Monday, December 5, 2011

MEN in YA: Interview + Giveaway with Jeff Hirsch, author of The Eleventh Plague

Another fabulous author visits Bookish for an interview! I'm very excited and honored to be joined today by Jeff Hirsch, the phenomenal author of chilling post-apocalyptic YA novel, The Eleventh Plague. If you missed my yesterday's review of The Eleventh Plague, click HERE and go check it out! And don't forget to leave a comment, I always enjoy hearing your thoughts! :D 

Guys, please give a warm welcome to our fantastic YA Galaxy Defender, Jeff Hirsch!

E: Evie
JH: Jeff Hirsch
E: Welcome to Bookish Jeff! I’m extremely excited to talk to you today!  Your recent YA novel, The Eleventh Plague, was a fascinating and thought-provoking read. I devoured it!  Could you tell us who or what inspired you to write it?
JH: Thanks so much! It’s great to be here! The idea for the book came back during the time when I was a bit of a news junky (I’m in recovery now) and would spend hours watching various cable news shows. It seemed like not only was there a lot going wrong in the world, but the institutions we look to to fix things, mainly the government, had become gridlocked and unable to deal with our problems. It made me wish we could get a do-over on this whole civilization thing. The Eleventh Plague of the title was that do-over.
E: How long did it take for you to write The Eleventh Plague?
JH: Much longer than I would have liked. 4 years? Something like that. It was only the second book I had ever written so I think I was also still in the process of figuring out how to write any book (still working on that one actually) much less this one particular book. I also wrote this book with little to no planning, just making it up as I went along. Not really doing so much anymore.
E: Are any of your characters based on people in your own life? Which of your characters do you feel is the most like you?
JH: There are bits and pieces of people I know in a few of the characters but there’s no one based entirely on one person or another. I think I can be like Stephen at times, head down, a tad angsty, eager for change but a little fearful of it too.
E: What would you say was the hardest part (or chapter) for you to write?
JH: The ending. It’s always the ending. You know, you work through an entire book and your whole statement is really encapsulated in how you end it. So there’s a lot of rewriting, a lot of nuancing to get it the way you want. And then after all of that you realize the whole thing is overwrought and you need to relax a take another swing at it. The ending definitely came at the end of a long process.
E: Have you always wanted to be a writer? At what point in your life did you decide that writing is something you want to do?
JH: I’ve been writing since about junior high, but for a long time writing took a back seat to theater. I was an actor in high school and college and pursued it for a bit when I moved to NY. The change came after a couple years in New York. I trudged home from a long 9 hours at my day job in the middle of a huge winter rainstorm. I had an audition later that night but knew there was no way I was venturing back out into that storm. I realized that if I really loved acting a little bad weather would never be enough to keep me down. When I asked myself what I did love enough the answer came back writing. Soon after that I started applying to grad schools as a writer.
E: How do you approach writing a new novel? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
JH: Like most people I think I do a bit of both. I’m honestly a little wary of either label. I wrote about that here. Ultimately, I think the project should dictate how you approach it.
E: Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with it?
JH: I’m not a big believer in writer’s block actually. I think the idea of writer’s block is about fear. It’s about looking at that blank screen and being so afraid that what you write won’t be good enough, funny enough, clever enough, original enough, that you get paralyzed. You have to be willing to write anything—nonsense, garbage, whatever—and keep writing. Eventually you’ll break through and find your groove. Above all I think writing ideas come when you’re writing, not when sitting around thinking/worrying about writing. And this is coming from someone who spends an inordinate amount thinking/worrying about writing.
E:  In The Eleventh Plague you showed us your version of Dystopia. Could you tell us how would your perfect Utopia look like?
JH: I don't ask for much. At this juncture I’d like a government that actually works and a calm, thoughtful populace not plagued by fear and ignorance. On a personal level? Hmmm. Lakeside cabin. My wife. A couple cats. A couple dogs. Good food. Good wine. Reliable high speed internet.
E: What’s next in line for you? Are you working on a new book now?
JH: Yep, I’m currently editing a book that will be coming out Fall of 2012 and also writing a first draft of another. Can’t say too much about the new book yet, not even the title, but we’ll be making announcements soon!
E: What genre do you like to read in your free time? Which of your favorite books would you recommend everybody to read?
JH: No favorite genre really. I try my best to read as widely as possible. I just finished Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Marriage Plot, which I really enjoyed. Other favorites are Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove, Curtis Sittenfeld’s American Wife, Meg Rossoff’s How I live Now, The Stand, Geraldine McCaughrean’s, The White Darkness.

Jeff, thank you so much for joining us today!  
I can't wait to read your next book (hopefully soon)!

I hope you guys enjoyed the interview, for more information about Jeff Hirsch and his books, please visit his website: Jeff Hirsch or/and read my review of The Eleventh Plague.

Huge thank you to Jeff Hirsch for the exclusive MEN in YA photo! <3

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Thanks to the fabulous
I have one hardcover copy of The Eleventh Plague up for grabs!
To be eligible to win all you need to do is be a follower of my blog and enter through Rafflecopter below.
This giveaway is open to CANADA only (sorry guys, Publisher's request!)
Ends: December 22nd

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This interview and giveaway are posted as a part of the MEN in YA event (Nov 20th - Dec 20th)
For more awesomeness (reviews, interviews, giveaways, guest posts) please click the banner below!

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About the Author
Evie is the Blogger behind Bookish. She enjoys reading many different genres, especially YA, Paranormal, Contemporary Fiction and Fantasy.
She loves talking to authors and is always happy to welcome them for interviews, and guest posts. She also likes spreading the love for awesome books and  chatting with fellow book-worms.
You can find Evie here: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Shelfari | The Library Thing


Unknown said...

I saw the cover and Immediately wanted to read the book. Great interview and review. Thanks for the giveaway.

Megan said...

I think there is a lot of truth in his comment about writer's block being about fear.

A Beautiful Madness said...

Great Interview. I haven't had the cahnce to read his book yet.

Evie said...

Thanks for commenting guys :) Jeff shared some interesting information with us and I'm glad you guys enjoy it!


Chapter by Chapter said...

I haven't heard of this book until now. It has offically gone onto my TBR list. Sounds like an interesting read!
Thank you for the giveaway :)
Chapter by Chapter

Pabkins said...

Oh I feel how you move through the book is just as important - beginnings are so important because that usually is a clencher for some readers on whether they will ever get to the finish.

Unknown said...

Great interview! I am one of those who spends more time sitting around worrying about writing than actually writing anything. However, the hardest part for me is always the middle. :)

Sarah E. said...

Love the comment about a WORKING government - I've also heard that Jeffrey Eugenides is a great author - I believe he has a book called Middlesex.

I think that I can appreciate a book more when I hear how long it took the author to write it!

Unknown said...

I love how this book came out of a critique against our current government system :) Make me curious how he works with it in the novel.

Andra Lyn said...

lol...I think many of our Utopias would involve cabins by the lake and wine...and in my case Evie's hot brother-in-law...:P

WildIrishRose33 said...

I like his version of Utopia. :-) Good interview!

Bhand35 said...

I think his version of Utopia makes perfect sense to me.

LisaILJ said...

Yeah at this point in my life all I really do need is a computer with reliable high speed internet. (and electricity to plug it in.) Everything else (but food and water) is just a bonus.

Amy said...

Great interview, a lot of really interesting stuff. I have heard a lot of great stuff about this book.

Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

I've had this one on my wishlist for since I first saw the cover and read the blurb. Thanks for the giveaway!
alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

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