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Thursday, April 5, 2012

CLOSED Interview & Giveaway: Barry Lyga, author of I Hunt Killers

You guys.  I know I told you in my March Rewind video how much I loved the book I Hunt Killers, but I was barely able to even scratch the surface in that vid!  My review will be up later today, but until then I have this fantastic, fun, gruesome little interview with the book's author, Barry Lyga to offer up for your amusement.
Bonus: After the interview, there's an exclusive video of author Libba Bray interviewing Barry!
Bonus bonus: After  that, you have a chance to win an ARC of I Hunt Killers for yourself!

So. On to the awesome.

What inspired you to write a story about serial killers and a conflicted boy who is the son of one of the most famous?

It was a very strange set of coincidences. I was having drinks with my editor and I said something that she mis-heard -- she thought I said I was writing about a serial killer. She got very excited and I felt bad telling her that she's misunderstood. I wasn't sure how to do a serial killer story in YA, really -- I didn't want to write about a KID who was going around murdering people, you know? That felt sort of sensationalistic and weird. But then the next day, I had this thought: What if the kid wasn't the killer? What if his FATHER was the killer? And better yet, what if his father was the worst serial killer in the world? And once that thought popped into my head, I couldn't shake it loose, and I had to write the series so that I could answer those questions. I'd imagine research for this book was...interesting, to say the

What was the most fascinating aspect of the research for you? The most gruesome? The most surprising?

Probably the most fascinating aspect -- and the thing I get asked most -- is "What makes someone a serial killer?" Because the truth is, no one really knows. You'll read one book where they say, "We've proved conclusively that X is the cause for serial murder." And then the next book totally debunks it. And then the next book totally debunks THAT one. So no one knows, which is fascinating and scary.

The most gruesome thing… I don't know why, but this little fact just sticks in my head: There was a serial killer in the twenties named Albert Fish. Really crazy guy. Used to kill and eat kids. When they arrested him, the cops strip-searched him and they discovered that he had inserted 29 needles in the space between his scrotum and his rectum. Isn't that bizarre? I can't imagine having the detachment to stick in ONE needle, let alone 29!

I can't tell you the most surprising thing I learned because it's going to be crucial to one of the future books in the series! Sorry! :)

Did any of your research give you nightmares or make you start looking at your neighbors funny?

Nah. But I think people started looking at ME a little funny because I was always carrying around books about serial killers and forensic science. And I actually Googled "how to get away with murder" once, so I'm sure somewhere, somehow, that's ended up in my digital profile. (BTW, it's very disappointing to Google "how to get away with murder" -- there are no helpful answers. I had to figure it out on my own.)

Did you hit any roadblocks in trying to write a book about serial killers for this age group? Are you anticipating angry letters from parents and/or villagers with pitchforks?

I would be REALLY surprised if parents or villagers picked up their pitchforks. You can turn on prime time TV and see serial killers raping and torturing their way across Manhattan on a dozen different TV shows, all on the networks and all available at the click of a remote. Anyone who protests this book is so out of touch with reality that they probably need medication.

As to roadblocks because of the age group: Not really. I tend not to think of the audience for a book when I'm writing it. I just plug away and try to write the best story possible.

I don't want to say serial killers are trending at the moment, but there has certainly been a rise in popularity for things featuring serial killers and sociopaths (Dexter, I Am Not a Serial Killer, We Need to Talk About Kevin, the upcoming American Psycho remake, etc). What is it in the topic and in these characters, in your opinion, that captures the public's attention and the artist's imagination?

I think there's always been a fascination with murder and those who commit it. Serial killers are sort of the boogeymen of the modern age. We know there's no such things as vampires or werewolves -- you can put away the garlic and wolfbane. But serial killers are real. They exist. In the U.S., it's estimated that there are up to 35 of them active at any point in time. So right now, there are a few dozen guys out there planning their next murder. And for all you or I know, one of them could be the guy who lives next door. And maybe this time you or I fit his particular fantasy. In a world in which science has disproven and discarded our most ancient terrors, the most frightening thing of all is the thing that we KNOW to be real and, at the same time, un-knowable. Ted Bundy worked at a rape crisis center. John Wayne Gacy was a popular party-thrower. These guys look like us and act like us and they blend in, just like the werewolf that seems normal when the moon isn't full.
Only these guys are REAL, and their actions are both horrific and completely insane to anyone but themselves. They are also each unique unto themselves. I think when you combine all of that, you come up with something that grabs everyone's imagination.

