Q & A with Dan Krokos

August 21, 2012 2012, author interview, blogger perspectives, dan krokos, sci fi or futuristic, Wendy 106

dan krokos false memory

It’s always great to find new male YA authors, particularly those who create strong, thinking heroines. If you’re a fan of science fiction thrillers, False Memory will definitely take you on an exciting ride full unexpected twists and turns.

Author Dan Krokos chats with us today about his impressive debut, as well as the sometimes-bumpy road that new authors have to face in today’s world of social media.

 

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About False Memory

TMG: Hi Dan, congratulations on your novel. I really enjoyed the fact that the book is such a smart thriller, touching on everything from gene therapy to brain wave manipulation. What was the genesis of this story? How long did it take you to write it?

DK: I had the first kernel of the story back when I was writing my third manuscript. It was an urban fantasy about a new kind of magic that gave people the ability to control fear. After I’d gone through a long streak of rejections for my adult books, I decided to challenge myself and write something completely different. I’d been reading YA around that time, and thought the faster pace and focused plots would really suit my style. I decided to bring everything I loved about thrillers into a YA. After I figured out a way to keep the fear idea in a non-magical setting, it was full steam ahead.

I wrote the first draft in 12 days because I was so afraid it would be terrible. It was. I spent a few months after that working on it, and then about a month on edits after it was sold.
 
TMG: Wow, that’s a very fast turnaround! The concept is so unusual, though, that hearing that doesn’t come as a surprise. Miranda North is such a cool character.What made you want to tackle a book from a female perspective?

DK: Before False Memory, I wrote a lot of adult books with male protagonists. I’d always wanted to write a female POV, but was too afraid to try. And to be honest, I don’t really like reading books by a male author with a female POV. I think that’s my preconceptions though, because I know it’s been done well.

I’d been getting a lot of rejections for my adult crime thriller stuff, saying it wouldn’t appeal to enough female readers. Around that time, I’d been reading a lot of YA, so False Memory and Miranda came about when I decided to try and really challenge myself. I was getting content with writing the same kinds of books, and that scared me a little. What if I could only do one thing?

The timing was perfect, because around then I couldn’t stop thinking about this character named Miranda North, who didn’t know who she was. I wanted to find out. I’m definitely glad I tried, because I think I grew as a writer, and I’m not as afraid to try things outside my comfort zone.

TMG: It’s always interesting when male authors are able to present believable female perspectives, in a way that balances a girl’s strength and her vulnerability. How were you able to do that so successfully? 

DK: I will say it was easier with Miranda having no memory at the start. I got to discover her as she discovered herself. I knew if I went at it thinking, “Okay, she’s a girl, what would a girl do?” I would fail miserably. I thought of her as just a person.
 
As far as the female voice goes, I was extremely lucky to have seven or eight women read over the manuscript to find parts that didn’t ring true. There were definitely a lot of instances where they’d say, “A teen girl wouldn’t say/react like this, this sounds like how a twenty-four year old guy would react.”
 
TMG: Well, your beta readers deserve a nice champagne toast. Thinking of her “as just a person” is also the reason why her character avoids many of the superficial elements that writers sometimes employ to show, “Hey, this is a teenage girl!”
 
Miranda’s action scenes are exceptionally well-done, with a lot of physicality and specific descriptions of fight sequences that feel very authentic. Do you have a background in martial arts, sword play, etc.? Or are you just a fantastic observer?
 
DK: Thank you! I took martial arts when I was a teen. I quit to play more video games, which is one of the biggest regrets in my life, but I also remember what I learned. I took a mix of styles, both Chinese and Japanese, which included moves that were based off swordplay. It will surprise no one to say that I live for action scenes, and I definitely pull from that experience.
 
I also learned a lot from fantasy writer R.A. Salvatore. He has some of the best sword fighting scenes of all time.
 
TMG: Are there any plans to adapt the book for film? The story is very visual, and it’s very easy to clearly picture what many of the scenes would look like. What actors could you see playing Miranda, Peter, and Noah? Purely speculative questions, of course!
 
DK: Right now a production company has the film rights, and I think they’re focusing on TV at the moment.
 
Can I just go with dream cast that will never happen? For Miranda, I like Chloë Moretz. I think she’s super talented and gritty. He’s a little too old, but Kit Harington would make a great Peter I think. I like his quiet strength and, um, his hair. Maybe Shiloh Fernandez for Noah? For Olive, I’ve always thought of Zhang Ziyi, but I think she’s in her thirties now.
 
TMG: That’s how I know you come by your martial arts/Chinese background honestly–you still call her Zhang Ziyi, instead of the Americanized version she now uses with her surname appearing second.
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Controversial Thoughts
 
TMG: And here we turn to a more serious topic. As some readers may be aware, there was an incident earlier this year involving some remarks you made on a reviewer’s space of another book written by a friend of yours. You publicly apologized to the reviewer pretty quickly, and it’s my understanding that your position on author/reader interactions has changed quite a bit. Would you care to elaborate? I strongly believe that a reviewer’s space should be respected, whether it’s between readers or between authors and readers.
 
DK: I absolutely agree, otherwise how is it their space? Some authors clearly believe they have a say in what readers think of their books. It’s like saying, “Here, I made this thing for you. Here is how you’re allowed to feel about it.” I talk about author intrusions and what I think causes it below.
 
