Hypable Exclusive Author Interview: Dan Krokos

3:00 pm EDT, November 19, 2012

Dan Krokos is the author of False Memory, a young adult science fiction trilogy, and The Planet Thieves, an upcoming middle grade duology. Dan put himself through college by pumping gas for nine years, and now writes full time. When he isn’t writing, Dan enjoys watching TV, playing MMORPGs, and drinking coffee.

Could you tell us 5 random facts about yourself?

1. I was Oliver in Oliver Twist, and I stepped on a thumbtack with my bare foot in the middle of a song.

2. My favorite romantic drama is Random Hearts.

3. I really only learned the rules of football this year. Now I really love it.

4. My first name is really Constantine. Dan isn’t a pen name, I go by Dan. Constantine is for legal purposes only.

5. I am an extremely slow reader. It can take me months to finish a book.

Dan Krokos
Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer.

Chronologically:

I read a ton of books. I got a job at a gas station. I stopped reading to play video games. I became obsessed with video games. I rediscovered my love of reading. I read hundreds of books. I worked at a gas station for almost ten years. I began to write my own stories, because I was so obsessed with stories in general, and I wanted to live in my own worlds. I put every waking hour behind writing. I sent my query in to QueryShark.

I have to credit my friend Adam, who I dedicated False Memory to. If he hadn’t given me a book called Dragons of Autumn Twilight one autumn afternoon, I would probably still be at the gas station.

What has surprised you about writing and publishing?

How it always stays hard. There will always be good days and bad days. As for publishing, it surprised me how much it’s like high school – at least the YA side. TRUST NO ONE, QUESTION EVERYTHING.

Why do you feel drawn to the stories you write?

I daydream constantly. Writers are bored with real life. Real life is not enough. So to explore worlds and then share those worlds with other people is such a privilege it still hasn’t really hit me yet, even though I’ve been doing this for a while.

I have ideas, and taking those ideas from concept to completion is simply the most fulfilling thing I can think of. I write about things that interest me.

At what point in the development of an idea do you know that it will become a full-length novel?

Immediately. I don’t move forward with an idea unless I can make it into a novel or a screenplay. I can’t do short stories very well (though I’ve tried).

That doesn’t mean I don’t have hundreds of ideas in my Idea Graveyard. I do.

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

Early on I got a lot of notes asking for more emotion from the characters. It’s hard to put emotion into words for me. Think about the last time you were angry, or sad. It’s just a feeling, right? You can’t describe a feeling without taking away from the feeling itself. Feelings are beyond words. It’s a work in progress—as writing should be.

What has been the best compliment you’ve received?

That I write good action. It’s important to me that things aren’t vague, so I do a little dance when people say the action was like watching a movie.

Where’s your favorite place to write?

Behind my desk. Writing in cafes and stuff can be cool, but I like to be mega comfortable. Pajama pants and coffee from my Keurig are necessities.

Now, my ideal place would be in an actual office with an amazing desk/chair and a huge monitor. With a killer view. One day.

Do you most relate to your main characters, or to secondary characters?

It depends. I have something in common with all of my main characters. It comes simply from being in their head more.

How do you approach writing villains or antagonists?

It really depends on the project. Is it a book where I want a “fun” villain? If it’s adult, the villain is going to look substantially different, simply because I can get away with more. I try not to think about it too much, and just feel the person out.

I definitely like when a villain is similar to the hero in some way. I don’t really buy the whole “every villain is the hero of their own story” idea. The world is filled with people who do wrong and simply don’t care. Sure they might try to justify it, but deep down I would say most people know the difference between right and wrong.

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

I normally really enjoy the action stuff, but recently I wrote a make out scene between two characters that haven’t seen each other in a very long time. It takes place in a very dangerous place and almost has that feeling of, “What are you guys doing! You’re in danger.” But it was fun to write and released a lot of tension that was building up in the story.

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

The first, maybe. During the writing process, I get a better and better picture of how it’s all going to end. Once that’s in place I usually know my last line ahead of time.

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

I would say Harry Potter, but that was around when I was a teen, I just wasn’t into Harry Potter (I know, crazy). So probably the Hunger Games. It’s one of my favorites of all time.

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

Music is good for breaks, but I try not to listen to it while writing. I need coffee for sure, and water. No food. I don’t like getting food grease on any of my electronics, especially my keyboard. I’m weird about it.

False Memory has been optioned for television by RKO. What was it like to find out that your book has been optioned? What do you hope for in the adaptation?

It was extremely cool, and didn’t feel real. It still doesn’t. I still feel like the guy at the gas station. That said, I think there’s a lot of misconception about what it means to have a book optioned. It doesn’t mean anything is actually going to get made. Production companies snatch up rights all the time to various projects they hope will hit big. Out of all the YA books being optioned right now, an extremely small percentage will actually be made into films/TV shows. I try to not think about it at all, until there is some kind of news.

