Interview with A.J. Massey | NewInBooks
What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write Fever Dreams and the End of All Things?
Although I was heavily inspired by books like Alice in Wonderland and The Chronicles of Narnia, my biggest influences growing up were films like The Neverending Story, Labyrinth, and The Goonies. The first book in the series, Where Dragonwoofs Sleep and the Fading Creeps is a homage to these great films. I originally created that story to convey the mystery, awe, and wonderment I felt while consuming fantasy as a child and teen. Fever Dreams is a direct sequel, picking up moments after the events of the first book. Fever is also inspired by those amazing 80s fantasy films, but with an extra dash of darkness from films like Return to Oz and The Dark Crystal. The underlying message of Fever Dreams is change, and how different people respond to it. Do we accept change and try to grow from it or do we attempt to stop it at all costs?
If you woke up in the world of Fever Dreams and the End of All Things, what is the first thing you would do?
If I woke up in Meridia, I’d honestly be scared to death. If you’ve read the first or second book in this series, you know that Meridia is not a kind world to weeds. On the bright side, I’d be able to hang out with Clemmons at an abandoned fortress and own a dragonwoof or three!
What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?
I love fantasy books, but I also love horror.
What fictional world would you most like to visit?
As a kid, I always wanted to live in the small New England town from The Goonies. The idea of having treasure maps in the attic that could lead you to a series of underground caves, caverns, and ultimately a pirate ship was extremely fascinating to me. The inclusion of kodkod pirates and lost underground cities in Fever Dreams was a direct influence of The Goonies.
What book did you expect to hate, but ended up loving?
The Chocolate War. My teacher assigned this in junior high. I thought I was going to hate it, but ended up loving it. It’s so messed up.
What’s your favorite thing about writing? What’s your least favorite thing about it?
That feeling of “did I actually write this?” when you’re going through your manuscript and everything just works: the setting, the characters, the dialogue, the pacing, etc. That’s what I truly love about writing. Conversely, I hate it when the opposite happens: Nothing seems to work or come together, and again you ask, “did I actually write this?“
What scene in Fever Dreams and the End of All Things was your favorite to write?
There’s a scene in Fever Dreams where the entire ceiling of a very large cavern is actually a suspended ocean full of sharks and other hungry sea creatures. Our heroes have to avoid stepping on diamond-shaped stones to prevent being propelled into the sea above, all while a contingent of soldiers and archers are hot on their heels.
Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?
If I can do it, so can you.
What will your next adventure or writing project be?
To be determined…