TMG: Social media has definitely changed the way we interact, in both positive ways and in ways that are hard to navigate. (A couple of interesting articles are here and here.) My feeling is that mutual respect and courtesy should pretty much define all exchanges, however. What is your biggest regret coming out of that situation? It could not have been pleasant for you either.
 
DK: My biggest regret is that I added to an already hostile environment. Though I’m sorry I upset so many people, I’m grateful they held me accountable. It really forced me to look at my behavior and ask, “Where is this coming from?” If I hadn’t, I doubt I would’ve learned anything about myself, or what is expected of me as an author.
 
A lot of it is common sense, of course, but it definitely required a mental shift away from Random Guy on the Internet to Public Figure. But yeah, it was a rough couple months.
The YA reviewing community has taken a lot of big hits this year and it’s been awful to see the kind of toxic environment that has been developing over the past few months. From a reader’s perspective, it’s hard to regain your enthusiasm if you’ve been targeted for doing nothing more than stating your opinion. What’s your reaction to outlets like the STGRB site? Do you have thoughts on how we can get past all this?
 
I’ve seen a lot of people refer to STGRB as trolls. I know trolls. I grew up in video game forums where all people would do was troll each other and then fight in game, and everyone had a good time. Arguing on the internet was fun, and nobody got hurt, or cared.
 
This goes beyond trolling. I don’t need to explain how, because anyone who is paying attention is appalled.
 
As far as how we can get past everything, I’m not sure if there’s an easy solution, or a quick one. I’ve spent many months trying to figure out why these things have been happening, and I think it comes down to the illusion of control.
 
Who controls a book page on GR? Does it belong to the author, or the readers? The correct answer is obviously the reader. Yet many authors don’t feel this way. When I log in, my author dashboard shows me current stats on all my books. They’re right there, in a little cluster. It makes it easy to say “Those are MY books.”
 
I bring this up because GR is going to be rolling out a premium author program eventually. According to them, we’ll be able to change the top review that appears if we pay some undetermined amount of money. I would say this adds to the illusion of control, which adds to the attitude some authors have had recently:
 
I belong here. GR wants me here. I can say whatever I want.
 
I will admit I still feel the urge to control, even with what I know and feel now. There’s a review on False Memory that is just a cartoon piece of poop. That’s it, just poop. I’m laughing right now just thinking about it. But I still wish I could take it down. The other day my little sister called me and said, “Danny, there is a piece of poop on your book page. I thought you should know.” Is this anyone’s problem? No, it’s not even a problem, and I shouldn’t be looking in the first place. I’m bringing it up because I think honesty is the only way things are going to change.
 
Anyway. I think it’s a bad idea to encourage any author activity on the site. Let me explain why:
 
Imagine if someone gives a glowing review to a new novel. They just really loved the book. The author shows up and comments with smiley faces and thank yous and everyone feels really great. Then their next book comes out.
 
And it’s terrible. What does the reviewer do?
 
The author has already kicked the door down and said “I’m here, what’s up guys, does anyone want to dance? Dance with me. You liked my other book and now we’re friends.” Like an uninvited party guest. Now the reviewer feels uncomfortable with their review. That should never happen. It should never be influenced by the author, because the review loses integrity, and then what’s the point?
 
Those articles talk about this exact problem, and I really think it’s due to the increasing closeness between reviewer and author. Do I think reviewers and authors can be friends, though? Of course. When the reviewer makes that choice.
 
But let’s not kid ourselves. GR is not going to take away freedoms from authors, and maybe it’s not their job to say, “Clearly authors can be controlling maniacs, so let’s take away their author dashboards.”
 
TMG: You touch on a couple of things that have been hot-button topics recently. Before GoodReads even released author and reviewer guidelines a couple of weeks ago, I had a strong suspicion that the way in which author dashboards appeared might have something to do with some of the negative interactions we’ve seen.
 
Many reviewers also dislike any kind of author interaction on their reviews, even positive ones. I personally enjoy talking to all readers about books, authors included (as long as the conversation is courteous), but I understand why it can feel intrusive, as if someone’s constantly looking over your shoulder. When it comes to negative comments in particular, there’s an imbalance of power there that can feel very intimidating when reviewers are trying to express their opinions in what they perceive to be a safe environment.
 

DK: So what can we do to recapture that feeling of a safe environment? Words aren’t helping. Every time something happens, a discussion pops up, and nothing changes.

I wish I had a solution. I think things might get worse before they get better. I think more people need to speak out—not just a tweet here or a blog post there. News sites have picked up on this, and things have only gotten worse. GR booting troublemakers is a start, but what do you do about STGRB and everything else outside their domain?

I think about that idea of control a lot. How can we create a new standard, where this isn’t even something that’s discussed—it’s just understood? I don’t know, but let’s talk about it.

Things are definitely changing. STGRB is just another symptom of the environment. But just like there will always be crazy authors, there will always be people talking about books. I have hope that one day authors and reviewers won’t have to fear each other, though. I mean, look at this. We’re talking and exchanging ideas.

And here is where I will end my five-page research paper. Sorry about the length.

TMG: I truly appreciate your sharing your thoughts. It means a great deal when an author is willing to go out on a limb to publicly acknowledge what happened, since silence (or worse) often speaks volumes. I’m hoping that just opening the lines of communication here will be a step towards creating a more positive atmosphere. I agree that there aren’t any easy answers, but I do think talking about these issues and keeping an open mind to other perspectives is key to finding some sort of happy co-existence.

One last but very important question, however! What’s up next for Miranda? You wrote a very satisfying conclusion to this book, but it’s clear there are deeper conspiracies that need to be uncovered.

