Ask the Author: Tommy Wallach

“Ask me a question, I'll tell you some lies. Or truths. Whatever.” Tommy Wallach

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Tommy Wallach Hi Hannah! Hm. I'm a boring hard worker like Anita. I also lived for music during my teen years, like Andy and Anita. I'm least like Peter, as I'm a pretty passionate atheist, and I'm most like, Eliza, both because art is my reason for living, and because I've been somewhat promiscuous in my day. :)

Tommy Wallach Hey Oakley,

Apologies for my terrible slowness. I'm so very glad you liked the ending! Certainly I've had more conversations with readers about the ending of WALU than any other part of anything I've written: and that was my plan all along (bwahahahaha!). Anyway, thanks for reaching out, and be super well!

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Tommy Wallach Dear Ferial, I never said I was a better person for being an atheist. But I do believe the world would be a better place without religion. Many people believe the same; many people don't. It's a debate. It's a conversation.

As for your point about money, it doesn't make much sense. I guess I could try and write essays about everything that has ever caused conflict between human beings, but I have books to write. I wrote about atheism because I think it's a subject that doesn't get enough exposure. People, particularly the young people I wrote for, are afraid to voice their problems with religion because this country is predominantly religious, and there is often angry, very personal backlash. In fact, you're the living proof. :)

Tommy Wallach Hey Kayla! Thanks so much for the kind words. No chance of a sequel, but definitely a good chance of a TV show. :)

As for the ending, I've written about it at length on my blog. Just look for the post called "On the Ending of WALU," or something like that. Enjoy!
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Tommy Wallach Hey Oakley,

Thanks for saying nice things. Sorry about Peter. Sorry you didn't like the ending. And you are welcome. :)

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Tommy Wallach Hey Gina! I only just remembered I had questions on here! Sorry.

And as for the time frame, I certainly set it purposely so that first night could take place on Halloween, which obviously shares a lot of characteristics with Dia de los Muertos, but is historically distinct (my understanding is that it was moved to coincide with Halloween because of those similarities, but has a completely separate origin). For me, the holiday was useful not for the death theme (though that would've been viable), but for the disguise theme. It gave Parker room to consider what of his personality was "real" and what was projection, as well as to become more curious about Zelda.

And thanks for the kind words, by the way! :)

Tommy Wallach I just remembered I had questions on here! The next book should come out in early November. I'm just putting the finishing touches on it now!
Tommy Wallach Hey Abigail!

Sorry for the slow response. I've always been of the opinion that there are a LOT of hours in the day (before you have kids, at any rate (from what I hear)), and you don't have to choose. Plenty of writers are also serious musicians: Woody Allen, Steve Martin, Josh Ritter, Leonard Cohen, Charlie Chaplin, and a bunch more. In my case, the music has really helped the writing side of my career (in a purely professional sense), and vice-versa. So do both. Just don't waste a lot of time otherwise. :)
Tommy Wallach I hope so! I'm trying very hard (mostly on the TV side at the moment, actually). We shall see!
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Tommy Wallach Hey Emily!

Thanks for the kind words on the music. "Countdown" is indeed the song that Anita and Andy write together and sing at Chad's place. I allowed them the same liberty that I take in my music: namely that every song is a combination of my real emotion intermixed with some fictional storytelling. So yes, I imagine that Andy was thinking of Eliza when he wrote it, and how her rejection of him (romantically) spoke to a kind of belief that there would always be more opportunities for love in the future. But Anita is the one who sings it, and I can see her twisting of the lyrics a bit to make it more general in terms of stuff like "You offered the moon/So where's my fucking moon?" Hope that makes SOME amount of sense!

Tommy Wallach Hey Maria! Indeed! I'm writing a trilogy (The Anchor & Sophia) at the moment, the first book of which (Strange Fire) came out back in October. Go read it, so you can read the others (please and thank you)! :)
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Tommy Wallach Hey Bonnie! Ha! Nobody's tried to use my album to answer the perennial question of what happens at the end of WALU. Sadly, no, I did not intend it to be a secret easter egg or anything. Of course it's supposed to be sung from the point of view of the characters looking up, but the ball of fire crashing down is just the outcome that preys the most on their minds (as Andrew Bird sings in "Fiery Crash": "To save all our lives you have to envision the fiery crash...before you get on the plane." :)
Tommy Wallach Hey Gylfie! It's great. As for what inspired WALU, it was basically Lars von Trier's "Melancholia." Of course my FIRST novel was never published, and it was inspired by Douglas Adams "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."
Tommy Wallach Hey Zach,

I'd be happy to donate a book or two, but they're all in storage right now. (I just moved to LA.) As for a visit, it looks like you're pretty far away, but if I'm ever in the Bay Area, perhaps I can jaunt over?
Tommy Wallach Hey Jojo,

I assume you mean fiction here, rather than non-fiction. And I think I'm the least autobiographical author I've ever known. Of course, everything you put in a book comes out of your own experience in some way, but I'm almost never consciously transcribing my own life into my fiction. Honestly, I find myself pretty boring in that regard.

How to encourage people to read my books? Uh...they're awesome. Read them.

And "choice" is a complex word. I would say the short answer is that I don't have any say in my fabulous covers, but I have been pretty lucky with them, so I'm not complaining too much!
Tommy Wallach Hey Jojo Question,

Sorry for the slowness on my response here. Like most authors, I always have about a hundred ideas competing for my attention. I've decided never to write them down, allowing forgetfulness to serve a sort of curatorial function. In other words, I figure the good ideas will "stick" in my head, and the bad ideas will disappear. As for inspiration, nothing too weird: WALU came from Lars von Trier's "Melancholia," Thanks was a combination of "Let the Right One In" and "Before Sunrise," and Strange Fire came out of my love of Philip Pullman and "A Canticle for Leibowitz." There ya go!
Tommy Wallach Ha! I wish I'd been so bold as to write a 65,000 story to get into college. No, it's just my crazy little brain making things up. As for the college application conceit, I wrote a novel as a grad school application more than 10 years ago. Nothing ever came of that one, but I held the concept in the back of my head, and it ended up making sense for this project!

Anyway, thanks for all the kind words! :)

Tommy Wallach Once upon a time, there was an election. That's how we ended up with this president.

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