Boy Nobody (Boy Nobody #1) by Allen ZadoffPublished 23 May 2013 by Hachette UK
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He is nothing.
The missions is everything.
The explosive new thriller for fans of Jason Bourne, Robert Muchamore and Michael Grant.
Boy Nobody is the perennial new kid in school, the one few notice and nobody thinks much about. He shows up in a new high school, in a new town, under a new name, makes few friends and doesn't stay long. Just long enough for someone in his new friend's family to die -- of "natural causes." Mission accomplished, Boy Nobody disappears, and moves on to the next target.
When Boy Nobody was just eleven, he discovered his own parents had died of not-so-natural causes. He soon found himself under the control of The Program, a shadowy government organization that uses brainwashed kids as counter-espionage operatives. But somewhere, deep inside Boy Nobody, is somebody: the boy he once was, the boy who wants normal things (like a real home, his parents back), a boy who wants out. And he just might want those things badly enough to sabotage The Program's next mission.
A short Q&A with Allen Zadoff
I noticed that you write novels with a variety of themes, from theater to spies/assassins to realistic fiction. Is it hard to switch genres? Where do you get your inspiration from?
AZ: The Boy Nobody thriller series is a big change of pace for me. Previously I’ve written three novels that can be described as funny and heart-breaking. (Some have referred to them as “lad lit”.) Boy Nobody literally appeared out of nowhere in my head. I knew he was alone all the time, that he worked for a shadowy organization that might or might not be a part of the U.S. government, and that he could not remember (or did not know) his own name. In truth I never planned to switch genres. I was as surprised as anyone, but in hindsight, I understand why it happened. My inspiration comes from the characters themselves. They start to speak to me, and I write down what they say. That’s the starting point, and then the story emerges over time.
Boy Nobody gives off this "Jason Bourne" vibe. How was he created? And have you, by any chance, drawn inspiration from him (Bourne) or any particular character?
AZ: I love that Boy Nobody has been compared to Jason Bourne, but I wasn’t thinking about Bourne at all as I wrote him. I was thinking about Clint Eastwood, especially in classic police films like Dirty Harry and westerns like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. There’s a certain type of character that Eastwood played so well, the stranger with the dark past who has been hurt by life but doesn’t talk about it, who does things both terrible and heroic, who has a job and lives by a code, even when those around him don’t follow the same code.
The best five adjectives you can use to describe Boy Nobody?
AZ: Thrilling, suspenseful, heart-stopping, surprising, fun.
Any advice for aspiring writers?
AZ: It’s almost too simple, but you have to write. I compare writing to learning to be a pilot. You have to log a certain number of hours in the air in order to qualify for your license, and your skill continues to improve the longer you fly and the more experiences you have in the pilot’s seat. Similarly, you have to spend hours and hours on the page (or computer screen, or wherever it is you work) in order to become a writer. Every word makes you a better writer. So get started.
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