Author Chat with D.J. MacHale, (Curse Of The Boggin)!
Today we're excited to chat with D.J. MacHale,
author of Curse of The Boggin!
Below you'll find our interview,
more about D.J., and his new book!
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
I love scary stories. It’s as simple as that. Always have. Ever since I was little and read Dr. Seuss’ “What Was I Scared Of?” I don’t like horror. That’s a little too nauseating and easy. But I love mysteries. Spooky stories are always about a mystery. The Library is a series about unfinished supernatural stories that our characters have to complete. It’s giving me the chance to write about all sorts of different other-worldly dilemmas, just like when I made the TV series “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” The idea of a library filled with unfinished supernatural tales means there are untold possibilities for me to create the kinds of eerie, spine-tingling stories that I’ve always loved reading, and writing.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
It’s a toss-up between the hero…and the villain. I like Marcus O’Mara because he’s a kid who isn’t perfect. He gets into trouble. His mouth often works faster than his brain. He only has a few friends but he is fiercely loyal to them. It’s a pleasure to write a character like that because when you put him into a challenging situation, you know that he’ll try to do the right thing…even though he sometimes doesn’t want to. On the other hand, I always love my villains. Villains are always the most interesting characters to write about because they’re the ones who are actually coming up with the scary scenarios. If not for them, there wouldn’t be any drama. So in many ways, authors are very much like the villains in their own works. Mwhahahahaha!
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
Titles are tricky. They have to give you a good idea of what the book is about, but they can’t give too much away, especially when it comes to spoilers. They also can’t be too “on the nose” because that’s boring. I could have called Curse of the Boggin “The book about scary books” which is totally accurate, but pretty dull. With Curse of the Boggin, there is also the series title which is “The Library”. I had that title from the beginning because it fits the whole concept of what the series is about. But Curse of the Boggin, which is the title of Book #1, came after it was written. Even though you may plan out a book, you never quite know where the story will take you until it’s finished. So I usually come up with titles after the book is pretty much done. That way I can look back on all the things that I wrote about and figure out the most compelling way to title it.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
I don’t know if I’m most proud of this scene, or it was the most gratifying to write. But with every book I’ve written, I love to write the climaxes of the adventure. Everything that I wrote before leads up to that moment, and it’s incredibly gratifying to have it all come together and work the way I had envisioned it. So with Curse of the Boggin, it’s the climactic scene between Marcus, Lu, Theo and…the Boggin. I can’t say more than that because it’s a spoiler!
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
I learned that stories come naturally. If you try to write something that fits a particular genre or mold or demographic, you’re forcing it. Every one of the successful stories I’ve written were stories that I loved telling. On the other hand when I tried to fit a particular mold, the writing fell flat. So the bottom line is, I learned that you always have to write from the heart.
YABC: What was your favorite book in 2015?
Dead Wake by Erik Larson. It’s a detailed history of the last voyage of the Lusitania, a British passenger liner that was sunk by a German U-Boat just before the U.S. entered World War I. I love reading history that’s written like fiction, and Dead Wake is a definite page turner. I always knew the headline of the story, but not the details. It was amazing. The drama, and tragedy, rivaled the sinking of the Titanic.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
Besides writing the next books in The Library series, I’m developing a couple of television shows. I haven’t worked in TV since 2008 so I’m having fun getting back to writing for that medium.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
There’s a third process. That’s conceptualizing. That happens at the very beginning of the process. I love it because I don’t have to sweat the details. Meaning, I’m not writing words that anybody will ever read. I’m just telling the story in my head and taking notes so I’ll remember what I came up with. It’s such a pure form of storytelling. I often try the ideas out verbally on my friends to get their reactions. At that point it’s all so easy to change. It’s incredibly freeing, creatively. Then comes drafting…the part I like the least. Writing that first draft is torture for me. It also takes the longest. It’s the day in and day out arduous process of getting it all down on paper and figuring out all the details. But then, once the first draft is done, it gets fun again. I like revising. The story is all there and it’s fun to move things around and add or subtract. I love being able to take a step away from it and read it like a reader, not the guy who wrote it. Doing that helps me to figure out where the flaws are and fix them. It’s very gratifying and a lot of fun.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
I’m not flying as fast as I’d like to be. Or at all.
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
The Susan G. Koman Foundation
Meet D.J. MacHale!
D.J. MacHale is a writer, director, executive producer and creator of several popular television series and movies.
He was raised in Greenwich, CT and graduated from Greenwich High School. While in school, he had several jobs including collecting eggs at a poultry farm, engraving sports trophies and washing dishes in a steakhouse...in between playing football and running track. D.J. then attended New York University where he received a BFA in film production.
His filmmaking career began in New York where he worked as a freelance writer/director, making corporate videos and television commercials. He also taught photography and film production.
D.J. broke into the entertainment business by writing several ABC Afterschool Specials. After moving to Los Angeles, he made the fulltime switch from informational films, to entertainment. As co-creator of the popular Nickelodeon series: Are You Afraid of the Dark?, he produced all 91 episodes over 8 years. He wrote and directed many of the episodes including the CableAce nominated The Tale of Cutter's Treasure starring Charles S. Dutton. He was nominated for a Gemini award for directing The Tale of the Dangerous Soup starring Neve Campbell.
D.J. also wrote and directed the movie Tower of Terror for ABC's Wonderful World of Disney which starred Kirsten Dunst and Steve Guttenberg. The Showtime series Chris Cross was co-created, written and produced by D.J. It received the CableAce award for Best Youth Series.
D.J. co-created and produced the Discovery Kids series Flight 29 Down for which he writes all the episodes and directs several. His work on Flight 29 Down has earned him both Writers Guild of America and Directors Guild of America award nominations.
Other notable writing credits include the classic ABC Afterschool Special titled Seasonal Differences; the pilot for the long-running PBS/CBS series Ghostwriter; and the HBO series Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective for which he received a CableAce nomination for writing.
In print, D.J. has co-written the book The Tale of the Nightly Neighbors, based on his own teleplay and penned the poetic adaptation of the classic Norwegian folk tale East of the Sun and West of the Moon.
The book series: Pendragon - Journal of an Adventure through Time and Space marks D.J.'s first turn as a novelist. He plans for this series of Young Adult adventures to span a total of 10 books.
D.J. lives in Southern California with his wife Evangeline and daughter Keaton. They are avid backpackers, scuba divers and skiers. Rounding out the household are a Golden Retriever, Maggie; and a Kitten, Kaboodle.
Meet Curse Of The Boggin!
Enter the Library, where no one knows how the stories end . . . and finding out will be terrifying.
There’s a place beyond this world, beyond the land of the living, where ghosts go to write their unfinished stories—stories that ended too soon. It’s a place for unexplained phenomena: mysteries that have never been solved, spirits that have never been laid to rest. And there’s only one way in or out.
It’s called the Library, and you can get there with a special key. But beware! Don’t start a story you can’t finish. Because in thislibrary, the stories you can’t finish just might finish you.
Marcus O’Mara is a 13 year old guy at a crossroads. He constantly finds himself in trouble at school, with his friends, and with his adoptive parents. Marcus doesn’t believe things can get any worse for him…until they get worse.
He begins seeing strange and impossible visions; gets thrown into paranormal danger and is haunted by a mysterious ghost with a singular goal: to give him a key.
It’s a key that opens the door to a mysterious library. When that door opens, the incredible adventure for Marcus and his friends begins as they learn the truth about Marcus’ past and uncover the strange world of unfinished stories that are found on the shelves of the Library.
Curse Of The Boggin
By: D.J. MacHale
Release Date: September 6, 2016
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers