Nathan Kotecki is a North Carolina author who will hold a release party for the second book in his “Suburban Strange” series today at Flyleaf Books. The young adult series tells the stories of Suburban High School through the eyes of different teenagers.
Kotecki spoke with staff writer Rebecca Pollack about the future of the series, today’s reading and how North Carolina inspired his writing.
Attend the Reading:
Time: Reception at 6 p.m. today; reading and Q&A at 7 p.m.
Location: Flyleaf Books
Daily Tar Heel: Can you tell me a little about your book, “Pull Down The Night?”
Nathan Kotecki: It’s set in a high school called Suburban High School where my characters go through some pretty common coming-of-age things, but there also is a kind of supernatural conflict hiding in plain sight. There are only a couple folks who know that anything supernatural is going on, and it’s up to them to stop it. In it there is a new character called Bruno who kind of takes over the story, and he takes it a little further about this conference between the Kind and the Unkind — who are kind of the good and evil of the story — and there’s a mysterious figure who’s manipulating folks to try to take control of the school. They have to try to figure out why.
DTH: This book is the second in your “Suburban Strange” series. Can you say a little about the first book?
NK: I will invoke a well-known comparison and say this is kind of the series about Sunnydale High School instead of Buffy, the vampire slayer. It’s not about a person as much as it is about a location, so the school is the main character in the series. Each book is from the point of view of a different character who kind of has his or her own coming-of-age story that also advances the larger series.
DTH: How many books are going to be in the series, and can you tell me a little about what’s to come?
NK: That’s a good question, and I actually don’t have the answer right now. It is a series that I feel has really just barely gotten started with these two books.
I certainly have a good sense of what happens in the third and fourth, and they’re not necessarily going to get me to the end. Right now, (my publisher) Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and I consider it to be an open series, and we’re just kind of playing it by ear to see how it goes.
DTH: How has living in North Carolina influenced your writing?
NK: I didn’t start writing until I moved to North Carolina. I grew up in Pennsylvania; I spent about 10 years in New York City, and I moved down here in 2007. Before that I’d actually been working more as a visual artist. I did mixed media works on paper that I showed in a gallery in New York.
I kind of felt like I needed a change of pace, and my sister had lived down here for a long time, so I moved down here just to kind of get a change and help me with my creative work. Then the next thing I knew I was writing instead of doing visual work, so North Carolina definitely played a role in that.
DTH: What can people expect at the release?
NK: We’re making it in some ways very similar to a standard author event. I’ll be talking about the book and doing a short reading and answering questions, but we’re also making a little more of a party, too. We’ll have hors d’oeuvres and beverages, and we have some fun stuff to give away and a really nice drawing for a set of the books and some other prizes. We’ll be playing music — there’s a lot of alternative music that’s in the book.
If people want to come at 6 o’clock, the first hour’s more of a reception, and then at 7 we’ll do the more standard reading and signing that people typically expect at an author event. After that I’ll keep on signing books, and we’ll turn the music back on, and it’ll be a party again.
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