 
DK: Definitely. I wanted book one to feel very contained, but to end on a note that shows there is a lot more to Miranda’s world. I recently finished copy edits, and I have to say I’m more excited about book two than one. It’s scarier, and larger, and I think I accomplished my goal of not making it feel like some weak branch between books one and three. I’m excited for ARCs to get out there sometime in October.
 
TMG: Well, we’re excited to see where Miranda’s journey takes her next. Thanks for talking with us, Dan.
False Memory is available in stores now. Check out our review here, and learn more about the author on his website, Twitter, and GoodReads
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What Do You Think?
Readers, are you excited about this book? What are your thoughts on reader/author interactions after reading Dan’s perspective? We appreciate your honest reactions, but do request that you keep the discussion respectful in tone. 
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106 Responses to “Q & A with Dan Krokos”

  1. Book Sake

    That was a great interview. I do want to read the book and loved hearing about the writing process and who the ideal cast would be for the book. Also loved hearing from an author about their views on those hot-topic review items!

    – Jessica @ Book Sake

  2. Vivien

    I really loved the twitter chat that Dan did. He actually answered some of my questions!! Which as a non-blogger, it’s always wonderful when an author responds to you. I actually just saw the cover for book 2 and am really loving the direction the publishers are taking. They’re the same!!!

    I seriously need to read this book, if only my TBR shelves weren’t taking over my entire house!!!

  3. The Housework Can Wait

    False Memory hadn’t really been on my radar before, but it definitely is now. I really enjoyed this interview, and what Dan had to say. I’ll be honest, I shy away from drama because it gives me belly aches, but I’m glad there’s authors out there who aren’t afraid to say stuff like this. Great interview!

  4. KM

    I always love your author interviews, Wendy! They’re way more interesting than anybody else’s since you always ask the best questions and veer the interviews to meatier topics. Loved this one especially! :)

  5. Maggie Mcbride

    This is a FANTASTIC Q & A. You really hit some topics that kept me interested and the author was very good about voicing his opinion in an intriguing way. Wonderful job to both of you!

  6. Amy

    What a fantastic interview. I really enjoyed reading this and hearing from the authors side about reviews and interactions as well as about his book. I think that it’s great that he was willing to answer questions about such a tough topic. Thank you to both of you for the wonderful interview!!

  7. A Canadian Girl

    Lovely interview, Wendy. It was so thoughtful and it was great to see not only you ask some tough questions but have Dan be willing to answer them.

    I had no idea that Goodreads would be rolling out a program that would let an author change the top review. I’m not sure how much of a difference that would honestly make because a) I think negative reviews are equally valuable and b) when I look at reviews of a book, I check out at least a few since people tend to focus on different things; but it’s still something to be concerned about.

    • Wendy Darling

      Thanks so much, I was really floored at the thought he put into his responses, too. I’m very glad we were able to provide the platform for this conversation.

      And I agree, I think negative reviews are absolutely valuable, too. But what authors need to understand is that negative reviews don’t necessarily turn a reader off reading a book–but nasty behavior often will.

  8. Rachel

    What a lovely interview. I enjoyed getting to know Dan better and False Memory sounds amazing. I love action packed books and I’m interested in seeing how the female POV turns out with a male writer. It’s unfortunate that all this drama still occurs on GRs and I wish people would just be positive and respectful of each other. I have ignored this behavior and will continue to do so. I’m not on GRs to participate in endless debates, just to enjoy books. :)

    • Wendy Darling

      I think you’d really enjoy this book, Rachel. :) And I echo your wish that people would be more respectful of each other.

  9. rabbitsfortea

    I remember seeing Dan’s comments on the review on GR and I do admit that I was perhaps too eager to jump on the hating bandwagon.

    I’m really glad that you guys did this interview as it really goes to show that not all authors are beyond the point of repentance. It’s refreshing to get an author’s honest opinions about all these thoughts especially one who’s been through the drama himself.

    • Wendy Darling

      Well, I think many people saw that as an attack on a friend or fellow reviewer, and looking at this in retrospect, I think Dan might have been looking at the original review as slight towards his friend/fellow author as well. Doesn’t make it right, but I think it is a little more understandable and different from the usual flaming wars.

      Thanks for your comment, rabbits. I’m glad we did this, too.

  10. Karen

    False Memory sounds amazing.
    Great interview too. This is such a sensitive topic and people (both authors & bloggers) cross the line at times.
    This is new territory for most of us and it would be great if both sides were willing to have an honest discussion.
    I can’t imagine that any of this will end. These types of interactions permeate all aspects of the internet community – not just book blogging. We were just lucky enough to have been blissfully untouched by it for longer than most.

    • Wendy Darling

      I absolutely agree that both authors and bloggers cross the line at times. I think exercising a little more self-control and common courtesy would go a long way on both sides of this equation.

      You’re right that these types of things don’t appear to be dying down. I am absolutely horrified at the most recent Emily Griffin meltdown.

  11. erin

    What an awesome post! I mean that with all sincerity and I greatly appreciate both Wendy’s and Dan’s honest and thoughtful replies. Kudos to both of you! *this* is what we need in the blogoverse!!!

  12. elena

    I am going to echo everyone and say this is such a fantastic, thoughtful interview. I was wary of Dan after his actions on Goodreads but I’m glad to see that he owned up to his mistakes and most importantly, learned from it. I think Dan handled the aftermath very well and you’ve asked such insightful questions. Thanks so much for this post, Wendy!

