[Note From Frolic: Our resident YA expert Aurora Dominguez got the opportunity to interview author Dan Gemeinhart. Be sure to check out Dan’s new YA novel ‘The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise’ out now!]
What has been your biggest inspiration as a writer?
My biggest inspiration as a writer really is just how powerful and amazing stories can be in our lives. Whether you’re talking about shows, songs, movies, or books (my personal favorite, of course), the stories that we tell and enjoy really shape who we are as people. Stories can make us laugh, and cry, and scream, and think, and feel big things. They can help us look with new eyes at the world around us, understand other people in a new way, and even teach us something about ourselves. Stories are awesome, and it’s really a thrill and an honor to be a storyteller.
What character do you relate to the most in The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise?
It probably sounds obvious, but I definitely relate most to the main character: Coyote herself. She tries to be tough when she needs to be, she tries to be kind whenever she can, and she’s always trying to figure out where she fits in the world. She loves her family and tries to be the best friend she can be. She’s dealing with some real sadness and darkness in her life, but she never lets it turn her into a sad or dark person. Life’s an epic adventure, and Coyote is determined to live it all the way the best she can.
What is the key to capturing a young adult reader’s attention?
Young adult readers are like any reader: we all want a story that makes us feel things and think things and keep turning the pages. In our hearts, though, we need to really believe in and care about the main character. If we’re not rooting and cheering for them, if their struggles don’t feel real and important to us, we won’t care about the plot. So to capture a reader’s attention, I think you need to give them a hero that wins their heart – and I hope I did that with Coyote!
How do you get inspired to write a new novel?
It all starts with an idea. That first little seed can come from almost anything: a conversation, a movie, a song, a memory, a daydream, something you overhear, a person you meet. We’re surrounded by stories and ideas all the time, every day…the fun part about being a writer is paying attention to the world around you, keeping your antennae up, and catching the ideas when they’re there. Now, most ideas go nowhere – and that’s okay. But when an idea seed sticks in my head and grows and won’t go away and starts to whisper to me at night…that’s when I know that it’s an idea that I need write. That’s exactly what happened with The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise: once the idea for this girl and her life and this adventure took root in my heart, I just had to write it.
What’s next in your world? Any more upcoming books?
Yes! I’m hard at work on my next book, which is scheduled to be published in early 2020. It’s very different from my other books…a dark science-fiction story set in a post-civilization future. It’s got killer robots and war and a group of friends who will do anything for each other. In my mind, I’m thinking of it as Stranger Things meets Terminator, and I’m having a blast writing it!