C.D. Payne

C.D. Payne, best known for the Youth In Revolt series, was kind enough to join me for an interview. In 2009, Youth In Revolt was turned into a film starring Michael Cera.The Youth In Revoltbooks are fantastic and I urge people to check them out. The series follows Nick Twisp as he and his alter ego fight through the difficulties of teenage adolescence.

C.D. Payne’s books can be found at Amazon (UK) or at Amazon (US).

Interview is as follows:

youth_in_revolt1.) Youth In Revolt was first published in 1993 and the latest entry in 2006. Was it difficult to write about characters over such a long period of time?

Not terribly. The characters changed a bit as they aged and technology moved along. There was a lot more business about cell phones in the latest book. Nick will be Nick, though, in any era.

2.) Retrospectively how do you feel about the Youth In Revolt movie?

I like it, but then I’m not exactly a disinterested party. Authors tend to view movies of their work as a 90-minute infomercial for their novel. I do think at the end they could have had Nick say: “Hey, if you enjoyed this movie, why not have a go at the book?”

3.) You have self published before, do you feel self publishing should be encouraged by new authors?

It works for me, but it’s not likely to earn you much respect from ye olde literary establishment. I think print-on-demand has conventional publishers a bit worried, since it’s so easy for anyone to get into print these days.

4.) Do you consider any of the characters as representations of yourself?

Only Nick’s dad. I piled all of my worst character traits into him. Except I’m not an oversexed alcoholic.

5.) Was it difficult to differentiate between Nick Twisp and Francois Dillinger?

Nope. It was like writing two entirely different characters. They could each be relied upon to do their unique thing.

6.) Your novel has been described as picaresque, is this something that you intended when writing and if so what books did you use as influences?

I try to be amusing on every page, so things at times get a bit picaresque. It just goes with the territory of writing comic fiction. Many influences are undoubtedly at work, but if I had to single out one dude it would be Robert Benchley.

7.) You use the letter format in Youth In Revolt, did you have some concerns with how to use this structure effectively and what advice would you give to writers who are trying the same structure?

Youth in Revolt is told in diary form, which is a natural for first-person fiction. It’s as easy as falling off a log. The characters do at times communicate by letter or note, which is a good way to flesh out a character, revealing aspects of their personality. It ain’t difficult.

8.) When writing a book and including humour, do you ever worry about alienating readers who do not share your sense of humour?

Some readers should not be permitted to pick up comic novels. And they should be restrained by law from writing critically about such works. That being the case, I just give it my best shot–knowing humor is subjective and I won’t be pleasing everyone.

9.) With your work available on Kindle as well as in print, do you welcome the technology of E-readers or fear that print will die out?

I prefer to read actual books, but I have no problem with e-readers. Why not save a few trees? My generation likely will go on reading books, just because that’s what we’re used to.

10.) You travel with your museum, would you rather be a showman or author?

I’m happy being both, since I’m a bit of a square peg that doesn’t fit anywhere particularly well. I like having a diversity of options when I get up in the morning.