The Planet Thieves, which comes out in May, is currently at Warner Bros with Benderspink and the producer of Harry Potter (David Heyman) attached. For both projects, I would be beyond excited to see whatever they come up with. I believe in new interpretations. I don’t understand when fans explode over casting news, or when a movie changes something from the book. Of course it’s not going to be exactly like your imagination! So yeah, no matter what happens, I’d be thrilled. Unless they use muppets or something.

What are you working on now?

I’m finishing up the first draft of the third False Memory book, and also working on the sequel to The Planet Thieves.

For more about Dan Krokos:

You can follow Dan on Facebook and find him on Twitter as @DanKrokos. Also check out his Tumblr and website at DanKrokos.com

False Memory is available for purchase from Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, and other booksellers.

Sherlock finally made it to Hall H at Comic-Con and the creative team brought a few surprises. Steven Moffatt, Sue Vertue, Mark Gatiss, Amanda Abbington, and Benedict Cumberbatch were on hand to the thrill of fans.

Benedict Cumberbatch and crew definitely know how to work a crowd. Here are the top highlights of the panel that played to a crowd of thousands.

1. Season 4

They are currently two weeks from finishing Sherlock season 4. Cumberbatch said that “a lot comes home to roost this season… it’s ballsy.”

They have 26 pages to film this Tuesday. Cumberbatch states that the monologues are very challenging and take a lot of work.

As for actors’ favorite lines this season:

Gatiss: “Sherlock.”

Abington: Not a line but a beckoning gesture.

Cumberbatch: Can’t say.

Key names for next season (change from doing key words):

  • Moffat: Smith
  • Gatiss: Thatcher
  • Vertue: Sherinford

2. Keeping the show fresh

By not making as many episodes, the creators feel they actually keep the quality. They joked that under normal standards they’ve actually made about half a season of a standard TV show, or 13 episodes.

There are no plans for any other Victorian Era shows. Moffat feels that it would be less interesting if the mind palace returned there.

3. Learning curves and drugs

Gatiss stated that with 90-minute episodes you “really have to put [Sherlock and Watson] through the ringer.” Moffat added that because of this, Watson has to evolve. Watson can’t keep being amazed by Sherlock. As for Sherlock, “he can’t be the weird scary amoral man we met in the first episode… geniuses learn… he has to learn.”

Sherlock’s drug addiction comes back when he is not working. It’s hinted that the addiction will be a bigger issue this season than in the past.

4. The coat and the hair

There is apparently a big debate every year over changing the iconic coat. Sue Vertue wants to change it, and Steven Moffat wants to keep it. Benedict Cumberbatch dove into the debate stating, “I’m quite hung up on the coat…. but sometimes it has to come off.” The audience reaction was predictable.

Cumberbatch joked that he loved playing Sherlock in the Victorian era because of the slicked back hair. In the modern era it takes forever for his hair to get done. On a serious note, he loved the more straight-laced, clipped version of Sherlock.

5. First ‘Sherlock’ season 4 trailer

The teaser trailer featured this phrase over and over: “Something’s coming. It may be Moriarity, maybe not.” Literally every character we know and love looks like they are scared, angry, or worried on an epic scale.

One of the best moments is Mrs. Hudson saying with supreme venom to Mycroft, “Get out of my house you reptile.” Watch below:

6. Improv and family

There is actually, according to Cumberbatch, very little improvisation on set. It’s about how to do what’s there, and not messing with the script. He firmly believes that what is there is what is needed for the show.

Cumberbatch genuinely loves having his mom and dad play his TV mom and dad. Every now and then he can see his mother struggle to call him “Sherlock” and not “Ben.”

7. Mary in the know

Abbington didn’t know she was an assassin until well into the last season. When she found out, she told partner Martin Freeman, “My God, [the fans] are going to hate me.” Despite this, she loves the flawed characters of the series.

8. When will the series return?

No date was given for either the BBC release date or the PBS release date. We only know that it will premiere in 2017.

9. The dog photo

According to Cumberbatch the dog (depicted above) was a nightmare. “The dog wouldn’t fucking move,” he said. The companion was supposed to drag Sherlock all over London, but the dog didn’t like people, concrete, crowds… really anything about an urban setting.

Moffat and Gatiss resorted to writing a new scene on the spot to account for the lack of the dog’s interest in roaming. According to Gatiss all it did was drool on the concrete.

10. Future seasons?

Touching on the future of the series, Moffat stated, “Why is everybody assuming they survive season 4?” Gatiss joked, “We’re skipping season 5 and doing season 6.”

