INTERVIEW WEEK: Barry Lyga talks about his, erm, “Toy”

We’re nominating Barry Lyga as our personal Boy Toy. Can we do that? He’s super-smart, his most recent book has gotten rave reviews and a berth on the Cybils’ YA short list, plus, y’know, he’s really hot.

Today’s feature interview is culled from Becky’s Book Reviews, where he reveals that he pays no attention whatsoever to Cybils or any other awards.

We love him anyway.

He had the cojones (can we say that on a kidlit blog?) to tackle a major taboo in Boy Toy–about a 12-year-old boy seduced by his female teacher.

Becky proves an adroit interviewer, with questions that gradually zero in on the most controversial bits of the story, as in this exchange (Caution–SPOILERS):

[Becky]:The book opens—quite effectively in my opinion—with a Top Ten list [by] our narrator: Josh’s list of “Ten Things I Learned At the Age of Twelve.” Was this an easy decision? Did you know how or where to start to hook the reader? As I said, I think this works great…

[Barry Lyga]: Thanks! I wanted to tell people what this book was about right up front. I didn’t want to pretend. If the idea of a twelve year old having sex is beyond your comfort zone, then you can’t say I didn’t warn you from page one. I also felt like it was a good hook. I figured that if you got to the tenth item on the list and decided not to keep reading, I probably wasn’t going to keep you as a reader anyway. That opening was the first thing I thought of for the book — I carried it around in my head for a year or so before I actually sat down to write.

Read the rest here.