My Interview on the ABC

When I was at Adelaide Writers Week last month, I did an extended interview with Sean Williams, who writes the Trouble Twisters series with Garth Nix. The ABC was kind enough to film the talk and put it online.

I talk about Uglies, Leviathan and the history of illustrations, living with another writer, from whence inspiration comes, my other books, and pretty much everything else writerly. It’s a whole hour long!

Hope you enjoy it. Thanks to Adelaide Writers Week for having me, to everyone who asked questions, to the ABC, and to Sean for being a great interviewer.

Here is the ABC page where you can download this as audio or video. Click here for the other talks from Adelaide Writers Week.

A few notes:

1) For you USians, note that “the ABC” (Australian Broadcasting Company) is not the same as “ABC” (American Broadcasting Company).

2) At 13:15, I meant to say “Book 2” instead of “Book 3.”

3) Justine, in the audience, is caught tweeting at 26:45.

4) My pronunciation of “manga” is weird sometimes. I’m from Texas.

5) At 36:00 I briefly confuse Miyake with Miyazaki, because I was wearing the former. #humblebrag

132 thoughts on “My Interview on the ABC

  1. I have yet to watch it, but I’m excited to! =D
    Thanks for the “ABC” clarification, by the way.

  2. Awesome interview, Scott πŸ˜€ for some reason I always spell your name ‘scoot’…
    Was I the only one who didn’t know about the bonus Goliath chapter and drawing?!? :O
    I quickly looked it up and it was amazing πŸ™‚
    Hahaha Bovril in a dress XD

  3. I wanna watch it….but it’s like 11:00 p.m. here and you said it was an hour long….I probably won’t watch it for a while now, nooooo…. (or maybe just not this week. My life is too hectic!)
    But I’m sort of shocked that this post came so soon after the other one. I got so used to spending weeks on one post. hehe

    @7: When you asked if Alek could get hired by the Society, that’s what I directed you to. I’m not sure if you found it or not. πŸ˜€ Sometimes I just stare at that artwork….and stare….and stare….and squee….
    Quick story: I (printed out and) read the Bonus Chapter aloud to my family in Peet’s (a coffeshop in my area). It was so fun! And only about half the people there looked at me weird….I got my comment signature (that I use on DeviantART) from the Bonus Chapter. Only it’s HUGE spoilers so sometimes I can’t comment on people’s awesome artwork because they’ve only read the first book or something….But I’m never giving it up….When the Bonus Chapter was translated into Portuguese I immediately looked for that line. πŸ˜€ Someone once complemented me on the comment signature, so yay. ^^
    And don’t worry, I found out there was a Bonus Chapter like a month later. I kept coming across fanart of Alek in a dress and I was like, “Huh, funny theme.” Then someone had the decency to mention it was inspired by the Bonus Chapter of Goliath and I went flying over here in a fit of near hysteria (not really but I got REALLY excited XD).

    Also, since no one usually goes back to old threads:

    @23(Middy Me): WHOA, really? A movie? I’m trying to imagine the Noise….
    And for The Maze Runner too? Huh. I thought that was just a mediocre book. Oh well. Yes, we definitely need a Leviathan SOMETHING. Preferably a movie but I will never give up my silly les Mis-scale musical fantasies. ^^ lol

    Heeeeeerreee. Go liiiisteeeeen: (There are many versions of this song, btw. Many versions.) :

    Hope that works.

  4. awesome interview! yay! tons of cool stuff! hehe this made my day πŸ˜€
    @8 wow that’s a great song. i kind of started singing it at lunch at my friend looked at me funny. but it’s very nice.

  5. @8- I can’t really imagine Leviathan as a musical, for some reason I can’t imagine Alek going around singing, or Volger, for that matter. It would be kind of weird, but probably hilarious…
    I loved Scott’s idea that Miyazaki should make Leviathan into a film, that really would be barking awesome!!

    They say the movie (Maze Runner) should be out next year. I can’t wait to see it, but I don’t really agree with the Thomas they picked. Anyway, for the Chaos Walking movie, that’s definitely gonna be cool. Hope that it’s better than the Hunger Games movie…

    I couldn’t watch the video cuz I’m not on a computer, but I watched another one, here’s the link:

  6. @9: I was singing it so much at school that I forgot the tune. O_o Because only I could possibly do that >_< Ah, Chaos Walking….