    • Wendy Darling

      Thanks so much, Elena. I’m really glad Dan contacted me, and that he was then receptive to the idea of doing this chat. It’s a step in the right direction, I think.

  13. Desiree

    I have not had much interest in this one but the more I read about it (especially from people like you who’s book opinions I trust) the more I lean towards wanting to read it! Thanks Wendy.

    • Wendy Darling

      Well, I’m glad the reviews are nudging you along towards reading this one a little more, Desiree. :) Maybe worth a library read at least!

  14. Violette

    Thank you so much for this in-depth, wonderful review. I must admit that I, myself, got caught up in the anti-Dan Krokos wave that hit after the GR drama really flared up. Since then, I have seen other reviews of his book, as well as interview questions, but I have yet to see one that so openly addressed the entire situation.

    I read through it all and I was very impressed with the way that Dan handled these “tough” questions. It certainly made me feel like perhaps he deserves an honest shot – as a writer, not as an internet commentator.

    Thank you for that!

    • Wendy Darling

      Thanks for your comment, Violette! I felt the same way about giving the book a shot after I heard about the way the author handled being questioned about the incident in public. I’m glad that led to my reading a book I very much enjoyed, which in turn led to further conversations and a positive outcome–for some of us, at least.

  15. MollyMcB

    Great interview. I look forward to checking out this book. Your discussion was quite insightful and pretty alarming on how Goodreads may be changing. When I first found the website, I thought – so cool! A website that is like a virtual book club! It seems like more and more the book club party has just been interrupted by some obnoxious author who just spilled their drink on me when their book wasn’t rated high. I personally think the only changes that should be made to the website are to let us give half stars ;D

    • Wendy Darling

      Yes, the way GoodReads is changing doesn’t make me happy. And sheesh, yes, why is it so hard to give us half stars?! We have to go all rogue and make up our own rules to clarify our ratings. ;)

  16. Deea

    Wow, this must be one of the best interviews I have ever read! Great answers and very thoughtful, lengthy answers. I don’t want to get into the all reviewers, readers and goodreads discussion (I tend to ramble on and on LOL), but I really appreciate how open, honest and thoughtful Dan’s answers were. (Ok, I’ll say though that I wish people wouldn’t get so worked up on these sites and there weren’t so much negativity – we should all be on the same side here, right? And I do like connecting with authors, because at the end of the day, we’re all human beings and book lovers, right?)

    Anyway, if I’ve been on the fence about picking up False Memory before, I’ll definitely pick it up ASAP now! The worlds sounds interesting and original and I’m intrigued about reading a girl’s POV written by a male author. Besides, fight scenes and sword play? ALWAYS WIN for me!:D

    • Wendy Darling

      It IS a lengthy interview, but I didn’t want to cut anything out, hah. I thought everything Dan had to say was relevant and would be of interest.

      I wish there weren’t so much negativity too. But even though it’s not my style to write ranty reviews or blog posts, I do feel people have the right to do that if they want to–people certainly respond to it. I get why those kinds of things are upsetting to authors for sure, but at the same time, I think the onus is on them, as the professionals, to deal with that in a non-combative way. As long as people don’t cross the line in posting offensive/libelous material, there’s not much sense in trying to reason with an emotional reaction to a book.

      But I’m very glad that you’re going to be reading FALSE MEMORY now! If you love action, there’s plenty of it in this book for you. :)

  17. Dan Krokos

    Hey everyone. Just popping in to say thank you for the positive comments, and a BIG thank you to Wendy for having me. I am so grateful that I was able to share my thoughts.

    I’m excited to see where the conversation goes next, and I really hope to be a part of it.

    Thank you!

    • Wendy Darling

      Hi Dan,

      I really appreciate your making the effort to make yourself available for this chat. I think opening up an honest dialogue between reasonable people is an important step towards trying to turn all this drama into something constructive. Both authors and readers are passionate about books, which is a good thing, but it’s nice to focus the energy into a very positive interaction in this particular case.

      Not everyone would have done what you did in talking about this so openly, and I sincerely thank you for that. I know our readers appreciate it as well.

      Best,

      Wendy

  18. Jenny

    What a fabulous interview Wendy and Dan! While I don’t want to get into my thoughts on all the drama that’s taken place this year as I don’t feel I can bring anything new to the table, but I do want to say I LOVE that they two of you decided to open a dialogue about it and we we’re able to see things from both the side of a reviewer as well as as an author. I hope we see more honesty like this moving forward:)

    • Wendy Darling

      I hope so too, Jenny. It’d be nice if both authors and readers put the focus back on books on less on personalities for sure. And thank you!

  19. Jessica@Booked Up!

    This is without a doubt one of the best interviews I have ever had the pleasure of reading! Dan’s answers were brilliant, and I loved how he described how he managed to write a female POV. And I liked how Dan didn’t try and skirt around the tougher questions about GR.

    Thanks for sharing this with us, Wendy!

    Jessica :) xxx
    http://www.bookedupbloggers.blogspot.com

    • Wendy Darling

      His answers were awesome, and much more detailed and blunt than I expected…which is a good thing. Thanks for leaving your feedback, Jessica!

  20. starryeyedjen

    What a fantastic interview, Wendy! I love the discussion on reader/author relationships and the fact that the author changed his stance and you both were able to turn a nasty situation into a great platform for further discussion.

