We're thrilled to be part of the THE STRANGE FASCINATIONS OF NOAH HYPNOTIK blog tour and to have David Arnold here to tell us more about his latest novel.
David, what was your inspiration for writing THE STRANGE FASCINATIONS OF NOAH HYPNOTIK?
In 2010 I was on a cruise ship and one of the evening performers was a hypnotist, and I thought, what if one of these people woke up in an alternate reality? The idea of change—what if you went under, and when you came out, everyone in your life was different? But subtly different, not like whole other people. The idea evolved over time, but I think that was the seed. Change is really the theme of the book: at the beginning, Noah feels he’s changing while everyone around him is stagnant; after hypnosis, everyone around him has changed and he has to figure out why. There are a lot of other allusions to change in the book (Noah is obsessed with David Bowie, who was perhaps the very embodiment of change), and I think that’s due to the fact that I wrote NOAH during a time of transition for myself and my family. We were in the middle of a major relocation, having sold our house in Nashville, but not yet bought a house in our new city, and doing all that with our two-year-old son. So I think it was natural not only to write something I could latch onto, but also something that reflected my own season of change.
What book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or visa versa?
Specifically, while writing NOAH I was reading a ton of Haruki Murakami. I love the way he puts two people in a room and just lets them talk for pages. It’s a special way of getting to know a character, that sort of uninterrupted dialogue, and there’s a good bit of that in NOAH. I also love how reading Murakami feels less like encountering a book, and more like encountering a painting. It just sort of oozes color all over the place, and, like most good art, demands ample room for interpretation. I don’t know if I succeeded, but that was definitely a goal with NOAH.
How long did you work on THE STRANGE FASCINATIONS OF NOAH HYPNOTIK?
So far, I’ve written three novels, and they’ve each taken roughly two years to write. Usually about a solid year of just writing on my own where no one sees it. Then it goes through my crit partners (Courtney Stevens and Becky Albertalli). Then I rework it. My agent and editors probably see it about a year and half in. Then about six to eight months of working with them on getting it where it needs to be. This could certainly change, but so far it’s held true.
What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Give yourself permission to suck. Nothing was ever good at first. And presumably, if you’re writing, you’re a decent reader, which means you can spot bad writing when you see it. So when you write, and it’s bad, you think, well, that’s bad, I should stop. But you have to let yourself be bad, let that come out of you. Finish the thing, even in its badness. Give yourself permission to suck.
ABOUT THE BOOKThe Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik
by David Arnold
Viking Books for Young Readers
This is Noah Oakman → sixteen, Bowie believer, concise historian, disillusioned swimmer, son, brother, friend.
Then Noah → gets hypnotized.
Now Noah → sees changes: his mother has a scar on her face that wasn’t there before; his old dog, who once walked with a limp, is suddenly lithe; his best friend, a lifelong DC Comics disciple, now rotates in the Marvel universe. Subtle behaviors, bits of history, plans for the future—everything in Noah’s world has been rewritten. Everything except his Strange Fascinations . . .
A stunning surrealist portrait, The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik is a story about all the ways we hurt our friends without knowing it, and all the ways they stick around to save us.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Have you had a chance to read THE STRANGE FASCINATIONS OF NOAH HYPNOTIK yet? Have events in your life affected the theme of your novel? Are you able to let the bad come out of you? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!
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