Dearest readers, it is my distinct pleasure to welcome Ned Vizzini author of The Other Normals to Good Books & Good Wine today. He’s taken time out of his busy schedule to answer a a few questions, and I’m SUPER pumped about that. PLUS you guys, there’s a giveaway at the end!
1. If you could pick any theme song for Perry, what would it be?
Whenever I get a question about music, I’m faced with a choice. Do I mention one of the obscure bands I actually listen to that nobody has heard of, or do I pick a song that whoever’s reading this might know?
Since my wife says I pick the obscure bands just to be obscure, I’m going to go super-well-known here and say Tom Petty’s “Into The Great Wide Open.” Because Perry goes into a fantasy world and that’s as wide and open as it gets.
2. Creatures And Caverns seems to be drawn from Dungeons and Dragons and maybe a little bit of Warhammer. Do you have real life experience table top gaming, how much of that has gone into The Other Normals?
My real-life experience with gaming is more focused on Magic: The Gathering. Warhammer I never got into; Dungeons & Dragons was something I tried to play, like Perry, but didn’t have enough people to play with; Magic was my drug of choice.
I didn’t give it up until I was 30 and I was playing at a tournament in Los Angeles and Ron Livingston from Office Space was there, scouting a movie or something, and I kept getting beaten by this guy with a boil on his forehead and I was watching sweat drip down this guy’s boil thinking, “I’m too old for this crap.” Ken Baumann can confirm this story.
My experience with gaming did go into The Other Normals because Perry is caught. He wants to be a cool kid and interact with his peers but he finds it much easier to lose himself in game. And it turns out he really has to lose himself in a game before he can get uncaught and grow up.
3. Perry doesn’t exactly have a whole lot of ‘game’ with the ladies. Any advice for Perry or those out there who are just as socially awkward (and awesome) as the main character of The Other Normals?
Anybody who’s socially awkward falls into two categories: you either talk too much or you don’t talk enough. So if you talk too much (if you get notes on Parent-Teacher Conference Night that you’re “disruptive” in class), just have to be quiet more. Then people will think that you’re deep and brooding and you have a dark secret that only they can bring out of you.
But if you never talk at all, that’s also a problem because people will think you’re sociopathic. So in that case you just have to spend more time on the internet so you have things to say and say one or two things a day that show people that you actually live the real world and are conscious of it.
But you know what? Neither of these strategies are conducive to being successful. You could also just become successful, and then people will have to deal with your awkwardness.
About The Other Normals:
‘Given the chance, fifteen-year-old Peregrine “Perry” Eckert would dedicate every waking moment to Creatures & Caverns, an epic role-playing game rich with magical creatures, spell casting, and deadly weapons. The world of C&C is where he feels most comfortable in his own skin, so when his parents ship him off to summer camp Perry is sure he’s in for the worst summer of his life.
Everything changes, however, when Perry gets to camp and stumbles into the World of the Other Normals. Perry’s new otherworldly friends need his help to save their princess and prevent mass violence. As they embark on their quest together, Perry realizes that his nerdy childhood has uniquely prepared him to be a great warrior in this world, and maybe even a hero.
Bestselling author Ned Vizzini delivers a compulsively readable and wildly original story about the winding and often hilarious path to manhood.’
You can check out my review here.