    I’m very excited to read False Memory…it sounds like such an intriguing read, and I’m even more curious about it after reading this interview. I can’t wait to see if Miranda’s voice rings true to me, especially knowing how much he worried about it and how many women he had aiding in making her sound like a teenage girl. :)

    • Wendy Darling

      Thanks so much, Jen! I’m really glad we were able to discuss some of these topics, too. I think this community is long overdue.

      I really hope you like FALSE MEMORy–I have a feeling you will. :) Look forward to seeing what you think of it!

  21. April (BooksandWine)

    Wendy, this is a fabulous interview. Job well done on both your end and Dan Krokos’s end. I found this interview to be engaging with such interesting questions.

    I particularly like his thoughts on the goodreads author panel/dashboard. I had no idea that they were going to allow authors to pay for the top review slot.

    Christina pointed out the Shelfari layout in one of the top comments, with a top positive and a top negative review side by side, I think as a reader that would be SO useful to me, because I like to seek out multiple types of opinions before starting a book.

    • Wendy Darling

      The paid feature review thing really bothers me, but it’s just a further indication of the direction GoodReads is headed towards. I’ve become very disillusioned by the site over the past month or so, which is pretty sad.

      I agree about the Shelfari layout. I think that’s a good and helpful option for both readers and authors.

  22. Melliane

    thanks for this great interview I think it’s the most interesting I ever read. It’s always great to have the author’s feelings about what happen in the blog community.

  23. Donna Smith

    Wonderful interview Wendy!
    Funny, I am also hesitant to read a book written from a female perspective and authored by a male. And that’s even knowing that it can be and has been done well (Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, John Green’s Fault in Our Stars) Its one of those reading quirks that I have even though it isn’t exactly logical. I didn’t previously have this on my “to read” list but I think I’m going to give it a go.

    As far as the author/review chaos that has been going on, Dan makes some very valid points. I hope that conversations like these are the first steps to a resolution everyone can be content with. But regardless what any ridiculous groups like STGRB say, Wendy, you know where you stand with those who respect you and value your reviews, including me. :)

    • Wendy Darling

      I am glad to know I’m not alone in feeling that reserve about male authors writing female perspectives, Donna. There definitely are some good examples of books where it’s well done, but I have to admit I don’t often find that they’re altogether that convincing. I really liked the way that Miranda, the character in this particular book, thinks and feels, and it’s fascinating to read about how the author gave it to female friends to vet out.

      And thank you, love. I appreciate your support more than I can say over these past few months. I’m just glad we are putting forth some positive energy on this topic for once.

  24. Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings

    What a great interview. I loved that line about discovering his female character right along with her. I think it is a big challenge for a male author to create a female voice. Also big props to him for righting a wrong. So glad that this situation was handled maturely.

    • Wendy Darling

      Thanks Heidi. I really liked how he said he just thought of Miranda as a person, rather than a “girl.” :) And yes, I appreciated him sharing his thoughts on everything that’s happened this year, too.

  25. Eunice

    This is a great and insightful interview, Wendy and Dan! I’m even more convinced now to pick this book up! Miranda seems like a character I would really like. And there are plans for this to be on T.V.? Awesome! Oh, and I love Chloe Moretz! Haha!

    It’s great to see an author’s perspective regarding this controversies that keep surfacing in the review blog world. Dan has excellent points and I agree with most of them. :)

    • Wendy Darling

      I hope you enjoy the book, Eunice–I think most sci fi YA fans will. :)

      And yes, it’s nice that an author was willing to speak out about it. I wish more of them did, especially those in the YA world since this community has been affected so much this year.

  26. Natalia Belikov @ Dazzling Reads

    oh wow Wendy! what an excellent interview and OMG! I had no idea about all the problems between reviewers and authors that have been poping u in GR. I had no idea about any of it and Im really glad I have not been part of it.
    I really enjoyed False Memory and I can’t wait for those arcs to be ready!! kyaaaa!! thnx for sharing this very important interview. :)

    XOXO

    • Wendy Darling

      Thanks darling! Ugh, there have been tons of issues this year, most of which do not end as well as this one. I’m glad you enjoyed FALSE MEMORY, though, and thanks for weighing in on the interview, too.

    • Wendy Darling

      Thanks Jess! I am really happy to have had the chance to talk with Dan about this, and I’m glad you found it an interesting post. :)

  27. Andrea @The Bookish Babes

    Very nice interview! I have to say, Wendy, that I love how you consistently encourage other readers to make their own choices. You have a lot of influence, so words like that from you make a difference. ;-)

    Dan made an excellent point (several actually) about authors and readers becoming friends. It can often make a difference in the way we reviewers express our opinion. I’m always careful to express myself in a polite way, but when I know an author is watching my progress, it makes me nervous. I need to think about this and make some changes, I think.

    But anyway, sorry about hijacking your comments! Thank you for an informative and thought-provoking post. And best of luck to Dan.

    • Wendy Darling

      That’s what gets me when I get flamed, Andrea–I very rarely tell anyone NOT to read a book unless it’s someone whose taste I know very well. But drama llamas will have their day no matter what, I guess! I know you’ve come across this kind of thing, too.

      I completely agree that reviewing a book honestly becomes much more difficult if you’ve become friends with the author. I’ve run across it a few times this year, and I’ve had to be extra careful about balancing tact with candor.

