Giveaway alert!! Read on to find out how to enter.
Brendan Reichs and I became acquainted on ComicCon panels and at various writing conferences and he is a rather nice and gregarious individual, so I was extremely psyched to see him hit OH HEY THE NY TIMES BESTSELLER LIST NBD for his latest YA novel, NEMESIS, a thriller pitched as “Orphan Black meets Lord of the Flies.”
Brendan is also the co-author of the VIRALS series, is a former litigation attorney, lives in Charlotte, NC, and, well, I somehow talked him in to an interview on this blog.
Oh! And check this out: He’s going to be appearing next weekend in with James Dashner at YALLWEST in Santa Monica. GET TICKETS HERE.
Here we go!!
NATHAN: Let’s cut to the chase. What does it feel like to hit the NY Times bestseller list? Did you do cartwheels? Did you whisper “Everything is going according to my plan” and then cackle maniacally?
BRENDAN: To be honest, it was a feeling of intense, overwhelming relief. I think we as authors put too much pressure on ourselves with the standard of making lists, and sometimes we overvalue what they mean to our work. I’m incredibly gratified that Nemesis made the New York Times list—it was the culmination of two years of hard work on the project—but I’m more interested now in how I can get the book into the hands of the most young readers. I think Nemesis is a fun, twisty, mind-bending tale that teens and adults with both enjoy. I’m just so happy it’s finally out in the world right now.
What do you think is the most important ingredient in your success?
I think my strength as a writer is crafting tightly-plotted, fast-paced books that don’t leave a lot of room for breaks. I won’t claim to be some voice of a generation or anything, but I think my books are quick reads that surprise and (hopefully) leave my audience entertained. That’s ultimately my goal, and I think Nemesis is my most complete work to date. I jammed about five novels worth of surprises and crazy angles into this novel, and it rolls downhill without brakes pretty much from the first sentence. That’s what I love to read, so that’s what I love to write as well.
You used to be a litigation attorney. Do you miss yelling “OBJECTION YOUR HONOR” in a courtroom?? (Also do lawyers actually do this)
We do! Objecting is glorious! I do miss being in the actual courtroom. To me that was always the fun part of the job. What I don’t miss is the endless tedium surrounding legal work, or the punishing hours spent hitting arbitrary billing marks to make money for other people. I was not a good personality fit for the legal profession, which prides itself on being humorless and deadly serious. I never fit in, and I knew it.
But now I’m a YA author, and my inability to be serious even when I’m supposed to be has suddenly become an asset.
I think connecting with the wider writing community is incredibly important for authors, especially novelists. We spend so much of our time alone in a room with only our computers for company. It can be very isolating, but festivals and conferences provide crucial chances to connect.
When I travel I get to see actual friends and colleagues, and not just their online personas. I was incredibly fortunate to be brought into the YALL family early in my career by Margie Stohl, Kami Garcia, and Melissa de la Cruz, and it’s been gratifying to help grow our two upstart festivals into the largest annual YA- and MG-only events in the country.
I’ve gotten to meet so many of the best and brightest writers in our industry, and I’m continually stunned with how pleasant everyone is. YA is truly a wonderful community to be a part of.
If you could go back in time… first of all whoa. Second of all, what would you tell your younger self, besides the scores of important sporting events so you could bet on them like Biff from Back to the Future Part II?
I’d be sure to avoid going to school early one morning in 8th grade to tell everyone that Eddie Vedder had died of an overdose the night before, like I’d heard on the radio, because Eddie Vedder is still very alive and awesome to this day. I’d also avoid shaving my head, and say yes to my senior-year sweetheart when she asked me to the prom junior year, and I pretended to be busy. (Unbelievable, Reichs).
But advice-wise, I’d tell my younger self to worry less about what other people thought of me. So much of high school is spent conforming to what you think your peers expect of you. It’s tragic that you realize, almost immediately upon leaving for college, that none of it was necessary.
Also, I’d also buy a lot of Apple stock.
Everyone has a tweet that they think is the funniest thing they have ever written but then it gets like two faves and one retweet from a bot and you go, “Oh” and your day is a little sadder. What’s yours?
THIS: “Crocodile Dundee 2 is easily the second best Crocodile Dundee movie of all time.” That’s comic gold people, and I might as well have farted on a bus for the plaudits it got me.
I’ve been there, Brendan. I’ve been there. We’ll see what we can do about that. Meanwhile, what’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
When people tell you there’s something wrong with a story, they’re almost always right. When they tell what it is that’s wrong and how it can be fixed, they’re almost always wrong. – Neil Gaiman.
Anything else you would like to include here? The floor is yours, my friend.
In Nemesis, I wanted to explore the effect of a person dying not once, but many times, but having those deaths have no effect. And it’s not magical, the afterlife, or anything ghostly or supernatural. It’s not fake either. Min and Noah really are murdered on their birthdays, but each time they reset, waking in the woods surrounding their remote Idaho vacation town without a scratch on them. I’ve also always loved conspiracy books and thrillers, where the reader never knows what to expect next and the twists are plentiful. That’s what I try to do in Nemesis. I think that everything comes together in the end, together and the theme of what it means to be alive comes through. I hope my readers agree!
AND NOW THE GIVEAWAY DETAILS:
For a chance to win a SIGNED copy of Nemesis, let’s help Brendan out and do the following:
1) Follow Brendan on Twitter
2) Retweet his VERY EXCELLENT AHEM Crocodile Dundee tweet (if you’re reading via email, please click through to see it):
Crocodile Dundee 2 is easily the second best Crocodile Dundee movie ever made.
— Brendan Reichs (@BrendanReichs) August 3, 2015
(Please note: do not create multiple accounts to do this and void where prohibited and insert legalese).
Brendan Reichs was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. He graduated from Wake Forest University in 2000 and The George Washington University School of Law in 2006. After three long years working as a litigation attorney, he abandoned the trade to write full time. He is the author of the recent New York Times bestseller Nemesis, and co-author of the Virals series, written with Kathy Reichs. Brendan lives in Charlotte with his wife, son, daughter, and a herd of animals that tear up everything.