T. Michael Martin is the author of The End Games, a young adult zombie-thriller about brothers and brains, which debuted yesterday. Mike has been a screenwriter, a prank-caller, and a test-subject, and now lives with his wife Sarah in Virginia.

Could you tell us 5 random facts about yourself?

1. I once met Joss Whedon in line at Los Angeles International Airport. (He’s super nice!)

2. The first movie my parents ever took me to was The Terminator (I was two months old.)

3. When I was eight, I tried to build a jetpack so that I could defend myself from some bullies who beat me up. Didn’t work. :/

4. I have a degree in Filmmaking, and I graduated with the highest GPA in the history of my film school.

5. I make YouTube videos every week at youtube.com/tmikemartin.

Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer.

I’ve been a book lover since before I could read: some of my favorite childhood memories are my mom reading Berenstein Bears to me. But the writer who made me want to become a writer was R.L. Stine. For my generation, Goosebumps was the introduction to the grand archetypes of the supernatural, and Mr. Stine sent me head-over-heels in love with horror. (That’s partly why it was so thrilling to receive a blurb from him for The End Games!)

So I wrote and wrote for, like, fifteen years, and then had a screenplay “optioned” (where a studio “rents” the rights to develop the project) during my senior year of film school. It didn’t work out, though, I think for a couple reasons: 1) the Writer’s Guild strike happened, and 2) as heartbreaking as it was to admit, I just wasn’t a good enough writer yet.

I worked a bunch of frustrating, minimum-wage jobs for several years after that (including a stint as a test subject in experimental drug studies). And honestly, those years were so scary: I was watching my childhood friends go on to promising careers in other fields, and more than once — as I scrubbed a toilet or got poked with another hypodermic needle — I despaired that I might be kidding myself with This Whole Writing Thing.

But one of the things I’m proudest of in my life is that I kept writing throughout all that pain. I had a feeling that a book I was writing (my third novel, called The End Games) might be a pretty good one. When I finished the book in the fall of 2011, I sent off query letters to agents on the scariest Saturday night of my life. I received multiple offers of representation first thing Monday morning. The book sold to HarperCollins about a month later.

(Do I have to tell you I cried?)

What has surprised you about writing and publishing?

I’ve been blessed to have some amazing writer friends mentor me throughout this whole process, so I haven’t been too caught off-guard by anything (yet!). Getting used to working under deadline and contract required an adjustment, for sure, but I’m very grateful to be getting published and I’ve had a good experience so far.

The End Games by T. Michael Martin

Why do you feel drawn to the stories you write?

I’ve always loved what Stephen King says about why he writes horror, and it sums up so precisely how I feel about it, too: “I was built with a love of the night and the unquiet coffin, that’s all. If you disapprove, I can only shrug my shoulders. It’s what I have.”

Also, as strange as it might sound, whenever I encounter a great scary story, the primary aspect of my own fear is a sense of wonder. Modern technology has improved our lives in countless ways — but I can’t help but feel that they’ve also robbed our world of much of its mystery. The ability to instantaneously dial up the answer to almost any question sometimes makes me feel like there are no more uncharted lands to sail toward and discover. So tales of the extraordinary offer us a very precious thing: the re-enchantment of the world around us.

I also love that horror is, in so many ways, the genre of non-denial: Scary stories, or at least the best of them, reckon with the fact that life is sometimes scary and violent. And because they show the full spectrum of existence, they allow us to review and reframe our own struggles through the lens of the extraordinary and extreme. Which I find to be a pretty inspiring thing.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?

There have been some criticisms of the narrative voice in The End Games, which can sting sometimes. But I also have to admit that I always knew that the book’s kinetic style — inspired by William Goldman and Cormac McCarthy — might be controversial. (And in fairness to the book, an equal number of people — including Booklist, who gave The End Games a starred review — have had hugely positive things to say about the voice. And that does make me feel really good.)

What has been the best compliment you’ve received?

John Green (#1 New York Times author of The Fault in Our Stars) is my favorite Young Adult author, and he recently tweeted:

Where’s your favorite place to write?

I love writing in libraries, particularly university libraries when the students are on break. (The silence and emptiness are both peaceful and I Am Legend spooky!) But probably my favorite place is in my home office, with the smartphone, router, and laptop turned off, and my old electric Brother typewriter set up by the window. (Most of The End Games was written by hand or on a typewriter, and “revised” for the first time when I typed it into Scrivener.)

