June 15, 2011

Interview with author Clete Barrett Smith

Hey guys! I got the pleasure to interview Clete Barrett Smith, author of Aliens on Vacation. And without further ado here goes the interview:

Benji: How did you get inspiration for Aliens on Vacation?

Clete Barrett Smith:I take a hike through the forest every day to help me think about stories. I really love the Pacific Northwest and all of its outdoor activities and natural beauty, so I was hiking along and thinking that it would be a great vacation destination for absolutely anyone. Then it hit me: why not aliens? I love alien stories, but most of them are about aliens wanting to come to Earth in order to eat us or steal our planet's resources or enslave us or whatever. I thought "Wait a minute . . . what if they're just coming here to hang out? Doesn't everyone need a vacation?" I thought that would be a funny premise to play around with for a story.

Benji: When did you first become interested in aliens?

Clete Barrett Smith:I was in kindergarten when the first Star Wars came out, and one of my earliest memories is sitting on my dad's lap at the drive-in for that movie. I loved the scene where all of the different types of aliens were hanging out together in the saloon on Tatooine, and that was probably my first inspiration for a hotel where different aliens mingled together. Then, in 2nd grade, the movie E.T. came out. My grandpa was supposed to be baby-sitting me in downtown Seattle but he had to work all day, so he bought a ticket to the early matinee and dropped me off. Whenever the movie ended I would hide behind the curtain while the ushers cleaned the theater, then I would sneak back to my seat and watch it again. I watched E.T. four times in a row that day! And then in 5th grade I read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books. That was the first time I had seen sci-fi done in a really funny way, while also still having action and being a great story.
Benji: When did you first start writing?

Clete Barrett Smith:Whenever I finished a good book when I was a kid, I never wanted them to end, so I would play in the woods by my house and think up continued adventures for them. But I never really wrote them down or anything (although now I really wished that I had). I didn't start taking my writing really seriously--writing every day, showing my work to other people, taking writing classes, etc.--until I turned thirty. (My advice to kids interested in writing: Don't wait that long!)

Benji: Who are some of your favorite authors?

Clete Barrett Smith:For kids books I really like Roald Dahl, Nancy Farmer, M.T. Anderson and Rick Riordan. For adults I like George R.R. Martin, David James Duncan, Stephen King and Mary Roach.

Benji: Can you tell us a bit about the sequel, Aliens on a Rampage?

Clete Barrett Smith:One of the things that I like about this premise is that the sequels will each have an entirely new cast of alien characters. I hope this allows the books to be familiar enough to people who liked the first one and want to read more of the same, but also different enough to keep readers interested (and to keep myself interested while writing). In the first book, I wanted all of the aliens to be funny and (mostly) friendly, so the "bad guy" in Aliens on Vacation is the suspicious local sheriff who is trying to shut the place down. The sequel starts on the first day of the main character's return to the Intergalactic Bed & Breakfast during the following summer, and the villain is an alien who has been hired to work there while the main character was away. This alien hates Earth and desperately wants to leave, but there's something preventing him, and he wants revenge. I don't want to give too much away, except to say that he has lots of nasty surprises up his sleeve.

Benji: Anything else you would like to tell us?

Clete Barrett Smith:Let's see . . . well, the Disney movie studios just renewed their option on the movie rights for Aliens on Vacation, so there's a chance that it could be a Disney movie someday. I grew up loving Disney movies, so I think it would be really fun to see this story on the big screen. Also, I just received the German version of Aliens on Vacation in the mail (the German translation for the title is "Extra-terrestrial Holiday.") It's really fun to see their version of the cover, and the illustrations inside the book. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and my story takes place up there, so it's fun to think of some kid in Germany reading my book right now. It has also sold in Brazil, Turkey, Portugal, Russia, Italy and France. My new goal is to visit all of these countries where my book has sold.

Benji: Thanks, Clete! Clete's a great author, please visit him on his website.
Thanks for reading!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for the comment, I love and appreciate each and every one! As of March 2012, The Non Reluctant Reader is an awards-free zone. I'm honored to be considered, but do not currently have the time to pass the award on. Comments are the best award I can receive though! If the comment requires a reply, please be sure to check back for one. If it is a feature/meme leave a link to your post and I will stop by and comment if I get the chance!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blog Design by Imagination Designs all images from the Under the Dappled Shadows kit by Lorie Davison