Author Of The Week: Chat with Daniel Sweren-Becker (The Ones), Plus Giveaway!!
Welcome to our weekly special feature post, Author Of The Week!!
Each week we will be interviewing a different YA author and highlighting their upcoming release!
We will also be hosting a giveaway of the book we are highlighting!!
Introducing Daniel Sweren-Becker, YABC's Author of the Week!!
Daniel Sweren-Becker is an author, television writer and playwright living in Los Angeles. He has written for ABC, USA, MTV and Nickelodeon, and his play Stress Positions premiered in New York at the SoHo Playhouse. He grew up in Manhattan, before attending Wesleyan University and NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Nowadays he tries to get to the beach as often as possible, hopes to sample every ice cream sandwich in LA, and teaches creative writing at 826LA's community center. The Ones is his debut novel.
Meet The Ones!!
Cody has always been proud of being a One. She and her boyfriend James were two of the lucky babies from the 1% of the U.S. population that were randomly selected to benefit from genetic engineering. Now, she and the rest of The Ones are excelling. They are healthy, beautiful, and talented. They aren't otherworldly, just perfect. And to some, that's not fair. The Equality Movement, capitalizing on the growing fear and jealousy, gains political traction and actually outlaws their existence. Society shows its darker side as The Ones are marginalized. The line between right and wrong blurs in the face of injustice and Cody becomes closer to a group of radical Ones intent on fighting back. James begins to fear just how far she is willing to go for the cause.
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
I read a magazine article that noted that every country has different laws and regulations about genetic engineering. It struck me that very soon, there is going to be a generation of people from all over the world born with unique advantages. This is going to be insane!
Very quickly, I knew I wanted to dramatize one possible version of how these developments might unfold. I think the issue of fairness is going be very difficult for humanity to figure out, and that is a theme I like to explore in all of my projects. And then against that broader backdrop, I was excited to write about how this technology is going to affect people on an individual basis.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
Cody, of course! I don't want to spoil anything, but she has a unique ability to understand the issue of genetic engineering from both sides. It was a challenge to put myself in her shoes and offer a reasonable perspective on something that the rest of the characters are so divided over. Hopefully when this happens in the real world, we can all look to Cody as a guide for handling it in a mature way.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
The scene when The List comes out was very exciting for me. It feels like a moment that guarantees a wild ride is about to begin, and even if you don’t know where it’s going to lead, you immediately want to buckle up for all the twists and turns.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
Planning before you start the writing process is everything. My goal is to have such a clear outline that if I got struck down my lightening in the middle of writing, anyone else could finish the book. And hopefully they would dedicate it to me.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
It scares me, not in a visceral way, but as reminder about how powerful technology is and how easily it can be used in sinister ways.
YABC: What was your favorite book in 2015?
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert. A great non-fiction book about how our planet is falling apart. I recommend for anyone looking for that warm end-of-the-world feeling.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
Hopefully turn this book into a movie! I come from a screenwriting background, so as much fun as it was to get this story down on paper, it feels like the last step is seeing it in motion on a big screen.
I just finished the sequel to The Ones, which I think people will enjoy. And I have another contemporary YA series I am just starting. The protagonist is going to begin the story in an absolutely impossible dilemma, which I think is always a great place to start.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
I’d rather revise standing on a bed of nails than draft on a Hawaiian beach. With drafting the possibilities are endless. I love to revise because it’s very satisfying and lot easier to make something – a sentence, a chapter, whatever – just one percent better. And if you’re revising, that means you got to the end already!
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
I never forget a face. There should a CBS show about me.
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
I do a lot of volunteering with the 826 organization, which was founded by author Dave Eggers to foster creative writing programs in inner cities. Working with young kids to create wild stories every week has been a cool reminder that we all have that instinct within us. We always have and we always will.
By: Daniel Sweren-Becker
Release Date: September 6, 2016
One winner will receive a finished copy of The Ones ~ (US & Canada only).
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*
Upon first glance, I thought the cover was a hockey game scene. I looked closer and realized it was just people...but I'd probably pass this by in a bookstore. After reading the summary, though, I think the story sounds very interesting. I'd like to see how the genetic modifications turned out.
I'm excited not just to see another male author on the female-dominated YA scene but also a new YA sci-fi, which there is not enough of in my opinion. We were just talking at BTAFest last Saturday about how there is not enough sci-fi in YA right now (Beth Revis was on this panel, not surprisingly!) :0) Happy to see this book offered.
I wasn't taken with the cover but the synopsis definitely reeled me in. I've been wanting to read this book for awhile now and have moved it up my TBR list...TWICE! I keep seeing it being reviewed and shared everywhere!
The cover is thought-provoking--at first I didn't like it, but the white background (lack of color) and everyone out of focus except for the two people makes sense now. The synopsis sounds exciting and unique to me.