Katie: What gave you the idea for Night of the Purple Moon?
Scott: I wanted to write something that was high concept, something I could describe in a few sentences and people would know what the book was about. I also wanted to put my protagonist in a dangerous situation where the stakes were high. At the same time, I wanted to place my characters in a setting I could describe in some detail (a small island off Maine). Those were some of the things on my mind when I was plotting Night of the Purple Moon. Finally, I had read a number of very good books where kids set out on their own after the death of their parents. I thought it would raise the stakes significantly if virtually every older teen and adult were to die.
Katie: What research went into the premise for the purple moon and the space dust that decimated the adults in your story?
Scott: I was looking for something that adults had but kids did not. That’s when I discovered the hormones, testosterone and estrogen. The levels of those hormones increase at puberty. The levels decrease in old age. It then became a matter of having a bacteria attack those hormones. The comet’s tail became the way to spread the bacteria everywhere quickly. (Several people wrote to me recently about the close encounter Earth had with an asteroid and the meteorite that crashed in Siberia.) In one scene, an elderly neighbor, Mr. Couture, does not die right away. In a sense, that was plausible because he had lower levels of the hormones.
Katie: When you create your characters, how do you write authentic children?
Scott: I guess I see all characters the same, no matter their age. Everyone has fears and dreams and desires. Everyone has strengths and faults. If you can weave all those elements together, you should have the foundation of a strong character. Then it’s a matter of having them change and grow over time as the result of their struggles.
Katie: What are you currently working on?
Scott: Colony East, Book #2 in The Toucan Trilogy. I have a pretty good handle on it, and I hope to publish it during the summer of 2013. But I also don’t want to rush it.
Katie: What is the best piece of writing advice you've received?
Scott: Write every day. Writing, at least to me, is 1 part joy, 1 part inspiration, and 8 parts hard work, like breaking rocks into pebbles and then turning the pebbles to dust. But if you keep chipping away, through thick and thin, you will eventually create a story.
Katie: How much marketing are you doing? What's your best kept marketing secret?
Scott: Obscurity is the enemy for all authors, and especially indie authors. My favorite part of marketing is when I connect with readers. The 8 parts of drudgery (mentioned above) is all worth it when I get feedback from readers who really liked the book. On a side note, I’d say that most of the readers of Night of the Purple Moon are over the age of 20. But I got a note from a sixth grader recently. She featured me in her school’s author fair. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Katie: Why the Young Adult genre? Have you considered writing in other genres?
Scott: In the same way I don’t distinguish between the ages of characters, I almost feel the same way about genres. It’s mostly about the story. The characters may be 12 or 15 years old, but it still boils down to story.
Katie: Thank you, Scott. You can find Scott on Facebook or Twitter. You can find Night of the Purple Moon here.