Moffat clarified that — contrary to recent reports — he never said that this season would be the last one (He’s right: All he said was the schedules of Cumberbatch and Freeman are only getting more difficult to work with). Gatiss added that they want to do more seasons, and they hope that they are able to.

Sherlock will be back in 2017. What do you think of the first season 4 trailer?

Marvel presented at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday evening and offered new looks at Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and more.

“We only want to come to Hall H when we have a lot to show you,” teased Marvel’s Kevin Feige at the start of the panel. Indeed, they had a ton to offer — including news of a new Marvel theme park attraction!

Everything we’ve learned at Marvel’s SDCC panel

  1. Marvel kicked off their panel with a new logo and updated fanfare by composer Michael Giacchino.

  2. Black Panther had some casting news to share: Lupita N’yongo will be playing one of the guards at Wakanda named Nakia. Meanwhile, Michael B. Jordan will be playing Erik Killmonger. We also received brand new casting news: Danai Gurira has joined the movie — She’ll play Okoye, head of Dora Milaje! Finally, a new logo for the film was revealed:

    black-panther-logo-sdcc-2016

  3. Thor: Ragnarok unveiled a behind-the-scenes look at the new film which included a look at Cate Blanchett as Hela. They also showed a documentary-style clip (think The Office) explaining where Hulk and Thor were during the events of Captain America: Civil War! In it, Thor had a tiny bed for Mjolnir and a crime board that tried to connect the Infinity Stones and discover their purpose. There is also mugshot of Loki. Like Black Panther, Thor: Ragnarok had a new logo to show off with a retro looking subtitle:

    thor-ragnorak-new-logo-sdcc-2016

  4. Doctor Strange’s portion of the panel kicked off with a smoke and laser show to introduce Benedict Cumberbatch.

    Tilda Swinton was also at the panel and spoke about the Ancient One. “The truth is, anyone can be The Ancient One,” she said. A clip from Doctor Strange was also showed in which Steven Strange meets Tilda’s character (It won’t be online).

  5. Thankfully, a brand new and wholly epic Doctor Strange trailer was released. Watch below:

    A new poster was also unveiled:

    doctor-strange-sdcc-poster

  6. Next up was Spider-Man: Homecoming. Director Jon Watts described the film as a high school movie about a 15-year-old Peter Parker who’s in the 10th grade. A new clip was unveiled and had a strong John Hughes vibe — Peter Parker is just your average high schooler trying to get through the day. There was also this great moment:

  7. Next up: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which kicks off a few months after the first movie. The entire cast was there to introduce a new scene in which a very adorable Baby Groot helps Yondu and Rocket break out of prison. Baby Groot even has a little outfit! Adorably, the Ravengers — who captured Yondu and Rocket — refuse to hurt Baby Groot because of how cute he is.

    This movie got a new logo as well.

    guardians-of-the-galaxy-sequel-new-logo

  8. Speaking of Marvel’s space dramedy, the studio also confirmed rumors of a Guardians of the Galaxy theme park attraction. It’s called Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! and debuts Summer 2017 at Disneyland’s California Adventure theme park. Sadly, it’s replacing the classic Tower of Terror ride. Check out a behind the scenes video of the attraction:

  9. Marvel ended their panel by confirming that Brie Larson will play Captain Marvel, as was previously rumored. She took the stage to say hi to the adoring audience, and participated in a giant Marvel selfie:

All in all, Marvel had a ton to share. What do you think of all the developments?

DC kept the trailer train trotting along today with an all new trailer for Suicide Squad!

Though Suicide Squad is just a few weeks away from hitting theaters, DC kept the momentum going today with an all new trailer featuring music from the soundtrack, new footage, and a better look at what exactly we can expect from the upcoming villain-focused super hero movie. Check it out below.

The new (and likely final) Suicide Squad trailer comes after surprise premiere of the Wonder Woman trailer and an even bigger surprise with our first look at the Justice League trailer. As with the other trailers today, this one debuted publicly alongside its Comic-Con Hall H premiere.

In this trailer, we hear a lot from Will Smith who plays Deadshot and arguably the most decorated and respected actor among the cast. “They’re gonna blame us for the whole thing. We’re the patsies, don’t forget. We’re the bad guys.” The trailer is jam-packed with all of the villains and their powers and skills on full display.

We also get a better look at the leader of the pack, Jared Leto’s The Joker. “I can’t wait to show you my toys,” Leto’s Joker says while slapping around a man.

Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn also gets a lot of screen time in this trailer. Though, most of it features close ups of her back side, which stays close to the adult, rugged tone of the other trailers we have seen thus far.

There’s no doubt that fans will be flocking to theaters rooting on the bad guys when Suicide Squad hits theaters on August 5th. Suicide Squad features

What did you think of the thrilling, action-packed trailer for Suicide Squad?