Walter Jury was born in London, has a background in the film industry, is a big fan of the New York Giants, and he’s enthusiast of Jamba Juice’s Protein Berry Workout smoothie only with soy, never whey. SCAN is his first book for teens. Under his real name, Walter is a producer of one of 2014’s biggest blockbusters.
What would you like readers to take away from your book?
This is fun, escapist reading for the action-adventure/sci-fi (but not too heavy sci-fi) fan. To expound on that, at the core, this is the story about a boy coming of age and using the skills that his domineering father drilled into him during what could be the start of an intergalactic war!
Which character did you have the most fun writing about?
I love Tate. This is his journey. He faces the ultimate moments of discipline, sadness, and adversity--he is run through a virtual gauntlet of experiences. It is intense to see him battle and fight through the obstacles that are laid in front of him--and he has a very Steve McQueen-esque heart of gold under an exterior of toughness that we get to learn about and love.
What was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Without question, my toughest moments are trying to (a) work through a mythology and (b) stay true to that mythology while keeping characters true to their journey and motivations. Sometimes it's tough to not write the idealized version of how I would want to live my life and learn from my own mistakes. But you always have to remind yourself that these characters have their own story, their own history, their own limited and unlimited life experiences. That is what sometimes makes it tough.
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
To aspiring writers, the main advice I would give is to surround yourself with people who truly have the expertise to provide you feedback on your work. It's great that a friend or family member will give you a thumbs up, but to achieve the highest levels of achievement in the brutally competitive industries of professional writing, whether it's publishing, screenwriting, journalism or the like, it is paramount to be surrounded by people whose daily living is to judge and shape the merits of great writing. There is no substitute for receiving feedback from the top experts in your field of choice. Any other advice or feedback is simply not going to cut it and will not help you.
What one thing about writing you wish other non-writers would understand?
I'm going to give you a Hollywood pet peeve answer--more about screenwriters than about non-writers generally. I wish that non-writers and Hollywood fans in general would understand how difficult it is to attach talented cast and filmmakers onto a project. There are always such loud and boisterous complaints about casting choices and filmmaker choices on high profile projects. But film projects are extremely difficult to put together and attracting top talent to projects is a gargantuan feat. One studio executive/producer I know refers to the filmmaking process as "herding cats!"
What was the last book to keep you up at night reading it?
Leigh Bardugo's SIEGE & STORM. It's amazing--I highly recommend the entire Grisha Trilogy.
What do you do to make time for yourself?
I try hard to get great family time in. It is something that I need to schedule between all of my jobs and duties. But very important to focus on!
How can readers get in contact with you?
SCAN is a sci-fi thriller for teens that’s MacGyver meets War of the Worlds.
Tate and his father don’t exactly get along. As Tate sees it, his father has unreasonably high expectations for Tate to be the best—at everything. Tate finally learns what he’s being prepared for when he steals one of his dad’s odd tech inventions and mercenaries ambush his school, killing his father and sending Tate on the run from aliens who look just like humans.
All Tate knows—like how to make weapons out of oranges and lighter fluid—may not be enough to save him as he’s plunged into a secret inter-species conflict that’s been going on for centuries. Aided only by his girlfriend and his estranged mother, with powerful enemies closing in on all sides, Tate races to puzzle out the secret behind his father’s invention and why so many are willing to kill for it.
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