Before We Jump Into Gregg Hurwitz’s Interview
I want to mention a couple of thoughts before jumping into our interview with Orphan X Series author, Gregg Hurwitz. Tomorrow, I will post an overview and review (without spoilers) of the Orphan X series. So, I will not discuss the books outside of the context of the interview.
Additionally, I want to tell a short story about my first interaction with Gregg Hurwitz. The last educational conference I went to was the ALAN-YA conference in St Louis. At that time, he had just published The Rains, a Young Adult Zombie book. At the time, I was just starting to read young adult novels and hadn’t read The Rains. However, I knew who Gregg Hurwitz was. I knew him from his participation in writing the Dark Night series of Batman comics. So, I ran for the line to meet him. He signed my book @literacybatman because… I’m a nerd and he’s cool.
And with that, let’s jump into this interview that, when granted, I was floored and honored to do.
BECAUSE ORPHAN X IS AN EIGHT-BOOK SERIES, THERE ARE BOUND TO BE SOME SPOILERS
Gregg Hurwitz Interview
Honors And Acclaim
- <Takes deep breath> Gregg Hurwitz is an Instant New York Times bestseller • instant #1 international bestseller • USA Today bestseller • Washingtonvpost bestseller • publishers weekly bestseller • #1 Sunday Times bestseller • #1 amazon bestseller • American library association thriller of the year • amazon best books of the year • crimson scribe award winner • best spy thriller • SCIBA best mystery finalist
That is one hell of a resume. Are there any that mean the most to you? Or holds a fond memory?
My first #1 Sunday Times Bestseller in hardback was pretty special. It was something else to see The Nowhere Man up there atop that list.
Joey Dying Would’ve Been A Shame…
2. Was Joey (a teenager) always a planned character? Her relationship with Evan has become a whole vibe.
Believe it or not, I was planning to kill Joey off at the end of Hellbent (the first book in which she appears). I you read the third Orphan X book, you can see right where it was supposed to happen. But through the course of writing the story of this brilliant, irreverent, sixteen-year-old hacker, I fell in love with her. And I love the ways she brought out different facets of Evan and his humanity. I consider her the #2 character in the seriesnow.
I’m so glad I didn’t let <Joey> bleed out
Me: The Whole Vibe. Also, I want Hailee Steinfeld and Jeremy Renner to play Joey and Evan if the Orphan X series were to make it to the screen.
3) Are you a vodka connoisseur? If not, where did this idea/knowledge come from? If so, are your favorites in the books? <Evan Smoak is a vodka elitist>
I am indeed – though my favorite personal booze of choice is bourbon. Evan drinks vodka because it’s the purest liquid on earth. And the filtration process it undergoes codes in a way for the kind of intense transformation he undertook himself when he went from being a scrawny twelve-year-old foster kid to the nation’s greatest off-the-books assassin. When he sips vodka now, it’s a kind of purification ceremony for him, a way to cleanse his insides and wash away the dirtiness of the outside world in which he operates.
Me: I didn’t see that coming. That is an incredible connection.
Navy Seals And Mind Control
4) You’ve snuck out with the Navy Seals in research. Is that the height of research experiences?
It was pretty fun blowing up a car on a demolition range. But I’d say the height was going undercover into mind control cults.
5) Considering your mind cult research, and my love of them, have you ever or will you write a cult book?
It’s called The Program. It’s the second of four books in the Tim Rackley series. I poured a lot of my cult research into it.
<Me running to Audible>
What Gregg Hurwitz Is Reading
6) What do you read?
I read quite widely. Right now, I’m re-reading the Robert B. Parker Spenser books. I love Megan Abbott and I have her new ARC now. I deeply enjoyed Damascus Station by David McClosky and My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite. I’m also reading Touched with Fire about mood disorders and creativity, by Kay Redfield Jamison.
Thank you to Gregg Hurwitz for agreeing to the interview, and Minotaur Books For Mediating This Opportunity
7) I HAVE TO ask about the dedication in the first Orphan X: To all the bad boys and girls, rulebreakers and vigilantes- Phillip Marlowe and Sam Spade, Bruce Wayne and Jason Bourne, Bond and Bullitt, Joe Pike and Jack Reacher… the Lone Range and the Shadow, Robin Hood and Van Helsing… Arya Stark and George Stark… Lancelot and Achilles… Jack Bauer and Repairman Jack… Zorro and the Green Hornet, Dexter and Mad Max, the Dirty Dozen and Dirty Harry, the Terminator… Sherlock and Luther, Veronica Mars and Kyle for being so wicked that they’re good. It is the most inspiring dedication I’ve ever heard of. Where did the inspiration come from, and out of curiosity why not include Batman (the vigilante of vigilantes)?
