Book Nerd Interview
Born in Manhattan and raised in Hong Kong, Andrew Fukuda is half-Chinese, half-Japanese. After earning a bachelor's degree in history from Cornell University, Fukuda worked in Manhattan's Chinatown with the immigrant teen community. That experience led to the writing of Crossing, his debut novel that was selected by ALA Booklist as an Editor's Choice, Top Ten First Novel, and Top Ten Crime Novel in 2010. His second novel, The Hunt, the first in a new series, was bought at auction by St. Martin's Press and was published in May 2012. Before becoming a full time writer, Fukuda was a criminal prosecutor for seven years. He currently resides on Long Island, New York, with his family.
You were born in Manhattan but raised in Hong Kong, was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
It was probably in my last year of high school when I wrote a short story for a literary contest run by a local newspaper. I didn’t have an iota how to write a literary piece; I simply wrote from the heart, and told as true and honest a story as I could. When it won first place, I thought, hey, maybe I really do have a talent for this.
Is there such a thing as a formula for storytelling?
Yes, and it is this: there is no formula.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
Stephen King, and perhaps Anne Lamott, as well, said you first draft is yours alone. It’s allowed to be crappy. Just get it done.
What are some of the common challenges that new authors face and what advice do you have for over-coming them?
New authors tend to quit on a manuscript too soon. At the first sign of trouble, they bail. Stay with it. Hone your skill, and you’ll find that diamond in the rough.
For those who are unfamiliar with your novel; The Hunt, how would you introduce it?
Gene, the last human alive in a world taken over by vampire-like creatures who lust for the taste of human blood and flesh, must hide his humanness in order to survive. When he is selected to participate in a hunt of other humans, he is thrust into a ruthless pack of hunters whose suspicions about his true nature are growing.
Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
Yes, The Hunt is the first book in a trilogy. The next book in the series, titled The Prey, will be out in early 2013.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Gene?
His initial disdain toward the captive hepers in the dome. The general society’s attitudes toward hepers had seeped into his own thinking, and though a heper himself, he’d learned to dissociate himself from them. I had thought Gene would openly embrace them from the get-go, but his initial supercilious attitude toward them caught me by surprise. It made him unlikeable, but I found it too compelling and honest a trait to change.
Do you have a favorite quote that you keep visible in your work environment to help inspire you?
I wrote it myself: Clean. Simple. Honest. Clear.
What’s the best advice you can give writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style?
A podcast I listen to, Writing Excuses, recently did a podcast on voice. One of the authors on the panel said something I find very true. She said: Don’t try to find a voice. Find a story you feel passionate about, something that excites you. When you tell that story – as honestly as you can – the voice will naturally flow out of you and onto the pages.
If I came to your house and looked in your closet/attic/basement, what’s the one thing that would surprise me the most?
The skeletons. Oh, the skeletons.
Where is the best place in the world you’ve been?
Hong Kong. I love that city, it’s in my blood, bones, molecules. And the humidity is in my hair.
What book are you reading now?
11/22/63 by Stephen King.
What do you normally eat for breakfast?
Fruit, cottage cheese, Greek-style yogurt, dry cereal, and not a drop of coffee.
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
What do you normally eat for breakfast?
What's the worst summer job you've ever had?
I worked in a large movie theater complex in Los Angeles. I collected tickets, cleaned theaters, yelled at queue cutters, chased out theater-hoppers. I learned that human depravity runneth deep, my friends.
When was the last time you cried?
Yesterday. There was too much wasabi in my sushi.
Where can readers stalk you?
For all my freaky, scary stalkers, I wish to tell you that I do all of my writing at the same place: a Starbucks in Soufriere Hills in Montserrat. I’m there every day. Come visit.
—Andrea Cremer, New York Times bestselling author of the Nightshade Trilogy
Don’t Sweat. Don’t Laugh. Don’t draw attention to yourself. And most of all, whatever you do, do not fall in love with one of them.
Gene is different from everyone else around him. He can’t run with lightning speed, sunlight doesn’t hurt him and he doesn’t have an unquenchable lust for blood. Gene is a human, and he knows the rules. Keep the truth a secret. It’s the only way to stay alive in a world of night—a world where humans are considered a delicacy and hunted for their blood.
When he’s chosen for a once in a lifetime opportunity to hunt the last remaining humans, Gene’s carefully constructed life begins to crumble around him. He’s thrust into the path of a girl who makes him feel things he never thought possible—and into a ruthless pack of hunters whose suspicions about his true nature are growing. Now that Gene has finally found something worth fighting for, his need to survive is stronger than ever—but is it worth the cost of his humanity?
Andrew Fukuda’s intense, violent, and captivating story in The Hunt, takes the reader into a world where humans are extinct and only rapacious vampires exist. Without human blood, vampires are not exactly content with their current living (or unliving) condition. Andrew then puts you in the shoes of Gene, a survivor in this vampire infested world. He’s able to blend in with the vampires by making sure he doesn’t sweat or smell like a human (referred to as a heper by the vampires) and ensures his characteristics are not human-like. One wrong move and he will be shredded to pieces by these very-hungry vampires who can smell a drop of blood miles away. These ravenous vampires assume that humans are extinct until their leader pronounces a Heper Hunt. Now all these famished vampires are in top-notch hunting mode looking to sink their fangs into human flesh.
The story is so gripping right from the very start. Andrew’s description of this fear-provoking world is so intensely horrifying that it will make a Grim Reaper have nightmares. Gene’s predicament is one of the worst situations I have ever encountered in a book. One would think that every second of his life is spent on uncertainty, worry, and fear. But he is smart, strong, and learned to adapt well with living with vampires. Even with his intellectual advantage over the vampires, it is no easy ride for him.
Andrew’s rich descriptions stand out in this book. The way he describes the bodily gestures of the vampires are inventive and original. From the way they present themselves, laugh, eat, and sleep, it was a refreshing approach to the already familiar vampire genre. It is fully packed with serious blood, violence, and gore. Readers will instantly be hooked and they’ll devour it no time.
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