I’m excited to have D.J. MacHale
stop by the blog today to talk about his new book, SYLO,
which was published earlier this month. See below for my interview with D.J. and a giveaway for 2 copies of SYLO
, an art poster, and bookmarks. You can visit other Book Nerd Tours stops here
Publication Date: Available now, by Razorbill
: Does Tucker Pierce have what it takes to be a hero when the U.S. military quarantines his island?Fourteen-year-old Tucker Pierce prefers to fly under the radar. He’s used to navigating around summer tourists in his hometown on idyllic Pemberwick Island, Maine. He’s content to sit on the sidelines as a backup player on the high school football team. And though his best friend Quinn tells him to “go for it,” he’s too chicken to ask Tori Sleeper on a date. There’s always tomorrow, he figures. Then Pemberwick Island is invaded by a mysterious branch of the U.S. military called SYLO. And sitting on the sidelines is no longer an option for Tucker, because tomorrow may never come.
It’s up to Tucker, Quinn, and Tori to uncover the truth about the singing aircraft that appears only at night—and the stranger named Feit who’s pushing a red crystal he calls the Ruby that brings unique powers to all who take it. Tucker and his friends must rescue not just Pemberwick Island, but the fate of the world—and all before tomorrow is too late.
#1 New York Times bestselling author D.J. MacHale brings his brilliant plotting and breathless pacing to SYLO, the first in this ultimate end-of-the-world adventure trilogy.
D.J. MacHale is a writer, director, executive producer and creator of several popular television series and movies. As an author, his ten-volume book series: PENDRAGON – JOURNAL OF AN ADVENTURE THROUGH TIME AND SPACE became a New York Times #1 bestseller.
He was raised in Greenwich, CT and graduated from Greenwich High School. While in school, he had several jobs including collecting eggs at a poultry farm, engraving trophies and washing dishes in a steakhouse…in between playing football and running track. D.J. attended New York University where he received a BFA in film production.
His filmmaking career began in New York where he worked as a freelance writer/director making corporate videos and television commercials. He also taught photography and film production.
D.J. broke into the entertainment business by writing several ABC AFTERSCHOOL SPECIALS. As co-creator of the popular Nickelodeon series: ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK?, he produced all 91 episodes over 8 years. D.J. also wrote and directed the movieTOWER OF TERROR for ABC’s WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISNEY which starred Kirsten Dunst and Steve Guttenberg. The Showtime series CHRIS CROSS was co-created, written and produced by D.J. It received the CableAce award for Best Youth Series.
D.J. co-created and produced the Discovery Kids/NBC television series FLIGHT 29 DOWN. He wrote every episode and directed several. His work on FLIGHT 29 DOWN earned him the Writers Guild of America award for “Outstanding Children’s Script” and a Directors Guild of America award nomination.
Other notable writing credits include the ABC AFTERSCHOOL SPECIAL titled SEASONAL DIFFERENCES; the pilot for the long-running PBS/CBS series GHOSTWRITER; and the HBO series ENCYCLOPEDIA BROWN, BOY DETECTIVE for which he received a CableAce nomination for writing.
In print, D.J. has co-written the book THE TALE OF THE NIGHTLY NEIGHBORS, based on his own teleplay and penned the poetic adaptation of the classic Norwegian folk tale EAST OF THE SUN AND WEST OF THE MOON. His most current work is the spooky MORPHEUS ROAD trilogy; and a whimsical picture book THE MONSTER PRINCESS.
D.J. lives in Southern California with his wife Evangeline and daughter Keaton. They are avid backpackers, scuba divers and skiers. Rounding out the household are two elderly goldfish and a Kitten, Kaboodle.
Q. Tucker Pierce, the narrator of SYLO, describes himself a very average 14 year-old boy. Are there any challenges to writing a character who does not, at first glance, possess any unusual or exceptional qualities?
A. The only real challenge is that you have to create a character who is interesting as a “regular” person because you don’t have any imaginative crutches to fall back on. With all of my stories I try to create characters that are real and relatable to readers. I don’t relate to somebody from Krypton with super powers, or a boy wizard. I want my readers to imagine what they would do if faced with the same challenges as the characters, and in order to do that you have to create a character that they can see themselves in. That’s interesting to me…an ordinary person who is faced with extraordinary challenges.
Q. There are a lot of mysteries in SYLO. How do you decide what to reveal in the first novel and what to hold off until the sequels?
A. Easy. (Sort of) I look at the entire trilogy as one big story. I think that’s one of the reasons why there are so many trilogies out there. The three-act structure is classic storytelling. You may not realize it, but most movies follow the three act structure. Jokes do too. It’s always set up, set up, payoff. So I sketch out the entire story in three acts, therefore it’s easy to decide what will happen (and be revealed) in each. Of course, I change my mind a thousand times and move things around and add things here and there so it’s not mechanical by any means. But at its core, it’s a classic three-act story.
Q. How would SYLO have differed if the setting was a large city rather than a small island?
A. Hmmm…that’s a really good question that will be answered in the second book: STORM. But I will say this much, by having SYLO take place on a small, isolated island it allowed me to keep the story contained and relatively small. (Speaking again to the three act structure) Once you get to the end of SYLO (the first book), you’ll realize that it can no longer be contained.
Q. What are some of your favorite books or movies involving government conspiracies?
A. The one that quickly springs to mind is “All The President’s Men” because it was a true story. That may have been scarier than any work of fiction. I actually did a take-off of that in college with a student film called “…DEADLINE…”
Thanks so much, D.J., for visiting Inspiring Insomnia!
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