29 March 2013

Title: Crash and Burn
Author: Michael Hassan
Publisher: Balzer + Bray, 544 Pages (February 19th, 2013)
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis: On April 21, 2008, Steven "Crash" Crashinsky saved more than a thousand people when he stopped his classmate David Burnett from taking their high school hostage armed with assault weapons and high-powered explosives. You likely already know what came after for Crash: the nationwide notoriety, the college recruitment, and, of course, the book deal. What you might not know is what came before: a story of two teens whose lives have been inextricably linked since grade school, who were destined, some say, to meet that day in the teachers' lounge of Meadows High. And what you definitely don't know are the words that Burn whispered to Crash right as the siege was ending, a secret that Crash has never revealed.

Until now.

Michael Hassan's shattering novel is a tale of first love and first hate, the story of two high school seniors and the morning that changed their lives forever. It's a portrait of the modern American teenage male, in all his brash, disillusioned, oversexed, schizophrenic, drunk, nihilistic, hopeful, ADHD-diagnosed glory. And it's a powerful meditation on how normal it is to be screwed up, and how screwed up it is to be normal.

Author Interview:

Michael, thank you so much for dropping in for a quick Q&A today.

First off, a HUGE congrats to you on your recent release, Crash and Burn. Could you tell us a bit about the writing and publishing process for you? 

I never actually start writing until I have a very strong outline, even if it’s entirely in my head.  When I write, I never stop and go back because I know that no matter how detailed my first draft is, everything is expendable, so I don’t worry about fixing anything until the second draft (though I make intensive notes as I go).

As for the publishing process, I was very fortunate to connect with an editor that understood the book, craved the authenticity of it and acted as an alter-ego, another voice in my head with suggestions that sounded like a more reasoned part of me, so it was easy to trust his instincts, but sometimes harder to impress him.  It became a sport for me, which was fun.

With the sensitive subject matter in this novel, was there anything you regretfully had to censor out of what is now the final print?

Not really, as mentioned above, it was equally important to my editor to keep the authenticity intact.  While Crash and Burn is a work of fiction, it is also a pretty accurate depiction of the type of the things that are going on in high schools today, like it or not.  The editor and the publisher felt that that it was important not to dilute this.

During your research for the book I’m sure you came across some intense and shocking if not heart wrenching statistics and information. Of it all was there anything that surprised you the most? 

Because a part of the book is about a siege at a high school, I did a lot of research into the methods that Burn used and was shocked and disturbed at how easy it was to potentially purchase assault weapons and other devices.  Unfortunately, as we have learned in the recent past, nothing has been done so far to make this process more difficult.   In my opinion, there is no justifiable reason for a private citizen to own any of these things.

Do you have a favorite line or two from Crash and Burn that affected you the most while writing and could share with us?

For some reason, a lot of reviewers seem to favor the line that “you can’t make a fox into a dog no matter how hard you try.  A fox is always a fox”.

I loved coming up with the Chapter titles, using the references to Kipling’s “Just So” Stories for all of the chapters that take place in Crash’s past and having the titles within the present day chapters relate to the revelations within the chapter.

Also, almost everything that Roxanne says surprised me.

And lastly, after reading what do you hope readers take from your story and characters?

When writing Crash and Burn, it was my hope to develop something that kids like Crash and Jamie and their friends would be interested in reading, something that they would entice them to drop their tv shows, cellphones, iPads and videogame controllers and spend a few minutes with another form of entertainment that is largely neglected.  Beyond that, I wanted to create something that they would consider to be as fast paced and captivating, but that would make them think differently, more deeply about themselves and their world, something that would touch each of them in a way that those other forms of entertainment simply cannot do.   And hopefully, when they close the back cover (or turn off their e-book), search for another book to read.

Thank you again for taking the time to do this Q&A with me! 

Thank you for having me.


About the author:

Michael Hassan lives in the Northeast. CRASH AND BURN is his first novel.

Find Michael Online:

Goodreads | Twitter

Purchase Crash and Burn Online:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository | Books-A-Million | Indie Bound

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