Aug 3, 2012

Interview with Dan Wells, YA Author, + RECIPE

           I've got another interview for you today! Dan Wells, author of the John Cleaver trilogy and Partials, both YA, Night of Blacker Darkness, and a new book, Hollow City. Dan is a Utah author, though he and his family just moved to Germany (like, last week) for a couple of years. Because they could. And because Germany is Dan's biggest market, and his wife also happens to speak German. Happy bratwurst, Dan!
          Dan is currently focusing on his Partials trilogy. Book one, Partials, is out now, a supplemental short eBook, Isolation, is due Aug. 28th, and then book two, Fragments, Feb. 2013, with the third the year after that. Get the FREE eBook, Pitch Dark: Dark Days of Summer Sampler from Harper Teen, featuring a preview of Partials.
          There will also be another John Cleaver book at some point. John Wayne Cleaver is the teen protagonist (and an anti-hero) in I am Not a Serial Killer, Mr. Monster, and I Don't Want to Kill You, all psychological horror stories. Very well written (Ally Condie says so, and I do too!).
          Dan is the brother of YA author Robison Wells (Variant, Feedback, also a Utah author) and the two do an entertaining podcast together called "Do I Dare Eat a Peach?". Dan is also one of the hosts of the award winning writer's podcast "Writing Excuses".
          Please visit my previous posts on Dan Wells, "Dan Wells Tells About Ideas: How To Get Them & What To Do With Them" and my review on I Am Not a Serial Killer.
Interview with Dan Wells

What do you look for in a book as a reader? Or, in your eyes, what elements make a good story?
          I love books that give me ideas, suggesting new books that I'd love to write myself--which is not to say that I'm just on the prowl for stuff I can steal, but that a book that doesn't fire my imagination is not likely to hold my interest. I've hated some incredibly popular, well-loved books because they weren't showing me anything new, or suggesting anything new, and I've loved some outright terrible books because they kept feeding me inspiration after inspiration. And no, I won't name any names :)

What interesting (to you) subjects have you researched for your books?
          Psychology is obviously a big one for me, and I continue almost every day to read about psychology, neuroscience, medical ethics, and so on. I can't get enough of it. In researching Partials, I've also become interested in biotech, and found so much there that I wasn't able to use anywhere in the trilogy. I'll have to write a new series just to fit it all in.

What youth books (picture, middle-grade, YA) are memorable to you? (At any point in your life, not limited to when you were a kid.)
          One book I talk about all the time is the Christopher Robin Poems by AA Milne, which had a huge effect on my love of words, reading, and writing. He's the reason I got started. I'm also a huge fan of some of the older YA fantasies, like the Dragonsong books by Anne Mcaffrey, The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley, and The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander--the fourth book in that series, Taran the Wanderer, is still one of my favorite books of all time.

If you and Rob ever co-authored a book, what would it be about?
          We've actually talked about co-authoring one, which means I can't talk about it at all because it might actually happen. I don't think either of us has ever written a book we didn't brainstorm with each other, so our sensibilities are pretty well-aligned.

If you could have any bacon treat in the world, what would it be? (Bacon turtle burger, bacon wrapped shrimp, maple bacon doughnut, bacon wrapped turkey leg [A.K.A. the Swanson], etc. Or anything you can dream of.)
          My plan is to one day open a restaurant called The Bog Dead Pig, where everything on the menu is wrapped in bacon. The signature item is a bacon cheeseburger, wrapped in bacon, batter-fried, and topped with candy sprinkles. Until then, I'll happily make do with the new trend of wrapping stuffed jalapeños in bacon, which I think might be the most perfect food ever.
         Yes. Bacon. I've made the turtle burgers, invented my own bacon/rice krispie treats, and for a couple of Thanksgivings, I've draped bacon over the turkey and cooked it in the crock-pot. Bacon is so versatile! And it appears that many authors have a thing for bacon. Such yummy fun!

Thanks, Dan!
Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Thingies
(From the Pioneer Woman's Tasty Kitchen)

20 Jalapenos, whole &fresh, 2-3 inches in size
2 cubes Cream Cheese, softened
1 lb. Bacon, thin cut regular, sliced into thirds

Cut jalapenos in half, length-wise.
With a spoon, remove the seeds and white membrane.
Smear softened cream cheese into each jalapeno half.
Wrap jalapeno with bacon pieces (1/3 slice).
Secure by sticking toothpick through the middle.
Bake on a pan in a 375-degree oven for 20-25 minutes.
You don’t want the bacon to shrink so much it starts to the squeeze the jalapeno.
Serve immediately or at room temperature.

* And check out these Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Chicken Bites! *
 Places to visit Dan:
* Website
* Blog
* Facebook
* Twitter
* Goodreads
* Writing Excuses podcast
* Do I Dare Eat a Peach? podcast


  1. The Dead Pig, I love it, lol! I bet that restaurant would be a hit. Great interview!

    1. Thank you! And yes, I would totally eat there.

  2. Great interview! I just met Dan Wells in real life for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and I really enjoyed this additional insight. I need to especially track down some of those books he mentioned (as well as read THE HOLLOW CITY).

    1. Yeah, Dan is a fun public speaker. Too bad he'll be gone to Germany for two years!

  3. Oh, that recipe sounds delish! Great interview, Diana!

  4. Nice interview! He sounds like a funny guy. I've been meaning to pick up Partials. I would definitely read anything he and his brother wrote! :)

    1. They are both such funny guys and great writers!


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