Friday, September 20, 2013

Vlog Post with Jeff Hirsch


Photo Content from Jeff Hirsch

HERE ARE A FEW POTENTIALLY INTERESTING THINGS ABOUT ME"
  • I'm originally from the suburbs just south of Richmond, VA. I currently live in the great, tiny state of Rhode Island. 
  • I started writing because of a 7th grade homework assignment. My teacher Denise Stewart (A towering woman with incredible diction and a mass of curls who, in my memory, looks exactly like Lynn Redgrave) told me my story was good and that I should consider continuing to write. I've been taking her advice for roughly the last 27 years.
  • Towards the end of Junior High I attended the University of VA's Young Writers Workshop, which is basically writers' camp. It was exactly as nerdy and as utterly fantastic as you might imagine. If you're a teen into writing, definitely check it out.
  • During High School, when not writing, I was pretty wrapped up in the process of becoming a big ol' theater nerd. I wrote stuff and directed plays and performed in shows like Indians, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Taming of the Shrew, The Man of La Mancha and various others.
  • After HS I went to study acting at East Carolina University then moved to New York right after that to ply my new trade. A few years later writing reared it's head again and I left NY and headed out to UC San Diego where I got an MFA in playwriting.
  • A year or so after grad school I started reading books from writers like M.T. Anderson, KL Going, and David Almond and was blown away by the quality of writing that was going on for teen audiences. I was hooked.
BONUS RANDOM FACTS:
I know how to escape from a straitjacket while suspended from the ceiling by my ankles. I can also eat fire, walk on broken glass and hammer a nail all the way up into my nose.

My favorite movie is either The Outsiders or Harold and Maude or The Fisher King. I can never decide which. Oh! Maybe it's My Dinner with Andre. Have you seen My Dinner with Andre? You totally should. Team Wally!

I can't honestly point to one favorite book (I've just read way too many) but the most formative book for me, the book that made me a reader and eventually a writer, was The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper.

I'm torn as to whether the coolest human being to ever live is A) Tom Waits or B) Prince.

I bake to relax. My triple chocolate espresso cookies will renew your faith that there is something good and holy in this barbaric world.

I've known three of my current best friends since I was 15.

Apparently I like writing about my animals. Hopkins the cat in Magisterium is based on my cat Henry. Bear the dog in The Darkest Path is based on my dog Rosie.


        



Age Range: 12 and up
Grade Level: 7 - 9
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press; First Edition edition (2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0545512239
ISBN-13: 978-0545630627


Praise for JEFF HIRSCH

"The Eleventh Plague hits disturbingly close to home....An excellent taut, debut novel." ―Suzanne Collins, New York Times best selling author.

"A gripping survival drama." 
USA TODAY

"Sure to be a hit among fans of dystopias." BOOKLIST

"An impressive story with strong characters." PUBLISHERS WEEKLY



DEFINING MOMENT DURING YOUR YOUTH WHEN YOU REALIZED YOU WANTED TO BE A WRITER.

I’ve been writing in one form or another since I was in about the 7th grade. Poetry and short stories mainly. But when I hit high school I happened to wander into the school’s theater where our drama teacher was holding auditions of Equus by Peter Schaeffer. For some reason I don’t quite even remember I decided to audition and while I didn’t get a role in that one I went on to act throughout the rest of high school and into college. I was still writing, quite a bit actually, but it was just something I did for myself. I never really showed anyone anything. Never submitted it anywhere. It was kind of like the background music to my life. After college I moved up to New York City afterwards to give acting a shot!

How’d I do? Well, I auditioned a lot and I got some decent call-backs. Performed in some readings and performances at the theater companies of friends of mine, but nothing significant. This went on for two or three years. Nine hours a day at the day job then audition, audition, audition. It was a grind and more than a little dispiriting.

I remember the end of the whole thing very clearly. I had spent a very long and very dispiriting day at the day job (Telemarketing. Seriously. Could it have been any worse?) and then slogged across town through heavy rains to my aggressively crappy apartment in Hell’s Kitchen. I got home, soaked, exhausted, irritable, and collapsed into the nearest easy chair.

The thing was, I had an audition that night. It wasn’t anything special. It wasn’t the perfect role for me. It wasn’t a favorite play or a hot new company. It was just an audition. But the thing was I hadn’t had one in awhile and this was the night I was getting back to it.

But I simply couldn’t imagine peeling myself up out of that chair and stepping into the cold and the rain, getting on the subway and heading to some dank little theater way, way downtown for another audition that I was pretty sure wasn’t going to lead to anything.

And that’s when I knew.

If I really needed, to be an actor, if it was my passion in life, then a little rain and cold wouldn’t have stopped me. I would have run out the door. Why? Because it meant getting an opportunity, not matter how small, to do the thing I loved. The question was, if acting wasn’t my passion then what was? What would have got me running out the door? What thing would I have labored at for years and years even if I knew I would never have any success at it? What did I do purely for the love of it? For me?

The answer was obvious. The next day I began a self-imposed program of intense reading and daily writing that ultimately led to a more formal program, grad school for playwriting at UC San Diego. A few years later I made the transition to fiction and now here I am!



