Author: Jeff Hirsch
Release Date: July 5, 2016
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Seventeen-year-old Cardinal has escaped the virus that ravaged his town, leaving its victims alive but without their memories. He chooses to remain in the quarantined zone, caring for a group of orphaned kids in a mountain camp with the help of the former brutal school bully, now transformed by the virus into his best friend. But then a strong-willed and mysterious young woman appears, and the closed-off world Cardinal has created begins to crumble.
I got to thinking about a school bully. Let’s call him Keith for the sake of discussion. Clearly some series of events made Keith into the lunch money stealing, freshman menacing jerk he is. Well, what if one day the memories of those events were wiped from his mind? What if he forgot everything that made him the way he is? What if he forgot he was supposed to be the bully? Would he still be one? Who would any of us become if we forgot everything that made us who we are?
2. What's the hardest part of being an author, in your opinion?
It’s probably the feeling that your aspirations are always a step or two beyond your abilities. That’s probably as it should be since you always want to be pushing yourself, but it can occasionally make for a frustrating work day.
3. Favorite book/author?
Can’t really say I have either. I just like too many of each for too many different reasons. I’d say the book that was the most influential on me though was Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising. It was the first book I read where it didn’t feel like I was reading it so much as it felt like I’d slipped into another reality. It’s a big reason why I became a writer.
4. Any suggestions or tips for aspiring writers?
Nothing too complicated. Write a little something everyday and have fun with it. Writing is the biggest and best game of pretend there is. Treat it as such. Eventually show your writing to a few smart people and listen close to what they have to say. Be in it for the long haul. Also, pursue other interests. It gives you stuff to write about.
5. What's up next for you?
So much! I’ll be self-publishing a novella length follow up to The Darkest Path later this summer as well as working on my 2017 book, Unnatural Disasters, and trying my hand at a middle grade adventure story.
Here are some things about me.
I live in an extremely Brazilian section of an extremely Greek neighborhood—Astoria, Queens, which is just to the right of Manhattan. (That's as you face Manhattan. If you were, say, lying on your back in the middle of Central Park with your head in a northerly position, we would be to your left) I live there with my wife who has a blog and our two cats who do not. One day I hope to have a very large dog that I can name Jerry Lee Lewis.
I used to write plays (I actually have an MFA in it, which is currently number 8 on US News and World Report's annual list of the top twenty most useless masters degrees) and now I write books for teens. I've written two. One was about a girl who wanted to be a rock star and could graciously be called a learning experience.
The second, is The Eleventh Plague and it comes out Sept. 1, a fact I still find pretty amazing.
(3) Winners will receive a finished copy of BLACK RIVER FALLS - US Only!
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