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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Guest Post with Jeff Strand, author of I Have a Bad Feeling About This (YA)


About: I Have a Bad Feeling About This Everything 16-year-old Henry was dreading about survival camp turns out to be true--or even worse. The only thing to help get him through is his equally unathletic best friend Randy and the discovery of a girls’ music camp just down the path. But they’ll soon have a lot more than obnoxious “drill counselors” and too many push-ups to worry about. The owner of Strongwoods Survival Camp has taken out some loans with very dangerous men to keep himself afloat, and when a trio of them show up to collect, things go bad. Very bad. With a camp now full of armed killers, survival now has a whole new meaning for the campers.


About the Author: JEFF STRAND is a three-time nominee for the Bram Stoker Award, and both of his YA books, A Bad Day for VooDoo and I Have a Bad Feeling About This are both Junior Library Guild Picks. Jeff lives in Tampa, Florida, and would last approximately three seconds in a true survival situation. But he's okay with that, because he mostly just types stuff in a safe bear-free environment.
Find Jeff at: Jeffstrand.com.

I have the pleasure of welcoming Jeff to talk about the inspiration behind his books:
The stories behind the inspiration for my novels are often very uninteresting, and none is less interesting than the origin of I Have A Bad Feeling About This. I should really just make something up. Maybe I had a dying relative lying on his or her deathbed, and the last words he or she croaked were, "I...have a...bad feeling...about..."

"What? What is it you have a bad feeling about?"

"...this..."

"'This'? What's 'this'? Please tell me what 'this' is! Oh, no, it's too late! Too late! I must explore this mystery in a novel, to be published Spring 2014 by Sourcebooks!"

But, no, the actual inspiration for the book is that I was on the phone with my editor, and she said that she and some of the other editors were having lunch, and they were talking about how survival camps for teenagers had become popular in the wake of The Hunger Games, and how they all thought that a novel set at survival camp could be kind of funny, and was I interested in writing something like that?

"Yep," I said.

Survival camp is a pretty rich environment for a comedy novel, and I'd had a few experiences with this sort of thing as a kid in Cub Scouts and 4-H (spoiler: I survived). So the story came together pretty quickly: take some characters who would not thrive in a survival camp environment, add a moderately insane counselor, mix in three murderous gangsters to keep things lively, and, presto, the book writes itself!

(As it turned out, the book did not write itself. I had to write the entire thing, word by word.)

The original title was Untitled Survival Camp Novel. Then, because I get twitchy if I don't at least have a working title, I started calling it Grimwoods Survival Camp. Then Sourcebooks suggested the title Camp Doom, which I really liked. Then they decided that Camp Doom made it sound more like middle grade than young adult, so they suggested I Have A Bad Feeling About This. I counter-suggested This Can't End Well. They rejected my counter-suggestion and the book officially became I Have A Bad Feeling About This, so I added a joke where our hero Henry almost says, "I have a bad feeling about this," but doesn't quite finish the sentence. Then I changed Grimwoods Survival Camp to Strongwoods Survival Camp.

Unlike almost everything I've written for the past fourteen years, this book isn't a horror/comedy. My previous young adult novel, A Bad Day For Voodoo, doesn't have any genuine scares, but it does have body parts flying off and a zombie and various ghoulish elements. Some books veered more toward the horror (Pressure) and some veered more toward the comedy (Fangboy) but I Have A Bad Feeling About This was the first book I'd written since 2000 that contained no elements of the horror genre. (Okay...almost no elements. The outhouse at camp is kind of scary.)

It's sort of a "full-circle" book, because I started out wanting to write comedies, and my early books, like How to Rescue a Dead Princess, Out of Whack, and Elrod McBugle on the Loose were written with absolutely no goal except to make the reader laugh. My novel Graverobbers Wanted (No Experience Necessary) was intended to be a lighthearted mystery/comedy, but somehow it turned into a very dark and grisly tale that pretty much everyone agreed was a horror novel.

Graverobbers was by far the most popular of my early books, and I decided that I wanted to focus on a specific sub-genre of humor, so I became a humorous horror author! Despite I Have A Bad Feeling About This (and another non-horror comedy I wrote immediately after that called Kumquat) I have no plans to abandon horror. I'm still a dark weirdo at heart. But for those who don't want to read about body parts flying off, I've got a book for ya...

Known as the ‘funniest writer in the game’ by critics, beloved by teen readers, and a Junior Library Guild favorite, Jeff is releasing his second YA novel,I Have a Bad  Feeling About This in March. 
I Have a Bad Feeling About This is a gut-busting romp through a summer camp that doesn’t feel too far removed from the zombie apocalypse. The book is perfect coming-of-age storyline to gear teen boys up for summer. AsKirkus Reviews puts it, “It’s funny, and the gags turn in unexpected directions and would do Saturday Night Live skits proud.”
Praise for I Have a Bad Feeling About This
“In this gleefully... wickedly funny adventure, Strand balances action with laugh-out-loud humor, making this a thoroughly entertaining not-quite-coming-of-age tale.” – Publishers Weekly
“Fans of Strand's other novels of outrageous circumstance...will not be disappointed. A delightfully ludicrous read.” -- School Library Journal

2 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh! This books sounds delightfully hilarious and adorable! I mean the title alone is fantastic!! Thanks for sharing this, I'll definitely have to check out this book, haha!

    Cyn @ Bookmunchies (:

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Cyn, thanks for stopping by! :) I also think this book is just hilarious. :D

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