    @10: I know. My musical fantasy is weird. But I came out of Les Miserables (the stage production, not movie, that I saw last summer) and I was just like, "Leviathan should be a musical!" I don't know….XD
    I should look this movie up….
    (But I thought the Hunger Games movie was amazing. What didn't you like?)
    (Okay, I thought it was better than the book, or at least the second two books (heresy, I know) but I didn't really like being inside Katniss's head. I guess the whole thing was Katniss for me. I liked the way she was portrayed in the movie better than the book….ah please no pitchforks. ^^')

  7. @11- now there I’m sorry to disagree with you πŸ™ For me the kind of central point of the story is that Katniss tells it, and in the movie I didn’t really like the cast (Katniss is too old and Peeta is too small in size), but perhaps it’s just my imagination. I think the movie had too little plot, I guess that’s because in the book you read everything Katniss is thinking, but….well, it’s not one of my favorite movies :/

    And I got 100 on my math exam!! I’m giddy happy today πŸ™‚

  8. Did Justine get a haircut? It looks very short in that clip! And I love the interview (: It is a lot like the book tour talks, but better because Scott-la is forced to talk about non-planned things, tehe.

    -Lizzy-wa OUT! πŸ˜‰

  9. @11: I’m dying for Leviathan to be a movie! I just can’t decide if I want the full language changes with subtitles or not (since MOST of it’s in English anyway, it would be kinda cool to do that). They all have to have their proper accents, at least!!!
    I wouldn’t mind it being a musical, but not like Les Miserables where they sing EVERY SINGLE WORD. I love musicals, but I couldn’t stand 3 hours of that. Plus, I think there are some golden moments that would be ruined if they sang their lines.

    I love the Hunger Games, movie AND book (although admittedly I’ve only read the book once a few years ago, so I don’t remember much [and I’ve heard recently that it’s actually written rather poorly]). I’m so used to movie adaptations being a disappointments, but I saw it was like WOW. It was a fantastic film. And the beard!!! People should see the movie JUST for Seneca’s beard. πŸ˜€ The books…I didn’t like the second one much, and Mockingjay least of all. FINNICK!!! πŸ™ Sam Claflin better be good! I’m so excited for the Catching Fire movie!!!

    @12: Congrats!

  10. @12: I think my problem is just entirely with Katniss. You have no idea how long it took me to get through the first chapter of The Hunger Games (years….). Once I got into it, it was okay. But isn’t every survival story a bit plotless? I didn’t like the second two as much, especially Mockingjay, because it was like Katniss’s drug-addicted descent into insanity in present first person. It was realistic, which is the argument everyone uses against me, but I didn’t want to be inside her head. I didn’t love Peeta in the movie, but he worked. I didn’t like Gale because he gave me too many Twilight feels. *gag* (The teams….) I thought Katniss was outstanding though, because I understood things in the movie that weren’t clear in the book. Like (don’t kill me please) I never got the feeling of how much Katniss actually cared about Prim in the book. She was always so cold, even in present first person. But The Hunger Games was still a fantastic book, I just like the movies better….which, like, never happens for me. Just to clarify….

    Congratulations on your math exam! That is amazing. I could never do that….

    @14: I liked when they sung every word. I didn’t know it was going to be like that going in, but I found I liked it. It worked once you got into, sort of like how minstrels used to sing tales (only with multiple minstrels and no great heroic adventures to be seen….). I also liked it because I see so much musical theater because of my friend who does musical theater and it always seems so cheesy to me when they suddenly break out into song. Singing the whole thing, your mind just adapted and moved on.

