The DMS was lucky enough to interview Lee Bacon Lizzy reviewed his book Joshua Dread, and it was great to share our thoughts about it and hear yours! We're excited to learn more about his story. So, without further ado... take it away, Lee!
What inspired you to write Joshua Dread? Where did you come up with the characters Joshua?
The inspiration for Joshua Dread began with a question: What would it be like to have supervillains for parents? In Joshua’s case, he actually finds it a bit embarrassing when Mom and Dad try to flood the earth. He just wants to be a normal kid. Unfortunately, it’s hard to be normal when your parents are trying to destroy the world.
Joshua Dread is part of a series. Did all of the books take you the same length of time to write or do they each have a process of their own? Which one took you the longest to write?
The first one definitely took the longest. My guess is, that’s usually the case with series fiction. With the first book, you have to build the world from scratch. This involves lots of false starts and scrapped ideas. But when the time comes to write future books in the series, the foundation is all there. You’ve already figured out the voice, the tone, the characters. Now all you’ve got to do is write an awesome story. No biggie, right?
What are some of your favorite books from childhood? Were there any specific authors who inspired you?
In elementary school, I discovered Roald Dahl and Louis Sachar. Up until then, I’d assumed that children’s books had to follow certain rules. Not too much danger. Not too scary. Absolutely no death or gore. And in the end, everyone learns a nice, happy lesson. Well, Dahl and Sachar didn’t just break these rules. They obliterated them. And that was exciting for a rambunctious young boy like me. Heck, it still is. Reading books like James and the Giant Peach or Sideways Stories from Wayside School, I felt like I was getting away with something. As if the library had put these dangerous, forbidden, rule-obliterating books in the “Children’s” section by mistake. Books like these inspired me as a youngster, and still do today.
If you could befriend a character from any of your books, who would you befriend? Why?
Milton. He’s Joshua’s best friend. He puts up with all the quirks and insanities of Joshua’s life. The supervillain parents, the mutant houseplant, the zombies in the basement. He’s brave, loyal, and funny. All the traits I appreciate in a friend. Also, unlike many of the other characters in the book, Milton doesn’t have a superpower. Which means he’s less likely to accidentally set my face on fire.
Where do you like to write?
I travel pretty regularly for school visits, so I’ve gotten better at writing on my laptop in hotel rooms. But when I’m not on the road, I write in my office at home.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Why? I love it here in Brooklyn. In a lot of ways, it’s a great place to be a writer. There’s a creative spirit that doesn’t exist in many other parts of the world. If you walk into a café, chances are, someone there is working on a novel. Probably, most of them. Including the barista. You can go to readings and literary events every night of the week. On the other hand, rent is out of control and it’s easy to feel like a very small fish in a very large pond in a place like this. It can be intimidating. But still . . . I’m sticking with Brooklyn.
The path to publication varies from author to author. Every author has a unique story and one that other authors can learn from. Can you tell us a little bit about your path to publication or do you have any advice for new authors?
Like nearly all other authors out there, my path to publication was paved with rejection letters. You have to get used to hearing the word “NO”. A lot. I spent a decade writing adult literary fiction—countless short stories and one novel—that never got published. And even though rejection is never easy, it’s also an important part of the process. It means you’re trying. Plugging away. Working and getting better as a writer. So I have 3 pieces of advice for new authors out there:
1) Keep writing
2) Keep writing
3) Keep writing
That’s all you can do. No matter how much you hear the word “No”, if you keep working at it, you WILL get better.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
Cloning. That way, I could let my clones do all the vacuuming and shopping and cleaning while I focus on writing. And come to think of it, I could have my clones write my books for me too!
Are you currently working on a book? If so, can you tell us a little bit about it?
I have a new project in the works called Legendtopia. It’s a two book middle grade fantasy series about two kids from different worlds. Literally. Kara is a regular sixth grade girl. Fred’s a young prince from an enchanted kingdom. But when they unexpectedly meet, the result is the weirdest student exchange program of all time. So many classic children's stories explore the idea of a child accidentally wandering through a magical doorway and into another world. Legendtopia uses these tales as inspiration to ask: What would happen if the magic followed you back?
The books are going to be published in 2016 by the same publisher (Delacorte Press/Random House Children’s Books) and the same editor (Wendy Loggia) that did such a wonderful job on the Joshua Dread books.