What is one thing you wish you’d known when you sat down to write your novel?

Honey, this is gonna take a while. (Four years!)

How do you approach writing villains or antagonists?

With radical empathy. I’ve always tried to remember that every person alive is the “protagonist” in his own life, and almost no one (even really villainous people) would call themselves “evil.” So I try to write the antagonists with a clear idea of how they rationalize their own behavior to themselves. (Which has the interesting effect of making them even scarier, I think!)

Also, I’m a big believer in the idea that villains should be the hero’s “shadow.” This is a Jung/Campbell concept: The antagonist is necessary to the protagonist, because they represent the dark, unclaimed, unconscious impulses that the hero already has within himself. (In popular culture, this is most beautifully illustrated in a hallucination sequence in The Empire Strikes Back, when Luke slices off Darth Vader’s mask… and finds his own face inside it.) So really, an antagonist is the worst aspects of the protagonist, just taken to the extreme. And it’s only through conflict with the antagonist that the hero will be forced to grow into whomever he’s destined to be.

How do you construct the world and tonal environment of your story?

For me, everything starts with finding the emotional center of a story. In The End Games, the heart of the story is the relationship between seventeen-year-old Michael and his five-year-old brother, Patrick. Once I had that, I asked myself this question: What is the Very Worst World that I could put these two specific people in? And how — over the course of the story, if they can survive — can it actually turn into the Very Best (or Emotionally Necessary, at least) World for them?

Which is easier to write: The first line or the last line?

Oh man, no doubt the last! By that point, I have a good handle on what the book is about thematically, so it’s always fun to try to end with a sentence that serves as a kind of resonant, lingering note.

What is your favorite chapter or scene you’ve written recently?

I’ve been writing the climax of my next book this week, and although I’m a really tough critic of my own work most of the time, I’m so proud of it. (I can’t go into details just yet, but I think it has the most original imagery and action I’ve ever written.)

Which one YA novel do you wish you had when you were a teen?

Looking for Alaska, by John Green.

Do you have things you need in order to write? (i.e. coffee, cupcakes, music?)

Quiet, and a goodish chunk of time (1.5 to 4 hours). Coffee helps, too.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on my next novel for HarperCollins, which will be published in Autumn 2014. It’s another YA thriller that takes place in West Virginia, with lots of action and scares and humor and teenagers saving the world. We’re keeping the specifics of the plot a secret at the moment, but I will say that it isn’t post-apocalyptic or a sequel to The End Games, and it also doesn’t have any zombie-ish creatures.

Bonus Question! Would you rather be a book, or a computer?

Computer. (So I could download ALL THE BOOKS! :D )

Thanks, Mike!

Thanks so much for having me, y’all, and for all the great questions!

About ‘The End Games’:

It happened on Halloween.
The world ended.
And a dangerous game brought it back to life.

Seventeen-year-old Michael and his five-year-old brother, Patrick, have been battling monsters in The Game for weeks.

In the rural mountains of West Virginia—armed with only their rifle and their love for each other—the brothers follow Instructions from the mysterious Game Master. They spend their days searching for survivors, their nights fighting endless hordes of “Bellows”—creatures that roam the dark, roaring for flesh. And at this Game, Michael and Patrick are very good.

But The Game is changing.

The Bellows are evolving.

The Game Master is leading Michael and Patrick to other survivors—survivors who don’t play by the rules.

And the brothers will never be the same.

For more about T. Michael Martin:

You can connect with Mike on Facebook, Tumblr, and on Twitter as @TMikeMartin. Check out his YouTube channel for pop-culture musings, and and for more information and contact details, visit his website, TMichaelMartin.com. The End Games is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other booksellers.

Quiz: Which ‘Mean Girls’ character are you?

9:02 am EDT, September 29, 2016

Ever wondered if you’re more of a Cady or a Regina? Today is your lucky day!

To celebrate Mean Girls Day (October 3rd), Episode, the world’s largest mobile network for interactive stories and creators of Mean Girls: Senior Year, has made a quiz to determine which Mean Girls character you are.

