Pub Day Q&A

In case you didn’t know, it’s PUB DAY! 

But before that, as promised, the winner from Challenge #5 is Megan Cruz, a local news reporter who admitted to living dangerously by riding in the trunk of her friend’s car. All right, Megan, for your honesty, you win a signed copy of Dare Me. Send me your mailing address 🙂

*Drum roll* *Confetti* *Champagne* (You get the idea)

Dare Me has finally made its way into the world and I can only hope those copies find some good homes. I know you all are providing such. And for those who want a little more info about this daredevil tale, I’ve provided a Q&A that my publisher is using for promo purposes. The insight should add to your reading pleasure.

So, read, enjoy and thank  you all for supporting me. I sincerely hope you like this story so much you’ll force others to read it. At gunpoint. Or just talk about it a lot on Facebook and Twitter, whatever’s more your style.

I raise my glass as you raise your books. Cheers!

Q: This whole book is based on the premise of completing dares.  Did you get the idea for this book because of a dare you witnessed? If so, what was the dare?

The premise is more from the culture of teens watching dares and stunts via YouTube, Facebook, Jackass, and Tosh. O. If teens are spending time devoted to anything, there has to be an allure, and then something deeper. I wanted to see what that would look like and why these boys would continue beyond one stunt into the elaborate game of one-upmanship they enter.

Also, there was no one stunt that I witnessed that set this in motion, but rather the collage of them, both in my own life and vicariously. The bridge jump has many factual elements. It’s safe to say I have been there and have done that.

Q: Ben becomes a part of the Daredevil Crew initially to become a legend at his high school.  Why do you think most teens participate in these groups, and how do you believe it helps them cope with today’s societal pressures?

I believe teens today—as teens of my youth and prior—push envelopes to see how far is too far. Because of the stage the internet provides, these actions now have a greater audience, and with that comes sweeping feedback.

Teens and adults love the risk-taker. Our legends are built on such men and women. It only makes sense that the combination of this classic desire to risk, coupled with the unique elements of today’s virtual existence, creates a perfect vehicle for being seen, which, at heart, is what everyone wants, regardless of age.

The actions get reinforced from an online community who values the behavior, and that recognition turns into reinforcement, and becomes acceptance.

To risk it all may seem unintelligent, but I think the activity speaks from a very emotional place.

Q: Do you personally identify with characters in your book, or have you, as a high school teacher, based your story off students you have taught?

Some author once said that all of our characters are a part of us, and I agree. I identify with all of mine for different reasons. Do I agree with everything they do? Not even close. But I understand their motivations, and hope what I provide with these individuals offers others a chance to consider alternate perspectives.

I have also based characters off students. Not exact replicas, because that, by its very nature, is no longer fiction. Rather, I use traits, reactions, quirks, etc. I am surrounded by uniqueness and thousands of stories on a daily basis. It would be a disservice to my students if I didn’t incorporate them in some way.

Q: What do you believe is the real thrill that teenagers experience from completing dares like the ones mentioned in your book?

The short answer: it’s fun. The rush of risking your life—or at minimum, injury—is visceral on a biological, neuro-chemical level. The body loves it.

The long answer: it’s all about the identity ritual. Every group has a way of marking itself, be it fashion or music or language. Teens who participate in such risky behavior are no different. They want to show others that this is who they are: unafraid, brave, a bit crazy, and willing to do whatever. It sets them apart from the rest, builds a bit of cred, and for someone with nothing to lose, is the sort of validation sought.

Q: Ben is constantly thinking about how Sir Isaac Newton’s Laws of Relativity compare to his everyday life, budding romance, and the dares he is performing with the other boys.  What inspired you to use Newton as a control piece in your story?

I began it as an interesting juxtaposition, a demonstration of the missed warning signs life throws at us—the ones we see in hindsight—but also as a play on the inability for any of us to overstep the natural laws. It was during my conversation with Lisa Cheng about the necessary revisions to the first draft that the idea solidified. She enjoyed the scientific touch and wondered if I could play it up more. It became one of the best threads throughout all of the dares.