The Interview: Bookbag Talks To Rick Yancey

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The Interview: Bookbag Talks To Rick Yancey


Summary: Robert thought that The 5th Wave was tough, brutal and completely gripping and he was delighted when author Rick Yancey popped in to see us.
Date: 25 June 2013
Interviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James

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Robert thought that The 5th Wave was tough, brutal and completely gripping and he was delighted when author Rick Yancey popped in to see us.

  • Bookbag: When you close your eyes and imagine your readers, who do you see?

Rick Yancey: I see my 17 year old self, curious, restless, ambitious but without real direction, eager to understand the world, myself, and eager, above all, to break free.

  • BB: Where did you get the inspiration for writing The 5th Wave?

RY: Sci-fi was my thing when I was a teen. I couldn't get enough of it. I wrote my first book then, a smash-up of science-fiction and fantasy that predated (at least in my fuzzy memory) the arrival of Star Wars. It felt natural to return to the genre I loved as a kid, but I was leery of the alien invasion motif; it had been done often and well (and not-so-well). I felt that it could be approached differently, though, more realistically and with a tighter focus on the human element. I wanted to take advantage of some of the theories out there about the kind of sentient creatures who most likely would attack us, not the kind we've always imagined we'd like to attack us.

  • BB: I hear there's potentially going to be a film made of The 5th Wave... can you tell us anything about it, or are your lips sealed?

RY: I can't say much! What I can say is GK Films is very excited about the project and is currently vetting directors and writers.

  • BB: If the earth was invaded by aliens, do you have any skills that would increase your chance of surviving?

RY: I would need some skills, because I've never had much luck! I can play chess, and I think that would be an excellent skill. You'd have to be able to think a bit outside the box to survive.

  • BB: After reading The 5th Wave, the excitement doesn't stop there - I know many readers will head over to the superb website to check it out while waiting for the sequel. How much input have you had into the website?

RY: Isn't it awesome? There were several discussion about design and content, but I'm the sort who recognizes and respects the expertize of others. I write books; I don't design websites.

  • BB: While I really enjoyed The 5th Wave and am definitely looking forward to the sequel, I'm also on tenterhooks waiting for book 4 in the Monstrumologist series. Will that be the end of the road for Will Henry and Dr Warthrop, as the title implies?

RY: For now. The gap of time between the third and fourth books is quite long (around three to four years). My fantasy is to be in the position to go back and fill in some gaps, write (short) adventures for them, even if I publish them myself. I am deeply enamoured of that duo.

  • BB: In addition to the great website for The 5th Wave, you're also active on Twitter and Facebook. How important do you think the internet is to authors today?

RY: It's the age we live in. Social media provides an incredible way to talk to your readers, to establish a connection beyond the printed page. We share the same passion for books and stories and the characters that live in them. It's a way for me, as an author, to grow, to learn what readers think and how they react and, in general, how successful I've been in saying what I truly meant to say.

  • BB: Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what was the soundtrack to The 5th Wave?

RY: I do! Music blocks out distractions, enables me to fully immerse myself in the world on the page, and carries me along when my energy flags. For The 5th Wave, I listened mostly to Hans Zimmer's King Author. I love to listen to movie soundtracks while I write. I find anything with lyrics encourages me to sing along instead!

  • BB: What are you reading at the moment?

RY: Currently I'm enjoying Mary Roach's Stiff, a very disturbing (and funny!) account of human death and decay. I just discovered her work, which is insightful and witty and truly thought-provoking.

  • BB: What's next for Rick Yancey?

RY: Book 2 of The 5th Wave (the title of which eludes me). The Final Descent will be published this September, and When First We Were Gods, a short story, will appear in a collection entitled Rags & Bones, edited by Melissa Marr and Tim Pratt.

  • BB: Thanks for chatting to us, Rick and we wish you luck (we know you've got the skill...) with everything.

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