Congratulations to Joshua Bellin on the release of his debut novel Survival Colony 9! I'm really excited to have Josh here with us today. Please help me give Joshua a warm welcome.
9 Questions I Wish Someone Would Ask Me
So to get the ball rolling, I thought I’d ask and answer nine questions (for Survival Colony NINE) I’ve never been asked. Some of them have to do with writing, most don’t. Feel free to stop by my website and ask me more!
1. What’s your favorite color?
For some reason, this is always the first question my students ask each other when I pair them up at the start of the semester for a “getting to know you” exercise. I don’t know what it is about color—does it really tell us that much about a person? But for the record, my favorite color is orange.
2. If you could be a non-human animal, what would you be?
Definitely a frog. I used to love catching (and releasing) them when I was a kid, and I still love them now. I wrote an essay called “The Last Days of the Frog Prince” about my frog-catching days, and I think it’s one of the best things I’ve written. (It came out in the journal Snowy Egret, if you want to track it down.) The whole idea of metamorphosis, from a water-breathing creature to an air-breathing creature, fascinates me.
3. What’s your favorite childhood memory?
Hard to choose, but I think it might be lying in bed in my grandparents’ house on Christmas Eve, listening to their clock chime the hours. I was always too excited to sleep—or even to count the number of chimes—so I’d drag my little sister out of bed every hour from one o’clock on and parade down the hall to the room where my parents were sleeping, only to have my mom grumble, “It’s not seven o’clock yet. Go back to bed.” Then we’d do the same thing an hour later. Probably not my mom’s favorite memory, but definitely one of mine.
4. What were the three best moments of your life?
This one’s easy. Getting married, watching my children’s births, and—yes—receiving a call from my agent with the news that my novel had been accepted for publication!
5. What’s the worst job you ever had?
Everyone’s had terrible jobs, and I’ve had my share (mucking out horse stables, for example). But I think the absolute worst was right after college, when I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life but needed to support myself somehow, so I ended up as a “document coder” for a law firm. This meant staring at legal documents for eight hours a day and getting just enough information from them to “code” them—to determine whether they were memos or briefs or affidavits or whatever. It was mind-numbing work, made bearable only by the presence of a funny guy named Melvin who sat at my table. But then he got fired—probably for being too funny—and the brain-rot became nearly overwhelming.
6. What’s your dream retirement spot?
Either the Arizona desert or the town of Rockport, Massachusetts. Both seem like ideal—though very different—places to enjoy the natural world and clear one’s mind from the distractions of everyday life in order to create.
7. Where’d the name “Skaldi” come from?
I have no idea. It just came to me—it was one of the first things I wrote down when I was generating ideas for Survival Colony 9. I guess it sounds kind of like “scald” and kind of like “skull,” so that seemed appropriate for my story’s monsters. And by the way, it’s both singular and plural: one Skaldi, two Skaldi, a bunch of Skaldi. But you don’t want to meet even one, so we’ll leave it at that.
8. Who would you most like to have dinner with?
Too many people to name. But let’s start with J. R. R. Tolkien, Henry David Thoreau, Martin Luther King, Jr., Willie Mays, Suzanne Collins, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Mahatma Gandhi, Kurt Vonnegut, Toni Morrison, and Chinua Achebe. That should make for a lively conversation!
9. How can an old guy like you write YA?
Two words: teenage children.
No, seriously, I feel a strong connection to YA even though I’m pushing fifty. I’ve always loved it, always wanted to write it—Judy Blume was a childhood favorite, and one of the first novels I wrote, freshman year in college, was a YA contemporary. When my kids got to the age where they started reading YA, I rediscovered my love for it, and now there’s no turning back!
SURVIVAL COLONY 9 is available now from Simon & Schuster, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, select Wal-Mart stores, and other online and physical retailers!