Once you’ve found your Mean Girls spirit animal, continue the fun by downloading both seasons of the Mean Girls story on Episode for iOS and Android. Rejoin all of your favorite characters as you navigate everything from new crushes to sorority pledging. You choose how the story plays out.

Read full article

Ever wondered if you’re more of a Cady or a Regina? Today is your lucky day!

To celebrate Mean Girls Day (October 3rd), Episode, the world’s largest mobile network for interactive stories and creators of Mean Girls: Senior Year, has made a quiz to determine which Mean Girls character you are.

Once you’ve found your Mean Girls spirit animal, continue the fun by downloading both seasons of the Mean Girls story on Episode for iOS and Android. Rejoin all of your favorite characters as you navigate everything from new crushes to sorority pledging. You choose how the story plays out.

You go, Glen Coco!

Let’s play! Which ‘Mean Girls’ character are you?

Play Mean Girls in the Episode app today!

Note: This quiz was sponsored by the advertiser.

WB has revealed that it will take the threat of an alien race, The Dominators, to unite the heroes of Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl.

With Supergirl entering the Arrow-verse, she will be bringing aliens along — though it remains unclear how her Earth will integrate with Earth-1, where the casts of the other three series reside; Barry visited Kara’s Earth on Supergirl last season when he ran fast enough to open a portal.

“This year, for our mega ‘Arrowverse’ crossover, we’re taking inspiration from a DC crossover from the late 1980s known as Invasion!, which featured an alien race called the Dominators, who’d previously vexed the Legion of Superheroes,” Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow EP Marc Guggenheim says in a press release.

Read full article

WB has revealed that it will take the threat of an alien race, The Dominators, to unite the heroes of Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl.

With Supergirl entering the Arrow-verse, she will be bringing aliens along — though it remains unclear how her Earth will integrate with Earth-1, where the casts of the other three series reside; Barry visited Kara’s Earth on Supergirl last season when he ran fast enough to open a portal.

“This year, for our mega ‘Arrowverse’ crossover, we’re taking inspiration from a DC crossover from the late 1980s known as Invasion!, which featured an alien race called the Dominators, who’d previously vexed the Legion of Superheroes,” Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow EP Marc Guggenheim says in a press release.

“We’re using cutting edge prosthetics and computer effects to achieve a feature film-quality look which is faithful to Invasion! artist Todd McFarlane’s interpretation of the characters.”

The Dominators

The Dominators, collectively known as the Dominion, are an alien race from the farthest reaches of the universe. A technologically-advanced species who specialize in genetics, their society is extremely hierarchical, with status depending on the size of a red circle that appears on their foreheads.

Invasion! was a major, three-issue crossover event in 1989 that featured the Dominators joining an Alien Alliance to wipe out humanity due to the threat the meta-gene that allows for humans to develop superpowers presents.

When they traveled to Earth, heroes and villains alike teamed up to fight to protect the world. The Dominators were also an enemy of the Legion of Superheroes in the 30th century.

It’s also worth noting that Arrow‘s 100th’s episode will air during the crossover, so we should definitely expect something special.

Are you looking forward to the crossover between ‘Arrow,’ ‘The Flash,’ ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ and ‘Supergirl’?

Need a little extra dose of Gilmore Girls music in your daily life? Then you’re going to want to put this Gilmore Girls playlist on repeat!

When it came to music, Gilmore Girls really had its finger on the pulse of amazing music, both modern and otherwise. From The Bangles to The Shins to Elvis Costello, the show incorporated an eclectic yet fun mix of music into every episode of every season.

To celebrate the show’s impeccable choices (in addition to our undying love for the show itself), we’ve carefully crafted a Gilmore Girls music playlist. Relive all of the ups and downs in each of the seasons and perhaps throw an impromptu dance party with these tunes. With our Gilmore Girls playlist, you can now indulge in Gilmore Girls 24/7.

Read full article

Need a little extra dose of Gilmore Girls music in your daily life? Then you’re going to want to put this Gilmore Girls playlist on repeat!

When it came to music, Gilmore Girls really had its finger on the pulse of amazing music, both modern and otherwise. From The Bangles to The Shins to Elvis Costello, the show incorporated an eclectic yet fun mix of music into every episode of every season.

