Tez Interviews Kristopher Reisz

Meet Kristopher Reisz, author of YA novels Tripping to Somewhere and Unleashed (Simon & Schuster: September 26th, 2006 and February 19th, 2008 respectively). Let’s learn…

Tripping to Somewhere
Life is going nowhere fast until the night some freak wanders into the convenience store where Sam and Gilly are hanging out.

He lets them in on a secret: The Witches’ Carnival is nearby. If they move quick, they might catch it.

It’s everyone’s glittery fantasy turned real: to follow the Carnival’s mystic band of beautiful gypsies as they defy every limit and dance through history–-all in search of a good time.

Sam wants to go for it, to cut ties with home and reach for the dream. But on the road, it’s Gilly who becomes enchanted.

The girls leave everything behind. In pursuit, they’ll have nothing left to lose except each other.

After years of hard work, Daniel has been accepted to the Ivy League. He knows he’s McCammon High’s prince, with a beautiful girlfriend, his mom’s river-green eyes, and his dad’s hustle.

After years of feeling like a stray, Misty has discovered a wolf inside her. She knows she rules the night, with a beautiful pelt, cold-burning eyes, and bone-crusher fangs.

When the prince and the werewolf fall in love, though, neither of them knows anything anymore. But high school is almost over. The time is coming to drop childish games of make-believe and learn what skin they’re brave enough to wear.

Tez Miller: -Are you one of us unfortunate individuals who’ve had to put up with people misspelling or mispronouncing our names all our lives? And what is the correct pronunciation of your surname, may I ask?
Kristopher Reisz: Most people try to pronounce it rise, which has a bright, optimistic ring to it. Actually, it rhymes with grease and fleece. More appropriate since I’m a dirty liar.

Well, of course, that’s why you write fiction – it’s not real πŸ˜‰ You’ve been a short order cook. How does that differ from long order? Do you still cook, and if so what are your favourite things to make?
I worked the graveyard shift at a hole-in-the-wall diner. It was one of the few places still open after the bars let out, so I slung hash and fried eggs for all sorts of interesting people, many of them drunk, often crying whenever “Freebird” played on the jukebox. I never really enjoyed cooking; it was a paycheque more than any sort of calling. Really, I’m lucky my customers were liquored to the gills. Otherwise, they might have noticed how nasty and undercooked the food was.

By “hash”, I’ll play innocent and assume that means a potato substance, not…an illegal substance πŸ˜‰ You’ve also delivered pizzas for a living. Do you agree with the Pizza TV series in that “pizza delivery is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world”?
I’ve never seen the TV show, but delivering pizza can be dangerous. Muggings are common, and there were lots of rules, like, never stop at a house if the lights aren’t on, never go inside the house, and whole sections of the city that we wouldn’t go. One of the training videos was a driver’s ed-style scare film with news clips and autopsy photos of delivery boys who’d broken the rules. There’s nothing like realising you’re risking getting your skull bashed in for minimum wage to make you start thinking Karl Marx was onto something.

You’ve also been a paramedic. Holy Feckington, you must great to have around in a crisis! Ability to perform first aid, works well with others, often deals with unsavoury types, makes decisions on the spot… Forgive my fangirly spiel; I rather respect those in the medical industry. Anyway, the medical thriller genre is one of my favourites – any intention to write one? And which of your characters would you most like to have around in a crisis?
I’ve toyed with the idea, and there are some good stories there. For now, though, I’m happy where I am.

As far as which of my characters would be the best in a crisis, I’d say Misty from Unleashed. It’s not because she’s the smartest or most skilled. It’s because she’s ready to do the dirty job and take whatever fallout comes from it. Sometimes, that’s what you need the most.

Your published novels so far have been YA. When are you going to write something for the big kids? πŸ˜‰
The best I can figure, there are only two settings where an author can tell any story, where characters can go through the whole spectrum of human interaction and emotion. Those two settings are war and high school, and I’ve never been to war.

Your first novel is called Tripping to Somewhere. Does “tripping” have something to do with drug use or clumsiness? Or clumsiness causing drug use? Or drug use causing clumsiness? (I have to mention this, because you’ve said you write about mushroom gods, and we all know what “shrooming” is, don’t we, kids?)
Tripping to Somewhere is about a road trip that does involve drugs, sex and rock ‘n’ roll, so the title has a double meaning. Also, having Tripping stamped across the cover in big orange capitals serves as a good warning label. Most people figure out from the get-go that it’s not The Chronicles of Narnia.

As for the mushroom gods, people will have to read Unleashed to figure out what that’s all about.

In your second novel, Unleashed, Daniel is accepted into an Ivy League college. As far as we internationals can tell, that’s where smartarses go to university, correct? And were you indeed one of those smartarses who got into an Ivy League school?
No. I knew I wanted to be a writer by the time I graduated high school, and for that, I needed Life Experience. (See above anecdotes about being a short order cook and paramedic.) The main problem with Life Experience is that it pays mostly in anecdotes instead of, you know, money.

In which foreign countries/languages would you most like to be published?

Dude, who wouldn’t want to be published in Belgium? Good times! πŸ™‚ You’ve written “a very silly short story originally published in Cthilhu Sex Magazine #16“. Who/what is cthulhu? And does this mean the story was paranormal porn? πŸ˜‰
If you haven’t read H. P. Lovecraft’s weird tales from the ’30s and ’40s, Cthulhu is as difficult to explain as it is to pronounce. The short answer is that Cthulhu is an eons-old being dead but dreaming beneath the ocean, waiting to awake and destroy all of humanity. The story I wrote, Special, is about his sixth grade daughter. No sex, just lots of tentacles and teen angst.

Crikey Mo, I originally read “tentacles” as “testicles”. Silly Tezzy… You have a fascination with crows. Have you read Jeri Smith-Ready’s Eyes of Crow and Voice of Crow, and did both/either feature actual crows? (As opposed to some metaphorical thing.)
When an interviewer sucker-punches an author by asking about some other author he’s never heard of, it’s considered very bad form to (a) admit that he hasn’t done a deep reading of every book ever published, and (b) not offer glowing praise of the other writer because, who knows, you might need a favour some day. So I’m going to go with: Jeri Smith-Ready is brilliant! A titan of avian literature! A corvian Hemingway!

Hey, I haven’t read the books, either; that’s why I asked you πŸ˜‰ (Note to Jeri: I will read them one day, I promise!) Jessica Morgan called and you didn’t pick up the phone. Who is she, why did she call you, and why didn’t you answer? (Yes, I am nosy πŸ˜‰ )
Everybody has that one relationship that is a string of bad nights, thrown-away chances, and what-ifs. Everybody has that relationship, and the story about it is always nauseatingly dull to everybody else. So beyond that, I’ll keep silent.

Many thanks for dropping by, and have a lovely day! πŸ™‚

Relevant Links

You can purchase Tripping to Somewhere online from: Amazon, Amazon CA & Amazon UK

You can purchase Unleashed online from: Amazon, Amazon
& Amazon UK


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