First of all, I totally should have posted this up sooner, but life can get in the way sometimes. Anyway, L.K. Madigan is the author of Flash Burnout, which you should read if you have not already. My review can be found here.
1) Where did you get the idea behind Flash Burnout?
Blake was a minor character in a novel I wrote before FB. I eventually abandoned that book, but I liked Blake’s class clown personality. I thought he might have interesting things to say in a future book … but I didn’t have a plot for him. Then a friend who is a medical examiner (who, sadly, sees a lot of meth cases) asked if I’d ever considered writing about the meth epidemic. Ideas began to careen around inside my cranium. First I thought Blake’s girlfriend might be the one to have an addicted parent; then I realized it had to be his girl FRIEND. Instant conflict!
2) Do you have an interest in photography? If so, how far back does your interest go?
I can remember begging to use my dad’s old 35mm Zeiss Ikon camera when I was in probably the fifth grade. Back then you had to wait till your photos were developed to see if they turned out! I took a lot of blurry photos as I was growing up. So I’ve always had an interest, but my skill level is just average. I’m better with words than images.
3) Are there any characters in the book based on people you know in real life?
Yes and no.
I think writers can’t help but infuse their characters with traits of people they know … sometimes even people they’ve seen only once across a room! There’s probably a little bit of me in almost every character in the book, too.
I know teenage boys, photographers, the grown child of addict parents, a hospital chaplain, a medical examiner … but none of those people are actual characters in my novel.
4) If you could only use one word to describe Flash Burnout, what would you pick and why?
Blake really struggles to be the best Friend and Boyfriend he can. That takes heart.
5) What research did you do for the novel?
I visited a medical examiner’s office.
I read photography books, and took tons of photos. I learned to use Photoshop, and had my manuscript read by a professional photographer to check for glaring errors.
I read newspaper articles and did online research about the effects of methamphetamine use on the body and brain.
6) As a teen, what novels did you like?
Wow – I read anything I could get my hands on. I especially loved “problem” novels, THE BELL JAR, Judy Blume, ghost stories, Stephen King, and Tom Robbins.
7) What is your favorite thing about being a YA author?
My world has expanded – no, exploded (in a good way) – since I sold my book. I’ve met so many other writers, readers, booksellers, and bloggers in the online community, and even BETTER, I’ve met some of them in person. I’m so happy to be an author in the age of the Internet. It seems like it would have been a lonely job even a decade ago.
8 ) Are you in the process of writing any novels? If so, what can you tell us?
I have a second novel coming out in 2010 – it’s pretty much the polar opposite of FLASH BURNOUT. It’s a fantasy about a girl surfer who finds a mermaid. No, really: it is.
9) Is there anything else you would like to add?
Since I’m answering these questions during Banned Books Week, remember to support your local libraries and fight to keep ALL books on the shelves. Other people’s parents should not dictate what YOU (or your child) can read.