Interview: Barry Lyga, author of I Hunt Killers and Game

Barry Lyga is the author of over 10 novels and numerous short stories. His sequel to the wildly popular I Hunt Killers, Game, just came out, and he was kind enough to stop by and answer a few of my questions!

Please welcome Barry to the blog!

BarryLygaGame, the sequel to the wildly popular I Hunt Killers, just came out! Will you tell us a bit about it?
Sure! In GAME, Jazz has to live up to the promise he made in the first book: The promise to hunt killers. The Hat-Dog Killer has New York terrified, with a dozen victims so far. So Jazz finds himself traveling to the Big Apple to help the NYPD and the FBI. But Billy, Jazz’s insane father, is on the loose…and watching.

What inspired you to start the series?
My editor and I were chatting one evening, and she misunderstood something I said — she thought I said something about a serial killer. I hadn’t, but when she brought it up, it made me start thinking about serial killers and the people around them. Pretty soon, it hit me: What if you were seventeen — a damn difficult time of life to begin with! — and your father was the worst of the worst, the most notorious serial killer in the world? I had to write it.

You’re also the author of numerous novels that span more than one genre. Will you tell us a little bit about your background? Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was about eight years old. I have very clear memories of talking about it as far as that age. Obviously, it took a while to get there! I wrote short stories and even a novel all through middle school and high school, then kept at it through college. After college, I spent many years writing short stories and having pretty much zero success at it — once I switched over to novels, things changed. I love short stories, but I think I’m “built” to write novels!

gameWhat do you love most about writing YA?
I think what I love most about writing — period — is the idea that you can give someone the ability (even if only for the length of a book) to see the world through someone else’s eyes. I love that.

I Hunt Killers and Game are in thriller territory, but books such as Archvillian have a SF/superhero slant. Do you find it easy to transition between genres in your writing?
I have to say, I find it so easy that I don’t even notice the transition! I was a comic book kid growing up, so I’ve been interested in the blending of genres, in moving from one kind of storytelling to another. It feels natural to me.
What would be weird would be writing the same kind of book over and over! I don’t know how people do it.

Who, or what, are some of the biggest influences on your writing?
My single biggest influence is Bruce Springsteen. If I had any musical talent whatsoever, I’d probably be putting out albums instead of novels! I’ve always admired his ability to tell a complete, satisfying story in a single song. Five minutes is all he needs to convey character depth, plot, emotion, symbolism. It takes me more like 500 pages!

If you could experience one book again for the very first time, which one would it be?
Probably Stephen King’s The Dark Tower. I love that whole series, and I would love to discover it anew.

ihuntkillersWhen you manage to find some free time, how do you like to spend it?
Easy: Xbox! Someone’s gotta save the universe; might as well be me.

What’s one piece of advice that you would give to a struggling writer?
Don’t be afraid to suck. Seriously. We all have about a million bad words in us, and we have to write them all before we start to write something good. So, writing something terrible doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer or that you’ll never write professionally. It just means you haven’t gotten all of your bad words out yet. Don’t get depressed — just keep writing.

What’s next for you?
The next book in the I HUNT KILLERS series, of course, as well as a new middle-grade fantasy-ish sort of thing!

Keep up with Barry: Website | Twitter

About GAME:
Billy grinned. “Oh, New York,” he whispered. “We’re gonna have so much fun.”

I Hunt Killers introduced the world to Jazz, the son of history’s most infamous serial killer, Billy Dent.
In an effort to prove murder didn’t run in the family, Jazz teamed with the police in the small town of Lobo’s Nod to solve a deadly case. And now, when a determined New York City detective comes knocking on Jazz’s door asking for help, he can’t say no. The Hat-Dog Killer has the Big Apple—and its police force—running scared. So Jazz and his girlfriend, Connie, hop on a plane to the big city and get swept up in a killer’s murderous game.

Both the stakes and the body count are higher in this suspenseful and unstoppable sequel from acclaimed author Barry Lyga.

About I HUNT SERIAL KILLERS:
It was a beautiful day. It was a beautiful field.Except for the body.
Jazz is a likable teenager. A charmer, some might say.

But he’s also the son of the world’s most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, “Take Your Son to Work Day” was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could–from the criminals’ point of view.
And now, even though Dad has been in jail for years, bodies are piling up in the sleepy town of Lobo’s Nod. Again.
In an effort to prove murder doesn’t run in the family, Jazz joins the police in the hunt for this new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret–could he be more like his father than anyone knows?

From acclaimed author Barry Lyga comes a riveting thriller about a teenager trying to control his own destiny in the face of overwhelming odds.

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