    (I don’t think The Hunger Games was the best written book either, but it’s sort of like the opening shots of the movie. Harsh, with no texture in between, until you finally get used to it. It just doesn’t have any added frills. It’s all sharp edges. Not my favorite writing style, nor apparently of the general public if you’ve been hearing that.) I was surprised, too, because (in my opinion, Middy Me πŸ™‚ ), it was very good. Yes, I agree that the costuming and makeup, especially for the Capitol, was incredible. I was like, “I never understood what she meant in the book until seeing this….” O_O …. ^^

  11. Before I say anything else… NO, NO, NO!!! I won’t stand by and watch you take apart my favourite book πŸ™ πŸ™
    Firstly, if you think the books are badly written then you obviously know nothing about good books! I hate how everyone labels Mockingjay as the worst book, in my opinion it was the most realistic and brutal.
    I disagree with Midshipman K and agree with Middy Me! The book was much better than the movie! But they did a good job with the movie considering how complex and book is…
    What does everyone think of the Maze Runner cast? I’m not hugely impressed but I guess they’ll do. I wonder why most of them are British?
    I’d cry if Leviathan was a musical. I can’t imagine anyone singing! Apart from maybe Deryn as she runs around the ratlines followed by dancing lorises.. XD
    But no defs not! Who would you guys like to see cast in the Leviathan movie?! I might of said Saorise Ronan (have no idea how you spell her name) for Deryn a few years ago but I think she’s too old now! And tbh she actually doesn’t suit Deryn’s character. Alek.. hm I have no idea! If they make a movie I hope they actually cast a European actor! And for the Clankers to NOT have British accents!
    Lizzy-wa, can I just say how much I love “Lizzy-wa OUT” πŸ˜‰ haha

  12. Leviathan movie! this needs to happen. maybe we could all come together and make a self-produced thing. those of us who can act would be the cast, and tech people would work the cameras and special effects… *goes off into fantasy land designing sets and costumes* barking spiders, movies cost a ton of money to produce!

  13. I saw you at Adelaide Writer’s week and got a copy of Leviation signed. You’re my favourite author and I can’t believe I got to meet you! I was almost lost for words and snakes were slithering around in my stomach like crazy. Since then I’ve finished read Leviathan, Behemoth and Goliath. I can’t believe how much research and effort must have gone into that. It’s simply amazing. I love writing and have been to a few workshops and camps. Barking Spiders, how I wish I could go to Alpha!

  14. @15- i don’t know, I guess for me the writing style wasn’t so bad, because (yeah, sorry to say this) it was realistic. Also, I feel like the movie could have more pieces of the story, like they just took the main structure of the story and made the movie with that. But apart from Katniss, Peeta and Gale, I agree with the rest of the cast. And well, I have to admit the makeup was cool, but I guess it didn’t live up to my expectations from readimg the book.
    I agree with Zac-la!

    @16- i’ve only seen the guy picked tto be Thomas, though I didn’t really picture him like that. Where did you see the cast? Do you have a link or something?

    @17- man, that would be barking awesome! Movie made by fans, that is so

    Hey, anyone know where Roxanne went?

  15. @19: I’m still here! Sorry, I got a new job a few weeks ago, and now have zero time. And what little time I do have I try to write (speaking of which: I HAVE ONLY ONE WEEK TO WRITE THE REST OF MY CHAPTER!!!) It’s nice to know I’m missed though. πŸ™‚

    @Hunger Games discussion: Am I the only one who feels like Katniss’s “feelings” for Peeta are NEVER genuine throughout the whole series? I get it was a survival tactic in the beginning, but by the end it seemed like she was just settling, even though I think she was SUPPOSED to have actually fallen for him.
    As for Mockingjay, I remember getting really confused through it, and I just didn’t enjoy it as much. The first book’s idea was really gripping, I was thoroughly intrigued. Not really with Mockingjay. To sum up my feelings:
    a) Even though Finnick’s death crushed me (he didn’t even get a good death scene, I sort of missed it actually), that’s not the only reason I dislike Mockingjay.
    b) The movie’s amazing and I love it!!! (Seen it 3 times.)

    @Leviathan discussion: I agree that Leviathan shouldn’t be a musical instead of a non-musical, period. BUT if it had to be, it wouldn’t be the worst thing. As long as it’s not Les-Mis-esque (sorry, MK, gotta disagree with you). I just want it to happen! The right way (i.e. right accents and ages, little-to-no plot changes, etc.)! Desperately!!!
    OMG, we should get a petition! πŸ˜€

    @16: “Firstly, if you think the books are badly written then you obviously know nothing about good books! I hate how everyone labels Mockingjay as the worst book, in my opinion it was the most realistic and brutal.” <–Whoa! Everyone's entitled to their own opinion! Don't start hating on people.

