by Amy Knight, Age 14, United Kingdom
Ned Vizzini is the New York Times bestselling author of several young-adult books which have been translated into over 25 languages. Notable titles include The Other Normals, Be More Chill and the award winning It’s Kind of a Funny Story which was adapted into a film starring Emma Roberts and Zach Galifianakis. He has also written for MTV’s Teen Wolf and is currently writing for NBC’s Believe. His latest novel, co-authored with Chris Columbus is the first in their new fantasy adventure series, House of Secrets.
I interviewed Ned about his most successful novel; It’s Kind of a Funny Story, to see where he got his inspiration.
Q: Can you tell me what the book is about and who you wrote it for in two sentences or less?
A: It’s Kind of a Funny Story is about depression and redemption in a psych hospital. I wrote it for myself, to fulfil my publishing contract.
Q: What inspired you to write it?
A: When I was 23, I had a freak-out because I couldn’t finish a book and I started getting very depressed. It got worse and worse and then I ended up in the psychiatric hospital for “suicidal ideation.” I was there for a week and when I left, I had something new to write about.
Q: What was your biggest obstacle during the writing process?
The biggest obstacle was finding the idea. Once I had my story, but given to a 15-year-old instead of me (I was 23) the writing came easily. It just took a lot of wrong turns to find the right idea.
Q: How did you overcome the obstacle?
A: Aside from struggling to find a story, once I had that there was no problem publishing the book! The book company was waiting for a book from me and they were just happy to have something!
Q: How do you feel about the movie of your book? Were you involved in the process?
I like the movie a lot. I didn’t write it but I did provide one of the songs for the soundtrack (“Happy Today” by the Wowz, who were on my friend’s record label at the time). I think it does a good job capturing the tone and feel of the book and it has opened huge doors for me. Two years ago I went to a Wal-Mart in Austin, TX, and although the book was not there, the movie was!
Q: What advice do you have for young people interested in writing?
A: I always tell people to start by writing short stories about their own lives. That’s how I started, and it’s hard to get blocked writing stories like that!
Amy Knight is a 14 year old writer from England. Amy says, “I love writing and write book reviews for The Guardian Online and LoveReading, as well as recently setting up my own blog.”