Allen Zadoff Quarantine Interview
by Allen Zadoff
Who wore it better?
I recently sat down to interview myself in quarantine. Because let's face it. There was nobody else there.
AZ: Congratulations on your double book birthday!
Allen: Wow, thanks so much. And thanks for remembering. It’s hard to believe that Wild & Chance is finally in the world and available to readers. Book 1 is out in paperback and Book 2 in hardcover. As with most series, the journey to publication began nearly two--
AZ: Very interesting. Let's skip that and maybe you could tell us the story?
Allen: Um, okay. Wild & Chance is an action thriller narrated by a dog who has lost her memory. She’s trying to find out who she is while on the run from Animal Control officers who are more like soldiers for a secret organization. You could describe it as Jason Bourne meets Homeward Bound.
AZ: Is it true Wild can talk to humans?
Allen: You actually read the book, huh?
AZ: I'm busy so I just read the back cover. But tell us about the talking thing.
Allen: Wild is super intelligent and can understand human language. Her barking is translated through a high tech collar, and you can only understand her if you’re wearing a special ear bud. For everyone else, it just sounds like barking.
AZ: Wild is a dog, but she narrates the story?
Allen: That’s right. The entire book is written from the point of view of a hyper-intelligent dog.
AZ: That sounds pretty cool.
Allen: For sure. I often say the writer is the first reader of a book. If I’m having a great experience writing it, I trust you’ll have one reading it. When I was writing Wild & Chance, I was incredibly excited, on the edge of my seat, crying and laughing along with the characters.
AZ: That seems a little weird.
Allen: It was. But I’m usually alone when it happens, or in a New York coffee shop. When you’re weird in New York, nobody notices.
AZ: Who is the book for?
Allen: I think it’s a great read for 8-13 year olds, those who love to read and reluctant readers. One of the most gratifying things about my previous series Boy Nobody/The Unknown Assassin is how many kids loved it who traditionally don’t like to read. Short chapters, propulsive narrative, action and emotion. I had parents and teachers emailing to share stories of kids who were reading—and having fun reading— for the first time. Wild & Chance is the same kind of experience.
AZ: So it's just for kids?
Allen: It's for kids—and kids of all ages—who love a great thriller. It's for Boy Nobody/Assassin readers who want another adventure, albeit with slightly younger characters. And it's for anyone who wants to read an Allen Zadoff book. I’ve got a lot of friends who have never read my work.
AZ: A lot of friends?
Allen: A few friends.
AZ: How many exactly?
Allen: This is getting personal. Could we move on to the next question?
AZ: But I'm so interested in this question.
Allen: That makes one of us. Keep moving.
AZ: What’s it like to have a book birthday in quarantine?
AZ: Is that why you’re interviewing yourself?
Allen: Pretty much.
AZ: Did you really fill your fireplace with books and make a pandemic bookstore for the first book?
Allen: Yup. Bookstores were closed, at least temporarily, and I wanted to honor the book and recreate the experience of having it on the table when you walk into the bookshop. Now shops are reopening, the world is tentatively reopening, and we might see the book on an actual store shelf.
AZ: What can readers do to help if they love the book?
Allen: First thing, they should review it online. Throw it a few stars (preferably 5) on Amazon, Goodreads, Apple Books, or B&N. Talk about it in a social media post, make a video about it, or review it in your book blog. Tell a friend! Ask a teacher to make it part of your class reading assignment.
AZ: Anything else you’d like to share?
Allen: Can I add a few links so people know where they can order the book?
AZ: We don’t really do that. It's a bad look.
AZ: Okay. Whatever.