In 2009, my youngest kid was nine months old, and he stopped sleeping. He was only getting about three hours of sleep at night, so I was only getting three hours of sleep [at] night, and my brain broke. I started hallucinating and when I went to my husband, who is a psychologist, he was like “Okay, we’re going to get you on a sleep schedule before you die, but you need to find something for you. All you do is take care of children and not sleep and you need something to do to occupy your mind. We think you should be a writer.” And I was like, “Oh, okay.” Because all the parts of my brain that would say like no, I’m not a writer. Books are scary. Like I could never do that – I don’t have the calling. Like, they were all gone, […] because my brain was broken. So I was like, “Sure, yeah, I can write a book. Why not? I can do anything. I can fly. I can fly off the roof. He brought that up and the next week I started writing and that first book was, it was a wretched book, but in about a month and a half, I had a first draft.
What is your most interesting writing quirk?
Before I start writing a book, I start with an idea that kind of obsesses me. And the way I develop the idea is by building a playlist on Spotify, and not songs where the band or the lyrics have anything to do with the book, but just the feeling of the songs. I have synesthesia, so all my senses are crossed, so I get these songs [that] have a feeling, and I build a playlist out of that feeling, and once I have ten or twenty songs on that playlist, I start listening to it obsessively. And then I have to know who the protagonist is; where it starts; what is the instigating factor that changes things; what the climax is; and the ending. And once I have the playlist and those five reference points, that’s when I can start writing, but until I have all that, I would not even begin a first paragraph.
Do you hear from your fans about Hit?
I live so much of my life on Twitter, that I feel I’m kind of constantly in discussion with anybody who actually wants to talk to me, and it’s awesome! Because, man, the inner sixth and seventh grader in me would’ve given anything to have this kind of friendship and interaction. Mostly people only tag me if they liked it, but I’m just always honored anytime anyone gives the book a try, or even speaks to me at all.
Is there a message in Hit that you want readers to grasp?
Don’t go into debt. It’s not good for your kids. The whole book, it was based on an episode of South Park, about how if you signed the terms of service for your iPad, Apple can legally sew you to other human beings. So the whole idea is just about debt is bad, and we all kind of have it for no reason, and we don’t need it, and you can get shot for it.
Tell us something about Strike, the sequel to Hit.
I’ll just say that there is a character based on Boyd Crowder from Justified who I think is one of the very best characters I’ve ever seen in any media in my life, and so there’s a character inspired by him who is super fun to write.
When can we expect Strike on the shelves?
That’ll be March 2016. You can’t miss it. The cover is black with a spray-paint can spraying fire.
Will you be getting a new pair of boots to match the cover like you did with Hit?
Oh, I always need a new pair of boots. Yes!
Any last words before we wrap up this interview?
Thank you for reading. Thank you for listening. And, I’m having surgery on Tuesday, so if I die, please make this book a best seller and put it on my tombstone.