Admittedly, we were inclined to love Blake Nelson's latest novel, Dream School (we even wrote about it last year, before it was a hard-copy book). Now that it's the first title to be published by Figment, we're excited to own a paper copy. And we got to chat with Blake about writing the sequel to his phenomenal 90s hit, Girl. I Heart Daily: What inspired you to write a sequel to Girl? Blake Nelson: On impulse, I stuck a cliff-hanger, sequel-hinting ending on the end of Girl. I don't remember why. I guess to force myself someday to write a sequel? I hadn't really thought about what she would be doing... I just knew she would not be a typical college student, she would definitely have some sort of indie-alternative-artsy experience....
IHD: What was it like for you to follow Andrea to college? BN: It was fun. And a little bit sad. And really interesting. It was like I was going back to college myself, remembering all the little details of that first day, first week, first month. I had never been anywhere when I left to go to college. It was a huge moment for me.
IHD: You say F. Scott Fitzgerald has had a big influence on your writing. How so? BN: He did everything I want to do. He was romantic, but also coldly realistic. Also, his characters were so clearly the cool-kids of his time. The "fast" girls, the crazed overly romantic boys, the ambition, the class striving. My favorite of his books might be his obscure second novel The Beautiful and the Damned... the title kind of sums it up.
IHD: Are you surprised that the Young Adult genre has gotten so popular? BN: Yeah, I am. And it's also interesting to watch it struggle under the weight of that popularity. It seems to lurch around from one trend to another. First Vampires. Now Dystopia. I would like it a little better, if it wasn't such a gold rush. But so many amazing books have appeared during the YA boom, you can't complain. And there's a lack of pretension that I really appreciate.
IHD: Our always-ask-it question: What are you hearting right now? BN: There's a video artist named Ryan Trecartin, who makes videos of weirdly dressed teenagers, talking super fast, using all the random catch phrases of our time, and making no sense whatsoever. For some reason, I am endlessly amused by these videos.
How great is Blake Nelson? Read Girl, then Dream School. We dare you not to love these books.