Author Chat with Eric Smith (Don't Read The Comments), Plus Giveaway! ~ (US Only)
Today we're excited to chat with Eric Smith author of
Don't Read The Comments.
Read on for more about Eric and his book, plus an giveaway.
Meet Eric Smith!
Eric Smith is an author and literary agent from Elizabeth, New Jersey.
His novels include the INKED duology (Bloomsbury), THE GIRL AND THE GROVE (Flux), DON'T READ THE COMMENTS (Inkyard Press). His debut non-fiction book, THE GEEK'S GUIDE TO DATING (Quirk), was an IndieBound bestseller. His books have been translated into eight languages.
When he's not busy writing books, he loves to work on (and talk about!) books by other people. He's represented New York Times bestselling and award-winning titles, and can be found talking about books on the popular HEY YA! podcast on Book Riot.
He lives in Philadelphia with his wife and son, and can be found on Twitter at @ericsmithrocks.
Meet Don't Read The Comments!
Divya Sharma is a queen. Or she is when she’s playing Reclaim the Sun, the year’s hottest online game. Divya—better known as popular streaming gamer D1V—regularly leads her #AngstArmada on quests through the game’s vast and gorgeous virtual universe. But for Divya, this is more than just a game. Out in the real world, she’s trading her rising-star status for sponsorships to help her struggling single mom pay the rent.
Gaming is basically Aaron Jericho’s entire life. Much to his mother’s frustration, Aaron has zero interest in becoming a doctor like her, and spends his free time writing games for a local developer. At least he can escape into Reclaim the Sun—and with a trillion worlds to explore, disappearing should be easy. But to his surprise, he somehow ends up on the same remote planet as celebrity gamer D1V.
At home, Divya and Aaron grapple with their problems alone, but in the game, they have each other to face infinite new worlds…and the growing legion of trolls populating them. Soon the virtual harassment seeps into reality when a group called the Vox Populi begin launching real-world doxxing campaigns, threatening Aaron’s dreams and Divya’s actual life. The online trolls think they can drive her out of the game, but everything and everyone Divya cares about is on the line…
And she isn’t going down without a fight.
Amazon * B & N * Indiebound
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
Don't Read the Comments came from a number of places. One, was the fact that me and my family had moved away from our home in Philadelphia, to chase adventure and new places. All my friends suddenly became virtual, mostly in my Google Chat and Facebook Messenger, social media and the like. At the same time there was this rising swell of harassment against people in the gaming community, and I kept thinking, what would it be like to have this space, online where all my people are, taken away from me?
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
That's tough! Maybe Aaron, because he's the closet to me, with a lot of shared traits. From how he scours for old computer parts in the trash (I did that!), and rummages at flea markets... there's a lot of me in that character. But I really adore his best friend, Ryan. He's the friend who always checks his well meaning buddies, making sure they aren't messing up. We all need friends like that.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel. :-) Originally it was called Reclaim the Sun, after the made up game in the book. My publisher wanted me to figure out a better title for the book, and Don't Read the Comments was born out of a line in the story. One of my friends thought it should have been the title from the start! She was right. Everyone go read Lily Anderson's books, she's brilliant.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
Ah! I can't say because I'll ruin the story! No spoilers! :-) I think my favorite early scene though is when Aaron is first seen playing the game, and then gets ripped out of it by his family. I spent a lot of time trying to get the mechanics of the game world right and to make them feel just real enough so you maybe questioned if this was a sci-fi novel or not. It was a lot of fun.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
That I'm a better quick drafter than someone who takes their time. I wrote Don't Read the Comments fairly quickly, and poured over edits for a year or so before it was ready to go out and about. My other books, like The Girl and the Grove, I spent two years or so drafting. I like the fast approached, followed by careful editing better.
I also learned how it's important to be protective of your time as a writer. It's limited. Set it aside when you have it, and don't let it go.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
That there are teens of color right there on the front, looking like me and the friends I grew up with. It's great to see that kind of representation in bookstores.
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2020?
I'm wildly hyped for Claribel Ortega's middle grade novel, Ghost Squad. They are such a supportive force in the book world, and having read a few chapters in, I'm already in love with the crew they've penned. And in the YA space, I'm anxiously waiting for Star Daughter by Shveta Thackar to come out. I've read her stories for years and now we're finally getting a novel! Yes please.
YABC: What was your favorite book in 2019?
Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan. I couldn't stop talking about it. So funny, so inclusive, so wildly awkward and charming. Everyone should read it and Netflix should make it into a movie.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I have a really cute anthology called Battle of the Bands coming out with Candlewick next year, that I co-edited with Lauren Gibaldi. It's a bundle of short stories at a high school's battle of the bands night, with 15 different authors telling the story of one different kid at the school. It's a ton of fun and super musical, of course.
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
Hm, that might dish spoilers too! Some of the most challenging moments in the book circled around the harassment and trolling Divya gets, and consequently, writing Aaron's reaction to it all. I wanted to show Aaron stumbling his way through trying to be a good ally, and show Divya wrestling with how to cope with what's happening while hiding it from her family.
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
Probably the parents? I love writing wholesome parents, and they are just that in this book, but digging into their motivations was always really tricky. Cause yes, parents want what's best for their kids, of course. But why are they taking one approach vs. another? What drives them? Getting into that state is always a challenge, even as a parent. My kid is two. My goals for him are going to be a lot different now then when he's a sixteen year old.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Drafting. It's just more fun bringing that story to life.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
I'm a wildly fast speed reader. I can tear through two books in a day. However I can almost never remember the details. Maybe I'm good at speed reading but also really bad at it? Hard to say.
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
We Need Diverse Books, always. <3
Don't Read The Comments
By: Eric Smith
Release Date: January 28th, 2020
Publisher: Inkyard Press
One winner will receive a copy of Don't Read The Comments (Eric Smith) ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*
The art of this cover is really modern and fresh looking, and the synopsis really draws you into the idea of this virtual world that could mean more to people than the real world.