This interview is part of a tour for Traveling to Teens!
Daniel and Dina Nayeri are the brother and sister writing team behind Another Faust. For more info, check out their website and be sure to follow the rest of the tour stops!
GreenBeanTeenQueen: What was your favorite book as a teen? (I know, this is such a hard question!)
Dina: My favorite book was Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Though I read a lot of Jane Austen too. But I loved Lord of the Flies best because of the way it plays with evil. You have a group of boys that are so civilized, so much the product of the very highest standards of human achievement, and within weeks they turn not just barbaric, but absolutely evil. I was so mesmerized by all the symbolism in the book. I think it was the first time I really analyzed a book deeply, read it carefully for all its meaning. For example, Lord of the Flies is a translation of the word Beelzebub, which is the name of the devil. And I would go through the book looking for any mention of flies, which characters attracted them, who was most closely associated with evil, etc. I think it’s pretty obvious how much of that made it into Another Faust. :) Lord of the Flies was also one of the only books that I read more than once. My copy was covered with notes and highlights. I really hope readers will pay that close attention to Another Faust (particularly to the epigraphs which are full of hidden meaning and juicy tidbits that will surely escape the quick reader. My favorite part is that we’ve actually put the author of the original Faust, Goethe, in one of the epigraphs, and we’ve given him 2 of his own famous quotes... But you have to know his first name to know who he is!).
Daniel: Wow, tough one. My favorite book as a teen. Hmmm. Okay, I've restated the question. That bought me some time. Let's see. I could dodge some more by dissecting the question itself. What do you mean by "teen" for example? As in, "the teen years?" When my age had a "teen" suffix? I suppose so.
I knew I wanted to become a writer when I was in the fifth grade, after I read a short story by Terry Pratchett called, "Troll Bridge." It was only ten pages or so, but it changed everything for me. I wasn't a teen yet, but man, I jumped right in. I ate up all the classic adventure tales, Robinson Crusoe, Treasure Island, Count of Monte Cristo. But none of that answers the question.
How about this, what do you mean by book? Does it have to be hardback? I was a huge fan of comics by the time I entered middle school...X-Men, Creature Tech, Sandman, Watchmen, Nausicaa.
Or do you only mean only novels? Cause by the time I hit high school, a real teen by then, it was all about poetry for me. I adored a collection of poetry I had that included a lot of T.S. Eliot, Robert Browning, Coleridge, and up to Kenneth Koch and James Tate. "Picnic, Lightning," by Billy Collins practically melted my face off it was so good. I memorized "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," which remains my favorite poem.
Frankly, what is the question again? Or better yet, what is a question in the first place?
Okay, darn it, I've stalled all I can. I really hate this one. As a teen, I was omnivorous. At school, I was reading only my favorites (sorry, Tess of the Durbervilles, you got skipped for Moby Dick and everything by Steinbeck). At home, I was devouring comic books, hard-boiled detective novels by Raymond Chandler, and in the instruction booklets to all my video games. And then in between classes I was swooning after girls, reading poetry, and writing my own maudlin refrains. It was fairly disgusting.
But just ONE book? As a favorite above all others? Hmm. Let me think about this. What do you mean by "favorite"?
GreenBeanTeenQueen: Was there anything you would have sold your soul for as a teen?
Dina: As a teen, I was desperate to go to an Ivy League college. I was practically a caricature, I was so insane with this need. Seriously, none of the crazy Ivy-obsessed girls you see on TV shows came close to me! :) Of course, I would never have sold my soul for anything. To the contrary, I spent a lot of my teen years praying for what I wanted. But if someone had told me when I was sixteen that I would never get into my dream schools, and if the offer had been put in front of me, I think that would be the only thing that would have tempted me. This is another thing that shows up in Another Faust, but the big difference between the way I did it and the way Victoria does it, is that I really worked hard. I mean, I actually sacrificed my social life, and my sleep, and spent day and night working toward my goals. And if you’re willing to do that, you don’t have to give away anything valuable, like your soul or your dignity or your values.
Daniel: Not really. I mean, I would have definitely sold my soul for MORE souls, like a "wishing for more wishes" kind of thing. But I don't think I would have fallen for it. Modern cinema has taught me well. If you are Brendan Frazier in Bedazzled, and you sell your soul to become rich, you'll wake up and find out all your money was from blood diamonds or something. Or if you want fame, you'll be a famous criminal. Or worse, Paris Hilton.
GreenBeanTeenQueen: What’s up next?
Dina: Wow, that’s such a big, open question. What’s next? Well, as far as writing goes, Daniel and I have just finished the second book in the series, Another Pan, which, in my opinion, is even better than the first! It’s set in the Marlowe school the next year, and is once again a retelling. It’s coming out in about a year! I’m also working on my own novel, plus Daniel and I are conceptualizing a manga-type series. So there’s a lot in the pipeline! In the meantime, it’s fun to enjoy watching Another Faust be born to the world. I think I might take some time off to enjoy that. Plus, it’s really stressful to write a book together, so I’m trying to convince Dan to take a motorcycle road trip to unwind! I hope I don’t end up splattered on the side of a road, because Daniel’s the dare-devil, not me! :)
Daniel: Well. There's the next book in the Another series, which we're putting finishing touches on. Also, as Dina said, we're working on a heavily illustrated (possibly manga-style) series that has a really cool concept. Once we get that squared away, you'll definitely be hearing about it. Personally, I just finished a collection four novellas, each in a different genre (western, sci-fi, crime procedural, and romance). I'm really excited about how it turned out, so you may hear about it in the near future....tease, tease, tease. :)
Good luck with all your future projects and thanks for the interview!! Be sure to check out Another Faust, out August 25!