TEN THINGS YOU WOULD CHANGE ABOUT YOUR HIGH SCHOOL YEARS IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME.
  • My mullet
  • My unshakeable belief that a college education wasn’t something you really had to put that much thought into. 
  • That day I had a ponytail
  • And wore a Les Miserables t-shirt (Full disclosure, this was a lot of days in high school)
  • That time I dated that person who wasn’t very nice to me for way longer than I should have.
  • My unshakeable belief that a powder blue Chevy Malibu was what people meant when they referred to a “bitchin ride”
  • Stone washed jeans
  • My rad collection of bolo ties.
  • My unshakeable belief that if I relaxed and had a little fun the world would come crashing down around me.
  • Did I mention the mullet?

USA TODAY bestselling author Jeff Hirsch once again creates a futuristic world with stunning, dramatic realism.

A civil war rages between the Glorious Path–a militant religion based on the teachings of a former US soldier–and what’s left of the US government. Fifteen-year-old Callum Roe and his younger brother, James, were captured and forced to convert six years ago. Cal has been working in the Path’s dog kennels, and is very close to becoming one of the Path’s deadliest secret agents. Then Cal befriends a stray dog named Bear and kills a commander who wants to train him to be a vicious attack dog. This sends Cal and Bear on the run, and sets in motion a series of incredible events that will test Cal’s loyalties and end in a fierce battle that the fate of the entire country rests on.


The stories within Jeff Hirsch's books are always filled with the scary reality that it could totally happen. In The Darkest Path, readers are driven into a futuristic world, plagued by the second American civil war between a militant religion and the the diminishing US government. The Glorious Path have been capturing people and forcing them to convert to their teachings, including fifteen-year old Cal and his brother, James. The two brothers have been trapped into this life for the last six years where they are given a Choice: join or die. Cal is just waiting for the right moment to plan their escape, while James has found comfort in the Path. When Cal develops a bond between a stray dog named Bear at the Path's dog kennels, it was the opening he was waiting for to carry out his escape. But by now, it has been years too long and James decides to remain within the Path.

Author Jeff Hirsch sets up an explosive presentation about the effects of civil wars. His writing style dissects the paranoia that only a civil war could bring forth. It will tear families apart and people that were once your friends, quickly become your enemy. Nothing is black and white and every action is taken with great care as it becomes very difficult to decipher between friend from foe. The characters were developed perfectly and they didn't feel out of place. Their reactions and emotions felt right for the situation that they are in which is a rare scene in most dystopian novels. Jeff does an excellent job explaining how the civil war molded Cal and James to the people that they are after six years of captive.

Jeff always manages to lace his stories with truthfulness and it was evident with some of the resolutions towards the end of the book. The Darkest Path is an incredible story about the struggles between families while trying to survive in a hostile environment where conflicting forces are sorting out their differences. Although it seemed it was destruction in every scene, it was refreshing to read the passages about Bear. The bond between boy and dog reminds us that no matter how cruel the world has become, there's always room for enjoyment in life. The fact that each Path member is given a Choice, Jeff really goes the distance of what it really means to weigh out your options. Cal's single decision involving Bear sets up a fast-paced and heart-wrenching adventure. The ending does present resolutions but raises more questions than answer. This can be a stand-alone book but has all the right elements to continue its story.


You can purchase The Darkest Path at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you JEFF HIRSCH for making this giveaway possible.
3 Winners will receive a Signed Copy of The Darkest Path by Jeff Hirsch.
5 Winners will receiv
e a Surprise ART Bookmark by James Vallesteros.

WEEK ONE
SEPTEMBER 20th FRIDAY JeanBookNerd VLOG & REVIEW
SEPTEMBER 21st SATURDAY Rose’s Book Corner REVIEW
SEPTEMBER 22nd SUNDAY Cover2Cover Blog REVIEW
SEPTEMBER 22nd SUNDAY Chapter by Chapter REVIEW
SEPTEMBER 23rd MONDAY DanaSquare REVIEW
SEPTEMBER 23rd MONDAY Mom with a Kindle TENS LIST
SEPTEMBER 24th TUESDAY Beneath the Cover THIS OR THAT
SEPTEMBER 25th WEDNESDAY A Dream Within a Dream REVIEW & DREAM CAST

WEEK TWO
SEPTEMBER 25th WEDNESDAY Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf GUEST POST
SEPTEMBER 26th THURSDAY Ya-aholic INTERVIEW
SEPTEMBER 26th THURSDAY Best Books REVIEW
SEPTEMBER 27th FRIDAY Once Upon a Twilight REVIEW
SEPTEMBER 27th FRIDAY Sassy Book Lovers FAVORITE THINGS
SEPTEMBER 28th SATURDAY Racing to Read SPOTLIGHT
SEPTEMBER 29th SUNDAY Read My Breath Away REVIEW
SEPTEMBER 30th MONDAY 
Sabrina’s Paranormal Palace REVIEW
jbnpastinterviews

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for the giveaway! Book sounds interesting =)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Fantastic! His books are amazing and the first three chapters The Darkest Path were breathtaking! Thanks for the chance for a giveaway!

    ReplyDelete