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Thursday, 3 December 2015

ℚ♫ You Think This is a Game?: Internet Tough Guys [3] - Bernard Maestas

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about You Think This is a Game? (, Rebel ePublishers, 179 pages), a Young Adult Thriller, book three of the Internet Tough Guys series.

Author Q&A | Synopsis | Teaser | The Series | About the Author | Tour Stops


A very warm welcome to Bernard Maestas; thank you for joining us today!

Here at BooksChatter we love music; do you have a music playlist that you used in You Think This is a Game?, or which inspired you whilst you were writing it?

"I didn’t really have a playlist when I was writing “You Think This is a Game?” I often prefer a shuffle, usually on Pandora (which currently includes almost a hundred stations) which ranges from J-pop to deathcore metal. However, there were two songs that really got me going.

First, Emmure’s “Eternal Enemies” album dropped shortly before I started this book and the song “Nemesis” fuelled my work on what was supposed to be “Internet Tough Guys” book three (now five). I even planned to use some of the lyrics on the quotation page. I was still digging it when I shifted to this book and it definitely helped fuel some of the action and battle scenes.

Secondly, I went through a bad breakup (story of my life) right around the time I started “You Think This is a Game?” (I can’t recall which came first). I came across “Battle Scars” by Guy Sebastian and Lupe Fiasco which said everything I needed it to but also felt oddly fitting for some of the parts of the book. While the grieving and writing processes became entwined, I ended up playing that song (admittedly on repeat at times) quite a bit and would be remiss if I didn’t mention it."

What was the inspiration for You Think This is a Game?

"It’s funny, this one I actually sort of pulled out of the air. There was an entirely different third book in the “Internet Tough Guys” series that I had actually started on and has since been bumped to fifth in the series. I literally woke up one morning and said “What about…?” That led to a conversation with my muse (who I can never seem to do an interview without mentioning) and I think I started writing it that day!

In that way, I like to think of it as just another mission that popped up for the heroes and turned into something much bigger. Very fitting!

Side note, but I came up with the title the same way. I woke up in the morning a few days after I started writing and my first thought was ’You Think This is a Game?’ would be a great title!”"
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"Well, when I first created this series and its two protagonists, Alex was based largely upon myself and Ted on one of my oldest friends. Since then, they’ve grown and evolved and I’ve started to think that each one is like a slice of me that has grown up and evolved into his own person. Those that know me will certainly find trace of my sense of humor in each, for sure, though. I’ve grown up quite a bit since starting on the first book and thus become less like Alex also.

I’m so glad you asked about my experience, though! One of the founding principles of this series was to include a lot of real world stuff (especially Alex’s parkour and hand-to-hand combat skills) and make it as realistic as possible. Obviously, I’ve gotten away from that a bit, but, when possibly, I keep the martial arts stuff to practical and functional techniques that I actually know. The shooting, performance driving, and even most of the parkour movements (outside of the really flashy ones that I simply have to throw in to spice things up) are all real as well."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for You Think This is a Game? - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"The cover was done by Littera Designs, who did the covers on the first two. I absolutely LOVED the silhouettes of the heroes that appeared on book one’s (“Say That to My Face”) cover and specifically requested to keep those on there. I can’t say much about the oil derricks depicted there as it would be a spoiler, but suffice to say that you’ll know when you get to that scene!"
Why should we read You Think This is a Game? and what sets it apart from the rest? What makes your book unique?
"Well, for one thing, when I started out with this series, no one had conjured quite this combination of skillsets that the two protags, Alex and Ted, possess. Parkour was still a relatively underground thing and its incorporation into military/security/law enforcement is still a fringe thing, at best (though it shouldn’t be!). I also have a lot of fun mixing in my love of internet humor and memes into the books in this series and I’m always especially proud of my chapter titles! Every chapter in “Say That to My Face” is an internet meme while, in this one, I was going for more of a video game-oriented theme (another passion of mine).