  16. here’s a link to TMR cast πŸ™‚
    Scott, would you answer some So Yesterday questions of mine?! Since nobody else seems to have read it on here…
    @Roxanne I’m not hating on people πŸ™‚ just voicing my opinion! Gaaaaah, I have no further comments on The Hunger Games discussion (NEGATIVE discussion)

  17. @23- thx for the link, I’ll watch it as soon as the internet is better (somehow I can get on this page but not on any other, it gets REALLY sloooow…)

    @Roxanne- I didn’t really think Katniss’s feelings were true until the very end of Mockingjay. I did feel like she was faking through the other books. I’ll agree with you on that but not about the movie. I didn’t really like it that much. I’m crossing my fingers that the second one will be better (cuz I like that book best).

    Oh, and Zac-la, I’ve read So Yesterday too! You can ask me questions πŸ™‚
    Can’t guarantee my answers will be completely right, but I’ll do my best.

  18. Ahhhhhhh….*hides* I feel like everyone hates me now….
    ….But, Zac-la, I like Leviathan, don’t I? Goliath is my favorite book in the whole world….And I love Lord of the Rings, and The Book Thief, and Harry Potter….and lots of things. I even thought The Maze Runner was good.
    Sorry, I know this discussion is over, and I know you said you weren’t hating on anyone, but I just really can’t let that comment go because it sort of hurt. πŸ™ A lot.

    I guess I would’ve said similar things for LBG, though….

    On a happier note, has anyone seen that screenshot of someone dissing the Harry Potter books on Facebook, saying, “Why would they write such bad books after such wonderful movies? And I think the author got lazy because there are only seven books and there are eight movies” or something like that….Then someone said something very rude back to them, then someone else took a screenshot of that and added a thing of Sherlock going, “Anderson, don’t talk out loud. You lower the IQ of the entire street.” (Because the guy’s last name was Anderson.) It was hilarious….

    Yes, I did try to find a link. But apparently my sister didn’t reblog it and I spent forever searching, but couldn’t find it. *sob*

  19. Ok waaaaait, since the Hunger Games discussion is still happenining I have to add that Katniss’ feelings for Peeta were genuine in the Catching Fire Games! And before the Games actually..
    ALRIGHT I guess a apolodgy is in order. BUT I just hate seeing my best book being torn apart πŸ™
    Middy Me@ what did you think of So Yesterday? πŸ™‚

  20. @26: I guess I should apologize, too. I thought I was being critical, not mean. Blurry line, I suppose. I’m sorry.

  21. @26- I just checked out the Maze Runner cast link. I have to say, it’s much better than I expected, I agree with everybody, except for Alby (looks too old), and Minho (sorta imagined him different). But everyone else is perfect! I can’t wait to see it!

    And I loved So Yesterday πŸ™‚ I found Scott’s first person writing really funny, and well, the story is pretty cool, like a theme you’d never think about but when you read about it you go like “hey, this is cool!”. I absolutely loved it.
    What else can I say? It’s a Scott Westerfeld book.

    @28- Man, that just made my day πŸ˜‰

  22. IDEA! We should all try and arrange like a meet up thing? And all come one at the same time? πŸ˜€ anyone?
    What’s everyone currently reading? I’m reading Graceling by Kristin Cashore and OMG it’s amazing :O
    Has anyone else heard of Airborn by Kenneth Oppel? It’s strangely similar to the Leviathan series! Although the airships aren’t flying whales πŸ˜‰ and also the female protagonist reminds me so much of Dr Barlow! Hey I just realised Dr Barlow and Dr Cable… what would they do if they met?
    @30 ahhh yes exactly my thoughts! Now I look at everything and try and decide whether it’s ‘cool’ or not! I liked Jen and Hunter, they were awesome characters πŸ˜€
    My favourite part had to be the Poo-Sham ad! “Lack of ram with keys and parrots”ahahahahaha

  23. @31: That would be so cool and incredibly difficult, but I’m willing to give it a try. πŸ™‚
    I LOVE Graceling! Such a good book….Have you read the others? I haven’t read Bitterblue yet….
    YESYESYES I have Airborn, but I haven’t read it yet. At the time that I got it, it was just too weird for me to process non-living flight. XD stkidd on dA did some genderbending art for Leviathan and Airborn, but she recently put most of her old artwork in storage so I don’t think it’s there anymore….:(

    Back to WWII notes. Thank goodness it doesn’t exist in the Leviathan universe….

