of the third and I'm incredibly excited about where the story goes and who the characters become. I'm also working on some brand new stories, though. I thought I might do something a little less far out after the ROOTLESS trilogy, but that seems to still be where my head is at!
Thank you so much Chris for taking the time out of your busy schedule to join us here today! I can't wait for the next book in your wonderful, soul-building series!
Chris Howard is a YA Galaxy Defender extraordinaire! Check out Chris' MIYA-style photo:
I'm the author of ROOTLESS (Scholastic, OUT NOW). The book takes place in a future where no nature survives, and it's about a 17-year-old who discovers a clue to the whereabouts of the last living trees on earth. The book's full of Rasta warriors, punk-rock pirates and flesh-eating locusts... Yeah! Check out Publishers Weekly very cool STARRED REVIEW. I live in Denver, but grew up not far from London. I studied natural resources in college, then spent seven years leading wilderness trips for high school students. I like to write more than anything else I've ever done, though reading is right up there, too!
- 1 of 3 copies of ROOTLESS by Chris Howard (from Book Depository)
OPEN TO: International
Ends: May 25th
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