Now you may wonder with a name like “The Killer Booth” what exactly we are going to be talking about today. Are we featuring the American Rock band known as “The Killers”? Or we are going to be talking about serial “killers” and all the weirdness that they are? Or are we going to be talking about the end of a “Killer” series? Since we are a book blog it was probably pretty easy to guess that we are talking about the final option, but the series does feature some pretty infamous serial killers so option number two might also make an appearance. ! Today we have the amazing author of the I Hunt Killers series. Barry Lyga is going to tell you what it was like to finish a five year project and some of the changes this phenomenal series had throughout the process.
*Enter to win 1 signed copy of Blood of My Blood at the end of this post*
*Don’t forget to enter the grand giveaway for your chance to win 2 books featured during the Fall Carnival Event!!! Click HERE for your chance to win!*
Reaching the End: My Five-Year Journey in I HUNT KILLERS
by Barry Lyga
It doesn’t feel like five years, if you want to know the truth.
But there’s a folder on my hard drive titled, simply, “Jazz” and the oldest file in there is the earliest version of my proposal for a book titled Jazz, Waking, which I almost immediately re-titled I Hunt Killers. The file was created on September 5, 2009.
There are some differences between that initial proposal and the book that ended up being published. Jazz lived in “Lartesville,” not Lobo’s Nod. Jazz and G. William’s relationship was originally planned to be much more contentious. (“Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” G. William grumps to Jazz at one point, prompting Jazz to reply, “But sometimes it rolls away.”) Howie’s last name is McNab, not Gersten. And, maybe the biggest change of all, Jazz and Connie frequently have sex.
I changed my mind pretty quickly on these things as the story came together. For the most part, stories in their earliest forms are inchoate and fluid. Things can go one way or the other. But the core of the story — its essential heart — remains the same. And so from the beginning, I Hunt Killers, even when it was Jazz, Waking, has been the tale of a boy struggling to become a man when the central male role model in his life is a rapacious murderer. Many people have described it as a balancing act between nature and nurture, but I’ve always thought it’s more complicated than that. Jazz, after all, is damned by nature and nurture. So the question becomes “Can we rise above ourselves?”
In the final book, Blood of My Blood, you’ll find out.
So. Five years. I’ve been writing towards this ending for all that time, pretty much. The specifics of the ending — the very wording of it — occurred to me about three years ago and I wrote the last ten pages of the final book then, even though I hadn’t finished writing Book Two yet. And you know what? Much to my delight, that ending fit perfectly when the time came to drop it into Book Three.
To write this piece, I had to go deep diving into my archives to pull up that September 5, 2009 document. That file was mostly concerned with getting down the beats and central plot for the first book, but at the very end of it, I jotted down brief thoughts for the second and third books in the series. Here’s the original description of Book Three from five years ago:
“Jazz learns what happened to his mother all those years ago and finally comes face-to-face with his father. Now he must decide: Is he a killer or someone who hunts killers? Or is he something else entirely?”
And I’ll be damned if that doesn’t exactly describe Blood of My Blood!
It really doesn’t feel like it’s been five years since I started working on this series. Even though my life has changed. My career has changed. The books themselves have changed. Still, it somehow feels like I just started working on this whole crazy thing a little while ago.
But despite the time and despite the changes, the story itself, the core of it, has remained the same. I set out to tell a particular tale five years ago and now I have. The only thing left…is for you to read it.
I hope you will, and I hope you’ll find it worth the wait!
Called a “YA rebel-author” by Kirkus Reviews, Barry Lyga has published eleven novels in various genres in his seven-year career, including the New York Times bestselling I Hunt Killers. His books have been or are slated to be published in a dozen different languages in North America, Australia, Europe, and Asia.
After graduating from Yale with a degree in English, Lyga worked in the comic book industry before quitting to pursue his lifelong love of writing. In 2006, his first young adult novel, The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, was published to rave reviews, including starred reviews from Booklist and School Library Journal. Publishers Weekly named Lyga a “Flying Start” in December 2006 on the strength of the debut.
His second young adult novel, Boy Toy, received starred reviews in SLJ, Publishers Weekly, and Kirkus. VOYA gave it its highest critical rating, and the Chicago Tribune called it “…an astounding portrayal of what it is like to be the young male victim.” His third novel, Hero-Type, according to VOYA “proves that there are still fresh ideas and new, interesting story lines to be explored in young adult literature.”
Since then, he has also written Goth Girl Rising (the sequel to his first novel), as well as the Archvillain series for middle-grade readers and the graphic novel Mangaman (with art by Colleen Doran).
His latest series is I Hunt Killers, called by the LA Times “one of the more daring concepts in recent years by a young-adult author” and an “extreme and utterly alluring narrative about nature versus nurture.” The first book landed on both the New York Times and USAToday bestsellers lists, and the series has been optioned for television by Warner Bros./Silver Pictures.
Lyga lives and writes in New York City. His comic book collection is a lot smaller than it used to be, but is still way too big.
Want to read more from Barry Lyga?
This contest is provided by Barry Lyga!
One lucky reader will win a copy of Blood of My Blood
Available September 9, 2014 from Little, Brown/Hachette
About this Book:
Jazz Dent has been shot and left to die in New York City. His girlfriend Connie is in the clutches of Jazz’s serial killer father, Billy. And his best friend Howie is bleeding to death on the floor of Jazz’s own home in tiny Lobo’s Nod. Somehow, these three must rise above the horrors their lives have become and find a way to come together in pursuit of Billy. But then Jazz crosses a line he’s never crossed before, and soon the entire country is wondering: “Like father, like son?” Who is the true monster?
The chase is on, and beyond Billy there lurks something much, much worse. Prepare to meet…the Crow King.