Serial killers all seem to be known by either their full name or some sort of tag (nickname seems far too innocuous a word); since First/Middle/Last is a bit boring, what would your tag be if YOU were a serial killer? (Be warned: this may be used as evidence against you in a court of law... O_O)

I would probably go back to my Springsteen-obsession and call myself The Boss. :)

Anything you really want readers to know that I didn't touch on?

I hope people enjoy the book. There's a lot more to come; the story has only just begun!


Because the awesome people at Little, Brown sent me an extra copy of I Hunt Killers (I know!!), so that means I have one to give to you!  So:


  • To enter, leave a comment below about why you want to read the book OR tell me the thing you found most interesting about Barry's interview (with me or with Libba)
  • Make sure I have a way to contact you (if your profile contains your info, there's no need to leave your email address.  If it doesn't, for your own protection I would recommend formatting it as such: "email AT domain.com" - tricks the bots a bit)
  • +1 additional entry for each place you spread the word about this interview; please provide links.
  • International (void where prohibited by law)

That's it!  Good luck to all of you, and even if you don't win, make sure to pick up a copy of this book!


  1. I loved the part in the interview where Barry was talking about the research he did! I really want to read this because it sounds really interesting, I love thriller/suspenseful books.

    You can email me at:

  2. In the Barry and Libba interview I found it really interesting when he talked about there being no teen books when he was growing up and it made me feel really lucky that there's so much great stuff out there now! I like that when I'm older I will have so many awesome teen books to give to my kids/nieces/nephews/godchildren because unlike TV and films I don't think great books get out of date!

    My email: pocketfulofbooks AT gmail.com

  3. I know it sounds weird, but I like being scared. Obviously not being in serious life threatening situations or anything, but to watch a movie that makes me want to turn on all the lights in the house, visit a "haunted house", or tell scary stories in the woods. Its a little adrenaline rush and actually kind of fun and exciting.(I promise I'm not crazy! Lol) I think real or fictional murders are a lot scarier than anything supernatural. And trying to get into the mind of a killer is fascinating. I can't wait to read this book and get into a good thriller.


  4. I liked when you asked him what his serial killer tag would be and he said "The Boss" lol. That just made me laugh out loud (and not laugh out loud while keeping a straight face either -___-)

    I'm really interested in reading this book because I really like thriller/mystery/suspense. I recently just read a book that included a serial killer & I find it interesting how authors build these characters, it seems so real.

  5. Thanks for making this international :D

    I want to read this book because I've read The Astonishing Adventures... and Boy Toy by Barry and loved them! He is one of the best male authors out there, so whatever he writes must be awesome.

  6. This book sounds so interesting. I have not read much thriller/suspense/mystery simply because seriel killers terrify me! At the same time it's interesting to read about how they think and what motivates them to commit murders.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. I want to read this book because: 1) I enjoyed one of Lyga's previous books 2) I've heard good things 3) I am fascinated by serial killers 4) one of my readers recommended that I do so.

    Tweet: https://twitter.com/#!/Reader_Fictions/status/187908979056312321

    cynicalsapphire at gmail dot com

    Christina, <a href="http://readeroffictions.blogspot.com>A Reader of Fictions</a>

  9. Gah, I fail at HTML, but I give up now. lol

  10. I need this book. Who doesn't want to read a book about a serial killer's child hunting a serial killer? It sounds amazing! That 29 needles thing is really gross.

    email thelonelybookshelf at gmail

  11. The premise of this book sounds absolutely fantastic. Serial killers are really interesting, and I think that's in part to the fact I just can't grasp their logic.

    crgo88 AT gmail DOT com!

  12. Yes!! I was waiting for this giveaway to be posted! I'm just DYING to read this book. Serial killers fascinate me and to think about being related to someone who does such horrible, vicious things? I MUST know!

    I really enjoyed all of Barry's interview but what really struck a chord with me was how during researching, people probably thought he was crazy. Google search results are mentioned and, oh man, if anyone ever searched my history, they'd probably think I was deranged too! :P

    violettewaits AT gmailDOTcom
    +1 Tweeted about interview
    +1 Pinned on pinterest

  13. It was interesting to be reminded that serial killers are the knowable at the same time that they are the unknowable. That their crimes are unbelieveable and yet they are true so they have to be believeable. Thanks for the reminder that we have to be careful. The next serial killer could be our next door neighbor, altho we hope it isn't!! I follow via email so you should have my email address.

  14. My favorite part is where he talks about research. This is a must for certain novels. It really adds realism which is needed in this genre.


