Questioning AUTHORity is a weekly blog feature here at Bookish Serendipity involving—you guessed it!—YA and MG author interviews. This week’s featured author is Christopher Healy, author of multiple MG books such as the Hero’s Guide trilogy, which I love! Thanks so much to Mr. Healy for participating.
About the Author:
Goodreads | Twitter | Amazon
Chris lives in New Jersey with his wife, two children, and a dog named Duncan. Visit him at ChristopherHealy.com. And learn more about the Hero’s Guide universe at OfficialHerosGuide.com.
- What inspired you to write your League of Princes trilogy?
This story grew out of all the glaring plot holes and bizarre character choices that pop up in classic fairy tales. Why didn’t Rapunzel’s prince ever get a ladder? Why didn’t Cinderella’s prince go out to search for his “dream girl” himself? How can your “true love” be someone you’ve never met? I wanted to provide answers to questions like these—ideally, the most ridiculous answers I could dream up.
- How did The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom get published? How has the publication process changed from your debut novel to your most recent?
The honest answer—I wrote the book and my agent sold it to a publisher—is kind of boring, so instead I’ll say… Magic! The main difference between the process for the first book and the latter two, is that for the first book, I had to write the entire thing before I could sell it. I had to work on it in my off time, in between the hours spent working on stuff that paid the bills. So it took a long, long time. And a true leap of faith, since I had no guarantee it would ever be published. But it ended up selling as a trilogy, so when it came time for me to start on the second and third installments, I only had to run outlines past my editor beforehand. That was nice.
- Where do you like to write? What does your writing routine look like?
I write surrounded by a soothing Caribbean blue, in a sun-drenched niche where a sword juts at a jaunty angle from a speckled black stone and a whimsical red robot gazes up at me from its cozy nook behind a deep green chunk of Kryptonite. It’s really just a desk in my home office, but who wants to admit that? The paint color really is called Caribbean Blue, though. The sword is a letter opener and the robot is toy. The Kryptonite is a rock that was painted green by my son and says, “My Dad Rocks” on it.
As for my routine, it involves a healthy mix of typing and procrastinating. Although I tell myself it’s not really procrastinating, because I have to work past the writer’s block before I can continue. Basically, I sit down at my computer and start writing whatever scene I’m currently on. I may work continuously for five minutes or five hours, but inevitably I hit a dead end. That’s when I walk the dog, do a little exercise, strum my guitar, check Facebook, play online Scrabble, or take a stupid Internet quiz like “Which Power Ranger is Your Soulmate From a Past Life?” I usually don’t have to do that stuff for very long, though, because after even a few minutes of distracting my mind from my writing, I will generally be struck with the perfect idea—at which point, I drop everything and rush back to my computer.
- What is the best (or funniest) experience you’ve had since the publication of your debut novel?
The single moment that I know I’ll never forget was when I was doing a signing at a bookstore in Richmond, Virginia, and one of the young girls in line introduced herself to me. I recognized her name immediately. She had been the first person to ever write me a fan letter, two years earlier. There have been—and continue to be—so many more great moments, though. It’s a fun ride.
- You have such a varied cast of characters in your League of Princes trilogy! Can you tell us the inspiration behind a few of the major characters?
Well, most of the major characters are based on classic fairy tale characters, and I worked out their personalities by answering the same kind of questions I mentioned back in my answer to Question #1. But that only covers 8 characters out of… I don’t know, a billion? I lose count. So here are some others:
*Princess Lila didn’t even exist in the first draft. It was my daughter who urged me to add a kid hero into the book, so I based a lot of Lila’s personality on my daughter. I even let her choose Lila’s name.
*Deeb Rauber came out of a question I asked my son, who was four at the time. I asked him what type of character he thought he would be if he were in a book. He answered, with a devilish gleam in his eye, “A villain!”
*Sometimes the name came before the character, as in the case of bounty hunter, Ruffian the Blue. I gave him that name because I liked the sound of it and then thought, why is he called “the blue?” So I made him a mopey, depressed guy.
- Can you tell us a little bit about your current/upcoming writing projects?
I’m currently working on a novel called, The Worst Thing About Saving the World (no relation to the Hero’s Guide series). It’s about a kid who—in the tradition of Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, etc.—saves the world from a mystical threat prophesied many years before. But that’s just where the story starts. Because after you save the world, life goes on. But what does it hold for you after your story is supposedly over? Middle school can be difficult for anyone, but it’s especially challenging when everyone around you is trying to figure out who they’re going to be and you’ve already fulfilled your destiny.
About The Book:
Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You’ve never heard of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as Prince Charming. But all of this is about to change.
Rejected by their princesses and cast out of their castles, the princes stumble upon an evil plot that could endanger each of their kingdoms. Now it’s up to them to triumph over their various shortcomings, take on trolls, bandits, dragons, witches, and other assorted terrors, and become the heroes no one ever thought they could be.
Thanks so much to the author for participating! Y’all should definitely read the Hero’s Guide series, if you haven’t yet.