I really think I have a great balance of action and humor, reality and captivating storytelling, and fast-moving tales with great writing."
Can you tell us something quirky about You Think This is a Game?, its story and characters?
"Though I do espouse on this a lot in this interview, I think my best answer here would relate to my chapter titles. I do have fun weaving my sarcasm and humor into those and each book has something resembling a theme. Again, book one was all internet memes and this one has a video game motif (with a few memes tossed in for good measure)."
Who would you recommend You Think This is a Game? to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"I’m told that it skews towards a young adult audience due to the youth of the main characters (who began the series as teenagers and are only now in their early twenties). Certainly, the cutting edge plot lines, the parkour and computer hacking, and the internet and video game humor would certainly appeal to that market. That said, I don’t pull any punches with the violence, adult content, and, especially, the language, so some discretion is advised!"
If you could / wished to turn You Think This is a Game? and the Internet Tough Guys series into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"Right off the bat, I would say a younger Jesse Eisenberg should play Ted (though he could probably still pull it off)! Alex is a little harder to cast, in my head… Someone once suggested Taylor Lautner which is close to the mark but not quite perfect.

I could see Zack Snyder doing a good job directing and I’d love to have Trent Reznor or Charlie Clouser do the soundtrack.

Location-wise, someplace like Jordan or Morocco (where “The Hurt Locker” and “Black Hawk Down,” respectively, were filmed) would probably be perfect!"
What do you like to write and read about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"Well, so far I’ve only had thrillers published but that is definitely not all I’m about. Likewise, while I’ve gone to the YA well with a number of my novels (including several unpublished ones), I do branch out a bit. I’ve written sci-fi and fantasy as well and I’ve been toying with an idea for a lit fic novel (believe it or not) for almost two years now.

I do tend to read along these lines. However, I branch out to the occasional classic from time to time, but I’m picky there. Same could be said about literary fiction. For some reason, I enjoy a lot of young adult novels (maybe the people who say I have the maturity level of a twelve-year-old are right) of all genres."
What is your writing process?
"With few exceptions, my process usually starts with an idea hitting me. I think about it, daydream, play out a few scenes like movies in my head, and collect my thoughts and notes as best I can. That’s when I hit up my muse, whom I badger nonstop with my random and disjointed ideas until I get them into some semblance of order. I write up an outline and send it off to him for approval. Then, I write! Of course, I then procrastinate and let myself be distracted for weeks or months at a time. When I’m on track, I’m pretty fast (I wrote one book in twenty-eight days and another in eight!) but “You Think This is a Game?” took me closer to a year when factoring in all the dragging breaks I took."
What is in store next?
"Well, first off, by no means are the “Internet Tough Guys” finished! There is a greater story arc for the series, which currently projects to clock in at ten, total, books. Of those, one could possibly be a backdoor pilot for a spinoff series that would keep it going indefinitely. I’m planning on tackling “Internet Tough Guys” books four and five next year (which is right around the corner already… I’d better get to work!) so readers can certainly look forward to those.

At the same time, I’m hard at work on other projects, including three separate YA fantasy franchises. Someday, I’m sure, I’ll get around to writing my magnum opus, “The Republic”, which was originally written as a graphic novel and now needs to be translated into prose.

Next up, however, readers can look forward to my outstanding (if I do say so myself) YA crime thriller “Concrete Smile”. I would assume it should be out sometime in 2016 but can’t speculate on a release date beyond that."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"This is actually the hardest question but I think I have to talk about my computer! For one thing, it’s an enormous (18.4-inch) Alienware gaming rig, affectionately known as “The Beast.” It seems like overkill to write on a custom machine like this but it was built for gaming. The fact that I can use it to write is more of a bonus than the other way around!"

You Think This is a Game?
Available NOW!

UK: purchase from Amazon.co.uk purchase from Nook UK purchase from Kobo UK purchase from iTunes UK find on Goodreads
US: purchase from Amazon.com purchase from Barnes & Noble purchase from Kobo purchase from iTunes US

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