    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  15. I want to read this book because I'm intrigued by what the serial killer did, how the son reacted (stayed sane or not) and then what about his helping the police. So many questions that I want to find out all these answers.

    clenna at aol dot com

  16. I would love to read this book, because i don't read enough thillers!! and I love them!!! Thanks for the giveaway Misty!!


  17. Love the interview. My favorite part was Barry's view on what captures the public's attention on serial killers. I'm really excited for the book. I love Dexter so I'm really looking forward to it!

    ryningbooks AT gmail.com

  18. Sorry forgot to add the link to my tweet!

  19. the inspiration and the research needed it for it
    after reading hushed by kelley york
    i'm pining over this one

    good luck all
    student dot caprino at gmail dot com

  20. Why do I want to read this book. Well, I haven't read any of Mr. Lyga's work yet so I can't judge by that. I could want to read it because the subject sounds really interesting. It might be because it's written as YA and, given the subject, that in itself could be interesting. The synopsis makes the story, particularly the point of view, sound fascinating - and the cover art adds to that impression. It might be blurbs and review excerpts that did the trick. Except for the fact that I've learned how little all those things can mean.

    The fact is I want to read the book because of what you said about it and my unquestioning faith in your opinion. It's as simple as that.

  21. I would love to read I HUNT KILLERS thank you. It does look amazing. Serial killers are freaky scary.


  22. I've been intrigued by this book ever since I first heard about it. Not only is the title original, but the plot is captivating - I like the idea of using psychology and trying to "understand" the killer to capture them, so of course I'm literally dying to read this one.

    I'd love to win this book. :)

    nashthewitch at gmail dot com

    Tweet: https://twitter.com/#!/nookofbooks/status/188288849846353920

  23. Despite how weird and sick they are, serial killers are fascinating to people. Like Barry says it's a "why did they do it" kind of attraction. I have read many books on the subject and still never gotten tired of it.
    I tweeted about this giveaway: https://twitter.com/#!/carlrscott/status/188301957990060032

  24. I want ot read the book because the whole Nature/Nurture debate facinates me. This book sounds as if it uses that coflict to good effect.

    I was astonished that Ted Bundy worked in a rape crisis centre. Creepy.

    rose -dot- cimarron -at- gmail-dot-com

  25. I want to read this because I love reading books about serial killers (I'm not crazy, honest).


    Spread the word:
    Twitter - https://twitter.com/#!/SakuraMusume/status/188498829321043968

    Google+ - https://plus.google.com/117620304273247704404/plusones

    Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/heathermchambers (shared)

  26. I'd love to read this book because, first off the characters sound intriguing - especially Jazz who has to come to terms with where he comes from compared to who he wants to be, he sounds very conflicted and it will be interesting to see how he'll deal with this.

    I love the fact that Jazz has a murder to solve, and how we'll get to see it from the killer's POV or from the POV of someone who knows what a killer would do.

    I also want to see the relationship between Jazz and his friend and his girl, how they'll support him.

    Thanks so much

    ccfioriole at gmail dot com

  27. I tweeted:

    ccfioriole at gmail dot com

  28. Posted on facebook:

    ccfioriole at gmail dot com

  29. I posted on Googleplus


    ccfioriole at gmail dot com

  30. I've loved Lyga's books since I first read The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy & Goth Girl. Such amazing writing and I Hunt Killers sounds like a must-read.

    chicareader AT gmail.com

    Shared on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/Lilixtreme/status/188668186860863489

  31. Eww, the whole thing about Albert Fish. I don't know how someone could be that sick.

    Findjessyhere at gmail dot com

  32. I'm dying to read this book! One could say I am slightly obsessed with serial killers and true crime and this book sounds like nothing I have read before. I've always wondered how it must feel for the children of serial killers, knowing later on what their parents did and if they thought that maybe if they had known before that they could have done something about it. Can't wait to finally get my hands on this! Thank you for the opportunity :)


  33. Tweeted



  34. Thank you for the fantastic interviews! I loved when he said:
    "Googled "how to get away with murder"" Lol :D
    I want to read this book because I love the Dexter and the I am Not a Serial Killer series, and I Hunt Killers sounds similar to them.

    cayce006 at yahoo dot com
    tweet: https://twitter.com/#!/Cayce_23/status/189363831028457472

  35. This book sounds just fantastic!!! I love love love serial killer books and tv shows. Criminal Minds. CSI. The documentaries about real serial killers.

    themgowl at gmail dot com

  36. Would love to read this! I'm a fan of crime drama and love American Psycho. Thanks for the giveaway!



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