  24. Firstly we have to figure out the time difference, it’s 8:45pm here in New Zealand.
    YOU’VE READ GRACELING! Haven’t read the others yet but I’m nearly finished the first book. Can I just say how much I love Katsa, like wow.
    You need to read Airborn! Oh wow that would be amazing seeing Airborn and Leviathan merged!

  25. @31- a meetup! Barking spiders, that would be awesome! It would be kinda complicated, like Mid. K said, but it would definitely be cool πŸ™‚

    I’m currently rereading the InkWorld trilogy, and I’m about two thirds into Inkspell. I’m amazed by how much I don’t remember about the story…
    And after that I’ll probably read A Study In Scarlet. I’ve been sort of obsessed with Sherlock Holmes ever since I saw the Sherlock series πŸ˜›

    And well, I haven’t read either Graceling or Airborn…what is Airborn about?

  26. @28 that so made my day! haha!
    @31 it would be so awesome if we could all do a meetup! coming on at the same time though, would that make Westerblog freeze up? still that sound like so much fun. currently reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. my reading teacher crowds out all opportunities to read stuff we actually ENJOY. if i could i’d read Divergent it sounds good.

  27. I think Graceling is such a great book, but everybody I’ve introduced to it has thought it was only ‘alright’. I’ve read the other ones too, but Graceling is still my favorite. I’ve read Airborn too, but it was such a long time ago I’ve forgotten much of it (don’t the protagonists freak out at on point on an island when they hear hissing and think it’s a snake, but it turns out to be hydrogen?)
    @34 I started read the canon after I first watched Sherlock too. And when I went back and researched it, I kept see all sorts of little references. You can really tell the writers really like the originals stories. I do too, for that matter.

  28. @31
    i’ve read Airborne! and the rest of that series.
    i also thought it was a ton like leviathan. Airborne was good, but I didn’t like the other two books as much.
    I’ve seen Graceling around bookstores and such but never read it….
    and the meet up would be awesome!

    I just finished Cinder and I loved it! Super original. Kinda reminded me of leviathan with all the mechanical stuff.

  29. @36- yeah, the adaptation from books to TV is really good. I too keep seeing small references to the stories, which is really cool. Also, Benedict C. Is an absolutely awesome Sherlock!

    How’s everyone doing? πŸ™‚
    So we need to sort out this meet up! But you could be right, would the blog crash? :O
    @34 I meant to read A Study in Scarlet but never got round to it! I read the whole Young Sherlock Holmes series which is utterly amazing! Check it out if you like Sherlock Holmes!
    @36 I’m going to start Fire today, what’s better out of the other two?
    And the protagonists think it’s hydrium not hydrogen haha but to be fair they’d been kidnapped and chased by pirates…
    @37 The second Airborn book (Skybreaker) was actually my favourite! The last one wasn’t bad either.
    @39 Hello πŸ˜‰

  31. @40 – I’ve heard of the Young SH series, but I’ve never read them. I’ll check them out, though I would like to read the original stories first πŸ™‚

    And you’re definitely right. The meet-up! I don’t think the blog would crash, but maybe it would get slow. We would just need to sort out the time zones, and the date, because for some reason the date on the blog post is always wrong. We could do it on a weekend, no?

  32. @41: It says quite clearly under “Leave a Reply” that: “Comments are stamped with Australian Eastern Standard Time.” Hence, the always being wrong. I’m sure it’s only a couple of hours off for Zac-la, am I right?

  33. Ahhhh. I’ve been gone for so long. I don’t really want to put the effort into finding who said what because I’m tired….I was at my friend’s quinceanera from 12:30 to 10:30 yesterday. Rehearsal (aahhh my calves) then dresses (and her dress was barking amazing) then the actual thing….then folklorico which I sat out of. She tried to teach us the basic step, but her dress was so big we couldn’t see her feet and when we ballet people did figure it our we had the hardest time keeping up the rhythm….then more dancing…. My feet hurt so much right now.


    The meet up….It might crash the blog. It depends on how many people are doing it. I know when I was getting into the Beta version of Pottermore we had to wait until 4:00 am to get in, despite it opening for the one million beta at mignight because so many people were trying to get in. The same thing happens on the last day to apply for the UC system (University of California for those of you who aren’t in the US :D).