      And please! Hijack me anytime. ;)

  28. Sarah (saz101)

    WENDY! Kudos to both Dan and your lovely self for a brilliant, thoughtful truly illuminating discussion. Not only am I SUPER CRAZY OMFG IT’S EVEN BETTER THAN NINJAS RIDING SHARKS WITH FLAMING SWORDS EXCITED for False Memory, I’m really impressed with Dan’s behaviour and the thought he’s put into the discussion (I just kind of expect brilliance from you, so I’m taking you for granted :P). I think what was said about the transition from ‘random guy on the internet’ to a public figure was one of the most key things. That’d be HARD, and it’s something worth seriously considering.

    AMAZING post, lovely! ♥

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh sure, give the guest ALL the credit! Heh. I’m very glad you found the interview interesting, and I think you’d totally love the book, Sarah. But um, now I want to read that Ninjas Riding Sharks with Flaming Swords book. >_<

    • Sarah (saz101)

      Mahahaha! It’s actually a video. And I got the references TOTALLY wrong, because it’s Pirates riding the sharks, and there may be laser beams. There ARE ninjas.

      Oh my goodness, I am so proud to introduce you to the awesome that is How To Kill A Mockingbird.

  29. Sophia

    What a fabulous interview, Wendy! I’ll admit, I was a bit surprised at the chosen author for the interview, but after reading, I understand why. Dan’s answers are very thoughtful and sincere, which I appreciate. I like how he’s not hiding or shying away from anything! It’s very admirable. :) The paying for reviews is just absolutely insane, though. I honestly am so surprised Goodreads would allow something like that! It’s like I don’t even know the site anymore. Sigh. :( As for False Memory, the book sounds super fantastic, and I like how Dan finally wrote a book in a girl’s POV! I hope I can read False Memory soon.

    • Wendy Darling

      I knew this would come as a bit of a shock to anyone who was aware of what happened earlier this year, Sophia, but I’m glad you gave us a chance and kept reading. ;)

      I’m very disturbed by all the new features being unveiled by GoodReads. I see very little good that can come of them in the long run.

      And I hope you get a chance to read the book soon as well! It was a really nice surprise to find how engaging the book was.

  30. Lyn Kaye

    Alright, Dan, you won me over. After Wendy issued the statement about Krokos, I simply remove his book from my naughty list. But I wasn’t quite over it. But it seems that he has shown such a huge growth in his own self awareness. Going from person to high-profile author must be a shock to the system. Welcometo my to-read shelf, Krokos.
    Second, I loved the portion about Dan giving his manuscript to women and allowing them to help shed some light onto his female character. As a girl myself, I struggle with writing male characters. Someone mentioned that I write a male role as “A girl with a penis.” I think this is wonderful advise for any writer who wishes to remain true to the richness and authenticity of writing real characters.

    Wonderful piece, Wendy! Thank you!

    • Wendy Darling

      I like how you say “I issued the statement about Krokos” like I sent out a press release on company stationery, hah. All I did was quietly post a comment on my GoodReads thread without even posting it to my feed, though I’m glad that a few friends cared enough to notice.

      I guess there are cynics who can look at this and say “well, any reasonable author would respond in this way.” But the fact is, no other author HAS, and I appreciate that DK seems to be willing to acknowledge what happened as well as to discuss his POV.

      I really liked Miranda, though, and am looking forward to seeing what you think of her. You very rarely get a male YA author who does a female perspective with such assurance.

  31. Rachel @ Unforgettable Books

    Fantastic interview! I’m so glad to hear an author’s opinion on the controversies going on and learning more about a book i’m looking forward to reading. its always good to be honest then let things be.

    • Wendy Darling

      Thanks Rachel! It’s good to get a reasonable author’s point of view. Perhaps we’ll start seeing more of them in the future.

  32. Keertana

    Wonderful interview, Wendy! First and foremost, I have to say that I am so excited to pick up False Memory now! It seems as if Dan has put forth a lot of research and even real-life experiences through action/fighting into this novel which makes it that much more authentic and interesting. Plus, I love the fact that he decided to challenge himself and what he wrote wound up being a phenomenal novel! (Not to mention all those wonderful beta readers who helped keep our femininity alive!) ;)

    That being said, Dan really earned my respect with his comments about the recent controversies online. I think it’s amazing when an author can come forth and accept that what they did was wrong and do everything in their power to correct that mistake. I don’t want to point out any names, but I have seen many authors refuse to accept that what they did was wrong, which really only makes the issue worse. I really think the first step in all this is acceptance and I’m so glad Dan not only took the initiative to accept his mistake, but he also provided some truly insightful comments on this issue and I love how both you and Dan were able to showcase an example of readers and authors interacting in a polite and constructive environment!

    I’ve always welcomed author comments on GoodReads and my blog and it always feels good when an author tells me that they’re glad I enjoyed a novel, but I never feel any type of pressure from them to give a positive review for their upcoming novels since they keep such a polite and distant approach when conversing with me, which is something I believe is important. I also love it when authors write reviews on GoodReads as I believe their perspective is different from a reader’s and discussing other books on GoodReads with them can be extremely insightful as well. So I’m not opposed to an author’s presence on GoodReads, but I do think that some of the latest changes on GoodReads are bound to spark controversy. I’m glad that they are taking some kind of action, but I can’t tell for sure if this is a positive or negative response to the current situation. I do think though that it is disrespectful to the reviewer to take down or push aside their review simply because an author doesn’t like it, but at the same time, what other solutions are there? I think the Shelfari/Amazon solution that one of your readers offered above is actually an excellent idea, so maybe throughout all these changes that GoodReads is undergoing, they’ll eventually reach upon that option too. We’ll see.

