How exactly does a book called ‘Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend’ come about? A wacky dream? A dare? Alan Cumyn reveals his inspiration behind his outrageous new novel.
So, Libba Bray (‘Going Bovine’, ‘Lair of Dreams’) was standing in front of a hundred or so writers saying we shouldn’t go slavishly following the trends in YA. But she didn’t say it that way. She said, “Don’t go writing your hot pterodactyl boyfriend novel.”
Three times. In the space of an hour.
And fireflies took over my mind. How to explain this? Years before, while riding a train, a great blue heron – I’m a fiction writer, but I’m not making this up – zapped me with a gaze. I started scribbling down the beginnings of a story about an ancient bird able to turn human and wander into the big city, almost as a vacation. But the story stalled, and a couple of novel-length experiments didn’t quite happen. (I know, I know. I can go years following weirdness.) Then, when I had more or less forgotten the idea – “Don’t go writing your hot pterodactyl boyfriend novel.”
Me: Hot pterodactyl boyfriend – where does that come from?
Libba: I don’t know Alan, I just made it up.
Me: Well, I think I’m getting an idea. (Gulp)
Libba: You should go for it. You should write that novel.
What if the bird was a pterodactyl? What if the pterodactyl came to high school? What if everybody fell in love with him? What if, in a weird way, the pterodactyl actually lives inside all of us, like remnants of DNA we never discarded?
I had to write it out just to find out what would happen.
Grab your copy of ‘Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend’ here!
Read it already? Tell us what you thought @maximumpopbooks!
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