Sunday, May 24, 2015

2 Brian Katcher, author of THE IMPROBABLE THEORY OF ANA AND ZAK, on avoiding distraction

We're honored to have Brian Katcher stop by to tell us more about his latest novel THE IMPROBABLY THEORY OF ANA AND ZAK.

Brian, what was your inspiration for writing THE IMPROBABLE THEORY OF ANA AND ZAK?

My editor called me up and asked me to write a book about nerds. I told her she had found her author. I didn't need to do ANY research.

What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

The hardest scenes to write were the ones where Zak talks about losing his father to cancer. I've never lost anyone before their time.  My favorite scene was the one where Zak has to fight his way through an SCA battlefield. It was funny and exciting, or at least it was to write.

What book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or visa versa?

David Levithan's NICK AND NORA'S INFINITE PLAYLIST was certainly an inspiration for this book. One crazy night, the sort of thing that happens very seldom in one's life. And if you like the crazy nerds having an adventure genre, there's Antony John's THOU SHALT NOT ROAD TRIP. And of course my PLAYING WITH MATCHES.

How long did you work on THE IMPROBABLE THEORY OF ANA AND ZAK?

About a year.

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

That as long as I'm writing about something I'm passionate about, it's fun. When I tried to do something trendy (apocalypse books, etc), I failed.

What do you hope readers will take away from THE IMPROBABLE THEORY OF ANA AND ZAK?

That no matter how mainstream geeks and nerds have become, we're still just a bunch of awkward nice guys and girls who are too shy to talk to you.

How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?

I never wanted to be a writer, so it came as no surprise that my first book, PLAYING WITH MATCHES, was repeatedly rejected. It was published by literally the last place I sent it to, which, much to my surprise, was a division of Random House. My Second book, ALMOST PERFECT, won the ALA's Stonewall award. Then I hit a five year dry spell. My other published book, EVERYONE DIES IN THE END, came out last year. I have two and a half books that will probably never see the light of day, and one I'm trying to find a home for.

Was there an AHA! moment along your road to publication where something suddenly sank in and you felt you had the key to writing a novel? What was it?

I was down and out in Mexico, wondering what an American could do to mend a broken heart. It was either write a book or join the Zapatista rebels and try to overthrow the Mexican government. And, as I'm an abject coward, I chose the former.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

I can't stand any distraction, not even music. I used to work at coffee shops because there I couldn't be distracted by the internet, but then they all got wifi. I usually write at home after my family has gone to bed. But how can I concentrate on my book when the Wikipedia entry for 'Ernest Goes to Camp' is so poorly written?

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

Actually write your stupid book instead of just talking about it; get peer feedback, and stick with it.

What are you working on now?

Another assignment from my editor. It's about an idiot man-child who goes back to elementary school to prove to his wealthy father that he's responsible enough to inherit the family business.

That's actually an Adam Sandler movie. You'll just have to wait and see how my next book turns out.

Oh, and I also do book reviews for  Stop by and say hi!


The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher
Katherine Tegen Books
Released 5/19/2015

The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak is Stonewall Award-winning author Brian Katcher's hilarious he said/she said romance about two teens discovering themselves on an out-of-this-world accidental first date at a sci-fi convention.

When Ana Watson's brother ditches a high school trip to run wild at Washingcon, type-A Ana knows that she must find him or risk her last shot at freedom from her extra-controlling parents.

In her desperation, she's forced to enlist the last person she'd ever want to spend time with—slacker Zak Duquette—to help find her brother before morning comes.

But over the course of the night, while being chased by hordes of costumed Vikings and zombies, Ana and Zak begin to open up to each other. Soon, what starts as the most insane nerdfighter manhunt transforms into so much more. . . .

Purchase The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak at Amazon
Purchase The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak at IndieBound
View The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak on Goodreads


Brian Katcher was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1975. He attended the University of Missouri, Columbia, before dropping out of society and bumming around Mexico for three years. He’s worked as a fry cook, a market researcher, a welding machine operator, a telemarketer (only lasted one day), and a furniture mover. He lived on an Israeli military base one summer, and once smuggled food into Cuba. When he’s not writing, he works as a school librarian. He lives in central Missouri with his wife and daughter. He still hasn’t paid the parking ticket he got in West Virginia in 1997.

What did you think of our interview with Brian Katcher, author of THE IMPROBABLY THEORY OF ANA AND ZAK? Let us know in the comments!

Happy reading,

Martina, Jocelyn, Shelly, Jan, Lisa, Susan, and Erin


  1. this looks like a fun book. Looking forward to reading it.

  2. I've read ( and loved) the others. This should be a hoot!


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