    Anyway, thank you SO much for conducting this interview with Dan, Wendy! I think it’s something that is truly important and will have a positive impact on the blogging community. Plus, Dan has definitely gained a tremendous amount of respect from me, so I can’t wait to dive into this debut YA novel! :D

    • Wendy Darling

      Keertana! Thanks so much for the incredibly thoughtful comments. I appreciate hearing your thoughts on this so much, and I’m glad this conversation is being taken in the spirit in which it was meant.

      I don’t want to point out any names, but I have seen many authors refuse to accept that what they did was wrong, which really only makes the issue worse.

      I absolutely agree with this, and I would venture to say that Dan is one of the few authors involved in these sorts of altercations who has actually come forward to clearly say “I was wrong.” The fact that he seems concerned about what’s going on and was willing to open himself up in this way will hopefully speak volumes.

      Aside from everything else, though–yes. It’s a very fun book! :)

  33. readingdate

    Fantastic interview, Wendy and Dan! Good food for thought. False Memory certainly does sound exciting and I look forward to reading it. Nice to see this particular author interaction drama has a happy ending :)

    • Wendy Darling

      I think you’d like this one, Lucy! I’m really happy that this particular story has a happy ending, too. I’ve spoken to Kira about it a couple of times recently and I know she’s glad to put this behind her, too.

  34. Aneeqah

    I really LOVED this interview, Wendy! It touches on a subject that we really need to talk about more.

    Apparently, I somehow missed the controversy with the author, so I didn’t even realize what happened with this author. But it’s great that he’s so upfront about what he did. That really takes guts!

    This whole paying thing for top reviews is a bit freaky. O_o Goodreads has gotten a bit out of control lately, and this just adds to the list. I loved GR when it was just a place to connect with people and to learn about books. I wish it could go back to that.

    Lovely interview!

    • Wendy Darling

      I wish we were able to talk about this sort of thing more too, Aneeqah. I truly hope we see less contention between authors and readers from here on out. I admire Dan for being open to doing this interview, and I’m glad his sincerity is coming through.

      I don’t even know what to say about GoodReads these days. I used to sing their praises so much, and now…now it’s fast becoming something I no longer even recognize.

  35. Ashelynn Hetland

    this interview is so fantastic, and I’m so glad you guys talked about the controversy. I hope others who marked “never will read” will read FALSE MEMORY if they read this interview. such a smart, fantastic debut.

    • Wendy Darling

      I definitely think people should stay informed and make up their own minds, but I agree that I hope people will consider the new information and give the book a chance. Not every author reacts in this way.

      And I agree–a smart, fantastic debut!

  36. Sam

    This is a great interview! Thanks for sharing, Wendy! Your review definitely convinced me to give this book a shot, so it’s great to hear from the author. :) I’m glad you both addressed some of the more controversial topics too. I’m a little shocked to hear that authors might be able to pay for top reviews though… I didn’t expect that.

    • Wendy Darling

      I am fairly certain you’ll love the book, Sam. And yes, hearing about this new feature in the GR author program seems to confirm some of the more cynical speculations that have been going on. It’s a shame to see GoodReads change so much.

  37. Vegan YA Nerds

    This is such a great interview, Wendy & Dan. I really want to read False Memory, it sound brilliant

    And I think it’s good that you touched on all the author/reviewer drama, too

  38. slayra

    Very good interview. Ooh, why isn’t my copy arriving? Eheh.

    I like the idea of authors challenging themselves. I’m always twice as interesting when a female writes a male POV or vice-versa.

    I don’t usually care much for author behaviour – I guess when I read about it I roll my eyes but it doesn’t stop me from buying the book if it really interests me. I think most of this is happening because this relationship between reviewers and authors is very new.

    It’s bad to have your work critiqued; we ALL know that because most of us have bosses and co-workers (authors seem to forget that regular people are evaluated for their work too). But it happens. I guess both reviewers and authors will figure out how to have a balanced relationship in time.

    I guess many authors have difficulties going from simple reader (and/or Random Guy on the Internet, eh) to Public Figure. It really does require a mental shift.

    • Wendy Darling

      I understand your POV, Slayra–I know a fair number of people who can separate the author’s actions from his work, and that’s totally fine and their choice. It becomes a lot more difficult for me if it happens to someone I know, though, and it’s unfortunately happened to a lot of people this year. Still, I am glad that occasionally we do run across people who own up to their mistakes, however, and who make a sincere effort to make amends. That’s rare coming from both author and reviewer.

      And you’re right, everyday people have their work evaluated, too. It’s hard to transition to public figure for sure, but it’s a necessity with the way we rely upon new media for our information.

    • slayra

      I know, Wendy and I understand that. Not being in the US (or UK) probably has something to do with my personal POV because I’m not a high profile (lol) blogger and I don’t have authors responding to my reviews and all that (thank the YA gods. I’d blush so much). I can be angry on other people’s behalf and I am, but to be fair there is much going on that I don’t know about (I’m in a different time zone). I probably never know the worst of it.

      That said I completely understand and agree with people that say they can’t separate an author from their behaviour. People are different and buy books for all kinds of reasons.

      If an employee is rude to me after I complain about the damaged product I bought at their store I’ll probably never shop there ever again. I totally understand that way of seeing things and support it. The way product sellers behave to their costumers is also a factor of in the overall enjoyment of the product.
      A good restaurant has good food; an excellent one has good food and great service. :)

    • Wendy Darling

      Hah, well put, Slayra.

