Hostile Questions: Chuck Wendig

Likely StoriesIf you frequent the “Inter-Net,” Chuck Wendig is one of those guys you come to be aware of, as one comes to be aware that he or she has allergies or an aversion to fish. Wendig, it turns out, cannot take a breath without having an opinion about it (was it a good breath? a morally debatable breath? and what does the breath say about the publishing industry?), and that opinion will be excitedly “Re-Tweeted” by millions of apparent minions.

Now, we here at Hostile Questions know little about “The Web”—we write this column onto parchment that our monkey assistant, Jerome, messengers into the city. But enough about Jerome. Point is, Wendig can have all the Inter-Net he wants. But when we found out that he’s also writing books—paper booksreal books beloved by real humans, some of whom we know—well, we realized that he was a weed growing too close to the reading cave we share with Jerome, a weed we could no longer afford not to stomp.

Let the stomping commence. Jerome—my stomping sandals, please!

Your attempt to blend into the forest HAS FAILED, Wendig.

Your attempt to blend into the forest HAS FAILED, Wendig.

Just who do you think you are?

Well, that’s really the question, isn’t it? I like to think I’m Chuck Wendig, guy who writes books and comics and blog posts about writing. Author of urban fantasy novels like Blackbirds and Blue Blazes, as well as young adult novels like my Heartland series, or the Atlanta Burns books.

Other times, I’m pretty sure I’m just a jungle gym for the toddler who inhabits my home like a possessing spirit. (Seriously, you haven’t lived until a chimpanzee-sized being has used your crotch as a step-ladder.)

Occasionally, though, I dream I’m a rock drummer.

Because, c’mon.

Where do you get off?

Well, now, that’s a very rude question.

I’m instead going to choose to interpret your question in the less rude way, which is to say, what gives me the qualifications to sit here at my computer and spout off inside books and upon blogs and generally using and abusing the written word to my own twisted aims.

To which I’d respond:

Nothing! I have no qualifications at all! Ha ha ha and yet people keep giving me a voice. The fools. The fools.

What’s the big idea?

Well, it’s a hat. Okay, bear with me. It’s a hat that’s also a Blu-Ray player, and a blender, and an inflatable jet-ski, and you can use it to listen to cool tunes, or keep your coffee warm, or use it as a Go Pro mount to film your wild wacky inflatable jet-ski adventures. It’s also a Taser because nothing says fun like “Taser.”

Wait, this isn’t Shark Tank, is it?

Oh, ohhh, this is a book site? This is a book site.

*takes off inventor hat*

*puts on author hat*

The big idea in a book like, say, Blightborn—book two of my young-adult cornpocalyptic agridystopia class warfare novel—is that the young punks of the dried-out dustbowl Heartland are taking their fight against the ruling class Empyrean to the sky! Which means I get to look beyond the corn and readers will get the chance to visit the flotillas floating up in the clouds. And there they might meet a robot Pegasus, actual Pegasuses (Pegasi?), a talking grackle bird, an elevator robot, a bartender robot, an authoritarian man with the title “Peregrine,” a knife-wielding little girl nicknamed Squirrel—well, really, that list goes on and on. As for the big idea intrinsic?

I get to play with ideas of genetic engineering, mutation, botany, wealth imbalance, teenage hormones, sexual orientation, piracy, rebellion, and more. Those are all big ideas. Because why should a story contain only one?

What is your problem, man?

Do you have time? Because I have a lot of problems. First, here—look at this toenail. Does that look like Vladimir Putin’s face? I think it looks like Putin, but my wife says it looks like a dog who looks like Vladimir Putin, so, y’know. By the way, do you do marriage counseling? Asking for a friend. A friend who is my wife.

Haven’t you done enough?

I probably have. So I should stop.

Which can only mean one thing:

NAPTIME.

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About the Author:

Dan Kraus is Booklist's Editor of Books for Youth. He is also the producer and director of numerous feature films, most notably the documentary Work Series, and the author of several YA novels, including Rotters and Scowler, both of which won the Odyssey Award. Follow him on Twitter at @DanielDKraus.

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