Samantha: What about secret societies made you so interested in writing a novel about them?
Tom: I've always found secret societies so intriguing -- since none of us actually know what goes on inside them, just about anything could happen to my characters!
Samantha: If you were stuck on a deserted island with three of your characters from Secret Society, which three characters would it be and why?
Tom: So I have to pick three out of four! Well, I think I probably relate to Nick, Phoebe, and Patch the most. I love Lauren, but I think those three are my favorite.
Samantha: This books seems to be different from the other books you've written. How different was it writing this book than it was writing the others?
Tom: It was very different -- it's a very fast-moving book, and I had also never written a book from four different character perspectives. I like that it shifts from one to another -- it makes you realize that how we experience the world is mostly about from which perspective we are seeing it.
Samantha: What authors have inspired your writing and which authors are on your favorites list?
Tom: This novel was inspired by classic adventure stories, and also classics like JD Salinger and F. Scott Fitzgerald. I also love the work of writers like Scott Westerfeld and Melissa de la Cruz, who are writing adventure and mystery stories in a contemporary vein.
Samantha: Are there certain things you like to do to get inspired? If so, what are some things you do?
Tom: I like to take as many walks as I can, and to exercise regularly -- it's so important to get out of your head so you can get back into it.
Samantha: There are so many secret societies out there, fictional and nonfictional, were there any of those that you pulled from to put together "The Society"?
Tom: Definitely -- I did a lot of research to find inspiration, from Skull & Bones to the Masons.
Samantha: What are five random facts about you that readers wouldn't typically know?
Tom: I am obsessed with our new dog, Woody, who is absolutely adorable; I mostly drink iced tea; I only write in a certain kind of notebook each day; I love staying in hotels; and I can't live without a good thesaurus.
Samantha: Is there a specific reason you set Secret Society in New York and not somewhere else, like Cambridge or New Haven?
Tom: I wanted to write about a high school level secret society that affected a number of students, and NY was the perfect playground for that -- New Haven would have been fun, but perhaps a bit too close to the Yale secret societies.
Samantha: Is there anything at all you can give us about The Dendur Conspiracy?
Tom: Well, for one, it's still not officially titled (though I loved that title!) so it will be called something else. It picks up right where the first book left off, so I promise not to leave everyone hanging for too long!
Tom Dolby is the author of the novels The Sixth Form, The Trouble Boy, and the Secret Society series, including the novel Secret Society and its upcoming sequel. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Village Voice, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Tom was born in London and raised in San Francisco. Tom is a graduate of the Hotchkiss School and Yale University, where he received his BA in the history of art. He currently divides his time between Manhattan’s West Village and Wainscott, New York, where he is working on the next book in the Secret Society series, as well as a novel for adults. For more information on Tom and on Secret Society, check out the following links:
For those of you that have stuck around to read the entire interview, I have an extra surprise! In addition to this wonderful interview, Tom graciously sent me a few awesome temprorary tattoos. Which have the signature ankh from the back of the model's neck on the front of the novel, above the ankh it says Secret Society and below it says "Get Initiated October 2009".
So there will be 6 winners! To enter this giveaway just leave a comment that says "I want to be initiated into The Society." Along with your email address so I can contact you. This contest will end at 11:59 PM on October 10, 2009.