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Blog Tour, Interview, Middle Grade / April 20, 2013

Thrilled to be kicking-off this blog tour for House of Secrets! With the powerhouse team of Ned Vizzini and Chris Columbus behind this fantasy novel and being blurbed by the inimitable J.K. Rowling, I knew I had to read it. So many thanks to the wonderful girls at Angel Publicity on behalf of HarperCollins Children’s Books for letting me be part of this tour. Hope you enjoy reading my little interview with Ned on what it’s like to collaborate on a project like this, then download an exclusive excerpt from the book!

About House of Secrets

House of Secrets by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini

Release: 25 April 2013
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books

When Brendan, Cordelia and Nell move to Kristoff House they have no idea that they are about to unleash the dark magic locked within.

Now the Walker kids must battle against deadly pirates, bloodthirsty warriors and a bone-crunching giant. If they fail they will never see their parents again and a crazed witch will take over the world.

No pressure then…

House of Secrets is the first book in a major new series. It’s going to be epic.

Download an EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT from House of Secrets!

Q&A with Ned Vizzini

Collaborating on House of Secrets

Thank you so much for agreeing to answer my questions! Who came up with the idea for the series and how did you decide to collaborate?

I actually received a phone call in early 2011 from my agent. He told me that Chris Columbus, the filmmaker, was interested in meeting with me, possibly to pursue a book project, and that there wasn’t any way this could be a bad thing. I was nervous at first but my wife told me not to be worried about meeting Chris: “You’re a family man; he’s a family man; just be cool.” When we met Chris handed me the first 90 pages of “Stones Of Time”, a script he had started writing ten years ago and never finished. He said, “Read this and let me know if you think there’s a book in here.” I loved the story so I composed a draft of the first chapter, sent it over and it all kicked off from there.

How was the work on the book split between you two?

The phone is still where the important stuff gets hashed out. When work on House of Secrets was going well, Chris and I simply email each other, sending chapters back and forth and editing them until they’re good to go. But when we get to a place where something doesn’t feel right, we get on the phone, and we use the word “bump.” “Bump” is a terrific bit of Hollywood parlance. To “bump” is to “not understand” something; for example, an executive giving notes on a script might say, “I’m bumping on why he’s saying this here.” It’s a perfect idiom because it places the perfection of the work above everything else, implying that there is a version of the script, or book, that is perfectly smooth, but right now there’s a little bump in it. Can we smooth that? For the most part, Chris’ and my collaboration takes place entirely on email. The precision and instantaneousness of it makes collaboration on a major writing project easier today than it used to be.

What is the best part about collaborating on a book with someone? The hardest part?

The best part is that when you finish a chunk of work, you send it off to your partner and you’re done for now! That’s such a relief compared to writing by yourself when you could conceivably keep going until the end (and why aren’t you? Huh? Huh?).

The hardest part is that emails about promotions and packaging and marketing have to go to two authors, not one, and there are a lot more emails flying around.

Thank you to Ned for answering my silly questions! So, who here is really looking forward this book coming out next week?


Ned Vizzini author pic

Ned Vizzini is the bestselling author of the acclaimed young-adult books The Other Normals, It’s Kind of a Funny Story (also a major motion picture), Be More Chill, and Teen Angst? Naaah…. In television, he has written for ABC’s Last Resort and MTV’s Teen Wolf. His essays and criticism have appeared in the New York Times, the Daily Beast,and Salon.

He is the co-author, with Chris Columbus, of the fantasy-adventure series House of Secrets. His work has been translated into ten languages. He lives in Los Angeles.

One Comment to Blog Tour: House of Secrets by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini

  1. Cheryl says:

    Hello, calling over from the blog tour (it's stopping off at my blog today :…. Great to get so much insight into how the book came to be
    My recent post House of Secrets Blog Tour : Interview with author Ned Vizzini

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