Monday, May 21, 2012

Interview with author Scott Cramer "Night of the Purple Moon"

So as I promised in my last post,( where I'm hosting a give away )here is an interview I did with the author of "Night of the Purple Moon", Scott Cramer.
I just wanted to add that while I felt my questioners were kind of lame/generic, I loved his answers....And I wanted to thank him for his willingness to work with me.

 Due to the nature of the main characters in the book I have to ask first.....Do you have any children?
Yes, I have two daughters. One just graduated from college and the other one is about to attend college. Day in and day out, I am amazed by their intelligence, grace, toughness, balance, senses of humor…I could go on and on. My wife, too, is way smarter than I am. So I am totally surrounded and outgunned. It was not a stretch for me to develop two characters, Abby and Emily (not perfect, by any means) who are resourceful, strong-willed and who do their best to face the biggest of challenges with courage.

Was there a reason you choose the island you did to use for the setting of your book?                           
The plot plays out on a grand scale…after space germs decimate the adult population, Earth becomes a planet of children virtually overnight. One way to examine a sweeping catastrophe is to shrink the scale and make the story very personal. I thought an island off Maine, with a small winter population, offered an ideal setting. Later on, I was able to examine life on the mainland.

What gave you the idea to write this book? What was your inspiration?!
Two YA novels always stayed with me. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry and Homecoming by Cynthia Voight. In each book the young main characters faced incredible odds and took dangerous journeys. In Night of the Purple Moon, I tried to increase the odds and raise the stakes. Rather than have one or both parents die, all parents die. Also, modern civilization depends on the collective efforts of specialists. If those specialists disappear, the infrastructure (running water, electricity, communications, food production) will cease to function. That is a gut-wrenching, perilous situation for young teens and children to find themselves in.

Did you base any of the characters personalities off of people you know/knew in your own life?
What usually happens is that I might start out plagiarizing a few character traits here and there from people I know, but as you start to understand your characters and you place them in difficult situations, pretty soon they take on lives of their own; they act on their own and you watch them as much as you direct them. At that point, they become unique individuals in almost every way.

How long did it take you to write this?
The story took many twists and turns and went from a novel to a screenplay and back, and while all that was going on I was very adept at finding other major distractions, such as writing half a mystery novel. All told, it took me one and half years to write Night of the Purple Moon.

Is this your first novel?
Officially it’s my third. Two other YA novels are sitting on my hard drive.

If no, what else have you written? If yes, have you written anything else non bookwise?
I’ve written quite a few magazine feature articles. I had one screenplay optioned, though the option has since expired. I have a few children’s picture books, unpublished. I used to work as a stringer for a daily newspaper, covering school committee meetings and the like. I’ve probably tried my hand at every type of writing except a stage play.

What are some of your favorite books to read?
When I am writing fiction, I tend to read non-fiction. I have been on a long stretch of reading mountain climbing books and sailing adventures.

What is your favorite genre?
I really love young adult. I think a good YA story should appeal to all ages. Some see the ages of the characters in Night of the Purple Moon (12/13) and think it’s a middle grade novel. I guess it is valid to say that it straddles the YA/MG line. But I never thought about a particular audience when I wrote the story. So far, 99 percent of the feedback has come from much older people. I know of only one 12-year who read an early draft. She said that she loved the book and cried “two-pounds of tears.” I think that she was the last person under 30 to read it.

Will there be a sequel to NOPM?

(Bonus lame Barbra Walters question) If you were a tree. What kind of tree would you be? And why?
I debated oak vs willow for about two seconds and then came up with HICORY TREE. Hickory trees have been on my mind lately. My wife, who is a fifth grade science teacher, signed us up for a long-term environmental study where we plant three hickory trees in the yard and then report on their condition every five years. They came in the mail two weeks ago. They are the length of a chopstick and thin as twigs. She stuck them in the ground and surrounded each one with a little portable fence so I wouldn’t mow over them. Believe me, I am very careful around those hickory trees.

So now that you know a bit more about the author and the book. Head on over (here) and see if you can win a free copy!

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