      And yes, we’re on the same page with the “live and let live” attitude. I think everyone should stay informed and make decisions for themselves as best they can.

  39. P.E.

    Awesome interview. False Memory sounds very interesting (I’ll definitely try to read it) and Dan sounds pretty cool. I like how candid he was. I also don’t like the idea of paying for a review to be shown, but I don’t want to go too in depth about that. ;)

    • Wendy Darling

      Ugh, paid feature reviews. GoodReads seems to be moving further and further away from what I used to love.

      Dan’s insights about all that were pretty interesting, though, and I appreciated his candor as well. Thanks for stopping by, P.E.

  40. Caitlin

    I must say, I think my favourite thing about this interview, and Dan’s perspective on what happened at GR, is how he simply owns up to it and apologizes. No excuses, no trying to wiggle out of anything. He just says he was wrong and he learned a lesson.

    Even if I hadn’t read any of the other interesting things in this interview that alone would have him earn my respect and readership.

    And, actually, goes a long way to making me think he didn’t do anything that wrong to begin with. Though, at the time I didn’t think so at all.

    And now I’m just babbling. Thanks for the insightful interview Wenday and Dan!

    • Wendy Darling

      That’s what convinced me of his sincerity the first time I actually corresponded with him, Caitlin–he was completely up front about what happened, and expressed what seemed to me to be a very sincere horror for what resulted from his unthinking remarks.

      I still think what happened to Kira was awful, but I do understand better how it could have happened. And I believe that everyone makes mistakes, but how we handle the aftermath should count for a great deal, too.

  41. Zeynep

    I really enjoyed this interview and I thank the both of you for it. I like how both sides addressed the difficult issues directly and honestly. I have remained uninvolved with the controversies although I have followed their development, but I agree with both of your opinions, specifically the part about any author interaction. I had an author post a comment on her book when I added it to my “to-read” shelf. It was polite and friendly and I’m sure this was not her intention, but it made me very self-conscious about her watching my reaction to it. I think it’s important to remember that authors are people too, but keeping a distance is also good in some cases.

    Dan sounds like a nice person and I am looking forward to reading his book, which is also on my to-read list.

    • Wendy Darling

      I think it’s important to remember that authors are people too, but keeping a distance is also good in some cases.

      I agree with this. I’ve accepted that authors are probably lurking on a fair number of my reviews, but I also know that it can be very uncomfortable if the mere “watching” turns into more something more active–even if it’s a positive interaction. I personally enjoy talking to authors who use actively use GoodReads as readers, but I admit I have occasionally felt as though some authors use the opportunity to remind me that hey, they are people too, and don’t forget it when I get around to writing a review. :/

      I hope you enjoy the book when you get around to it, Zeynep. I did!

  42. Julie@My5monkeys

    Great Interview and I love that Dan tackled the tough issues from Goodreads. I appreciate that he took the time and was honest, and even gave some insight about the author Goodreads panel. I added his book to reading pile :)

    • Wendy Darling

      Yes, it was interesting to hear what GoodReads has planned for their author program. I am not happy with the idea of encouraging further feelings of entitlement and a false sense of control, but they really don’t seem to be very receptive to the feedback they’ve received thus far.

      I’m glad you’re going to give the book a shot, though, Julie!

  43. Ali @ Ginger-read

    Great Q&A!! It’s nice to get an author’s point of view on all the drama that has popped up this past year. Wish everyone thought as level headed as Dan seems to. Also, I always love to hear about the individual writing process, each author is so different. 12 days? Insane!

    • Wendy Darling

      I totally understand why many authors seem to be reluctant to make public statements about all the drama that has been happening this year, Ali. But I must say, I have a great deal of admiration for those who have stuck their neck out to do so.

      And III know, 12 days for the first draft? Inconceivable! And you couldn’t really tell from the finished product, either–it’s very polished.

  44. Christina

    Wendy, this is without a doubt one of the best interviews I’ve ever read. In fact, I usually don’t bother to read them because they so often regurgitate the same questions and skirt tough issues. I read every single word of this one.

    I personally welcome author comments, so long as they’re polite. Anyone’s welcome to comment. They can even be critical, but that needs to be done in a nice way, which is, admittedly, tricky.

    This idea that GR would let authors pay to change the top review really concerns me. I realize it’s just one review and that whatever system is in place would inevitably be flawed, but I don’t feel like that’s the ideal solution. Maybe they should go for something like Shelfari does. In case you’re not familiar with Shelfari, they display the top negative and top positive review side by side, whereas GR has a hierarchical list by number of votes. This has its own difficulties, like deciding what counts as a positive or negative review, but would guarantee that the authors could have a positive review highlighted without having to pay or game the system.

    • Wendy Darling

      Hey Christina, thanks so much for your comment. It was extremely important to me that this post was done in a way that didn’t feel sensationalist and was respectful to all the parties involved, so I’m glad to hear you found it interesting.

      I think critical comments are always tricky, especially if you don’t know the reviewer–and fair or not, if it’s an author doing it, it can come across in a way that they honestly may not have intended.

      I like the Shelfari/Amazon way of displaying top negative and positive reviews. I agree that it gives a more balanced perspective, although of course no system is ever going to be perfect or make everyone entirely happy. I think you have a good point in saying that that sort of system makes it a little more fair to authors who are worrying over their book page, too.

    • Wendy Darling

      Thanks Christy! It is an insanely long interview, but there was a lot of ground to cover. I’m glad we had a chance to have the conversation.