Agent Colt Shore: Domino 29, the debut novel from Axel Avian, which will be published on 15th May 2013. Today, I have the pleasure of presenting a Q&A session with Axel. If you want to know more about Axel and Domino 29, you can check out his website www.axelavian.com or hear him answer questions on his YouTube series Regular Guy Spy.
Q: Human trafficking is a pretty serious topic for a novel aimed at a younger audience. Why did you choose that as the subject of Domino 29?
A: The reason is twofold. The first is to up the stakes for a young audience. It’s a sad fact that many of the victims of human trafficking are children themselves. I want my readers to empathize with the girls in the book so that they personally appreciate the danger. The second reason is to introduce my readers to the reality that human trafficking does exist, but to counter that with optimism that people are fighting against it and all is not, nor will it ever be, lost.
Q: In Domino 29, Colt Shore travels from a small town in the US to Afghanistan and then on to Germany, where he battles the novel's villains at two major tourist attractions. Have you actually visited all of the places you wrote about and if not, how did you manage to write about them in such vivid detail?
A: I have not been to all of the places, but I have been to many of them. Skateistan, for instance, I have never visited—but I’d love to! However, as you mentioned, many of the locations in Domino 29 are very famous landmarks, and they all have websites. If you go to the website for Neuschwanstein Castle, you’ll find not only photos of the interiors, but full floorplans, as well. And, believe it or not, when I typed in “elevator shaft,” the first image that came up was the one at Kehlsteinhaus! Now you have to search a little harder, but it’s there. When all else fails, I fall back on my imagination to make an educated guess.
Q: According to your website, you once worked as an active agent for an organization much like FALCON. Why did you decide to give it up and write books instead?
A: Who told you I gave it up?
Q: Why write for teenagers and not adults? Do you think you will ever write for adults in the future?
A: I love writing for teenagers. I think very often kids are not given the respect they deserve. In fact, I think that YA often demands more of an author, because kids won’t put up with you droning on about something. Get to the point, make it fun and interesting, always bring your A Game. Standards are very high. I’m guessing that’s why lots of adults enjoy YA series these days.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers (especially aspiring YA writers)?
A: Stop being an aspiring writer and become a writer. The only way to do that is to write. Never judge your first draft, just get it down. All of it. Don’t keep re-writing the first chapter. Tell a story about characters that engage you. It’s the only way to engage other people.
Q: What's next for you and Colt Shore?
A: The next adventure is Agent Colt Shore: The Games Begin, which will be published in Spring 2014. We pick up where we left off after Domino 29, leaving Colt scarcely a moment to breathe. For my part I need to take my own advice and get writing. I do have one or two other projects that I’m working on as well so I’ll definitely be keeping busy over the summer.