In Orphan X, I was hoping to create a character that would have a chance one day to be in the pantheon of great fictional characters that inspired and nourished me when I was growing up. You’ll see that Bruce Wayne is in there, even if Batman is left out. That’s because Evan lives in the real world with you and me. As much as he’s still an archetypal protagonist in some ways, we see him come home and interact with the real world – and all its annoyances – in a way we never do with, say, Bond or Bourne.
8) Seeing Moonknight on TV must have been such a thrill! What was your level of participation in bringing the tv show about?
No direct participation, but I believe aspects of my run on the title for Marvel went into some of the creative process, and Marvel was kind enough to include me in the Special Thanks section of the credits. Moon Knight is an incredibly complicated character to write, and my hat’s off to them for finding a compelling way into his story.
9) What did you think of the TV show Gotham?
I liked Gotham quite a bit. And I was honored to learn that my original Penguin graphic novel, Pain and Prejudice, was read by Robin Lord Taylor as he prepared for the role. And what a fine job he did.
Me: Gotham was my happy place.
Gregg Hurwitz Author Information
Biography (Taken From The Official Website- Linked Below)
Gregg Hurwitz is the New York Times, #1 internationally bestselling author of 23 thrillers, including the Orphan X series, and two award-winning thriller novels for teens. His novels have won numerous literary awards, graced top ten lists, and have been published in 33 languages. Gregg currently serves as the Co-President of International Thriller Writers (ITW).
Gregg has written screenplays for or sold spec scripts to many of the major studios (including SWEET GIRL and THE BOOK OF HENRY), and written, developed, and produced television for various networks. He is also a New York Times bestselling comic book writer, having penned stories for AWA (Knighted and the critically acclaimed anthology NewThink), Marvel (Wolverine, Punisher), and DC (Batman, Penguin). He has published poetry, and numerous academic articles on Shakespeare, taught fiction writing in the USC English Department, and guest lectured for UCLA, and Harvard in the United States and internationally. In 2022, he helped write the opening ceremony of the World Cup. In the course of researching his thrillers, he has sneaked onto demolition ranges with Navy SEALs, swum with sharks in the Galápagos, and gone undercover into mind-control cults.
Currently, Gregg is actively working against polarization in politics and culture. To that end, he’s produced several hundred commercials that got over a hundred million views on digital TV platforms. His editorial pieces have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The Bulwark, and others.
- ” ‘NewThink’ Graphic Novel Stamps Hard on Hot Button Issues Dividing America,” Forbes, Dec. 14, 2022
- “Billy Ray, Gregg Hurwitz Discuss Messaging Advice They Offered Dozens of Democratic Candidates This Year,” The Hollywood Reporter, Nov. 8, 2022
- “Orphan X novelist Gregg Hurwitz talks ‘Prodigal Son,’ Shakespeare and the home life of assassins,” The Orange County Register, Jan. 1, 2021
- “How 5 Top Screenwriters Created $1B of “Game Changing” Political Content (for Free),” The Hollywood Reporter, Oct. 31, 2020
- “The Hollywood Three Tries to Save Western Civilization,” Vanity Fair, July 21, 2019
- “Saratoga Native, Now A New York Times Bestselling Author,” The Mercury News, Feb. 8, 2018
- “Gregg Hurwitz is full of thrilling, erudite contradictions,” The Los Angeles Times, Jan. 14, 2016
- “Slaying Dragons,” Harvard Magazine, August 2009
Contact Gregg Hurwitz
Official Website (Contact Form and Newsletter Available)
Orphan X Series Merchandise Store
Gregg Hurwitz Books
I will talk more about the Orphan X Series tomorrow. In the meantime, at the bottom of Gregg Hurwitz’s bio page is a list of all his work.
Gregg Hurwitz: Do You Need My Help Fund
The Do You Need My Help? Fund is there to provide immediate direct crisis relief for people who are on the verge of falling through the gaps in the safety net here in America (Linked above).
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