Hypable Exclusive Author Interview: Dan Krokos

3:00 pm EST, 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.

Newt’s brother was assigned to search for Grindelwald, new ‘Fantastic Beasts’ prop letter reveals

This likely has major implications for future Fantastic Beasts movies.

1:06 pm EST, December 9, 2016

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them included a mention of Newt Scamander’s “war hero” brother Theseus, and now it looks like the reference was something to think twice about.

Earlier this week Warner Brothers’ Los Angeles Studio Tour refreshed their Harry Potter exhibit with new props from Fantastic Beasts, and in one display is a letter from Theseus to Newt. Take a look at the photos thanks to Snitch Seeker:

fantastic-beasts-theseus-scamander

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them included a mention of Newt Scamander’s “war hero” brother Theseus, and now it looks like the reference was something to think twice about.

Earlier this week Warner Brothers’ Los Angeles Studio Tour refreshed their Harry Potter exhibit with new props from Fantastic Beasts, and in one display is a letter from Theseus to Newt. Take a look at the photos thanks to Snitch Seeker:

fantastic-beasts-theseus-scamander

fantastic-beasts-theseus-newt-grindelwald

The letter reveals that Theseus was tasked with searching for Grindelwald himself — a very interesting development for this film series. Though some words on the letter can’t be seen due to another prop covering them up, the note to Newt appears to suggest that Theseus was honored to be assigned the role. Here’s what it says, again courtesy Snitch Seeker:

Well, little brother,

I don’t know how much you have heard wherever you are about what’s going on in jolly old Europe but this chap Grindelwald has been making a lot of noise since you have been away.

Charismatic blighter, but the Ministry doesn’t like him and nor does the International Confederation.

He has upset a few of the big wheels and he’s gone underground. I have been chosen to go away and ferret him out. _______ at the chance to be picked, actually, because the whole _______ want to be on this case and it’s taken some _______ hard work to reach this status.

_______ wishing you well – wherever you are. _______ whatever beastly quests you are undertaking!

Best regards,

Theseus

The fact that this letter was made for the movie is very interesting. It suggests that Theseus at one point may’ve had a larger role in the movie — or at least, he could’ve been referenced more than once.

Further, this letter could mean that Theseus’ll have an on-screen role in future movies. In fact, Theseus’ role as Grindelwald Hunter could be J.K. Rowling’s ticket to getting Newt deeply involved with the search for Grindelwald.

johnny-depp-grindelwald

Theseus will surely be pleased to hear that his brother helped capture Grindelwald. Theory time: What if Theseus dies in a future Fantastic Beasts movie as the fight against Grindelwald (inevitably) continues? What if this leads Newt to avenge his brother’s death?

What else do we know about the character? Not much, but Snitch Seeker says that during an interview with Colin Farrell the actor revealed Theseus “was a British Auror with whom his character, Percival Graves, corresponded.”

How do you think Theseus will play into future ‘Fantastic Beasts’ movies?

Daily Show host Trevor Noah takes his experiences growing up in South Africa and puts them together in Born a Crime for our entertainment and enlightenment.

‘Born a Crime’ by Trevor Noah

The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Read full article

Daily Show host Trevor Noah takes his experiences growing up in South Africa and puts them together in Born a Crime for our entertainment and enlightenment.

‘Born a Crime’ by Trevor Noah

The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother — his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.

Born a Crime Trevor Noah

‘Born a Crime’ book review

Trevor Noah is best known for his current hosting gig on The Daily Show where he had huge shoes to fill following Jon Stewart’s departure — shoes that he has, by the way, filled with grace, humor, and a sharp wit.

Noah has been candid about growing up in South Africa under Apartheid and the troubling parallels he sees developing in the United States, especially since Donald Trump’s rise to power, but Born a Crime puts a spotlight on his childhood adventures in a way that his segments on The Daily Show cannot.