    I’ve read The Hound of the Baskervilles and a few short stories from the Adventures, but not all of canon Sherlock yet. I intend to, though. I find it kind of amusing that there’s so much published Sherlock stuff by other authors because technically it’s fanfiction. (However, while I find it amusing for Sherlock, our clever detective is classic and the author is dead and, sure, there’s even technical fanfiction for Shakespeare, I do not approve of Fifty Shades. Moving on….) There’s a whole bookshelf in this independent bookstore in Rockridge called Dark Carnival dedicated to Sherlock Holmes (but it’s a SF/F bookstore….huh.) There’s also a shelf dedicated to Star Trek, and Tolkien, and it’s heaven in there. And guess what? When we first went there with my friend, she asked where the W section was and disappeared….And when I saw her outside reading after I got a book, do you know what she was reading? Goliath. πŸ˜€ That was the day she told me I HAD to read these books and here I am…. (Slightly ashamed for picking up Leviathan so many times but not buying it. But I’m here now!) Anyway, I suppose I owe that bookstore. A lot. (It’s such a little hole-in-the-wall fire hazard. I love it. Books crammed into shelves! Books on the floor! Books to the ceiling! <3)

    I didn't know Airborn was part of a series. Huh. I would say I'd go read it, but in reality that probably won't happen until school ends. πŸ™ So much to do. I hate how the weather gets all warm and summery and all you want to do is sit around and read but at the same time everyone starts throwing finals and STAR tests and AP tests and end of the year projects at you. Why….

  34. @40, well, I haven’t read Airborn in the last five years, so you’ll have to forgive me. Personally, I liked Graceling better, but Fire’s still good. It’s interesting additional knowledge.

  35. Hey, Zac-la, you’re on Goodreads, right? Does that only exist so the majority of people in this world have a bullying outlet? I don’t think YOU would do this, but when I was looking at some of my favorite books (Leviathan included), just to see what people said….wow. There are so many more hateful reviews than good. I don’t mean bad reviews, I mean hateful. I was sort of astounded. I mean, couldn’t people be more civil? Leviathan had sort of an even mix, but stuff like City of Bones, which I expected to have millions of dull good reviews because it’s so popular it’s redundant, but….It had the most hateful reviews. It’s like the majority of people on there only care about saying what they don’t like than what they do. Why are people so negative….?

    I’m going to go hug Leviathan now because it’s so much better than what everyone is saying*….O_o

    *And try to keep myself in a shocked daze so I don’t build up the urge to strangle people for talking about Deryn and Alek like that….
    (I should meditate lol: “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion….om….”)

  36. @40
    I dont really remember the second one! The reason I disliked the third one was because there was a bunch of weird space creatures and lights flying and awkward love triangles, and by the end i was just kinda like…. whaaaaaaa?

  37. Middy Me 4@ your first comment on this post, did Scott say something about the Uglies movie that I missed or were you just asking for news?
    No, this Australian time thing seems quite off to New Zealand but I’ll check the time when I post this. YES, it would need to be on the weekend, oh what a shame we just had one!
    Fifty Shades is actually a fanfiction for Twilight, am I right? I haven’t read that book and don’t intend to… Gah, if only Scott would actually reply to our comments! I’d like to know his opinion on a handful of books…
    @45 ahh yes all the negative comments shocked me when I first came on Goodreads! But tbh I’m used to them now and actually enjoy reading them πŸ˜‰
    But I never read the bad ones about books I actually like!

  38. I never post reviews because I can’t be bothered and never have time πŸ™
    (carrying on) wait ok I hate some of the negative reviews BUT the reviews for books I hate are interesting to read πŸ˜›
    And like I said, I ignore the hateful ones for books I actually like otherwise I’d want to attack my computer screen and send digital punches and kicks!

  39. @47- yeah, Scott said that a visual effects studio was taking an interest in Uglies, and that they’ve done the effects for a ton of movies. He said they were working on the uglie-prettie transformation ad were going to put out some “test shots” or something soon.
    Any more news on that, Scott?

  40. It’s not exactly movie news but saying “Ugkies visual effects news!!!” seemed a little weird πŸ˜›

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