Christian, how long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?
One morning I woke up and had an idea about a kid trapped in video game rehab. I sat down at my Remington and began to type. Four days later, I sent the manuscript, snail mail, to the offices of Simon & Schuster. They immediately bought it for a handsome sum. It was my first book. I've heard that other writers' roads to publishing are slightly more diffic--OKAY, FINE, I'M LYING. It took me ten years and six (6!) books before I published CURE. And guess what? A friend of mine suggested the story. I can't think about it much because it's very difficult to write this from the fetal position.
What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Read outside of your genre. J. R. R. Tolkien studied language. C. S. Lewis studied theology. J. K. Rowling studied mysteries. George R.R. Martin studied history. Orson Scott Card studied military strategy. Their books feel alive because they were bringing brand-new flavors to the tired fantasy/sci-fi genre. Gone with the Wind helped me feel comfortable with making my main character more distasteful. Oh, Scarlett O'Hara, will you ever stop giving?
What are you working on now?
I'm working on a horror movie pastiche set in 1958. The protagonist, Phoebe Darrow, lives in a world of giant radioactive ants, brain-sucking aliens and teen-devouring blobs. She and her mother move from motel to motel, trying to avoid these disasters. The problem is that these events are all so commonplace that Phoebe's almost bored with them. She's had to emotionally separately herself from people in order to deal with the deaths. (I should probably mention that she and her mother are the only ones who can see a giant man who fills the sky, wearing a bathrobe and wielding a remote control, waiting to be entertained by these horrors.)
ABOUT THE BOOK
Cure for the Common Universe
by Christian McKay Heidicker
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Prepare to be cured by this quirky and hilarious debut novel about a sixteen-year-old loner who is sent to rehab for video game addiction—perfect for fans of Ned Vizzini and Jesse Andrews.
Sixteen-year-old Jaxon is being committed to video game rehab…ten minutes after meeting a girl. A living, breathing girl named Serena, who not only laughed at his jokes but actually kinda sorta seemed excited when she agreed to go out with him.
Jaxon’s first date. Ever.
In rehab, Jaxon can’t blast his way through galaxies to reach her. He can’t slash through armies to kiss her sweet lips. Instead, he has four days to earn one million points by learning real-life skills. And he’ll do whatever it takes—lie, cheat, steal, even learn how to cross-stitch—in order to make it to his date.
If all else fails, Jaxon will have to bare his soul to the other teens in treatment, confront his mother’s absence, and maybe admit that it’s more than video games that stand in the way of a real connection.
From a bright new voice in young adult literature comes the story of a young man with a serious case of arrested development—and carpal tunnel syndrome—who is about to discover what real life is all about.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jocelyn, Shelly, Martina, Anisaa, Sam, Erin, Susan, Michelle, Laura, and Kristin