Born a Crime is an interesting mix of heartbreak and humor. There is no denying that Noah’s childhood was not easy. He talks extensively about trying to find a place for himself at school and in life. He was too White for the Black kids and too Black for the White kids. As a child, what do you do when you have nowhere to belong?

You adapt.

Unless it wasn’t abundantly clear already, Trevor Noah is an intelligent man. Born a Crime documents the way he viewed the world and used his situation to his advantage while living in South Africa. He learned dozens of languages, either in part or in full, in order to survive the endless dangers of his hometown. He found a way to make money and build himself a tiny empire using only a computer and his wits. He took what was given to him, which was, honestly, next to nothing, and found a way to make his life fulfilling.

Born a Crime Trevor Noah feature

Noah’s mother has a huge impact on the stories presented in this memoir because she had a huge impact on her son. Strong, independent, stubborn, reliable, hardworking, clever, pious, strict, and loving, Trevor makes it explicitly clear that his mother is the reason he turned out the way he did. We should all give thanks to her.

Her story is tragic, as is growing up under Apartheid, but despite their circumstances, both led vibrant lives in which they became partners in an us-against-the-world kind of way. Hearing Noah speak about his mother infuses you with a warmth and respect for a woman you have never met, and yet that feeling is as genuine as they come.

For his part, Noah was a handful as a child and a teenager, though it’s that spunk and comedy that we so look forward to seeing now. He got into trouble — he even broke the law — but he experienced life and all the ups and downs that comes with it. He is a wealth of knowledge because he has gone far and wide to gather that knowledge himself.

Born a Crime will certainly make you laugh far more than it’ll make you cry, but don’t be so bold as to put the tissues away before the final chapter of the book. This memoir is a lesson in humility, love, faith, and perseverance. Hopefully it will affect you as strongly as it has affected me, especially if you are so lucky as to be able to listen to Noah narrate the book himself on Audible.

Add ‘Born a Crime’ to your Goodreads list or purchase it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or IndieBound

The first full Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer aired on Jimmy Kimmel Live! tonight and we once again got a great look at Tom Holland as Peter Parker.

The first Spider-Man Homecoming trailer is here, and it doesn’t disappoint! In what totally feels like a coming-of-age/high school flick (but with a Marvel twist!), Peter Parker decides he wants to grow up and fight like the Avengers. But is he ready? Maybe with a little help (and no hug) from Tony Stark, he will be.

Watch the full-length trailer for ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming

Read full article

The first full Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer aired on Jimmy Kimmel Live! tonight and we once again got a great look at Tom Holland as Peter Parker.

The first Spider-Man Homecoming trailer is here, and it doesn’t disappoint! In what totally feels like a coming-of-age/high school flick (but with a Marvel twist!), Peter Parker decides he wants to grow up and fight like the Avengers. But is he ready? Maybe with a little help (and no hug) from Tony Stark, he will be.

Watch the full-length trailer for ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming

The main theme of Homecoming certainly seems to be Peter’s desire to prove that he’s a capable member of the Avengers team. If you remember in Civil War, Tony wouldn’t let him get too deep into the fight, for fear that he wasn’t ready. But Peter doesn’t want to be treated liked a kid.

Except he definitely is a kid, and it’s a nice break from the other Spider-Man movies we’ve seen so far, which depicted an older Peter Parker that never quite fit the high school vibe.

Tom Holland’s Peter is undoubted an awkward teenager, and the younger character lends itself to a lighter, more humorous tone for the movie. Marvel has always been good at balancing action and comedy in their movies, and Homecoming is already promising to be a fun romp.

We get a lot of great looks at other characters in this trailer, too, including a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo from Donald Glover and Zendaya. Michael Keaton will be playing Vulture, and of course we also get Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man.

How cool was it to see Spidey swinging along next to Iron Man like an equal?

As is often the case for Marvel movies, ABC and Jimmy Kimmel debuted the trailer for Homecoming following pretty high expectations from fans. Did it live up to your hype?

‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ hits theaters on July 7, 2017