There’s little more that I have to say besides enjoy and share widely. Seriously, show everyone. And if you want to see this on the big screen, go see a movie at Colonie Center from 10/24-10/30
In my novels the recurrent theme is always being true to yourself. For my characters, doing such may be the main focus, or something they must work to identify and then fight for. Regardless, the fact remains, I believe in the narrative of knowing who you are and forging ahead, regardless of the obstacles.
The same applies to my own life, personally and professionally. There is an enormous amount of pressure for me to be someone else, to write other ways, to conform. And I’m not going to lie, much like my characters, I feel doubt sometimes. I feel the urge to cave, to play it safe, to not push limits. Because my work pisses off a lot of people. My characters say and do things some don’t want to hear or see. And they call me out on it. And it hurts.
The easy route would be for me to tuck my proverbial tail and play it safe and write characters that make you say “Aww” when you close the book, but that’s not the truth I understand. And that’s not the art I want to create.
This contradiction of realism and escapism came up in one of my classes recently (my students are sharp). It was intriguing to hear students talk about the importance of both sides of the coin, in books and movies, because like us, there are times when they want to dive deeper and try to learn and understand, and then there are times they want to forget it all and believe that there’s a bit more shine to the world.
Invariably, though, they have to come back to the present reality. And as teens, that means an ungodly amount of pressure. I see it every day, and I remember my own, and I write stories that address what I see and what we, collectively, have felt and still feel.
Yet, haters gonna hate. And with all my work, and now, specifically, Press Play, people don’t like the cursing, the violence, the darkness. To them I can only say, “Then help create a world where this doesn’t exist and I’ll write about nothing but sunshine.” Until then I can only suggest: go visit a high school, go speak with teens (not at), sit down and think back to not just your lived high school experience, but that of the kids who you knew, or barely knew. Yup, the shadows will start to creep in.
This isn’t to say embrace the dark and the lack of hope. That’s crazy. Even in my bleakest of stories there is hope. It may not strut on stage and sing a song, but it’s there, often elusive, just like in life.
And just like in life, we are fundamentally responsible for ourselves. We cannot control what others think, only how we do and how we react. I have to remind myself of this all the time. Because, to quote Sartre, at times, “Hell is other people.”
Of course this is not universally applicable. There will always be people, real or fictional, who will strive to make it better, even if that’s by dredging up the muck and digging in the dark. In fact, you’ll find them in my work. But be warned, they’re as real as you and me.
Maybe it’s the start of the school year, and the change that it brings, but there’s something different about the vibe for Press Play that I haven’t felt before.
I’ve already had students and colleagues ask, “When’s your next book coming out?” And they’re not asking in a blasé manner. There’s hunger in their eyes. They want to read what I have next in store. Therefore, it’s very awesome and very fortunate that I get to say, “The end of October.” I think they might hurt me if they had to wait longer.
Additionally, there’s been some great support and interest over Teen Reader Con. Quite frankly, I’m as excited to meet these authors as everyone else. There has never been such an event in our area devoted to Young Adult literature, and I look forward to how successful it will be, and hopefully for an invite to return next year 🙂
There’s also the fact that my trailer is due at the end of the week. It will be blasted on 9/24, and I have little doubt that it will be gripping and heart-stopping and tantalizing. The fact that I used the high school where I work as setting, along with my students as extras, and a longtime friend as the main character, just adds to the excitement. My hand even makes a cameo. And of course, the fact that it will run at the Regal theaters in Colonie from 10/24 through 10/30, only ratchets up the thrill.
Oh yeah, and then there’s all the local events scheduled (included below), along with my attendance at the ALAN workshop, which I consider quite an honor. Getting out and seeing fans and signing books is the best part of the job. And the fact that I get to do so here, as well as on a larger, industry stage is phenomenal.
And, honestly, fans like you, the people who read my novels, my posts and tweets and Facebook updates, you’ve created this. So many people still have the notion of author in office, typing away, and that’s the long and short of the job. Today, that’s only a fraction. The awesome stories are a given. All the behind-the-scenes work to get recognized is completed in concert with my publisher. And we work hard. And it’s paying off.
So thank you for recognizing that, and for staying with me. I know Press Play is going to take you for one hell of a ride. But I also know you’ve enjoyed the rest of the ride, thus far. Awesome. Keep cheering and spreading the word, because up around the bend is going to blow your mind.
Local Events (as currently scheduled)
Event Release party & Signing
Location McGreivey’s Restaurant, 91 Broad St, Waterford, NY 12188
Date & Time 10/24, 4-7 pm
Location Barnes & Noble, 131 Colonie Center #355, Albany, NY 12205
Date & Time 10/25, 2-5 pm
Event Teen Reader Con (Full-day convention devoted to Young Adult Lit)
Location Shenendehowa Middle Schools, 970 Route 146, Clifton Park, NY 12065
Date & Time 11/8, 8:30 am – 4 pm
Event Fundraising Book Fair (for BHBL) & Signing
Location Barnes & Noble, 131 Colonie Center #355, Albany, NY 12205
Date & Time 11/14, 4-7 pm
Location Market Block Books, 290 River St, Troy, NY 12180
Date & Time 11/15, 11-1 pm
Event ALAN Workshop
Location National Harbor, MD
Date & Time 11/24-25
Location The Open Door Bookstore, 128 Jay St., Schenectady, N.Y. 12305
Date & Time 12/6, 1-2:30 pm
Both of these articles are from an author and reviewer I admire, Daniel Kraus. He has reviewed Tap Out and Dare Me, and now Press Play. Additionally, as you’ll see below, he has included Press Play in a round up of titles regarding hazing. Both the review and the inclusion in the round up have me thrilled. I hope you enjoy 🙂
Devine, Eric (author).
Greg Dunsmore is 16, but here’s the more relevant number: 352. That’s his weight, which over the years has earned him the nickname Dun the Ton, but not a whole lot of friends. Fortunately, the one pal he has, Quinn, is a fitness fanatic and has begun to train Greg every day after school. It’s during a workout that they stumble upon the horrible hazing rituals of the championship lacrosse team, everything from stick beatings to being force-fed feces. Greg is a budding filmmaker, and with his new buddies Oliver (who is even bigger than Greg) and Ella (a hard-as-nails fellow video auteur), he takes to secretly filming the crimes. This is definitely a Devine novel; there’s so much sweat, blood, and adrenaline that you almost need to wring out the pages. Readers will need to forgive a late hard-to-swallow plot point, but once they do, it’s thrilling to watch Greg enter the lion’s den himself—the lacrosse team’s Hell Week—for the bruising finale. A tough, smart look at weight issues, self-respect, and our intrinsic desire to belong at all costs.— Daniel Kraus
|Find more feature articles by Daniel Kraus|