Can you tell us a little bit about ROTTERS?
ROTTERS is a story I wrote about a teenage boy who becomes a pariah at his new high school and turns to his father, who just happens to be part of a secret underground network of grave robbers.
After reading ROTTERS, I went to your blog and thought - gosh, he looks like such a nice man, where did that story come from?! But then I thought 'that's what people always say when they find out their neighbor is a serial killer.'haha So how did you come to write ROTTERS?
Well, first I dug up a few bodies. I kid. Really, I'd been interested in doing something about grave robbers for nearly a decade. It is something that by its nature needs to be done at night, and so lends itself to secret societies. I played around with the concept a little over the years but could never find the right inroad. Finally I had the idea of intersecting a high school storyline. It's sort of like in CARRIE, where there's two plots going on -- one about a ostracized girl, and one about a girl developing telekinesis -- that intersect in a shocking way.
You're quite accomplished with directing films and writing books, can you tell us a little bit about the films you've directed?
My films have maybe a bigger following than my books. The thing is, there is almost no overlap in audience. My films are nothing like my books; they are mostly cinema verite documentaries. I've found it's a losing battle trying to get my film fans to read my books and vice versa. If you're interested, though, the Documentary Channel, which you can find on Direct TV and Dish Network, is playing four of my documentaries in September: SHERIFF, MUSICIAN, PROFESSOR, and PREACHER.
I have to say that when I was reading ROTTERS, I was at times disgusted and yet enthralled, I couldn't stop reading it. Did you think that it would go that way or were you worried that people would be too disgusted?
No, I didn't worry about that. I was sort of exploding with ideas for this book. I assumed the intensity of it all, including the moments where it gets a little disgusting, would put off sensitive readers. But anyone looking for a book with ambition, that really shot for the fences, would get a kick out of it. This thing is pretty full-throttle.
Did you set out to specifically do a YA book or do you think that teens have simply picked it up and owned it?
Writing a YA book wasn't specifically my intent. But there's an echelon of YA books that are indistinguishable from adult books -- it's just a matter of marketing, really. That's where ROTTERS fits and I'm happy to have it there. Adults are going to assume the book is for them, but teen fans are the best fans to have: they're passionate and when they love something, they tell everybody they know.
The situation of the main character, Joey, is rather bizarre. I was completely baffled by the fact that his mother would want him sent to his father when she knew what the life was like. What was the motivation there? I wondered if she thought it would help 'make him a man' or if she thought that their child would make Ken a better man.
Both of those are good theories!
How does your family feel about your topic choice?
I think they were all a little wary of it. None of them are big readers and I'm sure they've never voluntarily picked up anything like this. But their reaction has been the same as the general public -- once they got into it, they were compelled to know what crazy thing was going to happen next.
If you could go anywhere (real or imagined) where would you go?
I've always wanted to go to Easter Island. I suppose I will one of these days.
What are your top 5 favorites things of all time?
Favorite "things"? Are you kidding me? Where would I start? Could you narrow this down a bit? Like, how can I put "sunlight" on the same list as the album "Tonics & Twisted Chasers" by Guided by Voices? This is an impossible task.
Will we be seeing more dark, dismal and dank novels from you soon?
I'm not entirely comfortable with "dismal." Dark and dank, though, definitely.
Where can your fans find you next?
I can be found on Twitter and Facebook:
You can also visit the author's website: Daniel Kraus