Oh jeez, who cares? I'm a writer. I have a wonderful wife and son. I'm 32.
Hey! We're the same age! (And now I feel quite unaccomplished after reading your bio...) Moving on!
Your latest book, HOUSE OF SECRETS, was on the NYTimes Bestseller list for 5 weeks straight. (Congrats!) How did that make you feel?
It's a relief. House of Secrets is a big book. It's physically big and it's big for the publisher. It also has big characters:
Big, indeed! You co-wrote HOUSE OF SECRETS with Chris Columbus. How did you guys meet and why did you decide to co-write a middle grade series?
In 2011, Chris was looking for someone to collaborate with on House of Secrets. (The book wasn't called that then; the title came later.) He liked my books Be More Chill and It's Kind of a Funny Story so we met up and got into it. It really came out of a desire to do something freeing.
Where did the inspiration behind HOUSE OF SECRETS come from?
Chris went jogging in San Francisco like 15 years ago and had this vision of a house floating in the ocean, getting attacked by a pirate ship.
[BAM son that's called INSPIRATION]
Wow. So this idea has been 15 years in the making. I'm guessing Chris has an affinity for pirate ships. Goonies, anyone?
What is co-writing a book like for you?
Co-writing is great. I have been working collaboratively since 2008 with Nick Antosca in TV and film. We wrote for Teen Wolf together. The great thing about it is that you can pass work off. For example, right now, I'm answering these questions instead of working on something creative. Not that answering questions isn't creative. I mean -- oh, you know what I mean!
We know what you mean. And, hey, thanks again for taking the time to chat with us. What is your favorite thing about this series and the characters?
My favorite thing about House of Secrets is the straight-up evil people. My favorite thing about the characters is when they fall in love.
What is your favorite paragraph from the book and why?
I don't have a favorite paragraph; I have a favorite line. It's when Captain Sangray says, "Shoot to disfigure!" I love that. That's the kind of thing I would say. I love all the pirates in the book:
Yikes. Those pirates have some serious tatts and jewelry. How is the novel process different from the script-writing process?
Novels engage with love of language. Scripts engage with love of story.
You're currently working on a new TV series called BELIEVE, coming to NBC in March 2014. Can you tell us what it's about?
Sure, Believe is about a 10-year-old girl with supernatural powers named Bo who gets paired up with an ex-convict named Tate and sent on a journey to help people as she's menaced by mysterious forces.
Blue checkmark FTW!
This TV series has some major names attached: not only you, but also JJ Abrams and Alfonso Cuarón, who directed my personal favorite Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Prisoner from Azkaban. How has it been working with these two talented producer/directors so far?
It's great. Alfonso is one of those people you just want to love you. JJ I spoke with about BASIC programming. You'd be surprised how many TV and film people have computer science in their backgrounds.
How did you become a scriptwriter, and what do you love most about it?
I started working with Nick Antosca on a TV idea in 2008. We moved to Los Angeles in 2010, working as a team, and we're still at it. What I love most is the big margins on the page.
Rejection comes with the territory when you write for a living. Certain books never get published, and certain television series never make it past the first season. How do you stay positive in this industry and keep moving forward?
[l. to r.: Believe writers Sneha Koorse, Kari Drake, Brynn Malone, Seamus Kevin Fahey, Holly Harold; BELIEVE STAR KYLE MACLACHLAN; Believe writers Nick Antosca, Ned Vizzini; Believe writers assistant Alex Leibowich]
We all talked about the lifestyles of billionaires. One thing Kyle said stuck with me: the past doesn't exist for billionaires. The past is over. It's the future, and future deals, that mean something.
It's hard for me to live like that, but it's something creative people can aspire to: keep your failures in the past, where they actually happened.
That's great advice. Between writing your own novels, co-writing the HOUSE OF SECRETS series, screenwriting, and being a dad, how do you keep up with it all? Are you secretly Superman?
I don't play video games.
Yeah, me neither. *quickly minimizes World of Warcraft*
If you hadn't become a writer, what do you think you'd be doing right now?
I'd be a computer programmer. Hopefully at this point I'd be supervising other computer programmers.
Thanks again, Ned. Now we can let you get back to sharing some of that workload with Nick. :)
Check out our review of HOUSE OF SECRETS here.
Want to win a copy of HOUSE OF SECRETS? Fill out the form below! One international person will win. Good luck!