Stewart Hoffman is the author of The Bug Boys, a science fiction novel about a couple of middle-schoolers who get super powers. You can find this fun tale on Book Club Reading List.
How did you come up with the idea for this book?
Back in 2006, I was at the theater watching Superman Returns, and I started to think about what I would do if I were to create a superhero adventure. How would my heroes get their powers? Moreover, how would that work in the real world? I wanted to create something a little different from the usual superhero origin story, and through the writing process, The Bug Boys idea took shape and became a reality.
Who is your favorite character?
Alex. He’s the main hero of this story even though there are two Bug Boys. He’s creative, but not very organized, unlike his friend Ian.
Did you base any of your characters on real people?
Nearly every character in this book is loosely based on someone I know. For my first book, I wanted to make things easy for myself, and not have to create everything from scratch. Using people and places I know made it easier to track where the story and characters were heading.
Describe your writing process.
I joined two writers groups to help me get through this project, and set a pace I knew I could maintain. Every two weeks, I’d have a new five or six-page chapter done, and I’d review the text with these groups. Based on their feedback, changes were made, and I would keep marching on. These groups were also a good barometer going forward. If I got the feeling I was wasting my time with this project (as in, people were struggling to find something nice to say about my work!), I would have saved myself the embarrassment and shelved the idea forever!
Who are some authors who have influenced you?
There is a reason the main family’s surname in my book is Adams, and why I have a character called Mrs. Pratchett. I love the books by Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett, and their influence shows in my sense of humor and choice of story topic. I wanted to be honest about that inspiration so that’s why they are included. I also enjoy John Scalzi’s work (Red Shirts) and Harry Harrison’s novels (The Stainless Steel Rat). I also hope Andy Weir (The Martian) writes some more books too; he’s hilarious!
What made you want to become an author?
I simply wanted to do something creative with my life. I knew I could tell a fun story, I just needed help with the mechanics to make sure I released something worth reading.
What advice would you give to other aspiring writers?
Set a pace you can maintain and stick to it. Let your ideas brew for a while before sitting down to write (never force it), and find other writers to critique your work as you go. They’ll help you recognize your weaknesses, and ask tough questions about your work.
Thank you, Stewart!! Readers, watch for my review of The Bug Boys later this week!
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