Author Interview: Barry Lyga / The Secret Sea

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Author Barry Lyga joins today to talk about his latest release: The Secret Sea!

1. Can you tell us a bit about The Secret Sea in your own words?

The Secret Sea is the kind of book I imagined myself writing when I was a kid: crazy science, super-powers, alternate universes, a real mash-up of genres, but with a core of strong characters at its heart. It’s about family and friendship and what survives death and how far you’d be willing to go to save someone you love…and what could make you not save them.

2. Who is Zach Killian?

Zak is the book’s main characters, a 12-year-old New Yorker with a heart condition and a voice he hears that sometimes warns him of danger. He totally trusts it…which may or may not be a good idea!

3. Is your alternate reality universe more science fiction-based or fantasy?

It’s definitely science fiction, but so advanced that it seems like magic. The kinds of things we think of as supernatural in our world — voodoo, ghosts, etc. — are just highly evolved sciences over there.

4. What are some books/authors you enjoy?

Oh, so many! In comics, there’s Alan Moore and Paul Levitz. In classic literature, there’s John Milton and Edgar Allan Poe. More recently, there’s Libba Bray, Paul Griffin, and Emma Donaghoe.

5. What inspires you?

So much! I always say that inspiration is like carrying around a magic blender into which falls all sorts of random things: snippets of overheard conversations, the sound of a bird, a mural on a wall, a thought, a notion. And then the blender goes off and what comes out is a story, whether you’re ready for it or not!

6. What has your publishing journey been like?

As with so much of life, it’s been a bizarre and unpredictable series of ups and downs. I’ve been fortunate enough to publish for a full decade now, with something like 16 books out there in the world. Some of them were longshots, but someone believed in them (and in me!) and they got to find their audience. Some took off; some didn’t. And in both cases, I have no idea why! I’ve given up trying to figure out how this business or this journey works — I’m just holding onto the roller coaster for dear life!

Twelve-year-old Zak Killian is hearing a voice. Could it be a guardian angel? A ghost? No, that’s crazy. But sometimes the voice is so real. . . . It warns him of danger.

One day Zak is standing on the subway platform when the tunnel starts to fill with water. He sees it before anyone else. The voice warns him to run. His friends Moira and Khalid believe this is more than a premonition, and soon all three find themselves in an alternate universe that is both familiar and seriously strange. As Zak unravels the mystery behind the voice, he faces decisions that may mean the end of their world at home―if they can even get home!

In his most propulsive and heartfelt book yet, acclaimed author Barry Lyga explores the depths of friendship, the bonds of family, and the nature of the universe itself.