Another installment of Tea Time! And today we have author of NUMB, an adult book that kind of rocks my socks. The premise alone is outstanding, but pair it with Ferrell’s strong prose and you have a winner!
NUMB released August 3rd with Harper Perennial, so run out and get yourself a copy!
1. Hey Sean! Welcome to the blog. Give us the essence of NUMB in as few words as possible.
A man who can’t feel pain tries to figure out how to cope. He runs away from the circus, loses and regains and re-loses friends, puts himself into horrible situations, and occasionally gets nailed to things.
2. Tell us a bit about YOU.
I’m a man who can’t cope trying not to feel pain. No, wait, that’s not right.
I grew up in upstate New York, went to school in Boston, now live and work in New York City. I have a lovely wife and son, love making buffalo chicken wings, love eating buffalo chicken wings, may in fact be turning into a buffalo chicken wing.
3. The journey is different for everyone, so much so that I don’t think there is a normal path to publication. Give us a glimpse into yours. Any surprises?
It took me a long time to realize that finding my own way to write was okay. I kept trying what people told me was “the way.” Problem: there is no one way. It’s not like traveling by train where there are rails and if you go off you’re doomed; it’s a bit more like exploring hiking trails: go for a while, get lost, refind the trail, get lost again, find some amazing views you didn’t expect, then pass out, exhausted. Once I discovered that it was okay to write like me things fell into place. I was no longer beating myself up for failing at someone else’s process, and I was no longer writing stories that felt like a stranger had written. I wrote Numb thinking no one would be interested, but it was the story I had to tell. I found an incredibly patient agent (yes, believe it or not, my agent is patient) and she found me an editor who feels like a second-self. I am very, very lucky.
4. What has been your favorite part of the publication process?
Meeting amazing and talented people: agents, readers, writers, editors, publicists. People love books, love reading, and it’s such an honor to be able to spend time talking to people who love ideas and stories as much as I do. That, and reading great books months and years before anyone else knows it exists. Super-cool. It’s like the nerd in me was given the keys to the city.
5. What is your favorite part of writing? Do you like drafting? Edits? *gasp* Synopses???
Good lord, not synopses. If you ever want to know the location of my secret fortress just ask me to write a synopsis of my novel: I’ll crack like a twig.
My favorite part of writing is all of it. I love getting lost in the first draft, like being in a waking dream and not being sure where the words are coming from; I love it when what I’m writing surprises me. I love revising, walking around the city with my head wrapped around a plot point or character issue I haven’t yet solved, I love when the book suddenly solves its own problems. I love getting feedback and having someone challenge me to make the book better. What don’t I like: proofreading. Ugh. I don’t even remember to run spellcheck. As I recently tweeted: Spellcheck is for lasers. My files are filled with little red squiggly lines, as if blood worms are having an east to west pilgrimage, and even then I don’t remember to run it.
6. Villains. Really, what more do I need to say? They rock. Give me your favorite villain.
The Harry Potter books had me written all over them (seriously, take a look, my name is EVERYWHERE) and it is filled with delicious villains, none tastier than Voldemort.
7. Most important question of all. Favorite kind of cupcake?
There is a chocolate cupcake with a cream cheese filling that I had once that was so good I’d let you punch me in the mouth if it meant I could have one. It is like taking a bite out of happiness.
Thank you so much, Sean, for taking the time to come by, and for you fabulous answers! Wasn’t he great, guys?