To celebrate the show’s impeccable choices (in addition to our undying love for the show itself), we’ve carefully crafted a Gilmore Girls music playlist. Relive all of the ups and downs in each of the seasons and perhaps throw an impromptu dance party with these tunes. With our Gilmore Girls playlist, you can now indulge in Gilmore Girls 24/7.

Hypable’s ‘Gilmore Girls’ music playlist

‘Where You Lead I Will Follow’ by Carole King and Louise Goffin

What better way to kick off a Gilmore Girls playlist than with the show’s famous theme song? It’s the perfect opening song. (And if you choose to play it on repeat, that’s completely acceptable.)
 

‘This is Hell’ by Elvis Costello

It makes perfect sense that Jess’ first impression of Stars Hollow would be narrated by this song. After all, the starry-eyed small town life can be kind of overwhelming at first.
 

‘There She Goes’ by The La’s

Fact: This was the very first song played on Gilmore Girls! It accompanied an introductory look around Stars Hollow before introducing our favorite gals. Oh, the memories!
 

‘Then She Appeared’ by XTC

What a perfect song to mark Rory and Jess’ first kiss. It’s perfectly sweet and tender and just oh-so-totally them. It’s hard not to imagine the scene when listening to this song.
 

‘Fell in Love With a Girl’ by The White Stripes

This was one of the songs that Hep Alien played at their very first gig! Sure, it wasn’t really a great night for Jess/Rory or the band, but it started out well enough!
 

‘Reflecting Light’ by Sam Phillips

As if Luke and Lorelai weren’t cute enough together at Luke’s sister’s wedding, they had to go and dance beautifully to this tender song.
 

‘Human Behaviour’ by Björk

What would a Gilmore Girls playlist be without including a song from one of the girls’ biggest inspirations? Just take a listen and think of their famous snow creation.
 

‘Eternal Flame’ by The Bangles

Make one of Lorelai’s favorite bands one of your favorite bands by listening to this track on our Gilmore Girls playlist on repeat!
 

‘One Line’ by PJ Harvey

“I love you, you idiot” is probably one of the most quotable lines on the show. This song just set the mood and really made it that much more memorable. It’s nothing less than perfect.
 

‘So Says I’ by the Shins

Who could ever forget the spring break scene where Paris tries to make out with Rory on the dance floor? The fact that The Shins were playing this song live during the scene just made it so much better.
 

‘Time Bomb’ by Rancid

Not only did Lane dance to this catchy tune in Rory’s room toward the beginning of the first season, but Hep Alien eventually covers it during a performance later in the series!
 

‘When You and I Were Young Maggie Blues’ by Bing Crosby and Gary Crosby

Watching Rory and Richard bond over this song in the hospital room is still one of the most memorable scenes of the series. Pour one out for the wonderful Richard Gilmore. We miss you, friend.
 

‘Inside Out’ by The Mighty Lemon Drops

The Gilmore Girls series finale was such a bittersweet episode, but this song definitely made for one of the most memorable moments: Luke and Lorelai kissing!
 

‘If I Could Write’ by Sam Phillips

This emotional song sums up the Gilmore girls’ love for each other perfectly, especially in times of sadness. Who could ever forget this song playing as Rory packs for a grip to Europe with Emily after fighting with Lorelai?
 

‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’ by Cyndi Lauper

Lorelai and Emily Gilmore walking a catwalk to Cyndi Lauper’s greatest hit? Classic. Though they may not have gotten along often, at least they could bond over this song.
 

‘O’Oh’ by Yoko Ono

Remember that time when Rory skipped school to walk through New York with Jess, stopping for food and record shopping? This song was the perfect accompaniment for their adventure.
 

The La La Tunes by Sam Phillips

Okay, so these aren’t really actual songs per say, but Gilmore Girls wouldn’t be Gilmore Girls without them (and so neither would the Gilmore Girls playlist)! They’re so iconic!
 

‘My Little Corner of the World’ by Yo La Tengo

We decided to end our Gilmore Girls playlist on a cute note with this sweet song. The mental image of Rory and Lorelai runing at each other from across town during the season 1 finale is enough to make anyone smile.

 

What song(s) would you add to our ‘Gilmore Girls’ music playlist?

 
Related: Everything I know about Gilmore Girls I learned from pop culture (and my crazy friends)