Performancing Metrics

There's A Book

Yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity of reviewing Antony John’s newest release Five Flavors of Dumb. It’s a fantastic new YA novel with characters like Piper who happens to be deaf and a rock band manager! Completely original and an enjoyable read all the way around. So, when Antony said he’d be willing to chat a bit about his reading habits as a child and the books that got him started, I was very excited! Take a look…

Hi Danielle (and readers): Thanks for having me here today!

Yours is such an interesting question. See, I’m not like most authors, to be honest. I didn’t read a whole lot when I was younger. Actually, I barely read at all—partly because I was a tragically slow reader, but mostly because I was music-obsessed. I literally spent every free moment playing and composing classical music instead. Was I a nerd? Uh . . . yeah.

So the simple answer to your question is that none of the books I read influenced me in becoming a writer, but some of them certainly influenced how I write today.

For instance, when I did get around to reading, I especially loved books by S.E. Hinton (The Outsiders; Rumble Fish; That was then, this is now, etc). These books weren’t exactly new when I was reading them in the 80s, but for a kid at an all-boys school in England, they were mind-blowing. And I’m not just talking about the setting and the characters, but also the style of the writing itself. It was so different than the writing of the English authors we were assigned at school, and I thought it was electrifying.

The other books I read were the assigned classics. I grew up in a part of England called Dorset, which is where Thomas Hardy lived and wrote. So we read pretty much all of his novels, and I adore them: Tess of the D’Urbevilles; Far From the Madding Crowd; The Return of the Native, etc. They’re like the most literary soap operas you can imagine, with characters you really root for.

So, did S.E. Hinton and Thomas Hardy make me want to become a writer? Not at all. I was dead-set on being a composer, and that’s what I was for a while. But when I finally decided to try writing a book, they definitely influenced me. In Five Flavors of Dumb, I really wanted to convey that edgy realism I adored in S. E. Hinton, but also some of the lyrical qualities of Thomas Hardy’s writing. I don’t end up resembling either of them, of course, but that’s not really the point. All authors absorb influences, distill them, and adapt them to their own writing.
The funny thing is, I read all the time now. (Better late than never, right?) And I almost only read YA novels. (I actually get bored quickly when I read adult novels, because they feel slow and self-indulgent by comparison.) The list of authors that influence me now is long: Barry Lyga, Catherine Murdock, Jerry Spinelli, Meg Rosoff, Lauren Myracle, Jennifer Connelly, Sara Zarr, David Yoo, E. Lockhart, John Green, Laurie Halse Anderson. There’s such an awesome variety of high-quality books being written today. It’s really inspiring. And with every new book I wonder if I would’ve read more as a teen if the kind of books being written today had existed back then.

Thank you so much for stopping by Antony! I think you would be surprised how many people fall into your exact same shoes, including myself. I had very few books I loved as a teen because of the amount of books teachers “forced” me to read. As an adult I adore Young Adult books for the very reason you mentioned. So many of them, yours included, are well-written and incredibly inspiring – just fantastic reads.

Again, thank you Antony! It was wonderful having you stop by There’s A Book today and as I mentioned in my review, I can’t wait to read more of your writing in the future!

Also, Antony John is giving away a signed copy of DUMB as well as a copy of WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON
signed by both John Green and David Levithan. All you have to do is “LIKE” his new author page on Facebook! Take a look!

Please stop by The Teen {Book} Scene for more details and other tour stop locations! And check out other reviews of Five Flavors of Dumb as well.
Thank you so much to the author, Antony John, for providing a copy of his book for review!
Purchasing products by clicking through the links in this post will provide us a modest commission through our affiliate relationship with IndieBound.

2 Responses to Guest Post: Antony John Author of Five Flavors of Dumb

  1. Gina says:

    Great interview! Huh, isn’t it funny how we all find our way into the world of books? Definitely some great ones mentioned that helped mold his current writing style…and see, NOW he’s a reader…gotta love it. Thanks for sharing…and happy reading!

  2. Cool interview! He sounds like a great guy 🙂

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