I was stealing Stephen King story ideas at a very early age. (I don't do that anymore.) Judy Blume, too, was a big influence, because she used BAD WORDS sometimes! Whoa. Later on, three books really impacted me and made me realize that stories about teenagers were not only legitimate stories, but could be more powerful than any adult novel. They were STARGIRL by Jerry Spinelli, CUT by Patricia McCormick, and SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson. Since become an author I've gotten to meet and thank Laurie and Patty but not yet Jerry Spinelli. Here's hoping!
"Hellworld" is meant to be both literal and metaphorical in this particular novel. The characters really do open a doorway that leads to what we'd think of as "hell," but the monsters and creatures that come out of it are only part of the "hell on earth" the story is really about.
A high school student won a writing award; I happened to be one of the guest speakers for the ceremony. During her acceptance speech, she told a story about how a year before, she'd been to one of my writing classes at a local library and that was what motivated her to write this story she'd just been given an award for. That was .... humbling. I had her sign one of my books. It was an unreal feeling of like, "So I did make a difference? Even if only this once?" That's not something that's easy to replicate.
That depends on the definition of "finish." I can write a rough draft in two to three months, but with revision and editing that's about six to nine months, depending on all sorts of things. When you include the publishing part, it's usually no less than three years from writing the first sentence to it showing up on bookstore shelves.
I am old and out of touch, so I'm open to suggestions! Having said that, by the time the filming was being done, I'd take the entire cast of STRANGER THINGS to make HELLWORLD. That would be cool!
The first one that comes to mind is Tom Fitzgerald in THE GREAT BRAIN series. Total smart-aleck boy genius. I was only half of that, and you're free to guess which half. On that note, Encyclopedia Brown would be pretty cool.
"Some Random Guy Found Weeping in Gutter Clutching Worn Copy of Kirkus."
I've always thought minotaurs were pretty cool. Big and scary!
Very possibly Shakespeare. Which may sound cliche, but he was a total nut, he'd be fun to hang with for, like, a day. Or, closer to home, Carl Sagan.