The carnage report was lucky enough to catch up with Barry Lyga, author of I hunt Killers and below was the result.Enjoy!!!
What got you into writing?
You know, I don’t know! I’ve wanted to write since I was very, very young, but I have no idea where the impulse came from. I certainly didn’t know any writers as a child, nor were there any examples of people making a living from art in my family or neighborhood. The idea got lodged in my head at around age 7 and stayed there despite the universe’s best efforts to knock it out.
Do you have any influences over your work?
Oh, sure. Probably the biggest is Bruce Springsteen. Most people think of him as a musician or a rock star, but what he actually is, is a storyteller. In a tight little five minute song, he gives you characters, story arc, development, the whole deal.
What do you think makes the crime genre better than other genres?
I don’t! I don’t think any genre has an inherent advantage over any other one. I’ve written crime, horror, sci-fi, “realistic,” and I love them all.
Science fiction has often offered the best criticisms of modern society, why do you think that most crimes don’t really say much the society they take place in?
I’m not sure I agree with the premise of the question. I think many crimes DO say something about the society they take place in. There’s a reason, for example, that in the U.S. we have an epidemic of gun violence that doesn’t exist in other modern countries — we’ve created a culture wherein guns are not only readily available, but also in which they are seen as solutions to problems. That’s almost specifically unique to the U.S. due to its cultural background. Then you add in social pressures that make individuals think they need to shoot their way out of a problem and the next thing you know, you have bodies on the floor.
Most people can name the best book they ever read, can you name your worst?
Oh, sure, I can. But I won’t. I don’t like bashing other authors in public. I know some people enjoy it when two authors go at each other, but I just don’t like it.
Most writers find writing a real struggle, do you think this is because writers have to know where the bodies are buried in their stories?
That could be. I also think it’s inevitable when you have ego and restraint pulling and tugging at each other. On the one hand, writers have to think, “This story is worth telling.” On the other hand, they have to acknowledge, “Not everyone will love this, and I will inevitably screw up at least part of it because I’m human.” The clash of absolute faith and necessary doubt is never pretty.
Taking in to account that you have some success in an field where it’s notoriously hard to come by, what advice would you give to the young writers out there?
It’s tough to give advice based on my own success because this business really doesn’t have definable patterns or pathways to success. All you can do is write the best damn book you’re capable of, then hope for luck to break your way. In the meantime, write another one. That’s what I did.
I know it’s heavy question but being a writer who has written within the crime fiction genre, why do you think people commit crime?
Wow, yeah, heavy questions. I think there are a variety of reasons. There’s anomie theory, of course. But then there are also people who are just plain bad. Desperation, need for survival, sheer evil… There’s sadly no shortage of reasons for people to do harm to others.
While most writers (and readers) may say the number one rule of all fiction writing is not to be boring, do you think there are any rules to writing fiction?
Not being boring is a good start! I would say, “Be true to the story” is important, too. As soon as you start modifying your story to please some invisible audience that may or may not even read it, you’ve lost the battle.
Do you have a writing process?
I don’t think of it as a process, really — I just sit down and pound the keys. I treat it like actual work. I report for duty every day and pound away!
Final Question, what project or releases do you have lined up or in the works?
I’m working on the final book in the I HUNT KILLERS trilogy, which will be out in 2014. Also, a fun middle-grade fantasy novel, and a couple of other things I can’t talk about yet.